ShareThis Page
Travel

Road Trip! Destination: Stockbridge, Mass.

| Saturday, Jan. 3, 2015, 7:39 p.m.
At the Normal Rockwell Museum, visitors can see the artist’s original studio, which was moved to the museum grounds.
Jeremy Clowe
At the Normal Rockwell Museum, visitors can see the artist’s original studio, which was moved to the museum grounds.
The Norman Rockwell Museum in Stockbridge, Mass., boasts the world’s largest collection of his original art, including a treasure trove of paintings from The Saturday Evening Post.
Art Evans
The Norman Rockwell Museum in Stockbridge, Mass., boasts the world’s largest collection of his original art, including a treasure trove of paintings from The Saturday Evening Post.
The downtown streets of Stockbridge, Mass., feature art galleries and fashion boutiques to a wine cellar and chocolate shop.
Kevin Sprague
The downtown streets of Stockbridge, Mass., feature art galleries and fashion boutiques to a wine cellar and chocolate shop.
The Red Lion Inn in Stockbridge, Mass., began its life as the Inn at the Sign of The Red Lion in 1773, a stagecoach stop and pre-Revolutionary meeting place.
Red Lion Inn
The Red Lion Inn in Stockbridge, Mass., began its life as the Inn at the Sign of The Red Lion in 1773, a stagecoach stop and pre-Revolutionary meeting place.
Over the years, the likes of John Wayne, Garrison Keillor, Bob Dylan and Nathaniel Hawthorne have all popped in to the Red Lion Inn for a visit.
Kevin Sprague
Over the years, the likes of John Wayne, Garrison Keillor, Bob Dylan and Nathaniel Hawthorne have all popped in to the Red Lion Inn for a visit.
The Clark Art Institute is well known for its significant collection of French Impressionist paintings including over 30 by Pierre-Auguste Renoir.
Jeff Goldberg | Clark Art Institute
The Clark Art Institute is well known for its significant collection of French Impressionist paintings including over 30 by Pierre-Auguste Renoir.
The Clark Art Institute’s collection includes works by Edgar Degas, including the sculpture 'Little Dancer Aged Fourteen.'
Jeff Goldberg | Clark Art Institute
The Clark Art Institute’s collection includes works by Edgar Degas, including the sculpture 'Little Dancer Aged Fourteen.'
The Schantz Galleries of Contemporary Art features more than 60 internationally recognized glass artists.
Schantz Gallery
The Schantz Galleries of Contemporary Art features more than 60 internationally recognized glass artists.

If you're yearning for a life that mirrors a Norman Rockwell painting, look no further than the insanely quaint town of Stockbridge, Mass. Not only is it the birthplace of one of America's most beloved illustrators, it's also home to the world's largest collection of his artwork.

Tucked away in the Berkshire Hills of western Massachusetts just a few hours from Boston, the town's accolades include being dubbed “the quintessential New England Town,” as well as “America's Most Famous Main Street.”

Replete with promises of romance, intrigue, celebrity and history, it's hard to imagine not falling in love with a village that has been charming the pants off of its visitors and residents since 1739.

But if you can't hit the road until the spring thaw, don't fret — seasonal activities and places of interest including the Berkshire Scenic Railway Museum, Naumkeag House and Gardens, Frelinghuysen Morris House & Studio, and Chesterwood will just be opening again.

Norman Rockwell Museum

It's no surprise that the famed artist's hometown also boasts the world's largest collection of his original art, including a treasure trove of paintings from The Saturday Evening Post.

“They were advertising works, really. They were commercial art,” says Jeremy Clowe, the museum's manager of media services. “So, these things were published for the size of a magazine, but, in actuality, are as big as any fine-art canvas when you see them. He put his heart and soul in these things.”

“Norman Rockwell: Home for the Holidays” will be on exhibit through Feb. 8, highlighting the cheery magic that flowed from his brush. Another treat awaiting visitors is the opportunity to see Rockwell's original studio, which was moved to the museum grounds.

“You can see where he composed his works. It's pretty wild. You really feel like he's going to walk through the door,” Clowe says.

Details: 413-298-4100 or nrm.org

The Clark Art Institute

What began as a home for the private art collection of Sterling and Francine Clark has blossomed into a public art museum that attracts visitors in droves to nearby Williamstown.

“It was always meant to be a public institution. It wasn't meant to be a storage shed,” says Sally Majewski, manager of public relations and marketing.

In addition to more than 30 paintings by Pierre-Auguste Renoir, is the “Monet | Kelly” exhibit (through Feb. 15), a vivid juxtaposition of the Impressionist painter Claude Monet and the Abstract works of Ellsworth Kelly. A new exhibit, “Machine Age Modernism: Prints From the Daniel Cowin Collection,” will debut Feb. 28.

Details: 413-458-2303 or clarkart.edu

Schantz Galleries of Contemporary Art

Although not a museum by name, visitors are sure to find a collector's item tucked among the offerings from more than 60 internationally recognized glass artists including Dale Chihuly, Dan Dailey, Marvin Lipofsky, William Morris, Paul Stankard and Lino Tagliapietra.

In addition to the established names, owners Jim Schantz and Kim Saul have committed to featuring the next bumper crop of talented artisans.

“We're a world-class gallery tucked away here in Stockbridge,” says sales associate Stanley Wooley. “It's very much contrast and complimentary.”

Details: 413-298-3044 or schantzgalleries.com

Red Lion Inn

Standing the test of time — more than two centuries, to be exact — the Red Lion Inn began its life as the Inn at the Sign of The Red Lion in 1773, a stagecoach stop and pre-Revolutionary meeting place.

Over the years, the likes of John Wayne, Garrison Keillor, Bob Dylan and Nathaniel Hawthorne have all popped in for a visit, as well as presidents Grover Cleveland, William McKinley and Calvin Coolidge.

As the charter member of Historic Hotels of America, guests have their pick of 125 rooms or suites, each of which are outfitted with a treasure trove of antiques. Guests can take a dip in the year-round heated outdoor pool and hot tub or opt for casual or formal dining that keeps an emphasis on local, sustainable menu items.

Details: 413-298-5545 or redlioninn.com

National Shrine of the Divine Mercy

A work of art in itself, the Shrine includes 36 gorgeous stained-glass windows and two mosaics created by artist Fred Leuchs to portray the mercy of God through Scripture.

Visitors are welcome and may participate in a variety of spiritual activities including Mass and the 3 p.m. chaplet of the divine mercy.

Within the grounds, the Mother of Mercy Outdoor Shrine and the Shrine of the Holy Innocents offer additional spots for moments of reflection.

Details: 413-298-3931 or thedivinemercy.org

Downtown and Main Street

Looking as though it came straight out of a — yes, you guessed it — Norman Rockwell painting, this quaint stretch of road boasts everything from art galleries and fashion boutiques to a wine cellar and chocolate shop.

Regardless of what gets your motor running, there are plenty of ways to take a piece of Stockbridge home with you. Be sure to pay a visit to the original Alice's Restaurant — you know, the one made famous by Arlo Guthrie? Although it is no longer in business, fans can at least lay their eyes on the building that started it all — not to mention, indulge in a prime photo opportunity for your favorite social-media outlets.

Details: berkshires.org

Kate Benz is a features writer for Trib Total Media and can be reached at kbenz@tribweb.com, 412-380-8515 or via Twitter @KateBenzTRIB.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.

click me