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Book Online or call VRBO Booking Assistance: 888-829-7076
Book Online or call VRBO Booking Assistance: 888-829-7076

Former Berkshires home of author, composer, diplomat James Weldon Johnson

Bedrooms 2
Half Baths1
Property type chateau / country house
Minimum Stay 2 nights


About the property

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.

More Details

Rufus Jones
Member since: 2014
Speaks: english
Response time:
Within a few hours
Response rate:
Calendar last updated:
June 26, 2018


Great Barrington Chateau / Country House Accommodation and Amenities

Property Type:
  • chateau / country house
  • Guests provide their own meals
House Rules:
  • Check-in: Noon / Check-out: Noon
  • Max. occupancy: 5
  • children welcome
  • pets not allowed
  • non smoking only
  • Historic
  • Air Conditioning ...
  • Fireplace
  • Heating
  • Internet ...
  • Linens Provided
  • Telephone
  • Towels Provided
  • Wireless Internet
  • Dishes & Utensils
  • Kitchen
  • Microwave
  • Oven ...
  • Refrigerator
  • Stove ...
  • Toaster
  • Dining Area
  • seating for 6 people
  • 1 Bathroom
  • 1 Half Bath
  • Bathroom 1 - toilet , shower
    Bathroom 2 - toilet
  • The shower is upstairs in the loft area. The master shower has been shut off and will not work due to issues left from previous owner. Please use the upstairs shower as needed.
  • 2 Bedrooms, Sleeps 5
  • Bedroom 1 - 1 king
    Bedroom 2 - 1 double , Loft
  • Golf ...
  • Ski & Snowboard ...
  • Long-term Renters Welcome
  • limited accessibility
Pool / Spa:
  • Communal Pool ...


4.2/5 -
(5 traveler reviews)

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Former Berkshires home of author, composer, diplomat James Weldon Johnson
average rating of 4.2 based on 5 reviews
Brooklyn, NY

A Charming, Historic Great Barrington Cottage

  • 5 of 5

Our family of 4 (2 adults and 2 young adults) spent two nights in this charming Berkshire cottage. The history of the place is fascinating, and the setting is lovely. The beds are very comfortable and the rooms are loaded with pleasant seating. The seat by the dining room window, overlooking the brook was especially appealing. The owner was very responsive and helpful. For most of the year, this would be a wonderful location from which to make a base for your Berkshire adventures.

  • Submitted: Jan 2, 2018
  • Stayed: December 2017
  • Source: HomeAway
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Cozy cottage in lovely surroundings

  • 4 of 5

This was the second time we stayed at the Jones' Great Barrington house, and same as last year, was the coldest weekend on record! The fireplace was most welcome and the view of rambling (mostly frozen!) river out bay window was very relaxing. Mr Jones was very easy to deal with and responded promptly to emails. The kitchen is a little quirky but appealing and well stocked. We look forward to visiting again!

  • Submitted: Feb 17, 2016
  • Stayed: February 2016
  • Source: VRBO, from HomeAway
Owner's Response: We are so happy when our repeat guests and referrals create great memories around the stone fireplace. Please come again soon. Thank you.
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Dappled Sun on the Lawn and a Glistening Brook

  • 5 of 5

Our weeklong stay at this rustic cottage was both relaxing and inspirational. The accommodations are generous and the furniture comfortable. It's a perfect spot to relax and dream.

I am a painter and had to go no further than this property to find vistas for my canvas.

  • Submitted: Jul 27, 2015
  • Stayed: July 2015
  • Source: HomeAway
Owner's Response: Thank you for your comment and review. You experienced exactly what we envision for the home: A muse, a source of inspiration; a place for singer-songwriters to writer songs; a place for painters to paint; and a place for dreamers to dream. Thank you.
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Not Quite Ready for Rental... yet (Read on)

