A weekend trip to the Massachusetts Berkshires from our suburb near Boston has become our family’s summer tradition. Last summer I offered you a Two-Day Massachusetts Berkshires itinerary (With or Without the Kids). With four kids (ages 6-8) in our party, KIDS RULED our agenda during our visit this summer!
NOTE OF LODGING: There were thee families in our group, so we decided to rent a house together in Becket for an added benefit of living and dining space to socialize. It also came with its private pond access! Finding a summer lodging is not an easy task in the Berkshires, so book early!
It took us approximately two hours to drive from suburb south of Boston to the city of Becket. Upon quick check in, we had no time to waste and headed to the nearby Jacob’s Pillow Dance center to take part in their community dance lesson ($5 per adult, free for kids).
After class, we headed to Jacob’s amazing outdoor stage for their Inside/Out Series’ performance (picnics welcome). We were slightly underwhelmed by that night’s performance but knew that the best was saved for Saturday afternoon (These free performances are offered on Wednesdays-Saturdays at 6pm.)
(When you are at Jacob’s Pillows, be sure to check out their historical grounds’ tours and pre-show talks. Jacob’s Pillow is a historical landmark with a longest running American dance festival.)
Kids were super excited about our morning appointment at the Animagic museum of animation and special effects in centrally located Lee (20 minutes drive from our rental house in Becket). Museum is owned by Eugene Mamut, Academy Award Winning animation and special effects creator and his wife, artist Irina Borisova.
The visit started with a tour of Eugene’s collection, and a story of his rich animation and special effects career that span over the course of 40 years and two continents and included creation of many groundbreaking special effects.
The movie making workshop was next.
Vi, 7, says:
“He showed us how to make movies and we toured around – we then saw 3D movie. Then we made our clay figures for our movies and we had to move our clay pieces very slowly- then a special camera will make it move faster like in a real movie. Mine was called the “Somersault” and he helped me do the summersault and he doubled it.”
The movie that you child makes is recorded and emailed to you the following day. Museum visit is free but if you choose to do a workshop (I highly recommend it) it is $20 per kid. You need to email the owners to make an appointment, but they claim to be available seven days a week.
Next stop, was Hancock Shaker’s Village in Pittsfield, MA (20 minute drive from Lee). Here, the Shakers’ story is brought to life (quite literally) via multiple exhibits, daily talks and demonstrations, and even a model farm. You could easily spend a day here: visiting with the barn animals, observing the craftsmen, participating in experiential activities typical for a shaker’s child (complete with a dress up), and even taking a hike along the forrest trail!
The Museum and Historic Village are open daily, 10 am to 5 pm, through October 30. Adults are $20, Children (12 and under) are FREE, Youth $ 8 (ages 13-17).
Back in the house, we took advantage of the adjacent pond, where kids enjoyed observing the lily pads.
Before we called it a day, we returned to Jacob’s Pillow dance center for the much awaited free performance by Jacob’s summer dance students from all over the country. The performance did not disappoint.
No Berkshires visit is complete without attending Tanglewood Music Center in Lenox (summer home of Boston Symphony Orchestra) and picnicking on their beautiful grounds.
I already wrote about everything you need to know to attend Tanglewood summer performance with kids . Kids’ “Watch and Play” pre-concert is coming up next weekend, on August 14.
During a Sunday of our recent visit in July, we were treated to Prokofiev’s Symphony No. 1, Ravel’s Piano Concerto in G, Gershwin’s “Rhapsody in Blue”, and Stravinsky’s “Firebird”. Kids Corner casual drop-in crafts and activities are provided during weekend performances.
Vi, 7 says:
“I really liked Kids Corner – I did two activities- one was what music makes you feel like and I drew a rainbow and balloons and a smiling sun. Next activity was gluing crafts and tissue papers on a firebird. Music was firebird.”
While our kids enjoyed the Kids Corner, we indulged in the pre-concert picnic. (An adult does have to accompany the kids at the Kids Corner. Delegation is a key here!).
It was a particularly hot Sunday when we visited, so after the concert we went to the nearby Tanglewood Bowl beach for a dip.
I hope you get to visit the Berkshires soon! PIN this for later!
UPDATE: Check out the newest edition to our Berkshires weekend: A Backstage Tour of Shakespeare & Co Theater in Lenox.
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