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Whistler’s Inn is an 1870 English Tudor mansion in the heart of Lenox near Tanglewood, Shakespeare & Co., and all of the Berkshires’ most popular cultural venues. The home was once owned by Mr. and Mrs. Ross Wynans Whistler, railroad tycoon and nephew of the painter, James M. Whistler.
Whistler’s Inn captures the warmth, comfort and elegance of a bygone era. The inn has been featured on National T.V. - The Travel Channel., Fodor’s Bed and Breakfast Country Inns, National Geographic Traveler, Yankee Magazine and Lady’s Home Journal.
Every season in the Berkshires is magnificent - from springtime when our wisteria, camellia, and rhododendron are in full bloom and summer - the time for poppies, roses, daisies and butter-flies - to autumn when the colors are so intense that they glow in the dark. Take a walk through our woods lush with ancient ferns and fir trees and be lost in the magic of Nature at her most beautiful.
As morning light streams through the leaded glass windows of the baronial dining room, guests come to enjoy a delicious buffet breakfast, which includes the following: quiches, frittatas, omelets or other egg dishes; muffins, bagels, breakfast pastries and cakes; cereals or oatmeal; fruit, juices, coffee and tea.
We incorporate healthful whole grains into our baked goods and use fresh local fruits, vegetables and eggs when available.
Our table is famous for stimulating conversations on a wide range of topics with guests from all over the world and with our well-traveled and well-read hosts. We accommodate, when possible, special dietary needs of our guests.
Afternoon tea is available in the dining room or on the terrace, overlooking old perennial gardens, wisteria vines, ancient ferns and fir trees.
From Alcott and Byron to Yeats and Zola, our 2,000 volume library is rich with great literature, poetry, art and history. Sip our complimentary sherry, port or tea and relax on cozy down sofas and Queen Anne chairs in front of the black marble fireplace. You may take your book or tea to the sunshine filled terrace in summer months and relax under the wisteria vines. The terrace overlooks our lush perennial gardens, woodlands and majestic fir trees.
The Music Room
Louis XVI palace furniture and mirrors, French candelabras and putti, an Austrian crystal chandelier, and numerous Persian rugs grace the music salon. Original oil paintings, some painted by Joan and Lisa Mears, and rare etchings and prints hang from the ivory walls. However, the dominant feature is the 1898 Steinway grand piano, where guests and visiting musicians often give impromptu concerts. The room has a white marble fireplace and velveteen sofas, where guests often sip complementary sherry and listen to classical music under the sparkling crystal chandelier.
Artists, writers, photographers, world travelers, explorers and bon vivants - the Mears family enjoy life and believe in the adage “You wait for what you wish for, you work for what you get.” Starting with Richard’s uncle, Elton Mears (a classical pianist, linguist and professor at John Hopkins University), the Mears family have operated the Whistler’s Inn for almost 50 years.
Richard, Joan and their daughters, Lisa and Lara, took over the operation of the inn following “Uncle” Elton’s passing in 1976. They moved to the Berkshires from northern California and transitioned into the inn-keeping business to allow themselves the flexibility to pursue their interests in the arts, to travel more and to meet interesting people from around the world who visit the inn. They also liked the proximity of Lenox to Boston, New York City and to Europe, where they often visit.
Richard is a published writer (Ebb of the River, Wyndham Books, Simon and Schuster; Anubis Rex, Publish America; and two children's’ books, Tuxedo Blue Publishing. Joan is a retired high school English and art teacher, who continues to pursue her interests in ceramics, painting, and writing articles for the opinion page of our local newspaper. Lara, who got her early work experience at the inn, later got a job with Martha Stuart. She then moved to Paris and London for ten years. She now lives in New York City. Her three young children are now getting their “early work experience” at the inn when they visit on weekends.
Lisa, the manager of Whistler’s Inn, has travelled all over the world and has documented her travels in photography, painting, writing and video. Lisa now spends most of her time in the beautiful Berkshires, where she teaches in local schools. She loves meeting the guests who come to Whistler’s Inn from around the world and finds that her fluency in Spanish, French and Portuguese is a real asset. She is an excellent gourmet cook, specializing in exotic dishes from recipes she’s picked up from around the world.