Santarella is the historic estate of Sir Henry Hudson Kitson. Kitson, an English American sculptor, is most noted for the Lexington Minuteman and Plymouth Rock Maiden in Massachusetts. Kiston began transforming the property around 1920 turning the existing dairy barn into his art studio and called it Santarella. Affectionately known as the “Gingerbread House,” the most striking feature of his studio is it’s 80-ton, asphalt shingled storybook roof. He created a cluster of other fairytale inspired buildings, including a cottage and detached tower, which he used as additional studio space. These projects, along with an enchanting garden with exotic plants and fish would become Kitson’s primary focus for the last 25 years of his life.
After Kitson’s death, Santarella was bought by the Davis family, who owned and operated the Tyringham Galleries on the property until 1996. From 1996 to 2003, the Talbert-Atkins family ran the Henry Kitson Museum and Sculpture Gardens. The Hoefer-Brandmeyer family purchased the property in 2003 as a restoration project restoring many buildings on the property and opening it up to guests & wedding events. Joshua Williams & Shaun Mosley are excited to continue each legacy, and share the magic of this amazing property allowing it to enchant and be enjoyed by all who visit.
As we look to Santarella's future, we are excited to embark on a massive restoration project over the next 5 years to rehabilitate the iconic, 100 year old Gingerbread House roof and renovate it's interior to ensure many more generations are able to experience this historic American treasure.
Purchasing Santarella was a dream come true for us, as we spent the last few years dreaming about finding a magical property that would allow us to realize our dreams. In 2019, we started talking about moving to a small town with a strong community similar to what we grew up in Upstate New York. That all changed when Josh stumbled upon Santarella the summer of 2020.
Josh was in the Berkshires visiting a friend that worked at a nearby summer camp. They were driving around the area when he said “Have I every shown you the Gingerbread House?” Josh was intrigued so they drove by and was instantly amazed. As fate would have it, the property was for sale. The wheels in Josh's mind started turning with the endless possibilities and how this property could help realize the many dreams we shared: one of which was being small business owners where we hosted guests and shared the magic of Santarella with the community.
The next weekend Josh convinced Shaun to come see the property and experience the surrounding Berkshire communities. As we began walking around the property together, we instantly started talking about what we wanted to do and the dream started to take shape! Later that day we toured some of the neighboring towns: Great Barrington, Stockbridge, Lee and Lenox. It became clear that we found that community we were looking for! And one that had all the things we loved: tons of outdoor activities, great restaurants, lovely people, and music/performing arts.
The next pages of our story would include purchasing Santarella, moving out of NYC, turning over rooms for guests who stay in one of our short-term rentals, redesigning the larger gingerbread house tower, getting engaged, and building an authentic community & loving friendships in the Berkshires.
At this time, Santarella's grounds are not open to the public.
Santarella is located in the Tyringham Valley in the Berkshires of Western Mass., one of the most scenic valleys in the region. It is conveniently located 3.5 miles off Exit 2 on Mass. I-90. This makes Santarella easily accessible from both Boston (2 hrs.) and New York City (2.5 hrs.)
The Berkshire's wonderful outdoor and cultural attractions including Tanglewood, Jacob's Pillow, Norman Rockwell Museum, MassMOCA, Hancock Shaker Village, and the Appalachian trail. Tons of restaurants and shops in nearby towns like Stockbridge, Great Barrington, Lee, and Lenox.