Just about everyone knows of Moby Dick, the great white whale and title of Herman Melville’s most famous book but did you know that the whale was inspired by the author’s view of Mount Greylock? Visit Arrowhead, the Pittsfield farm and Herman Melville House Museum to take in that same view – and much more.
Herman Melville (1819 – 1891) was an American writer, best known for his works “Moby-Dick,” “Typee,” and “Billy Budd, Sailor.” Melville was born in New York and traveled the world but between 1850 and 1863, he made his home in Pittsfield, MA.
The author brought his family here in the summer of 1850 as an escape from hot and bustling New York City. He was familiar with the area, having visited Pittsfield often since childhood, and decided to buy a small farm: Arrowhead.
Meville lived at Arrowhead with his wife, children, and some members of his extended family for thirteen years. They were to prove some of his most fruitful, seeing the creation of “Moby-Dick,” “Pierre or The Ambiguities,” “Bartleby the Scrivever,” and many others.
The Inn at Stockbridge is less than 15 minutes drive from The Herman Melville House Museum at Arrowhead. Pittsfield is home to a variety of attractions, including The Berkshire Museum, Pittsfield State Forest, Barrington Stage Company, nearby Hancock Shaker Village, and others. It would be easy to spend a very pleasant day exploring the Pittsfield area, knowing your room at our Berkshires bed and breakfast is just minutes away.
Arrowhead – The Herman Melville House Museum
Arrowhead is located at 780 Holmes Road in Pittsfield, MA. The property is open seasonally, Memorial Day Weekend through Columbus Day, with free parking and admission. Self-guided tours of the grounds are free. Guided tours are available for a fee. Learn more at berkshirehistory.org.
Melville sold Arrowhead in 1863. Thereafter, the house had many other owners but it has been restored to how it looked during the Melville years. In fact, visitors to Arrowhead will see the famous author’s handiwork. Many of the home’s features were added by Melville, himself, including the porch. Melville not only built it, he also wrote his short story, “The Piazza,” about it.
Guided tours take around 45 minutes and lead you through the enclosed spaces of Arrowhead. You’ll start off in the historic barn and end at Melville’s study, with that inspirational view of Mount Greylock. What do you see? A great white whale … or something else?
The Melville Trail
The view of Mount Greylock from from his study window was not Melville’s only inspiration in the Berkshires. Follow along the Melville Trail to see some of the other iconic Berkshires locations that also inspired him.
The Trail has 12 stops, the first of which is The Herman Melville House Museum at Arrowhead. The others include Hancock Shaker Village, The Crane Museum of Paper Making, Balance Rock, the Hawthorne Cottage at Tanglewood, Lake Pontoosuc, and Mount Greylock. Visit the Melville Trail webpage for the full list of stops and an interactive map of the trail.
Given the range of attractions, it would be very easy to plan a fun day trip around the trail. If this sounds like something you would enjoy, just let us know. We’d be more than happy to help you plan your itinerary. There’s nothing we love more, here at The Inn at Stockbridge, than sharing the beautiful Berkshires with our guests.
See you soon!