Known during the Gilded Age as The Inland Newport, the Berkshire Hills in Massachusetts were a haven where families of the rich and powerful whiled away summers. Gardens were an important feature of many of these estates, and for couples together on family travel, their fragrant paths still make perfect places for a leisurely romantic stroll.
It took 30 years to complete and decorate the shingle-style mansion of Naumkeag and create its famous gardens. Stroll through the beautiful Afternoon Garden and serene Chinese Garden, stop to smell the roses in the Rose Garden, enjoy the fragrance of the Evergreen Garden and savor the view from the Tree Peony Terrace.
Highlights of the estate include the Blue Steps, a magnificent series of deep blue pools with fountains, descending a hillside and flanked by curving stairs. Graceful white birch trees arch overhead — you’ll want a selfie-for-two with this charming scene as a background. Stay on to tour the 44-room mansion.
Author Edith Wharton was a passionate gardener and designed the formal gardens situated below The Mount, her Lenox home. Descend into the sunken Italian Garden, surrounded by stone walls and planted all in green and white, then walk beneath the linden trees bordering the Lime Walk to find the French Flower Garden.
Brilliant annual flowers bloom around a pool, while surrounding borders are bright with delphiniums, phlox, lilies and dahlias. Climb the unusual Grass Steps to visit the house if you’re a fan of Wharton’s books, or stroll through the three-shaded grounds to admire the annually changing sculptures.
Berkshire Botanical Garden
Not part of a Gilded Age estate, Berkshire Botanical Garden was designed for education and inspiration, and its 24 acres showcase its plants and garden design. But its gardens are more than a horticultural museum; they are also a beautiful place to stroll and pause on a bench to admire the landscapes of artfully arranged trees, shrubs and the exuberant displays of flowers.
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