Weekend Getaways at Repurposed Hotels: Kemble Inn
The Kemble Inn was established partly to show off a collection of period furniture.
2 Kemble St, Lenox, MA
kembleinn.com; (800) 353-4113
Distance by car: 2½ hours
In 2009, Canadian-born marketing consultant Scott Shortt was looking in New England for the perfect place to “build or buy” so he could install his vintage ’20s and ’30s furniture and art and make use of his eclectic background in interior design, food, and hospitality. One look at the faded Kemble Inn, with sweeping views of the Berkshires from the back deck, and he was smitten. Built in 1881 as home of US Secretary of State Frederick T. Frelinghuysen, it became part of the Lenox School for Boys, which became a Bible school before the house turned into a traditional New England inn in 1995. In 2009, Shortt set up his furniture, sprinkled his art collection throughout, cleaned up the property, and “dove right into the summer season” in 2010.
ROOM: Ask for one of the renovated rooms, which feature dark-stained wood floors, ’20s period furniture, cloud-like bedding, and large Waterworks subway and hex tile bathrooms.
BOARD: In the evening, the $53, three-course, prix-fixe meal is served in an intimate chef’s table-sized space, formerly the kitchen, where a rare 1907 Duparquet, Huot & Moneuse Co. iron stove (the Viking of its day) now serves as ersatz wine bar. With just 16 seats, it can, at times, get downright communal.
ONLY HERE: For a special family reunion off-season, you can have “the run of the house with nine roaring fireplaces,” or a “turnkey Thanksgiving” at a negotiated price.
WHILE HERE: Visit the Norman Rockwell Museum, Edith Wharton’s The Mount estate, the Frelinghuysen Morris House & Studio (former home of, Frederick T.’s granddaughter, the noted abstract painter Suzy Frelinghuysen), and other local institutions without having to contend with thousands of tourists.
JUST THE FACTS: Room rates range from $225 to $495 a night and include a gourmet cooked-to-order breakfast, free WiFi, free parking, and delicious baked goodies.