Located an easy 1 hour and 20-minute drive from Manchester is the Norman Rockwell Musuem.
Last Friday, we took a short drive up 91N to 90W to exit 1. Then, followed the signs to the Norman Rockwell Museun in Stockbridge, MA. Earlier in the week, I checked out the website and made reservations for 11:30 a.m.
We arrived a few minutes early and I took some pictures of the grounds.
We had 90 minutes to tour the museum. Everyone had a mask on. Each room was limited to a certain number of people depending on the size of the room. All of the Saturday Evening Post covers are on the wall in the basement room. It’s incredible how one person could produce so many graphically detailed illustrations and paintings. His life’s work is inspirational and well worth the trip.
After touring the museum, the terrace dining area is a cool place to get sandwiches and salads for lunch. The tables are more than 6 feet apart.
Next, we drove a short distance down the road to Chesterwood. We also made a reservation ahead of time to visit. Only the grounds are open.
This museum was the summer home of sculptor and artist Daniel Chester French. He was most famous for creating The Minute Man statue in Concord, MA, and the Abraham Lincoln statue at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, DC.
The formal gardens around the home are beautifully landscaped.
Near the barn, there are walking trails with surprise sculptures along the way created from fallen trees by Rick and Laura Brown.
Another exciting feature of the home is the railroad tracks that lead up to a large door.
Apparently, Daniel used the tracks to wheel a sculpture out of his studio into the sunlight. Since his sculptures would be located outdoors, he wanted to see how they looked in outdoor light.
The attractions in the Berkshires, like all other tourist destinations, during this COVID summer, are scaled-down. It’s disheartening to lose so much live music, theater, and dance productions. Tanglewood performances are online-only this summer but, you can make an appointment to tour the Tanglewood grounds to learn its history and experience the beautiful views. The galleries at Willams College Art Museum are temporarily closed. Still, The Clark and Mass MOCA are open with timed ticketing. Mass MOCA has outdoor live performances with appropriately distanced audience space and a bring-your-own chair policy.
I’m grateful for all of the creative ways people have found to open their doors to visitors this summer. (Thanks to Beller’s, we were still able to hear live outdoor music in Manchester.) Above is just a small sampling of activities in the Berkshires. Some of the other enjoyable places to visit in-person or virtually include Jacob’s Pillow, Williamstown Theater Festival, and The Mount. If you have the time, go up and explore. Follow the links below to reserve you time and order tickets. You won’t be disappointed.