June 14, 2019
By Margaret D. Kerswill
Stockbridge (and surrounds), Massachusetts – Summer in Stockbridge holds many offerings for visitors and residents alike. It’s advisable to plan ahead so you don’t miss out on the things that interest you the most. Whether you’re into the visual and performing arts; history, Gilded Age cottages, and museums; lazy strolls through our quintessential New England town; shopping and dining; or hiking and other outdoor activities, Stockbridge and its surrounds will keep you joyfully occupied for a day, weekend, week, or all summer long!
In addition to the usual goings on, The Red Lion Inn, The Norman Rockwell Museum, and Austen Riggs Center are all celebrating momentous anniversaries this year. The common threads running through each of these organizations is Norman Rockwell, himself, and The Fitzpatrick family.
Jack Fitzpatrick served in the Massachusetts State Senate from 1973 – 1980, and was fondly referred to as “The Senator” for the remainder of his life. In 1968, Jack and his wife, Jane Pratt Fitzpatrick, purchased (the now famous) The Red Lion Inn which had been operating as a tavern/inn since 1773. For the last 50 years, the inn has been under the stewardship of the Fitzpatricks, their daughters, and now granddaughter. Under the watchful eye of Sarah Eustis, the inn has taken on major renovation projects and is evolving to meet the current needs and desires of visitors and business people while continuing to offer the stellar New England hospitality that it is so well known for.
In 1969, the first Norman Rockwell Museum opened at The Old Corner House on Main Street. Not only did both Jack and Jane pose for Norman Rockwell, but they generously donated to the museum over a span of 40 years to help assist with its evolution and growth into the nationally recognized museum that it is today. Mrs. Fitzpatrick’s sentiment was that it’s easy to show up with a check. The hard work is putting it to proper use and getting things done. She was ever humble about showing up for her community.
During his time on staff at Austen Riggs Center (1950-1960), Erik Erikson, noted developmental psychologist, who himself had been a painter in adolescence and early adulthood, befriended Norman Rockwell. In the late 1980s, the idea was born for the Erik Erikson Center at Austen Riggs to promote education and research in psychodynamic thought and treatment. (Side note: You’ll also find the Fitzpatrick Lobby at Austen Riggs Center. No doubt when Mrs. Fitzpatrick heard of their need, she was ready with her checkbook to assist the community she so loved.)
Today in The Old Corner House, the first site of The Norman Rockwell Museum, you will find the centennial celebration exhibition The Hospital on Main Street: Human Dignity and Mental Health hosted by Austen Riggs Center
Stockbridge remains a close knit community of people even through the expansion of businesses and services. Daily you can find locals at the post office socializing with their neighbors and offering a friendly hello to folks walking through town.
Book your trip today to learn more about all the amazing people behind the modern evolution of Stockbridge, which remains a quintessential New England small town.
The Red Lion Inn, The Norman Rockwell Museum, and Austen Riggs Center are proud members of The Stockbridge Chamber of Commerce.
Chesterwood Celebrates 50 Years
Another notable Stockbridge anniversary is Chesterwood, celebrating 50 years as site of the National Trust for Historic Preservation. Chesterwood is the former summer estate and studio of Daniel Chester French, sculptor of the Minute Man (Boston, MA) and the Lincoln Memorial (Washington, DC). Visit the museum and studio to learn more about French’s vast body of work and to see the working models that led to his most famous public works. Open daily, 10 am – 5 pm, May 25th through October 27th. Be sure to check out the calendar of events, and plan your visit today!
Chesterwood is a proud member of The Stockbridge Chamber of Commerce.