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The Berkshires beckon with scenic beauty immersed in rich cultural heritage.

Less than three hours from New York and Boston, the area offers visitors plenty to see and do at all times of year.

A great place to start is with a visit to Tanglewood summer home of the Boston Symphony Orchestra and other great musical talents such as James Taylor.

“This is James Taylor’s home base,” says Bill Sexton, who has volunteered at Tanglewood since 1992.

Since 1936, concerts have been held around the neatly manicured grounds about 24 hectares of forest, meadow and lawn on the former Tappan family estate in Lenox and Stockbridge, Mass.

“The grounds are always open,” Sexton says. “As you walk through the woods you can hear a flute from over there and clarinets over there. “Even when you’re listening to the symphony orchestra you can look out and see the trees and meadows. The connection with nature and music manifests itself. Tanglewood is not a destination.

One such celebrated local artist was Norman Rockwell.

The Norman Rockwell Museum in Stockbridge features the world’s largest collection of the illustrator’s original works. Exhibits include paintings, drawings, studies, photographs and artifacts that reflect the evolution of Rockwell’s life and career.

The work of Rockwell’s sons, Jarvis and Peter, (now in their 80s), is also featured. A third son,
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Thomas, writes children’s books.

On this visit to the museum, Jarvis was spotted working on his latest creation in the museum.

Another venue to embrace local art and music is MASS MoCA in North Adams.

Since opening in 1999, MASS MoCA has quickly become one of the world’s premier centres for contemporary art.

One popular exhibit, As Above, So Below, by artist Teresita Fernandez, features a suspended upside down tree.

The gallery is unique because it can accommodate over sized art that can’t be displayed elsewhere, tour guide Jodi Joseph says. In fact, one gallery at Mass MoCA is larger than an American football field. Wharton won the Pulitizer Prize for her 1920 novel, Age of Innocence.

After a day of discovering, an afternoon lunch at the breathtaking Blantyre mansion takes you back to days gone by.

Built in 1902, this historic building has been restored to its former glory by its latest owner.

Blantyre meaning “the warm retreat” in Gaelic lives up to its name offering guests elegant accommodations and fine dining, as well as a chance to relax in its luxurious spa,
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The Potting Shed.