Berkshire International Film Festival 2012 Showcases 70+ Independent Films

Berkshires Bed and Breakfast

The Berkshire International Film Festival (BIFF) continues to grow in popularity and in the number of films screened.
The 7th annual season is a celebration of the latest in independent feature, documentary, short, and family films. This year’s festival, with more than 70 films, runs from May 31 to June 3 in Great Barrington and Pittsfield.
The festival opens with the screening of the full-length documentary “Ethel” and will be presented by members of the Kennedy family, who will providing a special question and answer session.
Other festival highlights include the exclusive screening of “Marina Abramovic: The Artist Is Present,” with the producers and director present; and “Gregory Crewdson: Brief Encounters,” presented by the film’s director and the iconic local artist himself. Enjoy a romantic getaway and a good film during your stay at our Berkshires Bed and Breakfast!


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New Kid on the Block at our B&B in Berkshires

lenox ma bed and breakfast charley

New Kid on the Block!

Quinn of our B&B in Berkshires says, “I would like to introduce my new brother C. Charley PAII. Charley, Ellen’s new hearing dog, is a Bichon mix and a bundle of energy. He makes me dizzy with his antics!”

“Charley has arrived on the heels of our sad loss of Piper, whose kidneys failed at 14 1/2, and Charley is working hard to soften the blow.”

“Charley is a shelter dog found on the street in a greatly neglected condition. But Brian, NEADS (National Association for Assistive Dog Training Services) trainer par excellence, had faith in this little ball of fluff. Soon Charley was in the MA prison program, where professional trainers like Brian work with minimum security prisoners to train service dogs. A warm and welcoming couple took Charley home on weekends to give him different experiences. Charley then went to NEADS training center to be trained for Ellen, just as I was 13 years ago.”

“Ellen and Charley have just returned to our inn in Berkshires from 7 days of intense training. Charley nails the sounds he alerts Ellen to — stove timer, alarm clock, door bell, smoke detector — perfectly and with such enthusiasm he nearly knocks Ellen over. He is not so great yet at obedience, but then he is a shelter dog and one who learned how to survive when he was on the street. They both bonded at first sight.”

“All is okay as Charley and I learn to live with each other, as long as he realizes that I am Alpha Dog and doesn’t try to play with Mrs. Hedgehog.”

Charley is settling in well at our Lenox MA Bed and Breakfast as he makes the transition from “inmate” to “innmates.”



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Meet the New Family Member at our Berkshires Inn

Quinn says: It’s just about official — I retire as Ellen’s hearing dog in April! I will miss going everywhere with Ellen, and I will miss the traveling and seeing my far flung friends, but I get to sleep in. I won’t be disturbed in the middle of one of my naps to accompany Ellen to the supermarket, to the post office, to lunch. I will finally and officially be a Birchwood Inn pet.

So meet Curly (we are already referring to him as Charley)! Curly/Charley, Ellen’s new hearing dog, is an 18-pound Bichon mix, and my trainer Brian reports that Curly/Charley will be an excellent hearing dog. Ellen will go to NEADS in April for a week of training with Curly/Charley, and then he will come home to our Berkshires inn.

Since Curly/Charlie is white, I’d better not teach him to roll in the dirt as I love to do when Ellen’s not looking!

Berkshires Inn

Hi! I'm Curly aka Charley!

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It Takes A Community

Quinn says: The innkeeping community is a most caring one.

You may recall that although I’m as fit as a puppy, at age 12 1/2, I am losing my hearing. For a hearing service dog, this is like Beethoven losing his hearing. And so I am looking forward to retiring.

But in the meantime, NEADS, the organization that trains service dogs for the deaf, requests that we raise $9,500 (it costs $25,000 to raise and train each dog).

When Ellen and I arrived at the annual innkeeping conference in Little Rock in January, innkeepers, vendors and guests had raised about half of our goal. We never anticipated meeting and surpassing our goal so quickly. Innkeepers and vendors at the conference stuffed checks and cash in our pockets, including several checks for $1,000!

