We only had a couple of nights for a weekend getaway (sans kids) and wanted the flexibility of driving, so picked a location neither of us had been to within four hours of NYC in the Berkshires. Close friends of ours had recently visited Tourists and I was intrigued by the story of how Wilco’s bassist and his friends had renovated this motel in North Adams, MA into a dreamy weekend retreat, drawing crowds of Brooklyn hipsters and being featured all over Instagram.
The stunningly simplistic hotel consisting of 48 rooms is sandwiched between Williams College and MASS MoCA and is built as a place for people to gather, relax and take advantage of the surrounding beauty of the area. I have to say Tourists met and surpassed all of our expectations, a place we could fully relax together, catch up on our sleep, eat really good food, enjoy some drinks, explore nature and see some incredible art. It’s also a place that I would bring our own two kids back to in a heartbeat. Some of the rooms are equipped with bunk beds (ours had a dreamy king size) and a saltwater pool is scheduled to open in a couple of weeks. It was the small, thoughtful details that really got to me – old school radios in each room with a preset curated playlist (also available on Spotify) to set the mood, luxurious Ursa Major bath products, outdoor showers and the down to earth friendly service. The hotel is set on fifty acres of forest including endless trails for hiking and a suspension bridge connecting the main property to even more land over the Hoosic River. There are plenty of common areas that you actually want to hang out in and foster mingling with other guests. We spent time in the swoon worthy living/dining room with a fire place equipped with couches that are perfect for sinking into with a great book and relaxed on the deck deck sipping craft cocktails throughout the day and night. Mini camp fires kept conversations going long into the night.
I know I am finally relaxed when I feel full of good food, well rested, reinvigorated by time spent in nature, inspired by art and actually have time to sink into a great book, almost forgetting entirely the kids and life I’ve left behind if only for a quick 48 hours!
Here is a list of some of my highlights and recommendations (including book!) if you decide to make the trip:
- Food: We ate really well throughout the entire weekend. So well that I would recommend trying to hit up all of these places:
- Public.Eat.Drink a pub in North Adams with a good selection of local craft beers and a great burger.
- While visiting MASS MoCA: A-Ok Berkshire BBQ is not to be missed (I can’t believe I’m admitting this but my husband may have said the beef brisket is better than Brooklyn’s own Hometown, shh!). Bright Ideas Brewing also located right in MASS MoCA has a great selection of craft brews to wash the BBQ down.
- For a nicer dinner, I made a reservation ahead of time at Mezze Bistro and Bar, an upscale farm to table restaurant built in a beautiful old cottage house in Williamstown. The food was absolutely delicious, each and every dish. I learned when we were there the chef, Nicholas Moulton just won the Food Network show, Guys Grocery Games with a pasta primavera dish we had the pleasure of trying.
- We at breakfast both mornings at Tourists and enjoyed everything we ordered. I’m still thinking about their Tahini Diva Cookies and determined to track down the recipe. Will be sure to post when I do.
- For our drive back to NYC, I found a place about halfway home in Milbrook, NY called Canoe Hill that was well worth the stop and short detour. I highly recommend the oysters.
- Hiking: You can easily wander out of your room at Tourists and meander through one of the many cleared paths, over the suspension bridge and into the woods. I’d also recommend hitting up part of the Appalachian Trail, following signs you can actually hike 4.5 miles into Vermont starting right in North Adams. Also about 1/2 mile from Tourists is a big park area called Spruces that used to be a mobile home park. It was a little flat for hiking but perfect for a 4-5 mile run.
- Art: Our visit to MASS MoCa was definitely the highlight of our trip. The museum is comprised of over 16 acres and built within a massive 19th century mill building complex in North Adams and contains one of the largest contemporary art collections in the United States. You could spend days meandering the different buildings. Some of our highlights were experiencing a VR exhibit by Laurie Anderson, and a Wall Drawing Retrospective by Sol LeWitt. We will definitely be returning and think it’s a place that kids could really explore and enjoy too.
- Book Recommendation: My go to book store is our local favorite, Books are Magic and a woman there has repeatedly rcommended Heartburn by Nora Ephron. I’m not sure why it took me the third time to finally take her up on the rec but I am just eating this one up. It is sheer pleasure, funny, heartbreaking, even weaving in some recipes along the way. Despite being published in 1983, its descriptions of love, life and heartbreak in NYC and Washington, DC are spot on and timeless.