Bits and Bytes: Gilded Age in coaches; Waldorf changes its name

Polished harnesses and coaches, superbly groomed horses, formally attired whips and passengers — what more could you want?

For three days beginning on Saturday, October 11, the horsemen will gather in the villages of Lenox and Stockbridge and show off their meticulously turned out historic coaches and four-in-hand horses. Members of the New York Coaching Club and other notable drivers will be coming from as far away as Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, New York, New Hampshire, New Jersey as well as Massachusetts. Each will be driving a historic coach, flaunting the high standards used during the Gilded Age of the late 1800s.

There will be gentlemen with top hats and dark suits, ladies with long sleeve jackets and magnificent hats. Each coach will have two “liveried grooms” on board to help with the horses and to serve passengers. The china and crystal glassware are kept in the mahogany chest in the boot so that the bottled spirits may be served in style.

Riding in style during the Coaching Weekend.
Riding in style during the Coaching Weekend.

Ah, those were the good old days.

Once upon a Gilded Age, coachmen came to the Berkshires to enjoy fall weather and foliage. One could count on the Astors, Vanderbilts, Fields, Morgans, Carnegies and Westinghouses to strut their stuff near their opulent “cottages,” giving the Berkshires a reputation as the “Inland Newport.”

The drives begin October 11, leaving Orleton Farm in Stockbridge at 10:30 a.m. and heading to Elm Court. Bring a picnic lunch to Elm Court Estate at 12 noon and greet the coaches as they enter the estate. Coachman John Richards will speak about the coaches and horses. The coaches will return to Orleton Farm at 1:30 p.m.

The coaches will arrive on Sunday October 12 at The Norman Rockwell Museum at 12 noon. The Café will be open for food and John Richards will give a talk.

On Monday October 13 the coaches will arrive at Edith Wharton’s The Mount at 12 noon. Bring a picnic lunch and hear the coach horn demonstration and commentary.

Check the web site for up to date information and routes the coaches will take — — or call Harvey Waller 413-441-4682. Times and routes are subject to change due to weather.

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Waldorf High School Becomes 

Berkshire Waldorf High School

Stockbridge — The Waldorf High School previously located in and taking its name from Great Barrington has a new name: Berkshire Waldorf High School.

Now in its 13th year, the school, which relocated to Stockbridge last year, attracts a record number of students from all areas of the Berkshires as well as Litchfield County, Conn. and Columbia County, N.Y.

“‘Berkshire Waldorf High School’ better represents who we have become,” commented Faculty Chair Dr. Stephen Sagarin, author of “The Story of Waldorf Education” in the United States and the blog What is Education? “We’re a magnet for dedicated high school students looking for a balanced college-prep experience that also honors the individual.”

The Board of Trustees announced the new name, effective September 1.  Discussing the name change, Board president and Stockbridge business owner Teresa O’Brient said, “Stockbridge is a great central Berkshire location and a wonderful setting for our ‘Small School, Big World’ model.”

Berkshire Waldorf High School continues to accept applications for the 2014-2015 school year.