Romance and legends abound in the scenic Berkshires, making it an unusual honeymoon destination any time of year. Whether you yearn for intimate B&Bs and cozy inns or prefer posh estate-hotels, you will find everything to suit your fancy in this scenic corner of Massachusetts.
Especially noteworthy is the Red Lion Inn, located in Stockbridge, the town artist Norman Rockwell dubbed, “The Best of America, the Best of New England.” Originally founded as the Inn at the Sign of the Red Lion in 1773, its familiar front porch has lulled many honeymooners since it opened. Today, its cozy tavern and dining room showcase not only great cuisine, but also traditional New England fare. Guest rooms are comfortably furnished with quaint New England décor and cozy seasonal touches. For information call (413) 298-5545or visit: www.redlioninn.com.
Wheatleigh, in nearby Lenox was built in 1893 by Henry Cook as a wedding present for is daughter Georgie, who married Carlos de Heredia, a Spanish Count. What better place to spend your honeymoon? Cook was a New York financier and real estate tycoon and a descendant of Captain Thomas Cook, founder of Portsmouth, R.I. It is said that he built Wheatleigh as a summer cottage for his daughter because she had brought a title into the family. Fashioned after a 16th century palazzo, many of the materials and more than 150 artisans from Italy were brought in to accomplish the masterpiece. While the count and countess resided there only six weeks a year, today, it is a premier country house hotel, open year round and boasts accommodations fit for a king. Information: (413) 298-5545 or visit: http://wheatleigh.com.
Nearby Blantyre is another “regal” country house hotel tucked into 85 beautifully manicured acres. Open in 1901, it offers Old World trappings while delivering 21st century amenities, which include a topnotch spa, pool and fitness center.
(413) 637-3556 or visit: http://blantyre.com.
Romantic Gateways Inn is another nearby option and nestles in a 1912 summer mansion once belonging to Harley Proctor of Procter and Gamble. It is one of the most handsome “gilded cottages” in the Berkshires with 12 elegantly decorated guest rooms with romantic canopied, brass or sleigh beds and fireplaces. Yankee Magazine Travel Guides singled Gateways out as one of the year’s best regional inns and restaurants. (413) 637-2532 or visit: www.gatewaysinn.com.
For a truly intimate dinner experience while you're in the area, visit the Cork ‘N Hearth in nearby Lee. Overlooking post-card perfect Laurel Lake, the main dining room boasts picture windows, a lush rock garden and fireplace. Owner chef Chris Ryan specializes in a Continental menu with duck, seafood, beef dishes and Gorgonzola stuffed ravioli, topping the interesting list. The Grand Marnier chocolate mousse is “to die for.” Call (413) 243-0535 or visit: www.corknhearth.com for information.
Pamper your body and soul at the exclusive Canyon Ranch Health Resort, built around the renovated 1897 Bellefontaine mansion. Voted best spa repeatedly by Conde Nast Traveler and Travel & Leisure magazines, Canyon Ranch is recognized worldwide. Tucked away in the tranquil Berkshire woodlands, this resort promises the ultimate R&R with spa treatments, spa menus, and a variety of classes and sports options. Hike a colorful mountain trail, bike down a road, which winds through red and golden vistas in the fall, or snowshoe along pristine forest trails when the snow falls.
For information: (800) 742-9000 or visit www.canyonranch.com.
For a different honeymoon experience with a side of rejuvenation and health added, spend a few days at the largest center for yoga and holistic health in the US, at Kripalu Center for Yoga and Health, in Stockbridge. The Center offers massages, walking trails, vegetarian meals and effective workshops for people who need to reduce stress and strain. For information call:866.200.5203 or visit: www.kripalu.org.