Downton Abbey Was Inspire by Lenox Author

Downton Abbey Julian FellowesDownton Abbey fans — and aren’t we all? — are you aware that Historic Lenox, MA has ties to the series to which we are all addicted?

According to Julian Fellowes, the creator of Downton Abbey, his writing is very much influenced by author Edith Wharton, who lived and wrote in Lenox (I’m quite sure that most of you read Ethan Frome in school). Her restored home The Mount is at the top of my must-see in Lenox list I share with my guests.

Says Fellowes, “I think I was in my thirties when someone gave me a copy of The House of Mirth (which was written at The Mount) and I was instantly impressed by the extraordinarily contemporary feeling of Wharton’s writing. Her dialogue was so immediate, her understanding of emotional predicaments was so vital.”

Fellowes is the recipient of the 2012 Edith Wharton Lifetime Achievement Award. He suspects that the reason for the success of Downton Abbey is that he “is kind to them in their weaknesses, kind to them… in the error of their ways.” If he has achieved this, Fellowes went on to say, “It is a lesson I learned directly from Edith Wharton… I feel most fortunate to have made her acquaintance.”

You, too, can experience Wharton’s aura and era by visiting the home and gardens she designed when The Mount reopens in the spring on your next trip to our Lenox, MA bed and breakfast.


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The Berkshires: One of the Top 10 Unexpectedly Romantic Places

Looking for a romantic getaway? For Valentine’s? For an anniversary? Birthday? Proposal? Elopement? Head for the hills, the Berkshire hills of western MA.

The most recent issue of Forbes Travel Guide, Discover the Most Outstanding Places, named The Berkshires one of the 10 unexpectedly romantic places. Intimate restaurants. Cozy bed and breakfasts. The Boston Symphony in summer and fireplaces in winter.

The Berkshires love lovers all year round. And of course Valentine’s Day is especially romantic.

Strawberries - Berkshires B&B Valentine's DayThis year many of us are celebrating “Chocolate Berkshires,” with chocolate-themed events hosted by local businesses throughout February. Here at Birchwood Inn, February is Chocolate Passion Month, with totally decadent chocolate on every menu.

Since the way to one’s heart is through the stomach, our renown chefs are pulling out all stops to create memorable Valentine menus.

What could be almost as romantic as chocolate? Paris, of course! The Clark Art Institute — admission is free!!! all winter — opens its winter exhibition, Exposition Universelle, this month, focusing on City of Light’s most romantic period, the turn of the century.

Barrington Stage Company hosts 10X10 Upstreet, a new play festival Feb. 14-March 3, with a new play every 10 minutes.

There’s laughter galore at The Colonial Theatre, with The Official Blues Brothers Revue, Feb. 17, and Popvich Comedy Pet Theater (Charley and Quinn are looking forward to this!), Feb. 19.

Put on your dancing shoes and head to Castle St. Cafe for a Valentine dinner-dance.

There’s a romantic double feature with two of my all-time favorite films at the Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center, An Affair to Remember (watch out for the taxi!) and Sleepless in Seattle.

Of course, you can cuddle up by the fire, snowshoe, or ski. And this is just a sampling. No wonder the Berkshires are in the top 10 of unexpectedly romantic places. Join us in our Berkshires bed and breakfast.


http://www.berkshires.orgBirchwood Inn - Berkshires B&B Chocolate Mug


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Tanglewood in Lenox, MA Adds Etheridge, Warren Haynes, Boston Pops, Jerry Garcia Music

The Tanglewood Lenox, MA Pre-Season concerts are going to be hot! hot! hot!
The Boston Symphony has announced that rock singer-songwriter, Grammy and Oscar award-winning Melissa Etheridge will be performing at Tanglewood, Lenox, MA on Friday, June 21.
The following night, Saturday, June 22, Keith Lockhart conducts the Boston Pops. The BSO announced that this concert is a “ground-breaking orchestral adventure” and it showcases new settings of Jerry Garcia’s original music and more.


This event features vocalist-guitarist Warren Haynes (Grateful Dead and the Allman Brothers Band), adding what the BSO calls his “soul-soaked, introspective blend of rock, blues, R&B, and jazz” to Garcia’s music.
Friday, June 21, 7 pm and Saturday, June 22, 8:30 pm in Tanglewood’s Shed.

Tickets ($23.50-$79) are available starting at 10 am on January 27 through or 888.266.1200.

Get your tickets, reserve a room at Birchwood Inn, and plan a picnic. It will be a hot time in the old town of Lenox and the Berkshires in June!


