One of the summer hotspots for second homes among the gilded wealthy of the late 19th and early 20th centuries was the Berkshires, whose gorgeous green vistas and lakes had special appeal to those who preferred a more natural and bucolic setting to Newport’s posh waterfront. With all due understatement, the inlanders called their opulent mansions and gardens “The Berkshire Cottages.” For over 20 years, Robin Gerson Wong and Dennis Wong have been decamping from their busy lives—she ran a children’s New Jersey musical theater center; he was a hedge fund CFO—to spend part of their summers in the Berkshires. About six years ago, they decided to go all in and purchase the Seven Hills Inn, a one-time Berkshire Cottage in Lenox that is now a family-friendly resort for all—including, in a few rooms, pets! My wife and I were guests at the Seven Hills Inn for a summer weekend, and while “makeover” is probably too strong a word, let’s say the Wongs have done a magnificent job of updating the Inn’s traditional aesthetics with lots of lively color and light and plenty of modern touches. Not to mention that you couldn’t ask for more gracious and helpful proprietors.
One more thing: One the Berkshire’s great cultural treats, Edith Wharton’s the Mount, is literally next door. My wife and I simply walked over there and loved learning more about her. Turns out that when she wasn’t chronicling her rich tribe, Wharton cared passionately about décor and landscaping—and it shows. Just like at Seven Hills.
To read our travel feature on New England, click here.