Summertime 2021 and the livin’ is easier (thanks, COVID-19 vaccines!). These four beautiful one-of-kind inns are sparkles in the jewel box that is Main Street Hospitality Group, a family-owned company that stewards and develops personality-rich New England lodgings, run by visionary CEO Sarah Eustis. In this year of embraceable American road trips, consider steering your travel plans toward these inviting front doors. Bonus: To quench your wanderlust thirst, try the inns’ favorite cocktail recipes (below) at home, savoring glasses of splashy deliciousness.
The Red Lion Inn, Stockbridge, Massachusetts
A beloved touchstone in the legendary town of Stockbridge, The Red Lion Inn’s history stretches to 1773, when the spot was a stagecoach stop and pre-Revolutionary gathering place. Today, surrounded by the leafy Berkshires of Western Massachusetts, this iconic landmark — showcasing a grand porch replete with rocking chairs — boasts 108 individually decorated guest rooms in the Main Inn and in separate Village Houses. The modern-country Maple Glen building and other specialized accommodations, such as the turn-of-the-20th-century Firehouse, round out an ample variety of room configurations and amenities. The Red Lion Inn appeals to both romantic couples and to intergenerational families, some of whom have reunited here decade after decade.
Expect charms galore: a resident cat named Norman, chess and checker boards, antiques, paintings and artwork with distinguished pedigrees, and pewter serving ware used in the classic white-tablecloth-and-crystal-chandelier Main Dining Room, which heralds an award-winning wine list of more than 300 selections. Four restaurants, a year-round heated pool and live musical entertainment delight. Walk in the steps of guest history, too. Among The Red Lion Inn’s celebrated former guests: Five U.S. presidents — Grover Cleveland, William McKinley, Theodore Roosevelt, Calvin Coolidge and Franklin Roosevelt; dozens of poets, authors, actors and musicians, including William Cullen Bryant, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Thornton Wilder, John Wayne and Bob Dylan.
Spiked Blueberry Lemonade
Ingredients: 5 cups water, divided; 1 ½ cups sugar; 1 Tablespoon grated lemon zest; 1 pint fresh blueberries — set aside some for garnish, then muddle the remaining berries; 8 large lemons; 1 cup Berkshire Mountain Distillers Ice Glen Vodka; tray of ice cubes. Makes one pitcher, approximately 4 to 6 servings.
Instructions: First, to make blueberry-enhanced simple syrup, boil 1 cup water in a small pot atop stove with the sugar, lemon zest and muddled blueberries for 5 minutes while whisking to dissolve sugar. Chill overnight, then strain. Second, to make the lemonade, juice the lemons (before juicing, cut several slices to set aside for garnish), then strain through fine mesh strainer. In a pitcher, combine remaining 4 cups water, 1 cup blueberry simple syrup, 1 cup lemon juice and 1 cup Berkshire Mountain Distillers Ice Glen Vodka. Chill until ready to serve, pour over ice and garnish with lemon slices and blueberries. Bartender’s tip: This vodka measurement is a little on the strong side, in order to balance the ice cubes as they start to melt.
For more area info: Stockbridge Chamber of Commerce. Highlights: Norman Rockwell Museum (the artist lived here and painted Stockbridge scenes); the notable Berkshire Theatre Festival and Berkshire Theatre Group; Chesterwood, the summer estate of sculptor Daniel Chester French, acclaimed for creating our 16th president’s statue in the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C.; the Berkshire Botanical Garden and hiking trails.
Seven Hills Inn, Lenox, Massachusetts
On 27 secluded acres of verdant lawns and vibrant gardens, Seven Hills Inn, dating to a mid-1700s farmhouse built by early colonists, is now a Victorian-style, Gilded-Age-evocative estate, charismatically juxtaposing distinctive new-fashioned accents with eye-catching yesteryear design. Elegantly eclectic, its 57 guest rooms are situated in three separate buildings: Carriage House, Manor House and Terrace House. This Lenox, Massachusetts property promotes a best-of-two-worlds vacation: an off-the-beaten-path private stay near culture-aplenty diversions.
Musical virtuosos, such as Leonard Bernstein, Dave Brubeck, Seiji Ozawa and Beverly Sills, and music lovers attracted to the area’s esteemed concerts, have booked Seven Hills Inn.
Its ballroom is a regional darling for weddings, other family events and corporate retreats. Rooms come with complimentary full breakfast. A personal concierge service recommends local restaurants for lunch and dinner. At Seven Hills Inn, bike ride on wooded lanes, lounge and swim laps at the pool, photograph Instagram-worthy manicured landscapes and, during cooler months, snuggle near a roaring fireplace.
