The Berkshires in Western Massachusetts is a vibrant hub for the arts and is internationally recognized as home to some of the finest cultural attractions, museums and historical sites. Conveniently located just over two hours from New York City and Boston, it’s an ideal group destination any time of year. And the iconic Red Lion Inn near the Norman Rockwell Museum is the place to stay with 125 rooms, unique dining venues and complimentary on-site motorcoach parking. As one of the country’s top travel destinations, there’s no shortage of places to visit, but here are “5 Gems” that you won’t want to miss.

1. Berkshire Botanical Gardens
Stockbridge, Massachusetts

Photo: Robin Parrow
Berkshire Botanical Garden, Stockbridge, Mass.

Established in 1934 and revered as one of the older public display gardens in the United States, Berkshire Botanical Garden encompasses 15 acres of land where visitors enjoy over 3,000 species and varieties of herbaceous and woody plants. Nineteen display gardens blend intimate landscapes with seasonal palettes and tapestries of fragrant and colorful perennials and over 2,000 annuals. Former guest gardeners include Martha Stewart (Heirloom Flower Garden) and Michael Marriott with the installation of a new rose garden planted with David Austin Roses. Educational programs and special events offered year-round.

2. Berkshire Theatre
Stockbridge, Massachusetts

Photo: Berkshire Theatre Group
Berkshire Theatre Group, Stockbridge, Mass.

Celebrating its 90th Anniversary in 2018, Berkshire Theatre’s iconic stages have been filled with legendary storytellers and artistic excellence. Each year, this exceptional company produces theatre that reflects their historic past, yet speaks to the current world. 2018 highlights include the world premier “Coming Back like a Song,” celebrating Irving Berlin, Harold Arlen and Jimmy Van Heusen as well as Robert Sherwood’s “The Petrified Forest” and the Tony Award-winning rock musical “Hair.” In 2010, Berkshire Theatre Festival merged with The Colonial Theatre, combining two icons of the American Theatre and creating Berkshire Theatre Group.

3. Hancock Shaker Village
Pittsfield, Massachusetts

Photo: Hancock Shaker Village
Hancock Shaker Village, Pittsfield, Mass.

Hancock Shaker Village is a living history museum whose mission is to bring the Shaker story to life and preserve it for future generations. Called the “City of Peace” by the Shakers who lived here for 179 years until 1960, this community houses 18 original historic buildings. The values that the Shakers embraced — equality, community, sustainability, innovation and quality in work, still resonate today. In addition to viewing the architecture including the 1883 Round Stone Barn, visitors can explore the farm and gardens, see the animals, and learn from costumed interpreters and demonstrations of handicrafts like weaving, spinning and blacksmithing.

4. Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art
North Adams, Massachusetts

Photo: Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art
Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art, North Adams, Mass.

MASS MoCA, is the country’s largest center for contemporary visual and performing arts with 250,000 square feet of open and often naturally lit space. This year-round museum, which features vast galleries and a stunning collection of indoor and outdoor performing arts venues, is able to embrace all forms of art: music, sculpture, dance, film, painting, photography, theater and boundary-crossing works that defy easy classification. Much of the work shown is in light-filled spaces and within a lovely network of late 19th-century courtyards. The campus also houses an innovative microbrewery that spotlights locally malted grains and hops grown in the Berkshire valley.

5. The Mount
Lenox, Massachusetts

Photo: The Mount
The Mount, St. Lenox, Mass.

Experience the beauty and splendor of Edith Wharton’s beloved country estate. With no velvet ropes and stanchions, visitors are invited to sit and interact with the rooms in this 1902 house and expansive terrace. Interpretive exhibits explore Wharton’s life, her humanitarian efforts, literary legacy and lives of the servants. There are guided tours of the house and gardens, a Backstairs Tour and a popular Ghost Tour. In addition to being a house with a story to tell, the estate is also a cultural center presenting lectures, dramatic readings, theater, music, storytelling, workshops, outdoor sculpture, films and literary panels.

For more information contact the Red Lion Inn Group Sales Office at 413-298-1604.