That’s Entertainment – the Berkshires Stage

The Berkshires StageFor a fan of the theater arts, there’s hardly a better place to be than the Berkshires.

There are lots of opinions as to why the Berkshires stage is the center of so many world-class theater companies, troupes, mainstay productions, and festivals but there is little argument that once The Berkshire Theatre Festival, Tanglewood, and Jacob’s Pillow were established, they served as magnets for much of what followed.


Spring in the Berkshires

It’s spring in the Berkshires! The crocuses are up and the tulips are not far behind. We look forward to welcoming you at our luxurious Bed & Breakfast this spring and summer. Call us at 800-243-1824 to book your getaway.

Jiminy Peak

In this video Brian and Kolleen Weinrich, Innkeepers of Federal House Inn, give an overview of Jiminy Peak and other Berkshire ski areas.

Join Us at Jiminy Peak!

Brian also says:

We offer a ski package in partnership with Butternut. And Butternut is partnered with Catamount. You can buy a pass and ski in either one of the two places.

Canterbury Farm

In this video Kolleen Weinrich, Innkeeper of Federal House Inn, gives an overview of Canterbury Farm.

Join Us at Canterbury Farm!

Kolleen adds:

Many of our winter guests enjoy cross country skiing, snow shoeing and winter hiking. The Arcadian Shop at Kennedy Park rents snow shoes and has daily reasonable rates. [It is definitely our favorite sports store in the area!]. Also, Hilltop Orchards in Richmond has beautifully groomed cross country ski trails. Our guests particularly enjoy wine tasting in front of the large stone fireplace after an afternoon’s workout on the trails!

Berkshire Botanical Garden

In this video Kolleen Weinrich, Inkeeper at Federal House Inn, gives an overview of the Berkshire Botanical Garden.

Join Us at Berkshire Botanical Garden!

And Brian Weinrich says:

The Berkshire Botanical Gardens is open from May though October but the beautiful grounds can be explored year round. Classes, workshops, lectures and events are also offered twelve months of the year. One of Kolleen’s favorite pastimes on a beautiful summer’s day is sitting on one of their many unique benches under one of the gorgeous old trees writing in her journal or reading a good book. Many annual events include the spring Plant Sale, the Flower Show, the Fete des Fleurs Garden Party and the fall Harvest Festival and December Holiday Fair.

Shakespeare & Company

In this video Brian Weinrich describes gives an overview of Shakespeare & Company.

Join Us at Shakespeare & Company!

Brian also says:

In addition to Shakespeare & Company, there is Barrington Stage Company and the Colonial Theatre in Pittsfield, and The Berkshire Theatre Festival in Stockbridge, three other high quality live stage venues. So if you’re interested in live performance in a variety of different venues and different styles, from the traditional classical to much more contemporary comedy and drama, the offerings really are quite extensive in a very small area here in the Berkshires.


In this video, Brian and Kolleen Weinrich share their experience of Tanglewood.

Join Us at Tanglewood!

They also say:

Tanglewood, the summer home of the Boston Symphony, is ideally located just seven miles from the Federal House where visitors can hear classical, popular and jazz concerts all summer long. Tanglewood is such a unique spot to spread out a blanket on the vast lawn, feast on a delicious picnic and listen to live music as the sun sets and the stars come out. Fortunately, the beautiful Tanglewood grounds, overlooking the Stockbridge Bowl, are open year round. So an off season autumn stroll or a trek on cross country skies make an enjoyable afternoon outing at Tanglewood!

Mass MoCA (Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art)

In this video Brian Weinrich, Federal House Innkeeper, gives an overview of Mass MoCA: Massachusetts Museum of Modern Art.

Join Us at Mass MoCA!

Brian also says:

An added plus to this unique museum, MassMoCA, are their presentations year round from music of their alternative cabaret series to scored silent films, to dance parties and July’s contemporary music festival. Their gift shop is filled with an assortment of unique items [great scarves according to Kolleen!] and their small café is the perfect place for a bite of lunch [their homemade soups are delicious].

We often suggest to guests that on their way to the MassMOCA they plan a stop in Williamstown, a quintessential small New England college town with lovely shops and a variety of restaurants. The college itself has a charming small art museum, but of course the world famous Clark Museum is located just minutes from downtown. Privately endowed, The Clark presents world class quality exhibits year round. Many of our guests who are connected with the art world in Boston, NYC and abroad are always very complimentary after their visit to The Clark.

