You can practically hear the gossip whispering through the corridors of The Mount Estate & Gardens (2 Plunkett St., 413/551-5100, www.edithwharton.org , 10 a.m.–5 p.m. daily May–Oct., $16 adults, $13 students, free children under 12), House of Mirth author Edith Wharton’s palatial home. Though much of the author’s furniture was spirited to Europe following her husband’s descent into mental illness, top designers have re-created the feel of the estate with antique furniture and artwork. The highlight for most visitors, however, is a stroll along the magnificent gardens, which have been meticulously sculpted with 3,000 flowers to re-create the vision of Wharton—who once famously contended she was “a better landscape gardener than novelist.”
Part of the movie Cider House Rules was filmed at The Museum of the Gilded Age at Ventford Hall (104 Walker St., 413/637-3206, www.gildedage.org , 10 a.m.–3 p.m., tours hourly, $12 adults, $5 children), a celebration of all things Victorian. The restored mansion was once owned by J. P. Morgan’s sister, and tours bring alive the 1890s, when the Berkshires was the playground of the super-rich.