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Rooms With A View: Fitzpatrick Buys Wigwam Cabins

Staff Reports

The Western Summit on the Mohawk Trail overlooks the city of North Adams.

FLORIDA, Mass. — The old Wigwam Cabins on the Western Summit have been purchased by Nancy Fitzpatrick, adding to her collection of historic properties that include the 1773 Red Lion Inn in Stockbridge.

Fitzpatrick, as LMNO Properties LLC, purchased the cabins, guest house and gift shop from the Berkshire Natural Resources Council on Aug. 13 for $275,000. The deal includes a right of first refusal for the nature conservation group should Fitzpatrick ever decide to sell it.

The council took ownership of the buildings last year, when it purchased 37 acres for $470,000 with plans to add it to some 730 acres along the Hoosac Range to conserve the land and restore a three-mile long trail.

The buildings and just under 4 acres were put on the market for $350,000 this spring.

"I'd been eyeballing the cabins longingly for years. I hated the thought that they might disappear," said Fitzpatrick in a news release announcing the purchase. "This style of roadside architecture, from the early days of automobile travel, is underappreciated and endangered. I can't wait to get going on this project."

The site has been a tourist destination with three-state views since the early part of the last century. It will be managed by the Porches Inn in North Adams, another historic property developed out of old houses on River Street by Fitzpatrick and and Williams College alum Jack Wadsworth.

Fitzpatrick is renovating the vintage cabins and will operate them seasonally beginning in spring 2011. She's interested in American road tripping and the hotels and motels that were built during the development of the Interstate Highway System.

Guests at the cabins will have easy access to the trail system being undertaken by the Berkshire Natural Resource Council that will ultimately connect the Florida and Savoy Mountain state forests and include a major hiking trail, the envisioned 100-mile Mahican-Mohawk Trail for Northern Berkshire County. This trail will start at the Wigwam site, ending at Spruce Hill, in the Savoy Mountain State Forest. The anticipated completion date for the trail is in June 2011.

"The Wigwam will capture the imagination and spirit of adventure of its guests, by recalling the nostalgia of bygone days of motor-touring on Route 2," said Bruce Finn, general manager of the Porches and Red Lion inns, in the press release. "The Wigwam Cabins will give travelers access to the Hoosac Range Trail, and — ultimately — the Mahican-Mohawk Trail. It is also a short, five-mile drive to the center of North Adams, Mass MoCA, and The Porches Inn through scenic winding mountain roads, and just a bit longer to Williamstown. Guests will enjoy breathtaking views from their rustic cabin settings, with easy access to all there is to do in the area."

Guests of the Wigwam will have full use of all guest amenities at the Porches, including the hotel's year-round pool, hot tub and exercise facilities. The property will be renovated with each cabin or guestroom offering a private bath and shower. The cabins will feature comfortable furnishings, wood stoves, refrigerators and coffee-making facilities.

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