An old inn, Rockwell, a mental hospital and Arlo

  The Red Lion inn (first part built in 1773), in Stockbridge.

The Red Lion inn (first part built in 1773), in Stockbridge.

“And in the quiet, rural middle of it {the Berkshires}, Stockbridge sits like nothing so much as a  living postcard from small town America. Standing at dusk on Main Street, looking at the row of seasoned old storefronts, the long, classic porch of the fabled Red Lion Inn wrapping around the corner, and the tree-studded ridgeline of the Berkshires creating a green and gold and backdrop to it all, a visitor might be put in mind of a Norman Rockwell painting. Which would be perfectly apt. Rockwell lived only a block away, and he painted that very scene.’’

-- From New England Notebook, by Ted Reinsteim

He might also have noted that Stockbridge is also home to the Austen Riggs  Center, a psychiatric hospital known for its celebrity patients. Its presence was a factor in Rockwell and his wife moving  to the town from Arlington, Vt.  Mr. and Mrs. Rockwell were both treated there for anxiety and depression. Stockbridge also hosts the Norman Rockwell Museum, which has many of the famous illustrations he did for the old Saturday Evening Post and other publications in the Golden Age of Magazines.

His Stockbridge studio was  on the second floor of a row of buildings; directly underneath Rockwell's studio was, for a time in 1966, the Back Room Rest, better known as the famous "Alice's Restaurant of song and movie fame, about a bunch of '60s Hippies led (sort of!) by songwriter Arlo Guthrie and their interactions with small-town life.

 The Norman Rockwell Museum.

The Norman Rockwell Museum.

  Colorized postcard of Stockbridge made in the early 20th Century.

Colorized postcard of Stockbridge made in the early 20th Century.