Oh Brave New Brews! Lenox & Surrounding Area Breweries

Lenox Breweries


Things are brewing in the Berkshires! Innovative beers with local flavors!

What’s on tap?

In Lee, the Berkshires’ smallest brewer, the Glass Bottom Brewery, brews its TeaSB with Earl Grey tea and lemon zest while Parsnippity is brewed with the obvious for a country flavor. Weird? Yes, but definitely different! Or how about a dessert beer like Banana Cream Stout? In the spring, there’ll be a repeat of last year’s Dandelion IPA.

A few miles south, Barrington Brewery in Great Barrington features more than a couple of dozen beers, including a number of seasonal ones — Cask Conditioned and Rum N’Oak Brown — as well as Farmer’s Ale, made completely with local ingredients.

Travel a few miles further south and head for Big Elm Brewery in Sheffield. India Pale Ale is their most popular brew but American Lager, they say, it heading to the top. And we’re not just talking about foam. Another popular choice is 413 (the Berkshires’ area code), which includes chamomile flowers and locally sourced peppercorns. Their dark beers — like Gerry Dog Stout or Imperial Stout which incorporates coffee and chocolates – are favorites during the challenging New England winters.

But once you’re at Birchwood Inn, you don’t even have to get in your car. Nejaimes Lenox Wine Cellar stocks local beers and offers beer, wine, and cheese tastings every Saturday afternoon.

Yup, here in the Berkshires there’s a beer for all seasons. So come up and hoist a few! They’ll warm up winter’s chill!


Posted in Birchwood Inn, Dining, Lenox MA, Travel, Uncategorized, Winter |

Stay at Birchwood Inspires Guest to Wax Poetic

Three lovely and interesting women stayed at Birchwood Inn this fall. One of them, instead of writing a review, was inspired to be poetic, and we wanted to share this with you:

Autumn in New England

What a lovely stay at Birchwood Inn,

So far away from life’s usual din.

Up on a hall and standing tall,

Just the place to enjoy New England’s magnificent fall.

There are mountains, galleries, and history galore,

But, at the Inn, it’s more, more, more.

More wonderful breakfasts and tasty teas,

Which Ellen serves with such talented ease.

She makes the Inn the place to stay

And to come back soon to spend a week or another day.


Posted in Berkshires, Birchwood Inn, Fall, Lenox MA, The Berkshires |

“Happy” in the Berkshires!

The old cliché that a picture is worth a thousand words is only a cliché because it’s so true. With thousands of words we could tell you how “Happy” the Berkshires are, tell you about The Mount, the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Arts, The Clark Art Institute, Tanglewood, Canyon Ranch, Jacob’s Pillow, Bash Bish Falls, the unique towns and villages, and so much more, but thanks to the Berkshire Visitors Bureau, you can now experience “Happy in the Berkshires” for yourself. Sit back and tap your toes or get up from your computer and dance!

Posted in Berkshires, Summer, Tanglewood, The Berkshires |

The Most Requested Recipe This Year

Blood orange recipes

Blood Orange Olive Oil makes roasted pears extra special!

Whenever we serve Blood Orange Roasted Pears with Pumpkin Seed Crunch as Birchwood’s fruit course at breakfast, nearly everyone asks for the recipe. This is our version of Roasted Pear Crumble that appeared in the October 2013 issue of Bon Appetit, and it’s most assuredly a winner!


Serves 4.

2 ripe firm Bartlett or Anjou pears

2 teaspoons blood orange olive oil

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1/4 cup pecans, coarsely chopped

1/4 cup shelled pumpkin seeds (pepitas)

2 tablespoons brown sugar

2 tablespoons oats

1/4 teaspoon sea salt

1 tablespoon black sesame seeds

1/4 cup marscarpone

Mint leaves for garnish.

Preheat oven to 375F.

Cut pears in half and core with a melon baller. Spread the cut side of the pears with the blood orange olive oil. Place the pears, cut side up, on a baking sheet, and bake on the upper rack of the oven for 20 minutes, until soft but not mushy.

Mix the pecans, pumpkin seeds, brown sugar, oats, salt, and the extra virgin olive oil and spread on a baking sheet. Toast the crumble mix on the lower rack of the oven and stir occasionally until golden, about 12-14 minutes. Mix in the sesame seeds and let cool. (We make up a triple or quadruple batch and refrigerate so that we always have some on hand.)

