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A Modernist Bed and Breakfast in Williamstown

Rural Intelligence: Rural Road Trips: Lodgings Image

When a top-notch innkeeper rhapsodizes about a bed-and-breakfast other than his own, you pay attention. Ira Goldspiel, a design aficionado who runs the Inn at Kent Falls, recently stayed at the Guest House at Field Farm in Williamstown and he raved about experiencing authentic 1940s modernist architecture and decor in a bucolic Berkshires setting. Owned by the Trustees of Reservations, the oldest land trust in the United States, the inn was originally designed and built right after World War II as a house for Lawrence Bloedel, the onetime Williams College librarian, and his wife, Eleanor Palmedo Bloedel, who would become important art collectors and bequeath their collection to the Williams College and Whitney museums. (The Whitney received more than sixty works, including important canvases by Milton Avery, William Baziotes, Georgia O’Keeffe, and Fairfield Porter.)

Rural Intelligence Road Trips “They had talked with Frank Lloyd Wright about drawing up plans for the house, but as they disagreed on several points, they went back to Edwin Goodell, with whom they had worked previously,” says innkeeper Ole Retlev. The International Style house (which looks like something you might find in a Sao Paulo suburb) was turned into a bed and breakfast twenty years ago, and Retlev is vigilant about maintaining its integrity. “When we redid the kitchen floor, we used real linoleum,” he says, pointing out an Eames chair and Vladimir Kagan sofa that are original to the house as well as the bookshelves that Mr. Bloedel built himself. “All the colors of the walls are original.”

Rural Intelligence Road TripsThe Guest House at Field Farm attracts people who are looking for something other than a traditional bed and breakfast and has an established summer clientele drawn to the Berkshires by Tanglewood, Jacob’s Pillow, Williamstown Theatre Festival, and MASS MoCA.

Field Farm is also home to the award-winning Folly (right) designed in 1966 by Ulrich Franzen that is a shingled pastiche that references Victorian architecture, silos and propellers. It is open by appointment only. Rural Intelligence Road Trips But the rest of the 316-acre property, which is a mini sculpture park (with pieces lent back to the property by Williams) is open free all year long for hikes, picnics, and cross country skiing. As the inn has no gift shop, Retlev sends guests for a short walk up the road. “I send everyone who comes here to visit Amy and Jason at Cricket Creek Farm before they leave,” says Retlev. “So everyone stocks up on the most wonderful cheese before driving home.”

The Guest House at Field Farm
554 Sloan Road
Williamstown, MA

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Posted by Dan Shaw on 07/31/08 at 01:32 PM • Permalink