An Introduction to the Berkshires with Francine Segan

An Introduction to the Berkshires with Francine Segan


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Can't make this time? A video recording will be sent to all participants after the seminar.

An amusing lecture on the fascinating period when high society was at its peak in the Berkshires, a must-visit destination nestled in the hills of western Massachusetts. A time of calling cards, horse-drawn coaches, afternoon tea, cotillions, lawn parties, formal dinners — a time when even picnics were served on fine china.
Learn about what places to visit to discover this glorious by-gone time as you hear about the foods, elaborate etiquette, and enchanting entertainments enjoyed then. Vivid descriptions will transport you back in time. Learn the 19th-century meanings of giving a lady a tulip instead of a rose; discover the most popular toasts of the 1890s; and when it was proper to remove your gloves or tip your hat and the calling card equivalent of “unfriending” someone.
Led by an expert on food history, Francine Segan, this interactive seminar will delight and entertain. Designed to inform curiosity and future travels, participants will come away with an increased understanding of why the Berkshires have been a beloved travel destination for over 100 years.

Francine Segan is a renowned food historian and James Beard-nominated author of six books. She is a regular on TV, appearing frequently on the Food Network, PBS, Discovery, and History Channels. Francine's articles have appeared in Saveur, Epicurious, Vogue, and Fine Cooking Magazine and she is an often-featured expert in newspapers including the Wall St Journal, USA Today, and The New York Times. She lectures across the USA at such prestigious venues as the Institute for Advanced Study at Princeton University, Smithsonian Museum in DC, Virginia Fine Arts Museum, and 92nd St Y, NYC's premiere cultural center.

This conversation is suitable for all ages.

90 minutes, including a 30 minute Q&A.

Customer Reviews

Based on 3 reviews
0%
(0)
67%
(2)
0%
(0)
33%
(1)
0%
(0)
S
Sue (Minneapolis, US)
Lovely Historic Buildings

As someone who has not been to the area, it was a very good introduction to the marvelous homes, museums, art, literature and history that it is famous for. I really appreciated her use of tantalizing photos of historic craft equipment & home items in use during the Gilded Age; it is so nice to see some emphasis on the historic "domestic arts". Because Francine is a food writer, I understand the extended foodie emphasis, but would have preferred even more on the various historic homes, etc. But overall, it certainly makes me want to visit soon.

S
SPB (Lenox, US)
From Brooklyn to the Berkshires

Although Ms. Segan is an endearing personality with many accolades in the culinary world, her Gilded Age lecture was a bit of a letdown. Like many of the participants, we have a home in Lenox and have learned quite a bit about the history of the area over the years. Ms. Segan's lecture was minimally about the Gilded Age, and more a tourist lure for foodies in the Berkshires. The mansions and stately homes in the area are beautiful and have fascinating stories. I suggest Ms. Segan could have selected 4-5 mansions, told about their histories, family owners, how these wealthy families came to build in the Berkshires and how cottage industries developed as a result -- the Lenoxdale Glassworks, the early Italian immigrants who were artisan ironmongers and came here to design and build the beautiful gates and enclosures of the mansions, the local people employed in these wealthy households, etc. She could have featured a day in the life of such a family and described clothing for various occasions, dressing for dinner, dressing for picnics (which she nicely described), etc. She omitted a number of outstanding homes such as Elm Court, Fanny Kemble's house, Cortland Field Bishop's estate and Ashintully. Although I love Guido's and Chocolate Springs, they don't belong in a lecture about the Gilded Age.

M
Mark S. (Tucson, US)
Gilded Age in the Berkshires - Needs revision & depth

It is with a bit of hesitancy that I write an evaluation of the recent talk on "The Gilded Age in the Berkshires," It was slightly disappointing, especially relative to the scholarly talks sponsored by Context Travel.

I think the problem and the solution are one and the same.

Notably, the title, The Gilded Age in the Berkshires, was not supported by the content. There was little about the subject, and what was included was insubstantial.

That said, the presenter’s deep love the Berkshires was evident and presented with warmth and enthusiasm. Her presentation was a charming review of, or introduction to, the region’s cultural treasures (and a lovely snippet of one of the area's natural treasures too). She included notes on local restaurants, and some fun offbeat details about local distilleries and chocolatiers.

I think from that cue of what was best, the talk could be given a life via a new title, such as "An Introduction to the Treasures of the Berkshires," and the content somewhat expanded, perhaps reorganized, and no one will be in the least bit disappointed.

Customer Reviews

Based on 3 reviews
0%
(0)
67%
(2)
0%
(0)
33%
(1)
0%
(0)
S
Sue (Minneapolis, US)
Lovely Historic Buildings

As someone who has not been to the area, it was a very good introduction to the marvelous homes, museums, art, literature and history that it is famous for. I really appreciated her use of tantalizing photos of historic craft equipment & home items in use during the Gilded Age; it is so nice to see some emphasis on the historic "domestic arts". Because Francine is a food writer, I understand the extended foodie emphasis, but would have preferred even more on the various historic homes, etc. But overall, it certainly makes me want to visit soon.

S
SPB (Lenox, US)
From Brooklyn to the Berkshires

Although Ms. Segan is an endearing personality with many accolades in the culinary world, her Gilded Age lecture was a bit of a letdown. Like many of the participants, we have a home in Lenox and have learned quite a bit about the history of the area over the years. Ms. Segan's lecture was minimally about the Gilded Age, and more a tourist lure for foodies in the Berkshires. The mansions and stately homes in the area are beautiful and have fascinating stories. I suggest Ms. Segan could have selected 4-5 mansions, told about their histories, family owners, how these wealthy families came to build in the Berkshires and how cottage industries developed as a result -- the Lenoxdale Glassworks, the early Italian immigrants who were artisan ironmongers and came here to design and build the beautiful gates and enclosures of the mansions, the local people employed in these wealthy households, etc. She could have featured a day in the life of such a family and described clothing for various occasions, dressing for dinner, dressing for picnics (which she nicely described), etc. She omitted a number of outstanding homes such as Elm Court, Fanny Kemble's house, Cortland Field Bishop's estate and Ashintully. Although I love Guido's and Chocolate Springs, they don't belong in a lecture about the Gilded Age.

M
Mark S. (Tucson, US)
Gilded Age in the Berkshires - Needs revision & depth

It is with a bit of hesitancy that I write an evaluation of the recent talk on "The Gilded Age in the Berkshires," It was slightly disappointing, especially relative to the scholarly talks sponsored by Context Travel.

I think the problem and the solution are one and the same.

Notably, the title, The Gilded Age in the Berkshires, was not supported by the content. There was little about the subject, and what was included was insubstantial.

That said, the presenter’s deep love the Berkshires was evident and presented with warmth and enthusiasm. Her presentation was a charming review of, or introduction to, the region’s cultural treasures (and a lovely snippet of one of the area's natural treasures too). She included notes on local restaurants, and some fun offbeat details about local distilleries and chocolatiers.

I think from that cue of what was best, the talk could be given a life via a new title, such as "An Introduction to the Treasures of the Berkshires," and the content somewhat expanded, perhaps reorganized, and no one will be in the least bit disappointed.