Bus Tour: Shakers and Art in the Berkshires

fall foliage


Travel with us to New England at the height of fall color! The Berkshire Hills of western Massachusetts are famous as a retreat and source of inspiration for artists and thinkers. On this tour we will enjoy the hospitality and history of Hancock Shaker Village near Pittsfield, the world-class art collection of the Clark Institute in Williamstown, and the Norman Rockwell Museum in Stockbridge.

The bus will depart from Hagey Bus Terminal in Souderton on Tuesday morning, October 11, at 8:15 a.m. Traveling north through New Jersey and New York, we will stop at noon for lunch on your own at a shopping center with several lunch options.

Hancock Shaker VillageArriving at Hancock Shaker Village mid-afternoon, we will have a 90-minute guided tour of the grounds and main buildings, including the 1826 Round Stone Barn. Hancock Shaker Village is no longer an active community, but has operated as a popular living history museum since the 1960s. Following the tour, we will enjoy a bountiful Shaker-style supper that opens with the singing of a Shaker grace and closes with music that illuminates Shaker beliefs and spirituality.

The Shakers, or United Society of Believers in Christ’s Second Appearing, were called “Shakers” because of the trembling, whirling, and shaking they engaged in during ecstatic worship services. They lived in disciplined, plain-dressing, communal villages like the one at Hancock, and are considered by many to have been the most successful communal and utopian society in American history.

Lodging accommodations will be at the nearby Best Western Plus Berkshire Hills, where breakfast is included to begin the day on Wednesday, October 12.

Renoir at Clark Art InstituteDeparting the hotel at 9:00 a.m., we’ll head north again to Williamstown, MA, where we will visit the Clark Art Institute in its stunning geographical and architectural setting. With twenty galleries on view, the collection features European and American paintings, sculpture, prints, drawings, photographs, and decorative arts from the Renaissance to the early twentieth century. The collection is rich in French Impressionist and Academic paintings, British oil sketches, drawings, and silver, and the work of American artists Winslow Homer, George Inness, and John Singer Sargent.

Clark Art InstituteYou may also take in the beauty of the campus by walking the outdoor trails, enjoying the Clark’s innovative buildings and the architectural sculpture Crystal by Thomas Schütte, with a unique view of the Hoosac mountain range. We will have three hours at this stop, and lunch will be on your own in the museum cafe.

Norman Rockwell MuseumAfter lunch, we’ll drive south to the Norman Rockwell Museum in the town of Stockbridge, MA, where Rockwell lived and had his studio. The museum presents the world’s largest collection of original Norman Rockwell art, including beloved paintings from The Saturday Evening Post and the Four Freedoms, as well as works by other American illustrators. After a guided tour of highlights of the collection, you will have time on your own to enjoy the exhibits.

Departing Stockbridge at 4:00 p.m., we will travel home, stopping at 6:00 p.m. for dinner on your own at a shopping center with several options. Arrival to the Hagey Terminal will be around 9:30 p.m.

The tour fee includes Tuesday evening’s Shaker supper and musical performance, lodging, breakfast on Wednesday, admission fees, guide service, and a gratuity for the bus driver.  Lunches and Wednesday evening dinner are not included in the tour fee.  Forrest Moyer will serve as tour leader.

Participants will board the Hagey Coach Tour bus at the Hagey Coach and Tours terminal located at 210 Schoolhouse Road, Souderton (located 1 ½ miles east of Route 113).  The bus will depart on Tuesday morning, October 11 at 8:15 a.m. with boarding at 8:00 a.m.  The tour will return to the same location around 9:30 p.m. on Wednesday night. Your automobile may remain parked in Hagey’s fenced in parking lot.

Prices ($300 non-member; $280 member) are per person, double occupancy. If interested in single occupancy, please call 215-256-3020.

Norman Rockwell painting