Blantyre, in Lenox, Massachusetts, is literally a ten minute drive from our house. Nestled in the woods, minutes from Tanglewood, Shakespeare & Company, The Mount and the Norman Rockwell Museum, the charm of this Tudor-style mansion from the Gilded Age surpasses dreams of escaping the area (known as the Berkshires) to find your nirvana somewhere else on this lovely earth of ours.
Blantyre has it all—charm, beauty, a sense of history, a top chef, three wine cellars with over 12,000 bottles and a staff that beckons at your call. We arrived just in time for lunch. ‘Why not’, we said?.
Our hostess was Christelle Cotar, the resident Wine Director, who doubles as a food server and accommodation guru, just to name a few of her many inherited jobs. She charmed us immediately by making us feel at home by pouring a delightful glass of Chablis to accompany some welcoming complimentary appetizers. Christelle mentioned that the wine cellar (there are three) houses 12,000 bottles of wine. Blantyre is the recipient of the prestigious Wine Spectator Grand Award.
The lunch selection from the menu was appealing and certainly affordable for this Conde Nast Readers Choice favorite hotel and restaurant.
After discussing the menu with Christelle, we learned that the Executive Chef at Blantyre is Arnauld Cotar, her husband and father of their two young children, who, at the moment are on holiday in France, staying with relatives.
Arnaud and Christelle have been with the property for the past fifteen years. Blantyre has an interesting history. Known originally as ‘Highlawn’ in the 1890’s, the 220 acre estate was acquired by Robert Paterson. The Berkshires had numerous estates and was known in the inner circles as the ‘Switzerland of America’, an expression coined by Cleveland Amory. Mr. Peterson’s concept was named after his ancestral home in Blantyre Scotland.
Blantyre was modeled after ‘feudal architecture’, complete with a castle, gargoyles, turrets and a tower. Construction began in 1901. Furniture was shipped from England. The main house was used primarily for entertainment in the summer and fall. Garden parties with musicians and grand, lavish dinners competed with the numerous large properties,(there were ninety-seven in the Berkshires) for the top socialites from New York and Boston.
For many years, after the Petersons gave up the property, Blantyre went through numerous changes and was finally bought in 1980 by Jane and Jack Fitzpatrick, who fell in love with the property, which had been neglected for years. They bought the property for their daughter, Ann, who reopened Blantyre in 1981 after extensive renovation. The rest is history.
We took a tour of the property with Dining Events Manager, David L. Pupo. The property is extensive with rooms in the Main House, Cottages and rooms in the Carriage House, adjacent to the Potting Shed Spa and outdoor swimming pool.
Blantyre is located less than three hours from Manhattan and under two and a quarter from Boston. Visit their website at www.blantyre.com
*Note: More on the Blantyre Wine Cellar and Sommelier Christelle Cotar in my next article
Philip S. Kampe
Photos courtesy of Maria Reveley