Call me by your name

This new stay in Massachusetts spells out who its audience is in no uncertain terms, while putting a contemporary eco spin on the region’s tourism history.

When meandering US highway the Mohawk Trail opened in 1914, local eateries, accommodation and attractions along the route advertised their hospitality to visitors with signs bearing a single word: Tourists. Just over a century later, a new eco-lodge on that very road in North Adams, Massachusetts, is doing the same.

ABOVE Enhancing the sense of modern simplicity, a nostalgic spirit pervades Tourists’ entire property and the connection to nature is paramount. The exterior cladding of the gable-roofed guest accommodation is locally sourced, untreated white oak planks that were chosen to reflect the surrounding vegetation, as were the newly planted apple trees, sugar maples and sumac that dot the grounds.

In the leafy northern Berkshires, Tourists has taken the classic American motor lodge for a modern-day scenic drive, bringing back the best bits to combine with contemporary, environmentally conscious design. The team led by Ben Svenson of design/development company Broder (with creatives including Wilco bassist John Stirratt, Brooklyn magazine founder Scott Stedman, architect Hank Scollard and interior designer Julie Pearson) turned the site’s existing 19th-century rooming house and one-star mid-century motel into distinctly modern accommodation, its pared-back linear architecture honouring the ’60s motor lodge vibe, and overlaid with the aesthetic of a folksy boutique inn.

ABOVE Inside, the combination of high-vaulted ceilings, New England white oak walls, hardwood floors and rustic furniture is a triumph of country chic.

Tourists’ 48 units open onto a classic communal courtyard, but at the back of each, picture windows provide views of the Hoosic River, forest and mountains. Inside, the aesthetic is ‘austere luxury’. Each room has a built-in king-size bed and daybed, and some also have lofted bunks. All connect to patios or private decks with outdoor showers; use your bathroom inside instead and you’ll step  onto concrete flooring, turn on Dornbracht taps and wash your paws with hand-milled soap over a custom-made sink.

ABOVE The pervasive palette in each unit is blond wood and white, the cabin-like mood offset by up-to-the-minute tech, including Apple TV and Tourists’ own short-wave radio station. Antique black and white prints in every room provide a connection to the Berkshires’ rich history.

The property’s 1962 ranch house has been reimagined as a central lodge, where you can cosy up with a book or order hearty, wholesome food. Follow the path outside to the 1813 farmhouse that’s now a restaurant and cocktail lounge that hosts live music.

ABOVE The fireplace makes the lodge ultra inviting. Next to this heritage building is a courtyard that overlooks a heated saltwater swimming pool, a nature reserve and wetlands fed by rainwater collected off the roof.

Reed Hilderbrand considers landscape architecture “an act of purposeful transformation”, and here, in an area of the US long considered a destination for holidays and healthful recuperation, they’ve made a proper Berkshires nature experience of this 55-acre riverside retreat. Highlights include sculptural installations, a boardwalk connecting to a viewing platform overlooking the river, and a suspension bridge dreamed up by aerial adventure park designer Gerhard Komenda, which links to walking trails and spaces for exploring and outdoor concerts.
As well as being a stone’s throw from the Appalachian hiking trail and ski and snowboard mountain Jiminy Peak, this is also ‘art country’, where you can put galleries including the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art and events like the Williamstown Theatre Festival on your itinerary. Sunny in summer, snow-dusted in winter, we reckon it’s got your name written all over it.

Words Philippa Prentice
Photography Nicole Franzen

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