In Stockbridge, Massachusetts, The Red Lion Inn is a festive gem of the Berkshires this time of year. If you arrive near dusk, the light through the windows beckon with cozy warmth. Greenery festoons the expansive porch outside. And inside, the tone is set for a Victorian era Christmas.
I arrived after a lovely afternoon at The Norman Rockwell Museum. American artist Norman Rockwell, famed for his Saturday Evening Post covers, moved to Stockbridge in 1953. Rockwell’s images of snippets of American life graced the covers for five decades. Several prints of Rockwell’s work hang in the halls of The Red Lion Inn as a tribute to Stockbridge’s favorite son.
Norman Rockwell’s art isn’t the only significant collection in the inn. Collections of china and other significant furniture that tell a story of the inn’s history dating back to 1773 are throughout the hotel. On Saturday’s at 11 am, there is a Red Lion’s Collection Tour where guests can find out specifics about this place rich in history.
This rambling hotel has gone through various owners that have added to it, as well as, rebuilt it in 1897 after a fire burned it down.
The parlor spaces, dining room, and two bars–the Widow Bingham and the Lion’s Den, are places for mingling. Staff is adept at making strangers feel like friends. One “staff member” who is particularly adept is Norman. Norman is The Red Lion Inn’s cat who frequents the parlor and is considered the hotel’s ambassador.
Notable greats have been among those who have stayed over the years. From six presidents, including both Theodore and Franklin Roosevelt, to the literary greatness of Nathaniel Hawthorne who penned The Scarlet Letter, the famous guest list is extensive. Thorton Wilder, author of Our Town, John Wayne and Bob Dylan are among the mix.
What I liked about The Red Lion Inn is how many people were out and about reading, playing games, talking, and letting time wind down.
I headed to the Widow Brigham for a glass of wine and a light meal. What was meant to be an hour-long endeavor stretched into two with conversations with other guests. This was an evening for savoring for the company and conversation.
I also headed to The Lion’s Den, the pub like bar in the basement. Here’s where folks settle in for live music, Monday Night Football and Tuesday Trivia. Bands from local to regional play everything from reggae to blues and R&B. Like the rest of the Red Lion Inn, there is an interesting blend of modern with the original. The original includes pressed tin walls.
Guest rooms are as well appointed in antique furniture. Each of the rooms from the single king and queen bed rooms to the two twin beds, are a charming fit to the New England scene. Flat screen TVs with a DVD player, free WiFi and two thick bathrobes are among the amenities to make a stay comfortable.
With a location in downtown Stockbridge in the Berkshire mountains, The Red Lion Inn is a perfect hub for exploring what this slice of New England has to offer.
You can book a room directly from the website or at Hotels.com. If you go through the hotel, check out the package deals. Norman Rockwell Museum Special includes a $50 dining credit and two passes to the museum.
Post and photos, except for the guest room photo, by Jamie Rhein