Friday, February 15, 2008

Mid-Winter Break at Red Lion Inn

A few weeks back, we took a three-day trip out to the Berkshires for a mid-winter break and stayed at the venerable Red Lion Inn in Stockbridge. We had booked a suite in the main inn but the layout wasn't exactly to our liking (the living room was long and narrow and lacked a TV and we were planning on doing a fair amount of lounging), so we decided to ask to see one of the superior rooms that had a fireplace. Good choice. We ended up with a great room that had a four-poster bed, a small eating area with a table and a couple of chairs, a desk (with wireless Internet), and best of all, two comfy chairs in front of a gas fireplace. The TV had a DVD machine, and guests can rent movies at the front desk. So one afternoon we settled into our chairs in front of the fire and watched Casablanca for the first time. (We're slowly hitting that American Film Institute list of the top 100 films. I've got Citizen Kane slated for viewing in 2013.)

The inn is definitely an interesting building. We were in the far back side of the inn, so to get to the front door, we felt like mice wandering a maze--down one hallway, through another one lined with curtain samples from the inn's curtain store, through the middle of the tavern, and then into the lobby. I must admit I had my fill of ruffles and tiebacks after a few days of making the trip, but it definitely added some charm.

We did some day trips to Lenox and Great Barrington. Very interesting to see the towns devoid of the summer crowds during the down season. Main Street, Stockbridge is not very big, if you recall the Norman Rockwell painting. We hit the Elm Street Market a few times (they sold Iron City Beer from Pittsburgh!), wandered around the library, went to the bakery one morning, had dinner at Michael's Restaurant one night, and had a sit-down breakfast in the Main Street Market. Basically became a Stockbridge local for a few days.

The Lion's Den, in the basement of the Red Lion Inn, was a very cozy place on a cold, snowy January night with its low ceilings, warm fire, and scents of warm cider. There were Irish ales on tap and Irish music on Thursday night. Perfect.

On our way out, the inn's cat took up residence at one side of the chess board in the lobby. Not sure if he was fishing for a game or not. But the feline fit perfectly at an inn that has an entrance flanked by two lions.

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