Travel slowly, staying in vacation rentals (villas, farms, cottages, apartments)
Review 4208: Berkshire Rental Properties, Stille House (#125427)
6bed/5bath house near Great Barrington, the Berkshires, Massachusetts
July 2009, 1 week
This is a very large, rambling old home midway between Great Barrington and Stockbridge. It's on a road that gets plenty of car traffic, as people use the road as a shortcut. The noise isn't bothersome, as the bedrooms are on the side of the house away from the road. There are no nearby neighbors.
It is about a five minute drive into either Great Barrington or Stockbridge. Great Barrington has plenty of large grocery stores on the outskirts, and many restaurants, shops and all kinds of services downtown.
With six bedrooms, a double living room, huge dining room and plenty of bathrooms, it can comfortably fit a crowd. You enter through a side door into a large screened porch. From there into the enormous living room, then a dining room that seats 12. There's a kitchen, half bath, and a small den with TV. To the left is a wing with two very large bedrooms, each with its own bathroom. Upstairs are two more bedrooms and one bath. A steep stairway in the older part of the house leads to yet two more bedrooms and a bathroom.
It's an old house, which means creaky floorboards, cranky windows, as well as lots of personality. Funky layout, hundreds of books, a quirky assortment of furniture.
There is a small courtyard area off the kitchen with a few patio chairs. In back of the screened porch is another patio, but no furniture there. In our feedback to the agent we suggested more outdoor furniture would be good -- four chairs for a house this size isn't enough. There's lots of grassy lawn, and up a small hill in back of the house is a small pond full of croaking frogs. Lots of wildlife on the property--birds, frogs, tadpoles, wild turkeys, and the occasional small garter snake.
The living room furniture is a bit quirky -- several mismatched sofas, (one that could use the cushions to be replaced), but there are several armchairs and enough seating for a crowd. The dining room table could seat 12. The house was fairly clean, although the agent sent the caretaker back to take care of some details she wanted completed.
Everyone said their beds were very comfortable. Most of the bedrooms were huge, with seating, storage, and desks. The bathrooms were nicely in shape, although one of the ones on the second floor had a somewhat low ceiling in the shower area.
The kitchen was very usable, and we cooked several full meals. There's a full-sized fridge, oven, stove-top, microwave, coffeepot, plenty of cookware. Everything had seen a lot of use, but was serviceable. There's a small table in the kitchen, seating for four.
Problems or Bonuses
We did have a surprise finding that the promised Internet connection (one of our group was taking an online class, two others needed to check in with work frequently) wasn't working. The agent was very apologetic, and worked hard to get in touch with the vacationing owner and the cable company (the long-term winter tenants had let the cable expire, not notifying the owner they were doing so) to resolve the situation. Three days later we had cable, and a gift certificate for all nine of us to a lovely restaurant as an apology. Nice.
Agency and Representatives (and price)
Claudia was wonderful to work with. She sent additional photos, and was very responsive to our needs.
Do you recommend this vacation rental to others?
I'd stay here again. It's a wonderful location for enjoying the Berkshires. Again, you should be prepared for the peculiarities of an old house and a country setting.
Things to do in this area
We enjoyed the Egremont Inn and Bizen for great meals. Lots of great hiking, scenic drives, Tanglewood, the Rockwell Museum, MassMoCA, etc.
This review is the opinion of a Slow Travel member and not of slowtrav.com.
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