By Alyssa Kim
While the official, indoor symphony season may soon be winding down, the annual bevy of revered summer music festivals, all set in the great outdoors, are just a few short months away. So get your picnic baskets ready, dust off those bottles of wine, and throw some bug repellant in your bag. We’ve rounded up five of the nation’s best outdoor summer festivals for 2012, each sure to be music to your ears.
Celebrate 75 Years of Tanglewood
Why Go: This year marks the 75th anniversary season of Tanglewood, the summer home of the Boston Symphony Orchestra, located in the peaceful and picturesque Berkshires town of Lenox, Massachusetts. The official celebration takes place July 14, featuring stars such as Yo-Yo Ma, James Taylor, and Emanuel Ax, though there will be music played from late June through August 31. On August 18, surprise guests will pay tribute to composer and former Boston Pops conductor John Williams, who turned 80 this February.
Where to Stay: The owners at Garden Gables Inn (festival rates starting from $295/night) also run Furnace Brook, the Berkshires’ first winery (mention Tanglewood and get a free bottle of Furnace Brook wine, as well as a free wine tasting at the winery).
A Tanglewood name-drop at The Inn at Stockbridge (festival rates from $199/night) also gets you a complimentary bottle of wine, as well as a free water bottle and complimentary use of their lawn chairs. For those planning a long weekend in the Berkshires, consider The Inn at Green River (festival rates from $159/night) in nearby Hillsdale, New York—they’ll throw in free Tanglewood lawn tickets with a three-night stay.
Insider Tip: There’s more arts and culture to be found in the Berkshires beyond Tanglewood. Check out the Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival in Becket, Massachusetts, which kicks off its 80th season on June 16. The Norman Rockwell Museum in Stockbridge, Massachusetts, is another first-rate destination, featuring the largest art collection on display by its admired namesake artist.