This year my fall foliage trip included a stop in the Berkshire Mountains of Massachusetts. We visited Lenox, a town known for Tanglewood, the beautiful music venue where the Boston Symphony Orchestra plays during the summer season. It is also home to many “gilded age” mansions, as the Berkshires used to be a resort destination for the ultra wealthy at the turn of the century. Many of the mansions have been preserved and have been turned into luxury hotels and spas. One is even a Kripalu Yoga Center!
My husband and I stayed in an adorable little cottage on a lake in Stockbridge, which is the town next door to Lenox. On the first day we arrived we decided to visit Ventfort Hall Gilded Age Mansion and Museum, which is one of the few of these grand homes left that are open to the public for tours. It was a home built by George and Sarah Morgan in 1891. Sarah was the sister of J.P. Morgan. And if you’re wondering why her married name is same as her brother’s, well, she married her 1st cousin. Always good to keep the money in the family I guess!
In 1998 the exterior of the building was used to represent the St. Cloud’s Orphanage in the making of The Cider House Rules,, a film based on a John Irving novel.
It was a chilly, crisp autumn day and the outfit I picked for my mansion visit was a mix of three different prints. A couple of my favorite fashion bloggers, Shelbee (left) and Suzanne, inspired me, as they have mastered the art of mixing prints!
I had recently found a 1960s jacquard knit skirt suit in a beige and black lacy pattern and I was eager to incorporate the skirt into a fall outfit. The jacket will have to wait for another post. Wearing suits as separates makes for a more casual outfit.
Sticking with a neutral theme, I added a black burnout velvet 90s blouse, 60s faux fur hat and clutch and recently thrifted Dana Buchman cardigan and silk floral scarf. Oh yeah, I even wore my vintage 60s leopard print button earrings.
I knew I’d be doing a lot of walking that day, so I wore my new black leather ballet flats from Softwalk. Highly recommend. They are super comfy.
This first photo of Ventfort Hall is not mine. Because of the lighting that day. try as I might, I could not get a great photo of the front of the building. as I was only using the camera from my phone. But wanted to show you what it looks like. It’s design is Jacobean Revival and is 28,000 square feet. So it’s pretty massive. Though there are many rooms that are not currently open to visitors.
It is rumored to be haunted. Employees have heard disembodied voices, seen doors opening by themselves, a woman’s face descending the staircase and felt spirits touching them. An episode of Ghost Hunters featured an investigation into the paranormal activities at Ventfort Hall.
Source Wikimedia Commons
This is my photo of the massive veranda that runs along the rear of the property.
Of course, one of my favorite things was the random displays of period clothing throughout. I nearly swooned when I turned a corner and spotted this breathtaking 1920s lace trimmed pink velvet dressing gown. And check out those silver shoes. Hard to believe how skinny people’s feet were back then.
This 1930s bias cut lace gown would make a dreamy wedding dress, don’t you think?
Upon entering the dining room I was delighted to see the long dining table decorated so beautifully for Halloween.
Even though I never experienced any ghostly activity while visiting, I couldn’t help but think how the gothic vibe of the place makes it the perfect eerie venue for holding a spectacular grand Halloween ball. I think I’d feel safe with a whole crowd of people, but would be too scared to stay there alone for a night.
Below is a gallery of more photos from the tour. You can click for a slideshow and to enlarge the photos.
How about you? Would you stay in a haunted mansion overnight?
Till next time……
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