And Kolleen Weinrich says:

One of the things that I always recommend for our guests is to visit the highest point in the state Mount Greylock, as they go right past the entrance on their way up to Williamstown and North Adams. It’s a wonderful day trip to go to Graylock, and then go up to the Clark in Williamstown and have some lunch. And then if they have time, continue on to MASS MoCA in North Adams.

Berkshire Theatre Festival

In this video Brian Weinrich, Inkeeper at Federal House Inn, gives an overview of the Berkshire Theatre Festival.

Join Us at Berkshire Theatre Festival!

Brian also says:

Recently the Berkshire Theatre Festival merged and partnered with the Colonial, a renovated classic 1920s theater which now gives the Berkshire Theatre Festival a third stage. This venture now expands the variety of live theater and performance here in the Berkshires year round.

Founded in 1928, the Berkshire Theatre Festival is one of the oldest professional regional theaters in the United States. Presenting world premiers, contemporary works and classics that speak to a variety of audiences, we have never been disappointed after a Berkshire Theatre Festival performance. We always remind ourselves upon leaving the theater how fortunate we are to be located literally “just down the street” [a 5 minute drive] from this exceptional cultural venue.

Jacobs Pillow

In this video Kolleen Weinrich describes freebies at Jacob’s Pillow.

Join Us at Jacobs Pillow!

Kolleen also says:

Jacobs Pillow is a marvelous international dance festival with more than 300 free and ticketed performances, talks, exhibits and tours each summer. Open from June through August, the Pillow has been called “the dance center of the nation” by The New York Times.

We are thrilled to be situated only 10 miles from this National Historic Landmark. A large number of our guests head to the Pillow each summer and are never disappointed by the talent, the atmosphere and just the feeling of being immersed in the culture of dance in such a unique setting.

Norman Rockwell Museum, Stockbridge, MA

In this video Kolleen Weinrich describes her experience of the Norman Rockwell Museum.

Join Us at the Norman Rockwell Museum!

Kolleen and partner Inkeeper Brian Weinrich also say:

Since moving to the Berkshires three years ago, we have fallen in love with the work of Norman Rockwell and his museum. In a small and intimate setting, visitors to the Norman Rockwell Museum in Stockbridge, MA, can experience Rockwell’s original work and discover changing exhibitions of other masters of illustration. After a 35 year career in education, Kolleen especially enjoys the variety of children’s book illustrators who are featured at the Norman Rockwell Museum on a regular basis. [Most recently William Steig, Jerry Pinckney and Margaret and H.A. Rey].

An added treat during a visit is being able to tour Rockwell’s original Stockbridge studio [open May thru October] located on the grounds overlooking the beautiful Berkshire Mountains. Because we are members of the museum, we return year round to enjoy the changing exhibits of Rockwell’s work, to attend an opening reception or as a guest for one of the unique programs [lectures, presentations, etc] offered frequently. If one chooses to visit for an hour or a day, the Norman Rockwell Museum in Stockbridge is not to be missed on a visit to the Berkshires.

Monument Mountain Great Barrington, MA

In this video Kolleen Weinrich, Innkeeper of Federal House Inn, gives an overview of Monument Mountain.

Join Us at Monument Mountain!

Brian Weinrich adds:

Right across the highway from Monument Mountain in Great Barrington, MA, there’s a very nice wetlands park. The nature and the wildlife and the very habitat of a wetlands area is so different from climbing a mountain. But for a hiker, it’s such a unique and satisfying experience.

The variety of hiking in the area is pretty amazing. Another experience that hikers come for is what’s known as a cobble. A cobble, again, is a geological formation, which is pretty unique to the area. There’s actually two.

Tyringham Cobble is about ten minutes from the inn. And when you do the cobble and you’re climbing this, the rock formation, the views are pretty astounding especially in the fall when the colors are out. And you’re actually around the Appalachian Trail for a period of time when you’re climbing or walking the cobble.

The other one is Bartholomew’s Cobble, which is a little farther away, and it’s quite close to Bash Bish Falls. Again, that’s a historic reservation. There is a pretty interesting exhibit there from when the area was actually owned by a slaveholder. And some interesting pieces of history about people and the slaves that lived there back in the 1800s obviously.

