Manhattan Jewish Sentinel

October 21, 2005

Old New England at the 1896 House


Tucked into the northwestern corner of Massachusetts and set in the backwoods of New England, 1896 House is a wonderful place for a couple to get away from it all.

Located just minutes away from Jiminy Peak Mountain Resort and a relatively short drive away from the mountains of southern Vermont, 1896 House is a comfortable and convenient base from which to explore the northern Berkshires in summer or winter.

Within minutes, you can ride the Alpine Slide at Jiminy Peak, go mountain biking on special paths, shop for antiques in farmhouses and on back roads, or meander around the leafy campus of Williams College in Williamstown, Mass. In the winter, there's snowmobiling, skiing and snowshoeing right nearby.

And at night, you can rest easy.

No detail is forgotten in the 1896 House's luxury suites, from the candles artfully placed around the Jacuzzi bathtub, to the complimentary mood music CDs, to the extra pillows in the king-sized canopy bed. You may even find chocolates by your pillow and an artificial rose on your bed.

The rooms have both the modern amenities of the 21st century (TV, DVD, data port in phone, miniature fridge and a gas fireplace that lights with the flick of a switch) as well as the accoutrements of yesteryear: a rocking chair in front of the fire, an antique working desk, old-fashioned wooden chairs and table, a plush couch and décor reminiscent of Old New England.

The only drawback to the house is that it is located just off a state road, but traffic is light and what it lacks in seclusion in makes up for in lavishness and convenience. If you're rushing in the morning, then you're right on the road. If you're taking your time, then you can take your Continental breakfast in the privacy of your room.

The innkeepers-former stewardesses-are super nice and will go to great lengths to accommodate your needs. On my visit there, they excitedly told me the story of when an Orthodox Jewish couple visited and they were able to provide them with a kosher kitchen and unused pots and pans.

There are about half a dozen luxury suites at the 1896 House, each slightly different and one with a kitchenette. For budget travelers, there are also convenient motel-like accommodations, whose heavy wood paneling give the place a cozy, non-motel-like feel.

Rates vary according to season and room type. In the summertime, the luxury suites range from $169 to $289 on weekends, and the motel-type rooms go for about $140. Mid-week and off-season visits (the season ends Sept. 4) are considerably less. For more information, visit or call 1-888-999-1896.