Berkshires Bed and Breakfast

Ellen and Quinn at the Innkeeping Conference

On the last morning of the conference, an innkeeper we had never met asked how much more was needed to hit the $9,500 target. $250.00? No sooner said than done, and we had a check for $250.00!

Since then more innkeepers, vendors, and guests have added contributions, putting us over $10,000. And we still have a raffle for a deluxe weekend for two at our Berkshires Bed and Breakfast.

This whole experience has been both exhilarating and humbling. It’s so incredible to realize that we have so many caring friends.

Innkeepers, vendors, and guests: Thank you for your generosity and caring.

So when does the new dog arrive? Anytime between now and Labor Day. We have no idea what breed the new dog is going to be, but you’ll be the first to know.


PS Re: Occupy Westminster, Goldens have moved up to fourth place from fifth as the most popular dogs in the US. We’ve got a lot going for us!



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We’ve Got Snow and The Arts

In Winter, Berkshires Culture Moves Indoors

Berkshires Inn

Nathaniel Brooks for The New York Times

Top: Ventfort Hall in Lenox, Mass., where Anne Undeland performs “Open Marriage” in the library, right. Above: A work by Adrian Paci, left, at Mass MoCA in North Adams.

Original Article By Mark Vanhoenacker


There’s far more to the Berkshire Mountains than Tanglewood, and the arts and culture do continue after Labor Day all around our Lenox Bed and Breakfast. As Mark Vanhoenacker says in The NYT, “even in January, cultural life here thrives, at museums, theaters and music halls. And when it’s time for a little après-edification, you’ll find acres of elbow-room on area slopes.”

Why not start your cultural tour in North Adams, at Mass MoCA, one of the largest museums of contemporary art in the world? There are currently some exciting exhibits. And Mass MoCA’s performance stages are busy as well, such as jazz vocalist Catherine Russell on Feb. 18.

“The grande dame of Berkshire museums, the Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute, just down the roadin Williamstown. The Rembrandt and Degas exhibition runs until February 5. “Clark Remix” opens Feb. 12. Pittsfield, which celebrated its 250th birthday in 2011, Pittsfield host 10×10 on North, the county’s first-ever winter contemporary arts festival, Feb. 16 to 26, featuring “exactly 10 of a number of things, including short pieces by two theatrical groups, Barrington Stage and New Stage; performances by poets, tango dancers and singer-songwriters; and short films.”At the Colonial Theater, a treasure from the Gilded Age, offers a busy winter calendar, including the Turtle Island Quartet (Feb. 17) and the Cajun masters BeauSoleil Avec Michael Ducet (Feb. 24).

In Lenox, Shakespeare & Co., as Vanhoenacker notes, “never lets the floorboards cool.” This season’s winter programming includes Molière’s comedy “The Learned Ladies,” which opens Feb. 3.

We hope you have the opportunity to enjoy some of these fantastic cultural events during your stay at our Berkshires Inn!


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Shakespeare & Co. Celebrates 35th Anniversary

Lenox Bed and BreakfastThere are anniversaries galore in Lenox this year — Tanglewood, Jacob’s Pillow and now Shakespeare & Co, all near our Lenox Bed and Breakfast.

Shakespeare & Co’s 35th season is one of rebellion and revolution, and features one of Lenox’s favorite visitors, Academy Award-winning Olympia Dukakis (she loves Cafe Lucia!), in “The Tempest” and OBIE Award-winning actor John Douglas Thompson in “Satchmo at the Waldorf.”

“The season is designed to look at who we were, who we are, and where we’re going,” said artistic director Tony Simotes. “Revolution and rebellion, that the energy of the theater. That’s what we do.”

The summer portion of the company’s 35th anniversary season runs from May 25 through Labor Day.

Highlights include “The Tempest,” mid-July-mid-August; “Satchmo at the Waldorf,” mid-August-Labor Day; and “King Lear,” mid-June-mid-August.

The season also features “Endurance,” the story of the unlikely survival of Sir Ernest Shackleton and crew in Antarctica; and “Red,” a play based on painter Mark Rothko.