Jacobs Pillow – More Than Dance

Jacobs Pillow Inside Out StageWe are so fortunate to have Jacobs Pillow, a National Medal of Arts recipient honored by President Obama this year, just 10 miles from the Federal House Inn.

One of our  favorite evening pastimes is to watch the Inside/Out performance on the newly renovated out door stage at Jacobs Pillow. Then we enjoy a picnic on the beautiful grounds.  And finally be an audience member in the theater for one of the amazing dance troupes.

We love having Jacobs Pillow as our neighbor.

Join Us!

By the way, one of our guests this past week went to see Tangueros Del Sur and shared with us,

I’ve been enjoying The Pillow for many years but Tangueros was one of the most phenomenal  performances I’ve ever seen.


Only a 10 minute drive from the Federal House Inn, Tyringham Cobble has become one of my favorite hiking destinations in the southern Berkshires. Surprisingly, I discovered it this past winter when looking for a new location for snowshoeing. The delights of the Cobble began on the drive to the reservation as I passed through the charming village of Tyringham. The two miles of trails to explore actually includes sections of the Appalachian Trail. The views from the top of the pastoral scenery of the Valley are spectacular. I have returned numerous times since my first visit and last Sunday for Mother’s Day, it was the perfect place to spend a warm sunny afternoon with my family.


Berkshire Mountain Bakery in Bon Appetit

Housed in a unique old paper mill in Housatonic,  it is a must-visit for every bread lover. Many of our guests who have discovered this treasure [open 7 days weekly], stock up as they depart the Berkshires on their way out of town!  [Two of our favorites are their artisanal potato onion and olive rosemary mini ciabatta……mmmmmm.]
What a delightful surprise to open the January issue of one of my favorite cooking magazines, BON APPETIT, to find a list of AMERICA’S BEST BREAD BAKERIES with one of the top 10 a short drive from the Federal House! The Berkshire Mountain Bakery opened in 1986 by Richard Bourdon and is renowned in the area for their legendary sourdough bread.

Berkshire Botanical Gardens-Stockbridge

crocus BBGardens

If I could be in the garden 365 days of the year that is where I would be found so it is not a surprise when we initially moved to the area, the Berkshire Botanical Gardens received my membership within the first month of our arrival. Only a 10 minute drive from the Inn, I visit often checking out the newest blossoms, looking for a distinctive gift in their home and garden shop or sitting on a quiet bench to read. Founded in 1934 and open from May 1-Columbus Day  [daily 10-5pm], the 15 acre complex is a lively center for horticulture, educational programs and community events. Their annual plant sale will be held May 6,7 this year where guests have the opportunity to browse through 300 varieties of flowering perennials as well as special sections of ferns, vines, grasses, etc. I will certainly be there once again in a few weeks,  returning to the Inn with my car trunk filled with unique and beautiful specimens looking for a new home!


I Never Tire of the Rockwell Museum

I simply never tire of the Norman Rockwell Museum in nearby Stockbridge. As members, we receive free admission on any day. I visit at least monthly to savor a current exhibit or to walk the pristine grounds with their amazing views. One of their current exhibits is the work of the award winning children’s book illustrator, Jerry Pinkney. He is truly a master of the American picture book. As an educator for 35 years, I shared numerous titles [from my personal library] of his creative work, with children of all ages. THE PATCHWORK QUILT, has to be one of my favorites because of my love for textiles and the art of quilting. I only have until May 30 to view this exquisite exhibit many more times!


Spring Hiking in the Berkshires

Ah, spring in the Berkshires. Seems like it is arriving ever so slowly but our multi colored crocus family have perked up on the back hill and the daffodils are about six inches high so the best is yet to come! One of the best seasons to hike in this area is spring and one of our favorite walks is the Mary Flynn Trail in Stockbridge, approximately 10 minutes from the Federal House. We actually discovered it initially in spring and literally every time we strolled along the river we spotted a new wild flower in blossom [oh my, those red trillium] or noticed a different tree or bush leafing out.  It has now become almost a daily routine in our busy schedule and we are truly more content at the end of the day if we have taken time to “walk the Flynn”.


The Federal House blog is back!