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Raves for Eggnog Croissant French Toast Panini

Birchwood Inn in Lenox, MA, guests loved the Eggnog Croissant French Toast Paninis we served on Christmas Day. But why wait for Christmas?

Recipe serves 8


8 large cEggnog French Toast at a Lenox Bed and Breakfastroissants
4 cups eggnog
1/4 cup bourbon
4 large eggs
1 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1 teaspoon cinnamon
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
10 large strawberries plus 10 for garnish
Whipped cream
Maple syrup with a shot of bourbon, heated

For the batter, whisk the eggnog, bourbon, eggs, nutmeg, and cinnamon together in a large bowl. Set aside.
Slice the croissants in half horizontally. Spread the cream cheese on the middle. Slice strawberries and place on the cream cheese. Close the croissants and set aside.

Preheat the panini press.


When the press is hot, dunk two croissants in the batter and cook for approximately 4 minutes.
Top with whipped cream, a fanned strawberry, and powdered sugar and served immediately with the maple-bourbon syrup.

Enjoy this incredible eggnog French toast recipe.

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Berkshire Deals: Save 25% as Birchwood Takes the Chill out of Winter

Berkshire dealsBIRCHWOOD WINTER SPECIAL: Book any two nights between November 27 – December 20, 2012 (as well as January 1-31, 2013 OR March 1-April 30, 2013) and SAVE 25%! Some restrictions apply, such as you must mention “The Birchwood Winter Special” when reserving online or by phone. This winter special is not valid with any third party gift certificates or any other special, and our Berkshire deals are always subject to our minimum stay policies.

During the holidays, our Berkshires Bed and Breakfast is reminiscent of a Currier and Ives painting. All dressed up for Christmas, the holiday lights sparkle, brightening the dark winter days while the wood-burning fireplaces take the chill off of winter. Popcorn and cranberries on the soaring tree, snowflakes twinkling from above, hot mulled local cider. Join us this holiday season and experience a truly old-fashioned Christmas. And save!

Quinn and Charley would love to welcome you home, our home, this winter.

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Top 10 Things To Do in the Berkshires in the Fall!

Cider Doughnuts make the top 10 things to do in the Berkshires

Governor Patrick’s favorite cider doughnuts.


Quinn woofs that fall is her favorite time of year in the Berkshires. The autumn light. The Berkshire blue sky. The leaves to romp in and especially any Apple Cider Doughnut crumbs that land on the floor!!!


Yes, foliage is the star attraction at this time of year, but there are also a cornucopia of festivals, theater, recreation, and harvest foods to enjoy.




With Quinn’s help, we have put together our TOP 10 LIST OF THINGS TO DO IN THE BERKSHIRES THIS FALL:

1. BRILLIANT FOLIAGE – take a hike or drive up Mt. Greylock, MA’s highest peak. From the summit you can see five states.

2. FESTIVALS GALORE! – Lenox’s 21st Annual Tub Parade, 9/15, the re-enactment of the Gilded Age “cottagers'” farewell to the summer season. Lenox’s 232rd Annual Apple Squeeze Weekend, 9/22-23, celebrating autumn and the harvest. The Berkshire Art Festival, 9/28-30, Lenox.

3. THEATER – Hitchock’s 39 Steps,Shakespeare & Co., Lenox. “The Puppetmaster of Lodz,” 9/13-10/7; Dr. Ruth, All the Way, 9/19-10/7;  and The Lord of the Flies,10/3-21. The Berkshire Theatre Group.

4. SPOOKY! Melville, Haunted, 10/4-7, Arrowhead, Pittsfield. Friday Fright Tours,” The Mount, Lenox, through 10/26.

5. IN PERSON Brel in the Berkshires, 9/20-23, Kenny Rogers, 9/27, Sandra Bernhard, Oct. 20. The Berkshire Theatre Group, Pittsfield.

6. FAIRS! – Country Fair at Hancock Shaker Village, 9/29-30, Pittsfield, celebrates the simple things, agricultural demos, local and regional crafts, a harvest of quilts, horse-drawn carriage rides and more.

7. THE ARTS – Museums and galleries abound, including the Frelinghuysen Morris House and Studio, Thurs/Fri/Sat through Columbus Day, modernist home of two celebrated abstract artists.

8. APPLE PICKING Hilltop Orchards and Bartlett’s Orchard, Richmond.

9. APPLE CIDER DOUGHNUTS – MA Gov. Patrick’s favorites at Bartlett’s Orchard, Richmond.

And, we saved the Best for Last….


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Savor a Sweet Harvest Summer Salad Recipe!