Ingredients: 1 bottle chilled dry rosé, such as Château d’Esclans Whispering Angel; ¼ cup Cointreau or other triple sec; ¼ cup Berkshire Mountain Distillers Ragged Rum; ¼ cup chilled cranberry juice; 1 ½ cups sliced oranges, apples, strawberries and whole blueberries; 1 cup chilled sparkling water, such as Saratoga Springs. Makes 1 pitcher, approximately 4 to 6 servings.
Instructions: Combine rosé, triple sec, rum, juice and fruit in a pitcher. Cover and chill overnight in refrigerator to allow fruit flavors to mingle. When serving, fill each glass approximately ¾ full, then top with sparkling water.
For more area info: Lenox Chamber of Commerce and The Berkshires. Highlights: Discover prestigious and powerful music, dance and theater performances at Tanglewood (summer home of the Boston Symphony Orchestra), Jacob’s Pillow and Shakespeare & Company. Marvel at The Mount — Edith Wharton’s Home — with its pretty grounds and varied artistic programming.
Porches Inn, North Adams, Massachusetts
Seven renovated, interrelated Victorian row houses collectively form the intriguing Porches Inn with 47 comfy guest rooms.
In North Adams (known as Massachusetts’ smallest city), Porches is across the street from the cutting-edge Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art (MASS MoCA), a fortuitous location. Porches itself also shines as a cultural haven, spotlighting its own four arts event spaces and a snazzy recording studio. It offers a continental morning buffet as well as grab-and-go breakfast boxes. The fitness center is presently available by appointment. For on-site outdoor leisure, laze at the year-round warmed pool (edged by a radiant-heated stone patio), hot tub and woodland gazebo.
The Front Porch Rickey
Ingredients: ice cubes; 2 oz. Berkshire Mountain Distillers Ethereal Gin; ½ oz. lime juice; club soda, to top; lime slice. Makes one serving.
Instructions: Fill a highball (or rocks) glass with ice, add gin and lime juice. Top with soda, stir gently. Garnish with lime slice.
For more area info: North Adams Tourism. Highlights: In addition to MASS MoCA, explore the city’s independent galleries. Train fan? Climb aboard Berkshire Scenic Railway and Hoosac Valley Train Rides as well as peruse the Berkshire Scenic Railway Museum.
Hammetts Hotel, Newport, Rhode Island
Along Newport’s historic downtown waterfront on a 9,000-square-foot pleasure-seekers wharf that overlooks a picturesque marina, Hammetts Hotel is a chic yet down-to-earth head-turner, a mix of maritime and industrial motifs. Its 84 contemporary rooms, constructed with indulgent simplicity, feature high-quality Mascioni bed linens, polished-nickel pendant lamps, leathers, iron sconces and Lockwood organic bath products. This on-trend inn by the sea also revs up appetites for Giusto (which means “just right” in Italian), a much-applauded restaurant masterminded by Chef Kevin O’Donnell, a Rhode Island native.
An influential port — once a busy waterway for naval vessels and for Gilded-Age yachts — Newport today continues to be a cherished New England mooring and a preeminent moveable feast for sailors and those who love them.
The wharf and its neighborhood harbors upscale shops, such as Saltzman’s Watches (for Breitling, TAG Heuer and Rolex timepieces), Johnnie-O (for preppy surf-side menswear) and Holebrook (for well-crafted knit sweaters).
Hammetts’ lobby level Sarah Langley Gallery, which changes its collection seasonally, exhibits work from artists who have fostered spirited connections with Newport. Presently, Margaret Ann Withers’ colorful, exuberant pieces are being shown.
The Hammetts Breeze
Instructions: Fill a wine glass with ice. Layer the lemon juice and Aperol. Add simple syrup and top off with water. Stir gently. Garnish with orange slice.
For more area info: Discover Newport. Highlights: For wave-happy adventures, anchor your sights on Newport Yachting Center and Sail Newport. Step back in time to ponder the opulent Newport Mansions, such as Cornelius Vanderbilt’s Breakers and William Vanderbilt’s Marble House, as well as the Berwind family’s The Elms. Hike the three-and-a-half-mile Cliff Walk for incredible views. Garden enthusiasts relish the whimsical Green Animals Topiary Garden, in nearby Portsmouth, with its 80 animal- and geometric-shaped topiaries, as well as palette-dazzling The Blue Garden, brainstormed by illustrious landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted Jr. Cheers!