  • 2 of 5

First, let me say that I had an extensive and productive conversation with the owner prior to this post. I will also add that he was EXTREMELY responsive both before the reservation as well as being available to answer questions by phone/text during our stay. IF you are planning on staying, know a few things... It is a great location - quick and easy to get to many of the towns in the Berkshires. However, it is also on a main road so not particularly quiet or private. At the time of our stay (and I believe the owner is going to work on these), there was nowhere for us to unpack our clothes - all the drawers and closet were filled with the owners belongings - so we lived out of our suitcases on the floor for 4 nights. There is wifi but NO TELEVISION. Plan on bringing a laptop to watch DVDs or TV if that's something you were expecting to do. While the listing indicated AC, there is only one rather loud window unit, in the master bedroom. Heavy reliance on floor fans and cool weather but we happened to be there during a warm spell. The shower in the master is not functional. You'll have to use one upstairs. Some of the windows/sliding doors don't open (warnings on the info packet after you make payment will explain more), some of the appliances don't work or have limited function. And, while certainly personal preference, found the master bed to be extremely uncomfortable (very hard mattress, very creaky frame). I also would not recommend this stay for more and a couple as there is very little comfortable furniture in the main living area (one sofa, one glider chair) and there are no window coverings on the upstairs loft windows. Also recommended the owner add a simple automatic coffee maker. Yes, this house is old and very little has been done (yet) to update it. It has a great yard with a nice running stream. It would be one thing if I were rolling through town and was staying here as the guest of a friend but considering our expectations for a homey vacation stay, this home is not quite there yet. The owner seemed very responsive to my post-stay suggestions so watch for updates to this listing and other reviews to see if things have been addressed.

  • Submitted: Jul 22, 2015
  • Stayed: July 2015
  • Source: VRBO, from HomeAway
Owner's Response: We appreciate all reviews and feedback and communicated the following with the guest: UPDATE -- We made these changes immediately based on the guest’s feedback. (1) We bought an extremely comfortable new bed for master room that doesn’t squeak – A Beautyrest Queen with Luxury Plush Super Pillowtop Mattress with new adjustable base frame with remote control; (2) All the personal clothes in the drawers in the master room were immediately cleared out with closet space available to hang items; (3) We purchased a new air conditioner window unit for the common room, and will be available in summer months or as needed—the Berkshires will have 3-5+ random days where the temperature will get hot and uncomfortable during the day, and cool-off later in day— this new A/C unit complements a second A/C in the master bedroom; (4) We installed a new shower head in the upstairs bathroom (full bath/shower), but the master bathroom shower (1/2 bath) will not be renovated at this time; please use upstairs shower ONLY; (5) We opened/raised some of the windows to help guests, as needed; the windows are old and will get stuck occasionally when weather/humidity changes; (6) We prefer the sunrise to show through the loft window upstairs; we have curtains to hang as needed; (7) We added a new coffee-mate coffee machine to the kitchen, in addition to a new electric Teakettle and French Press; (8) The WIFI works for all mobile devices (i.e. smartphones, laptop computers, etc.) for internet and TV access via the internet; the home does not include a television set. Thank you again for your feedback and suggestions.
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Amazing, unique home, close to everything

  • 5 of 5

This house was the perfect spot for our weekend getaway. We honestly can not say enough about how wonderful the house was and how much we loved staying in it. Booking was very easy and since we booked last minute we greatly appreciated how quickly we were accommodated. The house is stunning, with wonderful antique features and a beautiful fireplace. If we had more time, we would have spent a day just at the house relaxing, it was so wonderful. We hope that we will be able to come back, often and very soon! I would recommend this to anyone looking for a laid back weekend in a rustic (but completely comfortable) home!

  • Submitted: Nov 3, 2014
  • Stayed: October 2014
  • Source: HomeAway
Owner's Response: Thank you for your review. The house loves company. We are happy that you had a perfect and wonderful experience. Please come to Five Acres again soon.
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Rates & Availability

Taxes and fees are additional

Additional information about rental rates

Security Deposit $75

$75 security deposit. Rates = $1295 - $375/night

Owner's Cancellation Policy

  • 50% refund if canceled at least 7 days before arrival date.
  • 100% refund if canceled at least 14 days before arrival date.
  • Service Fee fully refunded on cancellations that qualify for 100% refund.

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