Take a quiet get in a forest of birch, elm, and sugar maples. Wander during a meadow dotted with clover and wildflowers. How a couple of short hikes or some geocaching with the kids?
A summer road trip to the Clark Art Institute within the scenic Berkshires isn’t your usual urban museum experience. The Clark is understood not just for its paintings by Renoir, Homer, Sargent, Monet, and lots of other American and European masters, except for its country setting, which offers mountain views, fresh air, and room to roam.
“In addition to our wonderful permanent collection and special exhibitions, the Clark’s 140-acre campus offers wonderful opportunities to experience the flora and fauna,” says Sally Morse Majewski, manager of promotion and marketing at the Williamstown, Massachusetts museum.
This summer, there are four exhibitions:
“Picasso: Encounters,” a groundwork of Pablo Picasso’s large-scale printmaking experiments that begins with the seminal “Self-Portrait” (1901) from his Blue Period and includes 35 of his most significant graphic achievements from 1904 to 1970.
“Orchestrating Elegance: Alma-Tadema and style,” an exhibit of furniture, paintings, ceramic, and textiles that appears at the works of Tadema (1836-1912) and his design of a music room for the NY mansion of Henry Gurdon Marquand, a founding father of the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
And there are two Helen Frankenthaler shows, one amongst her nature paintings and another of her woodcuts.
If you intend to spend the day at the Clark, it’s easy to splice outdoor time into your art viewing.
The campus offers six unpaved interconnected walking trails. A guide will be downloaded from the website or picked up at the counter.
Near the automobile parking space, try the Clark’s lily pond, with its profusion of pink flowers.
Below the terrace, there are picnic tables. Bring your own picnic or buy food to go to within the cafe.
But before you go to these destinations, make sure to get the contact number of professional roadside assistance like towing San Jose, just in case of an emergency during your trip.
Here are some other suggestions for summer day trips that blend art, nature, and therefore the outdoors:
1. MASS MoCA
There also are eight outdoor and seasonal installations, including Michael Oatman’s “all utopias fell,” a spaceship-like creation made of an old Airstream camper. Refresh and refuel with a rush, a sandwich/salad café within the lobby; Gramercy Bistro, a fine-dining spot with a view of the museum’s signature the wrong way up trees; Bright Ideas Tap Room, a craft beer pub; or Tunnel City Coffee.
2. The Bennington Museum
This southern Vermont museum is understood for its collection of Moses paintings. Current exhibits include “Buy Local,” old-time photographs of individuals and places from a recently acquired collection of two,000 glass plate negatives.
For a daily trip, consider visiting the nearby Bennington Battle Monument, which at 306 feet is that the tallest structure in Vermont. It’s open daily through Oct. 3. Rides cost $5 for adults, $1 for youths 6 to 14, free for younger children. Enjoy lunch, coffee, or frozen dessert in downtown Bennington.
3. The Mount
The home of novelist Edith Wharton in Lenox, Massachusetts, is that this year’s venue for the annual outdoor exhibit by SculptureNow. Sculpture tours are scheduled for Sept. 17 and Oct. 15. It’s free.
4. Norman Rockwell Museum
Artists may sketch or paint outdoors. There are gardens with labeled plants and trees, and paths that lead all the way down to the Housatonic River.