Place each pear on a plate. Spoon the marscarpone into the center of each pear. Top with the pumpkin seed crunch. Add a mint leaf and serve… to rave reviews.



Posted in Dining, Food, Recipes, Summer | Tagged , , |

Celebrating the Bard! Shakespeare’s 450th Birthday

 Shakespeare & Company 2014 season


With this year being Shakespeare’s 450th birthday, Shakespeare & Company has planned a joyous, thrilling, and powerful season celebrating the Bard’s life and work.

This magical season aptly includes A Midsummer Night’s Dream with a jazzy 30s’ twist, set in the mysterious mangrove forests of the Mississippi Delta. (June 21-August 30) And if you really would like to honor the Bard, indulge in an evening cocktails, dinner, theater, and dancing at the Midsummer Night’s Gala on June 28.

For this season’s celebration, Shakespeare & Co. are bringing back — finally – the very hilarious medley of mayhem, comedy, and lunacy of The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged). Fast-paced and devilish, this popular parody is a cornucopia of naughty laughs. (July 4-August 24) Even Quinn, who accompanied me several years ago, was mesmerized and delighted!

Let’s get serious about this, shall we? Henry IV, Parts I and II, brings power and rebellion as well as Prince Hall and Falstaff to the Lenox stage. (August 2-31) It’s amazing to consider that these plays have continued to endure for more than four centuries!

The old adage that behind every successful man is a woman so we must include Anne Hathaway is this celebration season. Shakespeare’s Will, a sensual tale full of passion, humor, and mystery, explores with song, dance, and poetry the tumultuous life of Will’s wife. (May 24-August 24)

For most of us, our introduction to Shakespeare was in sophomore year of high school when we studied Julius CaesarCaesar, Portia, Cassius with his “mean and hungry look,” and Brutus will all be familiar in the “bare Bard” production. (June 27-August 30)

The Tony Award winning play Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike makes its Berkshire premiere as well — a comedy with a dose of mayhem. (August 6-September 14)

And Shakespeare & Company returns to The Mount, a most romantic setting for Romeo and Juliet, in a “bare Bard” production. (July 17-August 23)

And more! Come celebrate Shakespeare’s incredible legacy!

PS Birchwood Inn, only a mile from Shakespeare & Company, by the way, boasts an authentic replica of Shakespeare’s Rose Theatre in our library, compliments of my high school friends who created it when we were high school sophomores in 1961!




Posted in Berkshires, Theatre | Tagged , |

Lenox is Harmony

Romantic Berkshires Getaway

Imagine summer picnics while listening to Boston Symphony concerts at Tanglewood with mountains and lakes as the backdrop.

Harmony. If I had to describe Lenox in one word, it would be this.

Of course, Lenox being the summer home of the Boston Symphony at Tanglewood with as many as six concerts a week in the summer it’s only natural to think of musical harmony. But harmony in Lenox is more than musical.

It’s culture and the arts, such as Shakespeare & Co., in harmony with nature — our mountains, lakes, and nature trails at Kennedy Park and Pleasant Valley Wildlife Sanctuary.

It’s culinary harmony with our renown restaurants in harmony with Berkshire grown and produced fruits and vegetables, cheeses and meats.

It’s the past, as evident in our historic homes such as Birchwood Inn, Ventfort Hall, and author Edith Wharton’s elegant restored estate The Mount, in harmony with our unique boutiques, from antique shops and handcrafted art — wearable and decorative — to the latest fashions.

It’s the harmony of the seasons with downhill skiing, cross-country skiing, and snowshoeing in winter to hiking, cycling, and water sports in warmer months. It’s fireflies in summer, foliage in fall, blossoms in spring, and firesides in winter.

Harmony is in the residents and visitors from around the world, many of whom become residents.

Yes, Lenox is harmony.

Posted in Birchwood Inn, Concerts, Hiking, Lenox MA, Music, Picnics | Tagged , , |

Why Birchwood Inn Is the Best Bed and Breakfast in Lenox and the Berkshires

best place to stay in the Berkshires

Let’s get in the car and go to Birchwood Inn!

When we meet visitors at an area restaurant or at Tanglewood, they will often ask us, “Which is the best bed and breakfast in Lenox? Where is the best place to stay in the Berkshires?” Although we aren’t exactly objective, we like to think that it’s Birchwood Inn.

