Although it’s my never-ending quest to experience new destinations, there is something to be said for revisiting special places. This fall, my husband and I stayed at the Red Lion Inn in Stockbridge, Mass. This beautiful historic inn in the Berkshires also happens to be the very first hotel at which I ever stayed! I was nine months old, and my parents brought me for the weekend to look for a summer rental in the area. When we started to spend our summers in Lakeville, Conn., we would make many day trip to Stockbridge to go to the Red Lion Inn for lunch in the courtyard to celebrate my August birthday (which happens to be the same day as my parents’ anniversary). The Red Lion Inn has given me many special memories, even though I can’t possibly remember what my first stay there was like. I can, however, tell you that my second stay this September was excellent.
Stockbridge is the picture-perfect American town, almost like something out of a Norman Rockwell painting. Well, the famous Americana artist did live in Stockbridge for the last 25 years of his life. The Norman Rockwell Museum, which houses 998 of the artist’s original paintings and drawings, is fantastic. I’ve been to the museum several times, but I didn’t make it there on this September trip because we were pressed for time. That’s because what brought us to Stockbridge was a wedding. Actually, that’s not exactly true. The wedding was about 30 minutes away in Chatham, NY, and we could have stayed in a number of nearby Berkshire towns. So what brought us to Stockbridge was the chance to stay at The Red Lion Inn.
The Red Lion Inn is one of those rare places that manages to be both romantic and family-friendly at the same time. This was a couples getaway for us; our first night away from our toddler since our mini-break vacation at the Marco Island Marriott Beach Resort. (Please don’t tell my parents that we were allowed to bring our toddler to the wedding.) It’s romantic because it’s so full of atmosphere — this now-sprawling property began as a tavern by Silas Pepoon in 1773, and made its mark in Revolutionary history that following year as citizens from several Berkshire towns gathered there to pass resolutions protesting England’s repressive Act of Intolerance and also pledged to boycott British goods. While the inn feels old-fashioned, it doesn’t feel dated at all. The rooms are simply gorgeous, with a modern country vibe. The lovely decor is not at a surprise given that since 1968, the inn has been owned by the Fitzpatrick family, who also own the famous Country Curtains company.
Our room was in the Maple Glen House, the inn’s newest guesthouse. As if you needed more of an excuse to stay in your luxurious room, the TV’s are “smart TVs” and are equipped with Netflix and Hulu. And all rooms have my favorite amenity: free Wifi! There are now nine guesthouses, in addition to the main inn. And it’s a very quick walk to the main inn from Maple Glen, which we appreciated when we went for a leisurely Sunday brunch in the dining room before making the two-and-a-half-hour drive to NYC.
So as much as we enjoyed the romantic aspects of the inn, we had to admit that it would be a good place to bring children. The Maple Glen House has a spacious common area with a kitchen and a living room. When you’re traveling with babies and toddlers, it’s so important to have a place to store milk and wash bottles and pacifiers. And the living room area would be a great place to hang out with children who are feeling cooped up in the hotel room, as would the nice lawns surrounding the house. That said, I didn’t mind not having to deal with those issues on this trip! The hotel’s pool is open year-round, and I certainly would have gone there if I had been with my toddler. I also would have made sure to introduce him to Simon Treadway Gato, the Lobby Ambassador. This rescue cat from the Eleanor Sonsini Animal Shelter in Pittsfield, MA, has been has been greeting guests since 2006. When we spotted him after our brunch, he was snoozing on the job in the middle of a chess game. But chess must be exhausting when you’re a cat…
Comped but Never Compromised: I received a complimentary stay from The Red Lion Inn, but I am free to write whatever I want.