A weekend away

I spent a weekend in the Berkshires enjoying the scenery and visiting with family. A literary highlight was a tour of Edith Wharton’s restored home in Lenox, Massachusetts. The furniture is all reproductions based on contemporary photographs, which means the house is more touchable and less fussy than most historic house tours.

House viewed from the garden
dining room

The library does have many of Wharton’s original books, and it’s possible to schedule a private tour focused on the books and their inscriptions and notes. Something for my “someday when I have money to burn” list.

In neighboring Pittsfield, we visited Hancock Shaker Village, which has an amazing cafe. (Say yes to the berry pie.) We saw a demonstration of Shaker music and dance that was the most informative presentation on Shakers that I have ever seen. With gentle humor, the presenter wrangled two dozen tourists into gendered lines and led us through a couple of dances and songs. She showed us how the room and the floor were “tuned” to amplify the stomping, clapping, and group singing. She really showed how musical practices reflect cultural/religious beliefs. They have shared a short demonstration video of professional museum staff singing and dancing. Our terrific presenter was the woman with the glasses, but I didn’t write down her name and so have forgotten it.