“Cassandra Speaks,” a play about controversial journalist Dorothy Thompson; “Parasite Drag,” a dark comedy of two estranged brothers; and “The Tale of the Allergist’s Wife”; a comedy about a depressed, unfulfilled Upper West Side wife, round out the season.

A star-studded season for a star-studded anniversary! We hope you have the chance to enjoy this exciting season during your stay at our Bed and Breakfast in Lenox!

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Candy Cane Cookies

Christmas would not be Christmas at our Lenox Bed and Breakfast or in my family without Candy Cane Cookies. I started making them when my boys were small. They are now adults are making them themselves. Because it’s so much fun to make these with children, I draft the little girls next door. And the tradition continues…

Lenox MA Bed and Breakfast


1 cup butter

1 cup confectioner’s sugar

1 egg

1 tsp. peppermint extract

1/2 tsp. almond extract

1 tsp. vanilla extract

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1 tsp. salt

1/2 tsp. red food coloring (more if needed)

1/4 cup crushed candy canes or peppermint candy

1/4 cup sugar


Preheat oven to 375F.
Mix the butter, sugar, egg and extracts thoroughly.
Mix the flour and salt, and stir into the butter mixture.
Divide the dough in half.
Blend the food coloring into one half.
Mix the sugar and crushed candy together.

Roll 2 tsp. of each color into 2 5-inch “snakes,” rolling each “snake” back and forth on a lightly floured board. Place the two “snakes” next to each other, press together lightly and twist like a rope (so it looks like a barber’s pole).
Make the cookies one at a time.
Curve the top to make the handle of the candy cane.
Bake for approximately 8-10 minutes, until just lightly brown on the bottom. Remove the cookies immediately and sprinkle with the sugar-candy mixture.

Makes approximately 3 dozen candy canes.

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Arlo Is Home in the Berkshires 11/19

Quinn says: My tail is wagging happily because I know that my friend Arlo

(I once sat inhis lap for several hours) will be home for Thanksgiving!

The Guthrie Family is home for Thanksgiving again, and at the

Colonial Theatre near Birchwood Inn.

Lenox MA Bed and Breakfast












(Illustration above by Jesse Lefkowitz)

They are the first family of folk with deep Berkshire roots. With the

holidays coming, it was not too big of a surprise when the Berkshire

Theatre Group announced Arlo Guthrie and his family had reserved

the Saturday before Thanksgiving for their annual appearance.

The Guthrie Family Rides Again, which has been on the road, is

coming home to The Colonial Theatre on Saturday, November 19 at



“He’s becoming a beloved Thanksgiving tradition,” said Artistic

Director and CEO Kate Maguire. “We are so fortunate to have Arlo

return again to our Colonial, with the whole Guthrie family.”

Like most Americans, the urge to return to their Berkshire farm,

and their family roots, is strong. The family travels much of the year,

and coming home to a dining room table piled high with some of

their own produce makes the week around Thanksgiving especially

nostalgic. Dad and Grandad Arlo had to give up the livestock

when it became too much to properly maintain along with an

intensive concert schedule.


Tickets for the Guthrie concert are $15–$55 and VIP tickets are

$65 (premium seating). Tickets may be purchased in person at the

Colonial Ticket Office at 111 South Street near our Berkshires Inn or by calling

(413) 997-4444 or online.

The Ticket Office is open Monday–Friday 10am–5pm, Saturdays 

10am–2pm or on any performance day from 10am until intermission.


A Legendary Family

Arlo Guthrie was born with a guitar in one hand and a harmonica in

the other, the eldest son of America’s most beloved singer/writer

Woody Guthrie, Arlo has made sure to pass on this passion for

music to all the generations of Guthries that came after. Arlo Guthrie

carries on the Guthrie Family legacy as he travels to communities

far and wide sharing timeless stories and unforgettable classic tunes.

A celebrated artist in American music, his artistic ventures help bridge

an often-divided world through his powerful spirit of song. With

songs like “Alice’s Restaurant,” “Coming into Los Angeles,” and “City

of New Orleans,” Arlo’s music has proved itself sustainable

throughout the years.


