Tea & Talk – “Crystal Products of the Frost King: Ice Harvesting in New England”
Jan 12 @ 3:30 pm

Dennis Picard, who has been demonstrating the ice harvesting trade for more than twenty years at museums and environmental education centers, will present a Tea & Talk on ice harvesting and the natural ice industry in New England. His presentation will be followed by a Victorian tea.

The commercial harvesting of ice from New England’s ponds and lakes for export began in the first decade of the 19th century.  By the end of that century ice harvesting was the 9th largest industry in the United States employing tens of thousands of workers in New England alone and producing hundreds of thousands of tons of block ice annually.

Picard is a frequent speaker on the ice industry for libraries, museums and universities. He will display some of his antique tools of that trade including several invented in Massachusetts.  He will share the interesting tale of this once massive enterprise that is now fading from our collective memory.  Picard also invites and guides would-be ice harvesters to try their hand at working with some of his antique implements, including a “pond saw” and the breaker bar.

Cost to attend is $26 with an advance reservation and for members and $32 the day of the event.  Reservations are highly recommended as seating is limited.  For information or reservations call Ventfort Hall at 413-637-3206.

CANCELLED – Murder Mystery Dinner Theater – “Happiness Is a Warm Gun,” Doors open at 5:00 pm. Program starts and first course served at 5:30 pm.
Jan 19 @ 5:00 pm


The Comical Mystery Tour ensemble returns to the mansion with a new program and invites the public to join the fun on Saturday, January 19th. Doors open at 5:00 pm. Program starts and first course served at 5:30 pm.

Mrs. Kite has something people really want; a lost manuscript supposedly written by the Beatles that no one has ever seen before. One of her guests decides to eliminate the chance of competition by taking Kite out. Was it the rich mama’s boy, Desmond Dakota, or his not so bright girlfriend, Sadie? It couldn’t have been the arrogant museum collector Albert Lane, or could it? Maybe it was the Beatle’s fanatic Eleanor Rigby? Yes, that is her real name. She had it legally changed because of her love of the Beatles. Come along and help figure out who cut the middle person out of the bidding war.

In production since 1995, The Comical Mystery Tour has had over 50,000 audience members viewing and/or participating in their programs. The ensemble appears regularly at Ventfort Hall.

Cost to attend is $40 per person including a full course dinner. A cash bar is available for beer and wine. Reservations are required by Wednesday, Jan. 16th. Seating is limited.  For information or reservations call us at 413-637-3206.

Nejaime’s Wine Tasting
Feb 1 @ 5:30 pm – 7:00 pm

Discover the wines of Oregon & Washington State with King Estate Winery, the largest Biodynamic vineyard in North America with Jeff Brooks of King Estate Winery.

Cost is $35 per person. For an extra $15 enjoy a private guided tour of Ventfort Hall starting at 4:30 p.m. For reservations call Nejaime’s at 413-637-2221

King Estate Winery, family owned and family farmed since its founding in 1991, is located in Eugene, Oregon, at the southern tip of Willamette Valley. At 1,033 acres, King Estate is the largest Demeter USA-certified Biodynamic® vineyard in the country. One of Oregon’s leading and iconic wineries, King Estate earned its international reputation with its exceptional King Estate Willamette Valley Pinot Gris and Pinot Noir. In 2006 it introduced wines from the inland growing regions of Oregon and Washington under its North by Northwest label. King Estate was founded on the bedrock principles of family, stewardship and tradition. With a third generation of the King family active in the business, King Estate remains family owned and farmed, dedicated to the highest standards in winemaking.

*Jeff Brooks joined the King Estate Winery as Northeast Regional Manager in 2014. Brooks has had an extensive career in the wine and spirits industry in key account sales, market and distributor management, national accounts, international sales, and executive management. Jeff began his career in Washington, D.C. as a distributor wine consultant before joining Schieffelin & Co. in the Mid-Atlantic States. Additional sales positions in Metro New York and National Accounts followed. Brooks joined Kobrand Corporation in New England and was promoted to several management positions and became a member of the Executive Team in 2007. Most recently he served as Vice President, Northeast/Canada Group Manager for Kobrand. Jeff and his family reside in Sturbridge, MA.