"I just love Stockbridge. I mean, Stockbridge is the best of America, the best of New England."
Stockbridge was Norman Rockwell's long-time residence and home of what he called his "best studio yet." Through his depiction of small towns, America's favorite illustrator gave us images of memorable moments from childhood to old age, portraying a re-markable history of everyday life and ordinary people. The Norman Rockwell Museum in Stockbridge has preserved his memory and his work with the world's largest collection of his original art.
Rockwell immortalized Stockbridge's picturesque Main Street in his famous painting, Stockbridge Main Street at Christmas. This holiday season, Main Street is transformed into a magical New England village, decorated with holiday wreaths and sparkling lights, as the town celebrates the 9th Annual Stockbridge Main Street at Christmas festivities, December 4 - 6.
A full weekend of activities is planned, and highlights include holiday readings and a gala concert. The Holiday House Tour visits some of Stockbridge's historic homes and inns decked out in their holiday finery. Included in the tour are Chesterwood, home of Daniel Chester French, sculptor of the Lincoln Memorial, and Lin-wood House, an early Berkshire Cottage on the grounds of the Norman Rockwell Museum. This cottage is open to the public ex-clusively for this house tour.
The Holiday Marketplace is a juried arts and crafts show and sale featuring gifts, arts, crafts and holiday goodies. That evening the festivities continue with a candlelight walk to the First Congrega-tional Church followed by a Gala Concert. This event features per-formances by the Paramount Brass and Judith Gray.
Sunday afternoon, Main Street, little changed from the time it was painted by Norman Rockwell, is closed off to vehicle traffic. Antique cars are parked as they were in Rockwell's painting, and visitors are invited to "walk into the painting." Santa and Mrs. Claus lead children, young and old, in singing carols as they walk along Main Street. Top off the weekend with a horse-drawn sleigh or hay ride to complete this wonderfully nostalgic experience. See our calendar for specific event times and dates, or call the Stock-bridge Chamber of Commerce (298-5200) for more information.
The legacy of Main Street-and Stockbridge-lives on, as this quaint New England village remains largely unchanged, rich in history and ever-glowing with small town warmth and hospitality.
Visitors often stay at the famous Red Lion Inn, a 200 year-old Berkshire icon, where they are welcomed with consummate Colo-nial charm. History buffs will enjoy exploring the past at other landmarks.
Stockbridge also offers a unique combination of shops, restau-rants, galleries, theaters and museums. Spend an afternoon strolling the charming streets of downtown and then stop in for a sumptuous meal at a local bistro.
Originally named Wnahktakook, the Mohican word for great meadow, Stockbridge is also a place of great natural beauty. Nestled in the majestic Berkshire Hills, outdoor enthusiasts are close to skiing, hiking and other recreational pursuits.
See for yourself why this village was and is divinely inspiring to so many. Experience a bit of Americana in Stockbridge.
Photo courtesy of The Mission House.