Opulent, $$$$ (from $645)
At the turn of the 20th century, when the well-heeled needed a place to rest their heads as they shuttled between seasons in New York, Palm Beach, and Newport, they settled on a wooded area of the Berkshires where the spring and fall temperatures were just right. (You know how the well-heeled are...)
Today, only a dozen of these Gilded Age "cottages" remain, including Blantyre, a country resort and estate just outside Lenox, Massachusetts. And you're welcome to come for a visit and pretend that time is standing gloriously still.
I spent a weekend here in June with my husband and friends, imagining this beautiful Tudor House, with its perfectly appointed decor — crystal carafes set for wine, elaborate chandeliers, and overstuffed sofas — was all mine. I totally indulged my fantasy of living in an Edith Wharton novel.
Days began with long breakfasts on the Terrace overlooking the gardens and surrounding countryside; afternoons were whiled away reading, sunbathing, and swimming in the pool; dinner was a tasting menu in the Conservatory. I had a terrific facial at the Blantryre spa. We took a lazy trip into Lenox to stroll around town. On a tour of the estate, in-house historian David Pupo regaled me with stories of former owners (including filmmaker D.W. Griffith) and the antics the house has seen. With more time we would have gone to a concert under the stars at Tanglewood: It's another reason to come back.
After dinner came my favorite part of the day, sitting in the Music Room, listening to Karèn Tchougourian, the long-haired Vampire Lestat-looking pianist, playing across the room as I help myself to glass after glass of the port left out for guests to help themselves. (I'm told he is an empath who can intuit what you want to hear. I'm ready to call bullshit when he starts playing the Cole Porter tune I had just been thinking. I do my best not to start singing along, but I can't help myself. I blame the port.)
About that new owner: Linda Law is a San Francisco-based real estate developer who first saw Blantyre when she was a graduate student in Boston. One day, she thought to herself, I will own this place. If you see her around the house, stop for a chat. She's lively and lovely, and under her care, Blantyre's illustrious past will continue into a bright future.
Blantyre is located on a beautiful, wooded 110-acre estate in the part of the Berkshires Mountains that's all green rolling hills and genteel countryside. The cute town of Lenox is an easy ten-minute drive away.
Gilded Age glory. This is the place to unleash your inner robber baron and pretend you've earned a spot on Mrs. Astor's list of 400.
This Place Is Perfect For
Couples, especially from the northeast, who want a romantic getaway for a few days.
But Not So Perfect For
Families. This is an adults-only operation. No children under 16 are allowed.
What’s on Site
The ground floor of the main building, the Tudor-style Manor House, has the opulent lobby, outdoor Terrace, Music Room, Bistro, and Conservatory restaurant. The second floor has eight bedrooms; the basement is home to the Dom Perignon Champagne Salon and a massive wine cellar. Books — shelves and stacks of them — are everywhere, lining the upstairs hallways and neatly arranged in the Music Room. The pool and spa are located a leisurely walk or bike ride slightly downhill, past the Carriage House and Cottages. Also on the property are a tennis court, a croquet pitch, and Tesla charging station. Look for the statue of the bear in the woods on the drive up from the main entrance. It's really too cute.
Food + Drink
The Bistro Bar, deemed The Most Beautifully Designed Bar in Massachusetts by Architectural Digest, serves casual fare — Caesar salad, steak frites — and Gilded Age-inspired cocktails.The Conservatory is the fine-dining, five-course tasting menu that sources locally and changes seasonally. La Cave is the Dom Pérignon Champagne Salon in the basement that pours special and vintage bottles. The surrounding wine cellar has more than 7,000 bottles. Once upon a time, there was a speakeasy and a nightclub down here. If those brick-lined walls could talk...
Number of Rooms
24 rooms in all. The eight in the Manor House are decorated in classic, Gilded Age style, in keeping with the decor on the ground floor: four-poster beds, period paintings, patterned textiles in the curtains and fluffy pillows. The rooms in the Carriage House are more contemporary. The stand-alone Cottages are primarily traditional in style and are a great option for families.
The Dom Pérignon Champagne Bar isn't as inviting as I want it to be.
The ground floor of the Manor House, and especially the Music Room. And don't miss the daily tour with David Pupo, the director of membership and concierge services who does double duty as the in-house historian. He's been coming to the estate since he was a local kid swimming in the pool.
What to Do Nearby
The nearby town of Lenox is cute and preppy, as expected for this part of the world, with everything concentrated into a few walkable blocs: a great local bookstore, The Bookstore and Get Lit Wine Bar, a bar with an outdoor patio (The Olde Heritage Tavern), and a tapas restaurant (Brava). The clothes and housewares in most of the shops were nothing to get excited about, with two extremely stylish exceptions: Design Menagerie and MacKimmie Co.
The surrounding Berkshires are rich with cultural offerings. Tanglewood, the summer home of the Boston Symphony Orchestra, has an extensive and accessible program through August (translation: tickets are easy to get); the new Tanglewood Learning Institute offers year-round programming of lectures, films, and performances. Also nearby: MASS MoCA, The Clark, Jacob's Pillow, and the Norman Rockwell Museum. I've saved the best for last: The Mount, Edith Wharton's former house and gardens, which is a few miles down the road.
Plan Your Trip
How to Get There:Albany International Airport is one hour away; Boston's Logan Airport is just over two hours away.
Getting Around: You'll want a car to explore the area. The surroundings make for a really lovely drive.