Those of you who have enjoyed the Federal House blog may have wondered where it has been the past few months but hooray, we are back!  The revamping of our website is taking hours of time but we feel the end product will be well worth it and we hope you do as well. Thank you for your patience as we continue this process. If this is your first time visiting, we welcome you and hope you return often!


Summer in the Berkshires………Divine

I thought autumn was my favorite season in the Berkshires but I have now decided it must be summer [of perhaps it is always the current season since we love living here!]. Being out in our gardens every free moment is indeed a treat. Observing all the wonderful seedlings in the garden, which came out of my greenhouse, is sheer joy. The arugula, spinach, chard and radishes we devour each night….delicious. The tomato plants are in blossom, the green beans seem to be growing before my eyes and the herbs…….yikes! I can hardly use them fast enough in our daily breakfasts but no complaints here. Thinking back to a year ago and reading my gardening journal notes, the basil was only inches tall, the chives miniscule and the parsley puny. Not to mention the fact that with the rain and mosquitoes in June 2009 we could hardly be outdoors any time of day whether we were gardening or simply walking to the compost pile! Even though we are out watering almost every evening, what a relaxing way to end the day.

Successful Culinary Weekend

Our first Berkshire Culinary Weekend at the Federal House was deemed a great success! Our guests enjoyed dining Friday night across the street at Perigee Restaurant, a three hour cooking class Saturday morning back at the restaurant with Chefs Dawn, Jim and Eric, wine tasting at Hilltop Orchards in the afternoon and in the evening dined at the Federal House on the savory recipes they learned to prepare that morning [“sinful” spuds, minted mango martinis, Perigee paella and rose sabayon in chocolate tuile cups with candied strawberries]. What a pleasure it was to host this wonderful event and also be fortunate enough to enjoy the “fruits of their labor”. I immediately declared my favorite the decadent sabayon! We look forward to further Culinary Weekends with Perigee in late autumn.

Preserving Naumkeg

I recently read in The Berkshire Eagle that preservation work at what has become my favorite historic home in the area, Naumkeag, has begun. It was bolstered by a grant from the National Park Service and the work includes restoration of art on display, repairs to the exterior garden fences as well as the addition of a new welcome center.

This 46-acre estate, located on Prospect Hill in Stockbridge is a classic example of a Gilded Age resident. It was occupied by two generations of the Choate family, and will reopen May 22 for the summer season. A visit is $10 very well spent and conveniently located only 10 minutes from the Federal House!

Ahhhhh………spring in the Berkshires

I am very happy to be back blogging after a month’s absence. As some of you are aware, we closed the inn during March and headed south in search of warm temps and lots of sunshine. Feeling rested and rejuvenated, we are thrilled to be back in the gorgeous Berkshires where spring has indeed arrived.

I took a “walkabout” in our yard yesterday with my gardening journal excited to see so many of the numerous bulbs I planted last fall showing their little faces. The cleaning of the greenhouse is on my “to do” list so I can begin to sow a few early seeds. [Parsley, basil and dill are a top priority as they appear in our signature breakfast frittata.] Since this is my first attempt at this undertaking, and being a former educator, I have been completing my “homework”! One of the best gardening websites I have found is Margaret Roach’s [] and when I emailed her asking for planting suggestions, she responded within the hour. So, after my research is complete, the greenhouse is open and aired and the new seeds are sorted, I will slip on my new bright red gardening gloves and get to work!

Romance in the Berkshires

February has been the month for romance at the inn! We have had numerous guests celebrating anniversaries [the longest being 32 years], two marriage proposals during the Valentine’s weekend and a wedding! Numerous guests have also stayed this month just wanting to get away from their busy lives filled with long working hours, children’s schedules, etc. Some have come to explore our many [Rockwell, the Clark, Berkshire ] unique museums, stroll charming main street in Great Barrington, ski and snow shoe nearby or to simply sleep in and enjoy a good novel and sip tea all day feeling rested and rejuvenated when they depart. We feel blessed they chose the Federal House where we do everything possible to make their stay relaxed and memorable from candlelight gourmet breakfasts to wine and appetizers in front of a cozy fire in the early evening. Guests always enjoy perusing menus and sharing their dining experiences before they head out to dinner at one of our numerous excellent restaurants in the area with the closest being right across the street [Perigee]!