Why so darn good? "Race Brook Lodge is one of those places where it just feels great to be there from the minute you show up. From the kooky but super helpful family that runs the place, to the hammocks and trails that dot the property, to the range of barn-like, rustic rooms, to the tavern that serves delicious local fare, to the range of indoor and outdoor gathering spaces -- including a barn that can be rented out for group retreats or events -- Race Brook Lodge is a fantastic all-season getaway (though particularly cozy in the fall and winter). Plus they take dogs and kids, and attract a very groovy brand of independent, progressive travelers."
Location: "Race Brook Lodge is in the southern Berkshire mountains of Massachusetts, a 3 hour drive from NYC and 2.5 from Boston. The Lodge is located directly on a country highway, but once you come in to the drive you are a world away. It's about 7-8 minutes into the cute little town of Sheffield, and 15 minutes into the vibrant town of Great Barrington. All the cultural riches of the Berkshires are easily accessible, should you decide to leave the property."
Rooms: "The 32 rooms are located in a couple of different buildings, including the main lodge, the coach house (which also houses the tavern), and a few other cottages forming a motel-like structure. Rooms are all decorated with a hodge podge of mismatched antiques and rugs, and most if not all have wood plank floors and beamed ceilings. The brook of the lodge's name runs along the property, and you can hike right from your door up a trail to a lovely waterfall. There are hammocks and picnic tables to lounge on, as well as cozy common spaces inside the lodge to gather in. Some people complain about the amount of cars parked and "stuff" around the grounds, including the owner's old boat, but to me, that just added to the spirit and uniqueness of the place. The room where I stayed with my best friend for a 40th birthday retreat was the coach house cottage mentioned, with its own porch, kitchen, and living room area."
Food: "Breakfast is included in the room rate, and is a great, help-yourself affair of strong coffee in mismatched mugs, various organic breads for toasting, fruit, yogurt, granola, peanut butter, and a dish of the day (eggs, pancakes, etc...). There is an honor bar in another sweet little space that has beer and wine and snacks. And then there's the Stagecoach Tavern on site, which serves locally-sourced, delicious dinner Thursday - Sunday in a low-ceilinged, candle-lit, relaxed space. You never need to leave!"
Vibe: "Offbeat, quirky, low-key, communal, and rustic but very comfy. The Race Brook Lodge is a place where you can be with great friends or family in privacy and nature, and if you so choose, meet like-minded travelers with interesting stories."
Keep in Mind: "The property is right off the road, so there isn't that "off the beaten path" feel. You have to like the aesthetic of junk store antiques, low ceilings and small spaces in order to really groove on the whole feel of the place. They also book group retreats and weddings in the barn space, so it's worth seeing what's happening, if anything, when you are planning your trip."