“The Guthrie Family Rides Again” brings his singular voice as both a

singer-songwriter and social commentator to the stage alongside his

beloved children and grandkids.

This Family concert spotlights three generations of Guthries including

Arlo’s son Abe, who has contributed keyboards and backing vocals to his

father’s live shows since the ’80s. His daughters Cathy, Annie and

Sarah Lee Guthrie, all of who have their own bustling music careers,

will support by singing songs and accompanying on acoustic guitars.

Even the youngest generation of Guthrie kids will join in the fun on

select songs.



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Hot Time in the Old Lenox December 9, 10 & 11

Lenox Bed and Breakfast














Quinn says: Lenox, MA, in the heart of The Berkshires, has been

compared to a Currier and Ives sketch. This is especially true during

the December holiday period. And there’s nothing that says New

England better than Lenox village dressed in holiday-style.

Catch the spirit on the weekend of December 10 when the village hosts

the Lenox Caroling Festival. The festival is a gala weekend, a

Christmas stocking filled with holiday events. The celebration

of seasonal songs begins on Saturday, December 10. Thirty or more

of the Northeast’s finest choirs and choral groups have been invited

to lift their voices in a day-long songfest and competition, 10 am to

noon and 1:30 pm to 4 pm throughout the village (in case of

inclement weather, the festival will move to indoor venues).

During the weekend you can also tour many of the village’s renown

bed and breakfast inns, including Birchwood Inn (Our Lenox Bed and Breakfast is

offering holiday special rates this weekend — and throughout most

of November and December as well) and sample holiday treats from

our special local restaurants (Quinn notes that this is her favorite event,

ever optimistic that there will be some cookies that drop on the floor!)

Lenox’s unique shops and restaurants will also be featuring festival specials.

On Saturday, from 6 pm to 7 pm, enjoy the Carolers’ Reception,

award presentations, and sing-a-long at Shakespeare & Co. For a

great feel-good experience, moreover, see David Sedaris’ “Santaland

Diaries” 7:30 pm on Saturday as well as two matinee performances,

Friday and Saturday at 2 pm.

Trinity Church invites everyone to its Holiday Fair and Silver Tea

on Saturday from 10 am to 3 pm.

And what are the holidays without a gingerbread house? The Lenox

Library hosts the annual Gingerbread Contest on Sunday, 10 am to

3 pm.

This is a most special weekend, for sure, but everyday is special

in Lenox during the holidays. Come and celebrate the season of

lights with us at our Lenox MA Inn!

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Do Bears….?

Says Quinn: Yes, they surely do! I’ve lived in the Berkshires at Birchwood Inn for more than 11 years and I learn something new everyday. For instance…
There is ice in Ice Glen (Stockbridge) for 9 months a year although it is possible that ice can be found there in July, August, or September.
Nathaniel Hawthorne called Ice Glen “the most curious fissure in all the Berkshires.” It certainly is unusual. The streams run south to north instead of north to south, and the fissure itself — a long-dried-up glacial pool — runs east to west rather than west to east.
Ice Glen is canopied by trees at least 170 years old, which ensures that the rocky terrain is in shade most of the year, a cool spot on even the hottest days. The floor of the glen is dotted with boulders that form caves throughout the gorge, making Ice Glen a great place to explore!

And there are bears in Beartown State Forest (in the towns of Lee and Monterey). This area is “bear aware” country. Do not feed or provoke the bears.
Bears have acute hearing — seven times more acute than a dog! — and can smell food more than a mile away. They are curious, resourceful, and have one of the best memories of all animals. They can run up to 35 mph and climb a tree faster than some primates.
If you encounter a bear, don’t startle it; make noise, and give the bear plenty of room.
I know about bears from personal experience! We have had bears visit every once in a while. The first time I met up with a bear, I thought it was a big dog and wagged my magnificent tail. I think I should have barked!

Lenox MA Bed and Breakfast

Bear Aware

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