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See Which Berkshires Haunts the RHUGT Cast Visited in Season 2
With RHONY's Dorinda Medley as their tour guide, the ladies set out to see some historic (and sometimes haunted) locations on Real Housewives Ultimate Girls Trip Season 2.
The second season of The Real Housewives Ultimate Girls Trip brought some of the franchise’s “ex-'Wives” to former RHONY’s Dorinda Medley’s Blue Stone Manor. (Just when we thought we couldn’t get enough of the fish room!)
Dorinda set out to “make it nice” for her guests, which included The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills’ Taylor Armstrong, The Real Housewives of Atlanta’s Eva Marcille, The Real Housewives of Orange County’s Tamra Judge and Vicki Gunvalson, and The Real Housewives of New York City OG Jill Zarin, among others.
Blue Stone Manor, nestled in the Berkshires of Great Barrington, Massachusetts, was a staple for past seasons of RHONY, with unforgettable yuletide merriment and Halloween galore. The New England estate then became the home base for the ex-Wives’ ultimate girls’ trip.
But there was more to see in the Bezerkshires than the iconic estate. Here are some of the RHUGT Season 2 highlights, as hosted by our tour guide, Dorinda.
1. Ventfort Hall
For “Spirit Night,” Dorinda began the tour by taking the Housewives to Ventfort Hall for an evening of coffee readings and ghost stories, as well as a sit-down feast. Rumor has it that if you visit the mansion at night, you may encounter Mrs. Morgan (not to be confused with RHONY’s Sonja Morgan), whose spirit still roams the halls, at least according to Dorinda.
“Supposedly, if you go at night, and you bring any kind of psychics or mediums, you can sometimes smell her perfume,” said Dorinda.
The Ventfort Hall Mansion and Gilded Age Museum does have a rich history and — believe it or not — ties to Sonja. The Lenox, Massachusetts, structure was built in the 1890s as a summer home by Mr. and Mrs. Sarah Morgan, sister to J.P. Morgan, head of the Morgan family banking dynasty and the great-grandfather of Sonja’s former husband.
The historic home served as a location for the 1999 Academy Award-winning film Cidar House Rules and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
2. The Red Lion Inn
The Real Housewives Ultimate Girls Trip was filled with a lot of hot air (no, really, there was a hot air balloon ride right at Blue Stone Manor). After a chill poolside afternoon with bar service, the ladies decided to head to the historic Red Lion Inn in Stockbridge, Massachusetts, for dinner and an abundant flow of martinis.
Proudly serving as a member of the Historic Hotels of America, The Red Lion Inn opened in 1773. Dorinda — who worked at the inn long before becoming a Bravolebrity — told the ladies that “people come from far and near” to see the boutique hotel and tavern.
It was named one of America’s Top 25 Hotels for Most Unique Culinary Heritage and Culinary Traditions in 2022 and featured in Forbes for its must-have New England dishes, namely its chicken pot pie.
“Our corner of Main Street has been a landmark of hospitality for 250 years and has grown and evolved with new generations of guests,” reads the website. “Our property includes the original Main Inn, a more contemporary 17-room guest house, and many other unique lodging options, including our turn-of-the-century Firehouse.”
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But be warned of “friendly” spirits, cold spots, and reported sightings of a “ghostly young girl carrying flowers” or “a man in a top hat,” according to the Historic Hotels of America. Like Ventfort Hall, the inn is another stop on local ghost tours and was listed as one of America’s Top 25 Haunted Hotels in 2021.
The trip wasn’t all kooky and spooky, of course, and hitting a few stores in Great Barrington was in order, including stops at Crystal Essence and the Calyx Berkshire Dispensary. Good vibes and some mood-altering substances might have benefited the 'wives ahead of Dorinda’s BSM Field Day, which included balloon popping, diamond mining, and potato sack races.
Later in their trip, they enjoyed a stately, parasol-fitted tea party at the Naumkeag estate and gardens.
Located in Stockbridge, the heart of the Berkshires, Naumkeag is another Gilded Age treasure where the women wore their Sunday dresses to eat tea sandwiches on the grounds’ 48 acres. The property’s 44-room shingle-style home was created by the same architect who built Blue Stone Manor, according to Dorinda. It is the picturesque home to thousands of daffodils and tulips, winding floral trails, and deep-blue fountain pools.
Taylor said she was inspired to host the tea party after throwing her 4-year-old daughter’s $50,000 tea party in the first season of The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills.
4. Balderdash Cellars
For a day of wine — topped by a spiritual devotion read by Phaedra — the ladies visited Balderdash Cellars in Richmond, Massachusetts. Over a wine tasting, they decided to let bygones be bygones, at least temporarily.
“Wow, this is beautiful,” said Vicki when arriving at the winery with its mountain and lake views.
Owned by married couple Christian and Donna Hanson, the winery opened in 2011 and became home to some “wicked wines and tall tales,” according to its website. It was featured in New York Lifestyles magazine and is locally known for its imported grapes from California.
Their wines come with the stories behind the names, which include “Truth Serum” and “Invincible,” the latter of which was named after the couple’s son and his “roving band of motley youth” taking over their basement.
A roving band of former Housewives also enjoyed the atmosphere when sharing memorable show moments and taking in the mountain-fresh air.
“This is what this vacation was all about,” said Phaedra. “Getting along, being friends, recognizing that while we’re all very different, we’re really very much the same.”
5. Chesterwood Estate
Self-described as a “historic artist’s retreat,” the Chesterwood Gardens became the setting for an outdoor lunch, as hosted by their trusted tour guide, Dorinda.
“So, this is where Daniel Chester French lived,” Dorinda explained. “And he is the man that was commissioned to do the Lincoln Memorial.”
The American sculptor created the gardens in 1898 to enhance his recently-finished art studio. Back in the day, the property was the center of many a-costume ball and party, beautifully decorated with a pergola wrapped in grape vines and featuring breathtaking views of the Berkshire mountains. The garden’s marble fountain was constructed by famous American architect Henry Bacon, who partnered with French to build the studio and its surrounding estate (and the Lincoln Memorial).
Though it was the backdrop for Jill’s “self-reflective” word association game with the other ladies, their words for the gardens included “beautiful,” “pretty,” and “gorgeous.”
It remains a site of the National Trust for Historic Preservation.
6. Hancock Shaker Village
Another historic landmark on Dorinda’s tour was Hancock Shaker Village, a popular venue for rustic weddings and hands-on workshops. Its famous round barn and working farm served as the location for their final night together, celebrating with an outdoor candlelit dinner and a private concert by Grammy Award-winning gospel singer Bishop Hezekiah Walker.
Hancock Shaker Village once served as a commune for followers of the United Society of Believers in Christ’s Second Appearing, better known as “Shakers.” It was founded in 1790, the third of 19 major American Shaker villages — most of which were built in New England — and remained active until 1960.
“They were called ‘The Shakers’ because they would have these very, kind of colorful, ecstatic mass[es] where they screamed and yelled,” Dorinda told the women. “And then they would shake out all the sins and shake out all the demons.”
Dorinda also stated the village was home to the oldest gardens in western Massachusetts, “so they’ve been continuously going since the Shakers settled.”
Today, the 750-acre property is a tourist destination with 20 original Shaker buildings still open to the public, as well as historical tours and farm-related events.
To see more of your favorite housewives’ travels, be sure to catch up on The Real Housewives Ultimate Girls Trip, returning for its third season in Thailand on Thursday, March 23, on Peacock.