A writer, songwriter, and civil rights activist, James Weldon Johnson spent his summers in the Berkshires at his home known as Five Acres. After spending time in the Town of Great Barrington with friends, he and his wife bought the property in 1926 and converted the barn into a residence. He also built a small cabin behind the main house where he often retreated to write some of his famous works, such as his 1927 book of poems, God's Trombones: Seven Negro Sermons in Verse. The executor of the James Weldon Johnson Literary Estate purchased the property in 2011 and started the initial process of preserving the home and writing cabin in order to protect the charm and history. The home has not been renovated and retains many of the design elements of the previous two owners, including a midcentury kitchen design with artistic fruit and vegetable floor tiles and Johnson's warm fireplace, loft space, and rustic wood sided interior. Unwind, read, and write music to the soothing sounds of the babbling Seekonk Brook just outside your kitchen window overlooking the stone wall. You will love shopping at the Farmer's Market on Saturdays and Guido's while spending time outdoors to write songs and poems, paint, read or just listen.
Great Barrington was named the #1 best small town in America in 2012 by Smithsonian. The Smithsonian comments include: 'Big-city smart meets New England natural in an art-rich mountain setting;' ' Great Barrington is a small, manageable, economically and ethnically mixed town;' ' cultural institutions as Tanglewood, Shakespeare & Company, the Norman Rockwell Museum and Jacob's Pillow Dance Festival just a country drive away.'
The Johnson's describe finding the property called 'Five Acres' in his autobiography, Along This Way. Guarded by large front and side yards and trees and the Seekonk Brook, this lovely 2-bedroom, 2 bathroom vacation, winter, summer rental offers privacy and beautiful, spiritual views of the brook and cows that graze on Five Acres and at the adjacent farm. With enough room to comfortably accommodate 1 family with children, this delightful residence is the perfect size for families, two couples, scholars and friends vacationing, skiing, creating and exploring together. Ideally located across from Bard College at Simon's Rock (a world class indoor athletic and swimming facility with family and individual membership rates for day guest passes) and 1.8 miles from the main shops on Railroad Street in Great Barrington, this home is conveniently within 10 minutes driving distance to Butternut and Catamount Ski areas, Blue Rider Stables for horseback riding as well as a small lake and woods. The home includes wireless internet access, electric and oil burning heat, and window air conditioning as needed.