Lenox, Massachusetts, is the location of "The Mount," Edith Wharton's gracious estate. It was there that she wrote Ethan Frome and entertained such literary stars as Henry James. A long-term, US$35 million restoration of the house incorporating Wharton's ideas on design and gardens has been completed. The guides who lead tours of the home and its gardens provide thought-provoking commentary on the literary, historical and artistic aspects of the Georgian-style mansion.

Shakespeare & Company, which rescued The Mount from terminal decline in the late 1970s, now stages plays (Shakespeare and occasional others) on a 30-acre/12-hectare campus near the center of Lenox village. In addition to a more conventional stage, there's a replica of the Rose, the 1587 theater where Shakespeare mounted his plays; the resident acting company brings the Bard to students during the school year.

Also in Lenox (and Stockbridge, too, straddling the town line) is Tanglewood, one of the country's premier outdoor music sites and the summer home of the Boston Symphony Orchestra. Tanglewood's fan-shaped, open-sided concert hall is set among beautifully landscaped grounds.

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