A Visit With History: Elm Court Opens Doors

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Stockbridge and Lenox residents invited for informal tour and hotel project overview,
plus brief intro to zoning amendment on  Stockbridge Annual Town Meeting agenda

Stockbridge, Mass.  (April 10, 2013) – The new owner of the Elm Court estate on Old Stockbridge Road will host an open house on Wednesday, April 17, 4-8 p.m., for Stockbridge and Lenox residents interested in getting an inside look at the historic Gilded Age “cottage.” The expansive residence was built in 1886 by the Sloane-Vanderbilt family, and was later restored by Vanderbilt descendants Robert and Sonya Berle of Stockbridge.

The Berles sold the property in July 2012 to a Colorado-based hospitality company, which plans to further restore the property and add a secondary adjacent wing behind the main house. Chris Manning of the new ownership group wants to meet with local residents and potential town meeting voters to share details of the project and answer any questions. He will be joined by Kristine Huffman, former executive director at Canyon Ranch and future on-site manager of Elm Court.

Visitors will be able to see the inside of the mansion, view architectural drawings and get an overview of a proposed “cottage era estate” zoning bylaw amendment that will be presented to Stockbridge town voters at the May 20 Annual Town Meeting.

The new bylaw, which pertains to seven cottage-era properties in Stockbridge, provides for a building addition that is smaller, shorter, connected to, and behind the principal structure. If passed, the revised bylaw would provide a path for preservation of the town’s historic estates while allowing for limited development. The bylaw ensures that the original historic structures remain as the properties’ primary focal point.

“We welcome anyone interested in the unique history of Elm Court to join us for an informal visit next Wednesday,” said Chris Manning, president of Travaasa Experiential Resorts, which now owns Elm Court. “For anyone who is a fan of Downton Abbey, or who has not seen Elm Court since its restoration, April 17 is a great evening to visit.”

After a significant restoration investment by the Berles, Elm Court operated in recent years mainly as a destination wedding facility with just 18 guest rooms open in the mansion. The new owners plan to refurbish more guest rooms within the main mansion, and to add recreational facilities including a farm, equine operations, fitness equipment, and spa treatment rooms.  Additionally, a restaurant open to the public with an exhibition kitchen is planned. The Elm Court business plan focuses on celebrating the mansion’s history and promoting the culture of the Berkshires.

Residents of Lenox and Stockbridge who wish to attend the April 17 Open House are asked to RSVP to [email protected], or call Ellen Lahr at (413) 329-3256.


Chris Manning
[email protected]

Ellen G. Lahr
EGLahr Communications
[email protected]

Posted on April 12, 2013