bellefontaine-mansion_canyon-ranch_untapped-cities_shervinImage courtesy Canyon Ranch

Located about three hours north of Manhattan, the Berkshires in Massachusetts was once a prime spot for the Gilded Age wealthy from New York and Boston to vacation – and continues to be a year-round destination. The period of rapid economic growth that followed the Civil War brought tremendous wealth. The opulence and luxury of this era found its way to the Berkshires in the way of sumptuous estates and summer mansions. While the heyday of the Berkshire estates are gone, many of these opulent edifices can still be experienced, givings visitors a glimpse into a bygone era in history.

There is also much more to discover in the Berkshires – arts, culture, outdoor sports (including skiing), but a must is to discover the wonderful Gilded Age mansions that can still be visited.

14. The Mount, Estate of Edith Wharton

the-mount-edith-wharton-home-estate-michelle-and-augustin-wedding-lenox-berkshires-massachusetts-nyc-2Photo by Jane Hu Photography

The Mount, located in Lenox Massachusetts, was the home of Pulitzer Prize-winning writer Edith Wharton (Age of Innocenceafter she was married. She designed the home and gardens with architect Ogden Codman, Jr., and the two co-wrote the book The Decoration of HousesWharton was born to a Gilded Age elite New York City family but, in a very modern way, created her own career as a female writer, a story well-chronicled in the book The Brave Escape of Edith WhartonFollowing the breakdown of her marriage and a divorce, she moved to Paris. There, she would live out the rest of her life, garnering a Chevalier Legion of Honor for her volunteer work and brave journeys to report from the front line of World War I.

After changing hands several times (at some point, it was used as a school as well), The Mount was rescued from significant deterioration and restored by the non-profit, Edith Wharton Restoration, Inc. You can visit the house in the summer months and even host your wedding here.