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Just after the Civil War, an era known as the Gilded Age began in America. Lenox, MA played an integral role during this time, and many pieces of that history still reside in the area today. Undoubtedly, one of the most popular of these Gilded Age treasures is Ventfort Hall in Lenox, MA. This historic mansion turned museum displays decor and other exhibits from the late 19th-century and exemplifies what life was like for its wealthy owners many years ago. What’s even better? You’ll find this local treasure just 3 minutes from the Gateways Inn and Restaurant! Whether you’re a history buff or a fan of stunning architecture, Ventfort Hall is a must-see attraction in Lenox.
Ventfort Hall in Lenox, MA is just one of the many fascinating museums you’ll find the Berkshires. Easily download our free Vacation Guide for a full list of local museums along with many more Lenox points of interest!
Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, Ventfort Hall boasts Jacobean-style architecture that was a popular style of aesthetics during the Gilded Age. The Gilded Age refers to the period between the Civil War and the first World War. Industrialization caused rapid economic growth in the US and Americans were earning more money than ever! However, as immigrants came into the country to take advantage of the higher wages, poverty increased due to dwindling employment opportunities. Mark Twain once said that the opulence of the era belied the serious socio-economic problems as if it were covered in a thin layer of gold.
The mansion itself belonged to a couple named George and Sarah Morgan, relatives of the famous financier J.P. Morgan. During the summer, Lenox became a social hub for wealthy socialites, artists, and writers. The Morgans flocked to the region with other men of industry and business, spending their days at their gorgeous summer home.
Despite its massive size, these homes were referred to as “Berkshire Cottages” during the Gilded Age. Construction on Ventfort Hall began in 1891 and was completed two years later in 1893. The incredible home has 28 rooms including bedrooms, servant’s’ quarters, bathrooms, salons, libraries, and recreation rooms. The grandeur of the home even gained Hollywood’s attention, and Ventfort Hall became the filming location for the Academy Award winning film, “Cider House Rules.”
Along with the regular exhibits and year-round tours, several special events are held at the mansion each year. Upcoming special events include a Medieval Faire in the fall. The fair will feature period performers like fire dancers and musicians. Guests can also expect demonstrations and a Crestfallen Tourney with armored combatants competing in specially decorated gear.
Rumor has it that the mansion’s original owners, George and Sarah Morgan, still reside in their summer home as spirits. Some visitors admit to being touched by invisible forces, hear whispering voices, and even see doors open and close by themselves. One of the most unsettling rumors has been that of a woman’s ghostly face hovering down the staircase. While the ghostly rumors haven’t been proven, they gained enough attention to be featured on a popular episode of “Ghost Hunters.”
Our location in the heart of Lenox gives you easy access to Ventfort Hall and other area attractions. Our elegant and comfortable guest rooms fuse timeless style with modern amenities to ensure your stay is as restful and enjoyable as possible. Our on-site restaurant is among the best dining establishments in Lenox. You’ll also have access to our lively lounge, which boasts a full bar with an impressive menu. Plus, the lounge plays host to live music several nights a week. Book your stay at the Gateways and let us give you the ideal getaway to the Berkshires. We’ll see you soon!