Quinn and Charley say that they know why:

  • Our comfortable elegance sets the scene for romantic getaways;
  • Our historic 1766 mansion is the oldest home in Lenox;
  • Our nine fireplaces create a warm ambiance;
  • Our breakfasts have won numerous awards and accolades, including “Best Breakfast in New England;”
  • The inn’s front porch is spacious and breezy, a welcome oasis in summer for lounging and afternoon tea;
  • Our New England stone fences enclose rapturous gardens;
  • Our eclectic library overflows with books you actually want to read;
  • Location! Location! Location! Birchwood is two blocks from the downtown historic Lenox,  across the street from the 450+ acres of trails in Kennedy Park, and just minutes away from Tanglewood, The Norman Rockwell Museum, Edith Wharton’s restored estate The Mount, Kennedy Park, lakes, ski slopes, horseback riding, biking and hiking, museums and galleries, wineries and breweries, unique boutiques, wild life sanctuaries, spas, and renown restaurants;
  • Birchwood is a great starting point for exploring fall foliage;
  • Our staff and their commitment to service, cleanliness, and warm and welcoming hospitality;
  • Us! Not only are we the sweetest and cutest pups in Lenox, our inn is dog friendly!
  • Or maybe it’s Ellen’s chocolate chip cookies.


Posted in Berkshires, Birchwood Inn, Lenox MA, Tanglewood, The Berkshires, Travel | Tagged , |

Warming Up from the Inside Out with a Hot Toddy Recipe

My grandfather would mix bourbon, hot water, lemon juice, and honey for a cold so my perception of a hot toddy was that it was something you took when you were sick.

Thanks to a recent winter wedding at our beautiful Lenox inn, I discovered that you should not wait until you didn’t feel well to enjoy a hot toddy. In fact, this is too good to waste on a winter bug. The wedding guests loved our hot toddies so much that they asked for seconds.

With the temperatures dropping from Maine to the Gulf, enjoy this hot toddy recipe and the hell with winter!

Hot Toddies RecipeHot Toddy Recipe for Two

  • 3 ounces     bourbon
  • 4 ounces    hot cider
  • .50 ounces    honey
  • .50 ounces    lemon juice
  • Cinnamon for sprinkling
  • Cinnamon stick for the garnish

Mix the bourbon, cider, honey, and lemon juice and pour into a mug or heat-proof glass cup. Sprinkle with cinnamon and garnish with the cinnamon stick. Light the fire, sit back, and warm up!

Would you like me to make you one?

Posted in Recipes |

Peppermint Bark

lenox ma inn holiday recipes

Peppermint Bark

During the Christmas season, Peppermint Bark is a Williams-Sonoma perennial favorite here at our Lenox, MA Inn. Nearly $30 plus shipping. But it’s so easy — but exactly inexpensive — to make your own.

1 cup crushed candy canes or peppermint candies, crushed or smashed into small pieces

2 pounds white chocolate, broken into chunks

1 teaspoon peppermint flavoring (optional)

Line a large cookie sheet with parchment paper.

Melt the white chocolate in the top of a double boiler over hot but not boiling water, stirring frequently. When the chocolate is completely melted, stir in the peppermint candy and flavorings.

Spread the peppermint/chocolate mixture onto the cookie sheet and refrigerate until solid (at least 45 minutes.)

Remove the pan from the refrigerator and break the bark into irregular pieces. Store in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to three weeks — if it lasts that long!

If you’re looking for a cozy Lenox, MA Inn where you can enjoy more treats – during the holidays or year round – we would love to have you stay with us.


Posted in Birchwood Inn, Christmas, Food, Holidays, Recipes | Tagged , |


It’s the INN thing to do!

At holiday time, Lenox becomes a scene from Currier and Ives. This year, the quintessential New England village, sparkling in it’s holiday attire, celebrates HOLIDAY WEEK 2013 with inn tours, outdoor fun, entertainment, wine tastings, culinary delights, and historic mansions.

New England Christmas

Birchwood Inn, along with several other inns and bed and breakfasts, is offering New England Christmas special packages, which will include “Holiday Spending Money.”

At our Lenox inn, choose from a two- or three-night holiday stay package, featuring

  • Lodging with our award-winning breakfast  (save $25.00 per night)
  • Tours of inns, dressed in their festive finery (Sat., Dec. 28, or Mon., Dec. 30)
  • Complimentary cross-country skiing at Cranwell Resort
  • Gift certificates toward wine tastings, gourmet dining, theater, and outdoor adventures.

December 26-30, 2013

Snuggle in Front of the Hearth

Posted in Christmas, Festivals, Winter | Tagged , |