Let’s Party, But Where? Venues Guide, Part 3: The Berkshires
The backdrop of natural beauty in the Rural Intelligence region has been luring brides and grooms to say their “I Do’s” here for years. But really, why shouldn’t any event — birthdays, anniversaries, corporate gatherings — get to enjoy the fabulous venues (and yes, frequently the views) that make a special gathering so memorable? After exploring some great locations in Northwest Connecticut and Columbia County, we move on to Berkshire County.
By Elizabeth Hartley
Bloom Meadows (Hancock)
Sarah and Greg Holland recently opened Bloom Meadows in Hancock, an all-inclusive wedding barn with vaulted ceilings, fireplace and a stone patio with views of the surrounding meadow and mountains. Sarah, who is also a wedding photographer, has seen a thing or two go right (and wrong) on that special day, so their goal with Bloom Meadows was to anticipate and therefore avoid them. The property provides rooms for the bridal party to get ready, options for ceremony location, and even a “day-of” event coordinator. Locally constructed wood tables and chairs come with the rental.
Capacity: 250+ (add a tent to host more)
In-house catering: No
What makes it special: A private, peaceful space and proximity to Williamstown for a variety of overnight accommodations.
MASS MoCA, North Adams
MASS MoCA offers some of the most dramatic and creative spaces for special events anywhere (not just in Berkshire County!). This 19th-century renovated factory setting (on the National Register of Historic Places), now home to an ever-changing collection of important contemporary art, provides a multitude of easily customizable spaces in its galleries — even some outdoor locations — able to host anywhere from 30 to 500 guests. Each one has its own personality and fun features: super high ceilings, hardwood floors, brick or whitewashed gallery walls, views of the countryside, or enormous historic windows. The newest spaces will open in June in Building 6, which will offer another 130,000 square feet of interior space (with a capacity of 400) over a number of gallery spaces, also full of awe-inspiring contemporary art.
Capacity: Sol Le Witt Galleries: 200 for receptions; 140 for ceremonies; 50 for dinner; Lobby and Courtyard with views of the clock tower: 200
In-house catering: No
What makes it special: The sheer scale of the museum and variety of its spaces can support any theme or decorating scheme.
Gedney Farm, New Marlborough
In charming New Marlborough, now designated a National Historic District, Gedney Farm offers two Normandy-style barns for special events on 37 acres of high meadow and pasture — one with 16 guest rooms and suites, the other a three-level event space that once housed Percheron horses. It now seats 250 for dinner. State-of-the-art HVAC means there’s comfortable A/C in summer and heat in winter, and the barn’s soaring interior provides a country grandeur that’s hard to beat.
Capacity: 250 for dinner; more if you add an event tent
In house catering: Yes, required
What makes it special: The refined but rural setting, plus Gedney’s chef creates incredible food, tailored to suit personal preferences as well as dietary restrictions, says manager Michael Smith.
Stonover Farm, Lenox
There’s plenty of genuine comfort and country elegance at this former Gilded Age farm, with none of the gilt. It’s all toned-down quiet elegance, and walking distance to Tanglewood along a lovely country road, no less. Stonover’s 10 beautiful acres, complete with duck pond and happy ducks, provide a picture-perfect destination for weddings. Couples can use the four-acre field for a tent of any size, or set up the reception, dinner and dancing in the property’s magnificent hay barn. Ceremonies are typically held on the barn ramp, with guests seated on the lawn, while the post-ceremony pre-dinner cocktail reception can be held pond-side. The inn accommodates up to 14 overnight guests, with the bride and groom enjoying the spacious and well-appointed School House Suite, a separate building a few hundred feet from the mansion.
Capacity: 250 or more if a tent is used
In-house catering: No
What makes it special: A refined farm location with genuine Berkshire history.
The Clark, Williamstown
Art of the highest quality and a rural setting of exceptional beauty make the museum a winner for anyone seeking a strong cultural backdrop and a high level of service. Specifically, that means the museum’s four new spaces in the Clark Center available for private events and STARR Catering’s Dan Hardy, who won the Executive Chef of the Year award in 2015.
Capacity: Michael Conforti Pavilion, overlooking the reflecting pool: 200 for receptions; 150 for dinners; The Museum Pavilion, which also overlooks the reflecting pool: 65 for cocktails and dinners; Lower Level Court & Café 7: 250 for reception, 150 for dinners; The Lunder Center at Stone Hill and Moltz Terrace, an indoor-outdoor space accessed via a woodland path: 100 for receptions; 50 for dinners
In-house catering: Yes, required
What makes it special: Sleek spaces easily accessible to all, and rural beauty with lots to do in nearby Williamstown and North Adams.
A Berkshire “cottage” from the Gilded Age, this Tudor-style mansion offers exquisite dining and accommodations, including weddings. A member of Relais & Chateaux, Blantyre’s luxurious appointments, antique furniture and lovely floral arrangements are the epitome of French-American-style elegance.
Capacity: Seated indoors: 120; Under a tent on lawn: 200 for dinner; 300 for a reception; Dinner and dancing in The Music Room: 60
In-house catering: Yes (required)
What makes it special: The food, the views, the level of service and overall luxury.
Lake House, Lee
This private lakeside inn with 16 suites and guests rooms includes a luxurious wedding suite with king-size bed, living room and balcony overlooking the lake. Bridal parties can hold the ceremony on the cliff and their reception on the lawn, and both have lovely views of Laurel Lake. Guest rooms come complete with a mini bar, makeup table and comfy couches for friends and family.
Capacity: 200 guests on the lawn in a tent. Lake House requires its 16 guest rooms and suites be rented for the weekend.
In-house catering: No
What makes it special: A first-rate private lake-side location, straight out of The Happy Hollisters.
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