Recently, over morning coffee, I fell in love with an article by New York Post columnst Cindy Adams. The timing of the article was perfect. I was jetlagged beyond jetlag after a whirlwind of back-to-back trips: to New Zealand, Fiji, and Brazil. And the idea of traveling luxuriously within America – specifically, to The Blantyre in Lenox, Massachusetts – was more than appealing.
Adams’ lead (as always) was direct and on-point. “Save your baht. Stuff your drachmas. Shove your liras, pfennigs and moth-eaten euros. See America,” she wrote. “Turn into history. Drive three hours to the Northeast’s end-all of great estates – Lenox, Mass. Visit Blantye. Nice little modest place in the gizzard of the Berkshires, Blantyre‘s 230 acres. With, give or take a jereboam, 14,000 bottles of wine in underground caverns. If you can afford Petrus, the permanent staff dressed in tailored black, pours it.”
Blantyre, which means “Warm Retreat” in Gaelic, was the first Relais and Chateau property in the Americas (alongside The Point in New York). The property was built by exporter Robert Warden Paterson (of the Gilded era) who wanted ’bigger’ than his Rockefeller-and-Vanderbilt neighbors. His project, an Elizabethan castle, complete with turrets and towers, is known today for it array of civilized activities – ice skating, snow shoeing and sleigh riding in winter; tennis, croquet and swimming in summer.
But it’s the food-and-wine that truly stands out, making the gastronomy here a destination on its own. Named by Zagat as “the best cuisine in the Berkshires,” there’s a formality to dinner that includes dressing up; suits and ties for men; dresses and heels for women. Expect polished silver, posh linens, candles and of course, extraordinary food served by uniformed staff.
What We Love
The flowers – fresh roses and peonies are changed out daily.