There’s still time to enjoy the flavors of summer with our Sweet Harvest Summer Salad Recipe! I was walking through Guido’s, our incomparable local marketplace last week and saw Guido’s Kitchen making a salad that caught my eye: Vegetable confetti. Our Labor Day Weekend guests at our Berkshires bed and breakfast chomped it up, and you will too!

harvest summer salad recipe from our berkshires bed and breakfast

Sweet Summer Corn, Beet, Tomato, and Basil Salad

3 ears of corn, husked

1 1/2 lbs. beets, trimmed and scrubbed

1 pint cherry or grape tomatoes, quartered

2 tablespoons julienned fresh basil

extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling

salt and pepper to taste

In a medium size pot, cover the beets completely with water and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to simmer and the beets until tender, about 30-40 minutes. Drain and let cool. Peel and cut the beets into small cubes.

To cut kernels from the cob, stand an ear in a large wide bowl, and with a sharp knife, carefully slice downward to release the kernels.

Add the tomatoes to the corn. Drizzle with the olive oil. Stir in the basil. Season with salt and pepper. Add the beets just before serving so that each ingredient maintains its color.


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First Lady Dazzles The Berkshires

First Lady Michele Obama in Lenox Massachusetts 2012

First Lady Michele Obama wowed the overflow crowd of nearly 800 when she spoke at The Colonial Theatre in The Berkshires on Friday, August 3.
The “warm-up,” who was usually the main attraction, was a special performance by Berkshire resident James Taylor.
And then it was Michele’s turn to shine, and shine she did in a hot orange shift dress and an even more brilliant smile.
Speaking extemporaneously, she spoke from her heart about her husband and his many accomplishments and hopes for the future. When Michele spoke about family values, education, health care and women’s choices health care, the ability to retire with security, bringing the troops home from Iraq, and about the middle class not having to pay higher taxes than the wealthy, she was repeatedly interrupted by enthusiastic applause.

The First Lady knew that she was speaking to people who would vote to re-elect President Obama, but she urged each person to volunteer in one of the many grassroots efforts to try to change even one vote. She honestly predicted that the election will be a close one and how important each and every vote will be.

From her afternoon at The Colonial Theatre, the First Lady headed to a special fundraising dinner at the Berkshire weekend home of Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick.

Michele Obama inspired and created a warm memory for me and many others. Thank you, Michele, for visiting the Berkshires.

(No, Charley and Quinn were at home in air-conditioned comfort — it was 90+ after all), and besides, Charley isn’t quite ready for “prime time.”)

The Berkshires are a magical place. We offer a beautiful Lenox, Massachusetts bed and breakfast in the heart of the Berkshires.

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A Most Wonderful Hug from Yo-Yo Ma in Lenox MA

Lenox MA

I was at Bistro Zinc in Lenox MA for lunch today when cellist extraordinaire Yo-Yo Ma came in with Boston Symphony Orchestra Director Mark Volpe. I never ever approach someone famous, respecting their privacy, BUT this time I just had to.

I proceeded to tell Yo-Yo Ma my story. When I started to lose my hearing, it was only natural that I no longer could hear music. For more than 10 years I didn’t hear music, but I went to Tanglewood concerts anyway, hoping to feel the music.

And then I got my first cochlear implant in 2000 and went to Tanglewood to give it a try with music. The very first musician I heard in more than 10 years was Yo-Yo Ma. He has had a special place in my heart ever since.

As I told him the story, he had tears in his eyes. And when I finished, he gave me a big hug. He is a very special person to me… and to millions of others.

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We’ve Got THE Winner!

The 2nd Annual Berkshire British Motor Car Festival was an overwhelming success this weekend! Thousands of residents and guests ogled the brilliantly polished British cars, old and new, Mini-Cooper to Rolls Royce, lining Lenox, MA’s main streets near our Berkshires bed and breakfast.

“Gee, that looks like the car I had in college,” was heard over and over again, especially when spying a Triumph or MG. The festival evoked many old memories and created new ones.

Saturday’s competition yielded many “best in class” winners as well as the coveted “Best in Show,” awarded to Birchwood Inn guest Dave Hutchinson and his red 1961 Triumph Italia 2000 Coupe.

The Italia 2000, also called the TR3, was manufactured between 1959 and 1962, combining Italian artistry and British craftsmanship. Due to the car’s expensive price tag of $5,000!!!, only 329 were produced and a handful of 30 or so were sold in the US. Dave has babied his TR3 for more than 30 years. It’s a real beauty!

Congratulations to the festival’s organizers, the participants, the many car fans, and of course, the grand prize winner Dave Hutchinson!

Berkshires Bed and Breakfast

"Best in Show" winner Dave Hutchinson, his wife Charlene, and his 1961 Italian 2000 Coupe.


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