Ski, Year-Round Family Fun at Seven Hill in the Berkshires

Families looking for a winter vacation alternative to the big mountains in the Rockies might want to take a look at Lenox, Massachusetts, in The Berkshires. Sure the summit at nearby Butternut Ski Resort might not be nosebleed high, but the terrain is beautiful and the activities for families are plentiful.

Still looking for one more reason to give Lenox a try? How about a Ski-and-Stay package at Seven Hills, a cozy inn offering 15 percent off your overnight stay and an $8 discount on weekday lift tickets at Butternut for up to four people in your clan? Or, if your vacation plans are for the weekend, the special lops $3 off each ticket.

Finally, everyone gets a free continental breakfast to get you up, out and onto the slopes during your stay.

Of course, you can also enjoy your downtime at the 57-room inn, which boasts lots of Gilded Age historic charm and plenty of modern upgrades. In fact, the property, set on 27 acres of lawns and gardens in Lenox, has been in operation since 1951, when the 1911 mansion was converted into an inn. And while the property is still technically an inn, every guestroom — located in three buildings: the original Manor House, the Carriage House and the Terrace Building — has its own private bathroom and WiFi access.

Have a wedding in the family? Seven Hills offers a 5,000-square-foot space for that, too.

The good news is, if ski season passes you by, you can plan your vacation to Lenox anytime of year thanks to an entire menu of other nearby attractions. At Seven Hills, for example, guests often rub elbows with international music performers and their fans because of the property’s proximity to Tanglewood Music Center, the famous outdoor concert venue and summer home of the Boston Symphony Orchestra.

Norman Rockwell Museum Grounds © Steve Callahan |

Norman Rockwell Museum Grounds © Steve Callahan |

Other activities include Shakespeare & Company theater, Jacob’s Pillow Dance Theatre, the Norman Rockwell Museum and Edith Wharton’s The Mount, a 1902 mansion and garden so spectacular even culture-averse kids are likely to be wowed by the surroundings.

Families can also hop aboard hour-long vintage train car rides at Berkshire Scenic Railway Museum and even learn to make their own animated films at Animagic Museum of Animation Special Effects.

Finally, for a dose of history come alive, take the whole family to Hancock Shaker Village, a re-created village that offers a glimpse into the lives of the 18-century Shakers, complete with costumed re-enactors, antique buildings and baby animals.

And while skiing and other winter sports are the big draw for outdoor pursuits in the snowy season, in warmer months you and the kids can also enjoy the beauty of the countryside on your choice of hiking and biking trails.