Thursday, June 28, 2012

My Berkshires Pitch - Guest Contributor


Here's the much anticipated post on my trip to the Berkshires. If you read yesterday's post, you know that there's an element of surprise to be revealed today. The surprise is that I got my friend, Nancy to write about our trip!  She's a great writer and I knew this would be a perfect project for her, especially since she took most of the pictures.  Without further adieu, here's Nancy!

Nancy Walking around on Rockwell Museum grounds 
in Stockbridge, MA
'Main Street at Christmas Weekend'

I've always appreciated the quaint feel of a certain New England town. When the Berkshires came my way I fell hard. The region is disarmingly charming - a place where life is rural and authentic but also saturated with so much culture, history, and scenic beauty. A place to get your Shakespeare on, hike up beautiful mountain trails, attend symphony concerts out on the lawn, museum, and shop at farmer's markets. A breath of fresh air from the evils of commercialism. As Joo so shrewdly pointed out, a Starbucks-free zone. Seemingly a less forced, less status driven place like the Hamptons or Aspen. The first time I ever visited I immediately understood why celebrated writers and artists such as Norman Rockwell and Edith Wharton made that reverse commute removing themselves from large cities to settle down in the area. This past weekend I wanted to be like them, excited to break free from the "bridge and tunnel" mode and roadtrip north, together with my dear old friend, catching up with our everyday lives.

Tunnel City Coffee Shop; SoCo Ice Cream; and Shakespeare & Co. stage (we saw King Lear - well, half of it.  We were too tired to stay awake for the second half.)

Touring the Mount, author Edith Wharton's Neoclassical Home (Yup, that's a picture of her on the wall, receiving an Honorary Doctorate of Letters from Yale)

Our cottage in Lanesborough we ended up renting for the weekend was a former one room schoolhouse built in 1832 and functioned as one till 1950. When I first saw the pictures of the rental guest house online, I was instantly drawn in by its charm. 
(In clockwise order) Picture of cottage outside; 1st floor (once a classroom - all the antique furniture still intact); Rounds Rock Trail in Mt. Greylock (There's also 93 miles of the Appalachian trial that winds through the Berkshires; 2nd floor of  cottage (more like a loft).  

I must say though, the essence of Berkshires in the summer is really Tanglewood, summer home to the Boston Symphony in Lenox. It's one of the most reputable outdoor music festivals around showcasing the likes of Yo-Yo Ma, James Taylor, and in our case Diana Krall.  And its concerts I quickly learned is nothing without its elegant and elaborate lawn picnics. Tradition dictates that there is an art to setting up the perfect Tanglewood picnic. Devout picnickers wouldn't be caught dead without candelabras, patio umbrellas, fine china, linen napkins, crystal wine glasses, real flower centerpieces, citronella candles, lanterns,folding chairs, wicker baskets. For me this time it started with pure plastic simplicity. Who said plasticware has to be chintzy though? Picnicking and listening to Diana as night fell under the stars was really something. You just had to be there.
Here's Juju. Staking claim to a picnic spot early on at Tanglewood is a must. (btw, do you see the fancy candelabra in the background?)
Our picnic arrangement. On the menu:  curried chicken salad; cheese platter; watermelon; tuna salad; fig spinach salad; orzo and artichoke salad; and a chilled bottle of Rose we had no problem finishing.

Berkshires, I shall return.  Perhaps in the fall when you have more color on you.  

~ Nancy

Having Nancy guest blog for me was such a treat!!! Doesn't she write so beautifully?  I keep telling her she needs to have her own blog!  Thank you Nancy for putting up with me and writing this lovely post. 


I have a good number of friends who are constant travelers.  I already have my next guest blogger lined up.  She just doesn't know it yet.  Hah!  


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