Nancy Fitzpatrick entering Oregon.

Nancy Fitzpatrick to Speak at Laurel Hill Day August 4

"From Boston to Oregon, My Walk Across America." That's the theme of this year's Laurel Hill Day talk by featured speaker Nancy Fitzpatrick, to be held August 4 at 2:00 pm at the Rostrum in the center of Laurel Hill Park.

Fitzpatrick, a resident of Stockbridge for 60 years, walked from Boston, Massachusetts to Newport, Oregon over the course of several trips between February 2011 and October 2016. How many miles did she walk? How many pairs of shoes did she wear out? What logistics and tactics were required? What was it like walking through Gary, Indiana and the south side of Chicago? Any grizzly sightings in Yellowstone? Was it scary? Was it fun?

What is America like in the small towns between the coasts? How does our town fit into the whole scheme of things? Fitzpatrick will tell you all this in one short talk on August 4, 2018!

Fitzpatrick moved to Stockbridge with her family in 1957. She graduated from Smith College and served in the Peace Corps in Venezuela. She worked in her family's businesses, principally The Red Lion Inn, until retiring in June 2017. She has been involved with many Berkshire organizations, including Chesterwood, the Norman Rockwell Museum, IS183, Tanglewood, the Creative Economy Council, and MASS MoCA.

For over 160 years, Laurel Hill Day has been a highlight of late summer Stockbridge. We're so honored that Nancy will join us this year to continue this tradition. Please join us, too.

Stockbridge and Food Security

Let's face it, we're blessed to live and/or spend time in Stockbridge. It's truly a wonderful life. Yet right here, there may be pockets of food insecurity and hunger among those struggling to get by, on fixed incomes, etc. We'd like to take a moment to provide information to those in need.

The Western Mass Food Bank hosts a Brown Bag Stockbridge food distribution site for elders at Heaton Court, 5 Pine St. in Stockbridge from 11:00 am to noon on the second Wednesday of every month. You can get more information at (413) 298-4170 or by clicking the link above. Note there are restrictions based on income; visit the website or call for clarification.

Open to anyone is the Great Barrington Mobile Food Bank, located behind the CHP Health Center at 444 Stockbridge Road in Great Barrington on the first Tuesday of every month from noon to 1:00 pm. There are no eligibility requirements to receive food from the Mobile Food Bank. Anyone in need of assistance can attend. It's a good idea to arrive 10-15 minutes prior to distribution time or around 12:30 pm when the initial queue subsides, and to bring boxes or bags to carry your food.‌

Food security is a real issue for all too many Americans, including many right here in the Berkshires. Your support of this organization can make a difference in meeting the most basic of needs. Thanks!

Earth Day Clean-up a Resounding Success!

Here are the totals from Earth Day!

Approximately 60 Stockbridge neighbors walked the roads to pick up litter and celebrate caring for our Town and Mother Earth. Collectively, we walked more than 70 miles. Some said they picked up less trash and others found more than last year.
Individuals, families, Laurel Hill Board members, Norman Rockwell Museum staff, Berkshire-Waldorf School students, Red Lion Inn staff and the "Interlaken Gang and accompanying pets" were among the participants. Non-treasures collected included cans, beer and soda bottles, nips, kleenex, cigarette butts, coffee cups, broken plastic and glass, food wrappers, scratch tickets and plastic bags. Also, mylar balloons, a live snake and dead beaver, and a pregnancy test (couldn't read the results!).

Around 20 volunteers came together at Stockbridge Coffee and Tea on Saturday afternoon for a well-earned beverage and a wonderful time with friends.

Suggestions for the future — adding a fall collection; placing trash cans on roads where it would be easier for walkers to dispose of trash; guiding some walkers to places with more trash as needed; researching alternatives to plastic bags – something recyclable or compostable.

You can't say thank you often enough, so once again, THANK YOU!

On behalf of Laurel Hill Association
Laura and Marie

Earth Day Team
Keith and Marie Raftery
DeDe and Marc Rathbun
Rich Bradway
Gail Beaudain and Jed Baumwell
Mary Boyce
Nancy and Peter Socha
Mark and Nancy Mills
Catherine and Leah Chester
Shelby Marshall
Cheryl Hutto
Laura Dubester
Joyce Hovey
Jim and Liz Murray
Bob Bartle
Susie Kaufman
Anna Smith
Pat Flinn
Lenore and Paul Sundberg and TEAM
Leslie Shatz
Patrick White
Sarah Boyd
Terry Wise
Jane Goodrich
Gary Pitney
Tom LaBelle and spouse
Christine Rasmussen
Stewart and Lynn Edelstein
Lionel Delevingne
Julie and Barney Edmonds
Barbara and Ed Lane
Eva Sheridan
Vicky Cooper
GeGe Kingston
Debbie Wiswesser
Sarah Horne
Stephanie Bradford

Riverbrook Residents
Berkshire Waldorf School
Red Lion Inn
Norman Rockwell Museum

Laurel Hill Park

Laurel Hill Park Renovation

Laurel Hill Park behind the Town Offices on Main Street is the Association's signature property. It was the site of the first meeting in 1853. Twenty-five years later in 1878 it was gifted to the Association by the Sedgwick family—our first property. Every August, we celebrate Laurel Hill Day at the Park, the anniversary of that first meeting.

An early description of the Park states that it "...had splendid rocks soaring into the air, and a hillside pink with laurel in the spring." Sadly, the Laurel has almost disappeared, and the rocks have been obscured by overgrowth. This year we will undertake a major project to restore these natural features, add interpretive signs, and renovate two of the Park's man-made features—the Rostrum, and the Butler Seat at the summit.

We are excited about revitalizing the Park, and hope you will agree by approving the Community Preservation Commission funding recommendation at the Town Meeting in May.


Earth Day Stockbridge

Help us clean up Stockbridge: Earth Day 2018!

Earth Day Litter Pick-up in Stockbridge – Many Hands Make Light Work

Help make Stockbridge clean and beautiful by joining your neighbors in picking up the winter's accumulation of trash around your own neighborhood.

Earth Day Litter Pick-up will take place from Monday April 16 – Sunday April 22!

Garbage bags and gloves can be picked up at the Stockbridge Transfer Station anytime beginning on Tuesday April 17. You can bring what you collect to the transfer station.

To let us know that you are on board, please contact:
Marie Raftery/413-298-4910
kraftery [at]

Laura Dubester/413-298-5504
lauradubester [at]

Last year, more than 60 Stockbridge neighbors walked our roadsides to pick up litter to celebrate caring for our Town and Mother Earth. Collectively, we walked more than 70 miles.

Individuals, families, Waldorf School sophomore class, Laurel Hill Board members, Norman Rockwell Museum, Interlaken Gang, and accompanying pets were among the participants. Some joined for coffee/tea at Stockbridge Coffee and Tea shop in the afternoon. Non-treasures collected included cans, bottles, kleenex, cigarette butts, coffee cups, broken plastic and glass, food wrappers, scratch tickets and plastic bags.

Laurel Hill Associastion will host a reception for volunteers at Stockbridge Coffee and Tea at 3 pm on Saturday, April 21. Come and enjoy a coffee on us as our thank you for helping clean up Stockbridge!

Photo: Lionel Delevingne



view from Chesterwood Studio

2018 Photo Contest

The Laurel Hill Association and the Stockbridge Land Trust have launched our third annual photo contest. Photos may be submitted until April 30, 2018.

Some of the submitted photos will appear on the Laurel Hill Association website, and the winning photos will appear on cards and other items Laurel Hill Association and SLT will sell as a joint fundraiser. Such items will identify the photographers and where they took their photos.


Annual Meeting Will Update Efforts to Restore American Chestnut Trees

Lois and Denis Melican, of The American Chestnut Foundation for MA and RI, will be the guest speakers at the Laurel Hill Association's Annual Meeting, to be held on Wednesday, January 31, at 7:00 pm in the Stockbridge Library's Bement Room.
Lois and Denis will give an update on the American Chestnut Foundation's Chestnut Breeding Program, which is developing blight-resistant American chestnut trees with the goal of restoring the tree to its native forests along the eastern United States. The Laurel Hill Association's Chestnut Preserve, on Route 7, half mile south of the Red Lion Inn, is one of the program's breeding sites.

The American chestnut, nicknamed the Eastern Sequoia, was the major hardwood tree in the eastern U.S. It was among the largest, tallest, and fastest-growing trees in the forest. Its wood was rot-resistant, straight-grained, and suitable for furniture, fencing, and building. The nuts fed billions of birds and animals. It was almost a perfect tree—before a fungal blight killed 4 billion trees in the first half of the 20th Century.

The Laurel Hill Association has been involved in the American Chestnut Foundation's backcross breeding program for the last decade. The breeding program crosses Chinese chestnut trees, which are naturally resistant to the blight, with American chestnuts. Over the course of many generations, the program is producing blight-resistant American chestnut trees.

The meeting will open with the Association's Business Meeting. The guest presentation will begin at 7:30. The meeting is free, and all are welcome. Refreshments will be served.

National Park Service profiles Laurel Hill Park

The U.S. Department of the Interior's National Park Service has featured Laurel Hill Park, the signature property of Laurel Hill Association, in a thoughtful piece entitled, "Laurel Hill Park in the Main Street Historic District of Stockbridge". It is filed under "Massachusetts Conservation" and details the history of the property, LHA and how its founders inspired the national civic preservation movement in 19th Century America.

For historical accuracy, we'd like to point out that in fact the Sedgwicks did not sell the property to LHA in 1853, nor did LHA give it to the town in 1878. The Sedgwicks transferred the title to LHA in 1878, and to this day LHA retains title, with the directive that the land be dedicated to the use and enjoyment of the public forever. 

We think it's a great read, but you can decide for yourself by finding it here:



2nd Annual Chestnut Preserve Harvest: Columbus Day, October 9 at 9am - 12 noon

Please join volunteers from The Laurel Hill Association and the American Chestnut Foundation on Columbus Day, Monday, October 9, from 9 a.m. to noon, to harvest seeds at The Laurel Hill Association's Stockbridge Chestnut Preserve. This will be the 2nd harvest from our orchard. Seeds from our trees will be stored over winter and planted in the American Chestnut Foundation's Springside Park Seed Orchard in Pittsfield, and in other seed production orchards.

Meet at the Chestnut Preserve on South Street (Rt. 7), about 1/2 mile south of the Red Lion Inn. Wear long pants, long sleeves, and sturdy boots or footwear, and bring thick gloves. Bring water. We'll provide snacks for the group.

Now that this orchard is online and producing, harvesting seeds from here will become a much-anticipated annual event in early October each year!

Later that same day, at 2 p.m. members of the American Chestnut Foundation will plant potentially blight-resistant American chestnut trees at Gould Meadow. Please join them for this event.

Heritage Walk: October 1 at 1:00 pm

Join Laurel Hill Association for a Stockbridge Heritage Walk on two of LHA's most popular trails. The walk will take place at 1:00 pm on Sunday, October 1, starting at the Town Offices parking lot. The Laurel Hill Association's Recording Secretary, Pat Flinn, will lead you on an interpretive tour of both Laurel Hill Park and the Mary Flynn Trail. It should take about an hour and a half. Wear suitable walking shoes. The Mary Flynn Trail is fully accessible and the Laurel Hill Park trail involves some up-hill.