“Climb the mountains and get their good tidings. Nature’s peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees. The winds will blow their own freshness into you, and the storms their energy, while cares will drop away from you like the leaves of Autumn.” ~ John Muir
My Labor Day weekend was spent in the Berkshires in western Massachusetts. There’s just something about the area…it is welcoming, and peaceful. The locals are friendly and the scenery is breathtaking. A wonderful place to relax, and renew the spirit.
The above John Muir quote sums up the feeling quite nicely.
The weather was perfect. Warm sunny days with azure skies, and just a hint of Autumn’s approach on the cool night breeze.
One of the highlights of my time in the Berkshires was a visit to the Natural Bridge State Park in North Adams. (Check back in a couple weeks for my pictures from this park in which I viewed numerous natural wonders.)
When wandering through the local towns nearby where I stayed in Lanesborough, I strolled through an outdoor craft fair at Lilac Park in Lenox. One of the first booths I visited was Sandra’s Specialties, a crafter who incorporates beads and gemstones into her handmade jewelery. And come to find out while admiring her work, she lives in Grafton, MA – the next town over from where I live. We joked that I drove all the way to Lenox to buy a lovely pair of paua shell earrings that were actually made right down the street from my home. I also saw an old acquaintance at the fair, harpist Jerry Marchand, whose latest CD, Merlyn, I just had to buy.
I visited the Berkshire Museum on Sunday afternoon, but my interesting experience there will be saved for another post. Trust me, you’ll get a kick out of it. 😉
After evening swims in Pontoosuc Lake, it was time for dinner at Ye Olde Forge Restaurant, where I must say that I enjoyed some of the best chili and chicken wings I’ve ever had.
Courtesy of John the bartender, who treated us tourists as if we were regular customers and old friends, I am now a member of the Forge’s beer club. The restaurant has over 300 different beers. A number of on-tap selections changes regularly and with the seasons, and they have coolers stocked full of different beers, from local breweries to imports. Over the course of two evenings, I sipped:
an Allagash White Ale (Maine)
Cooper’s Pale Ale (Australia) – in honor of my favorite Yellow Lab, Cooper
Post Road Pumpkin Ale (New York) – Pumpkin Ales are one of my favorite fall treats!
Spaten Lager (Munich)
Cooper’s Extra Stout (okay, so they had no brews named after my black lab, Mollie)
and a Wychwood Brewery Hobgoblin Ale (England)
That’s 6 different beers on my beer club card. Only 44 more to go in the next couple of years in order to earn my name engraved on an Olde Forge beer club member stein, heralding my accomplishment of sampling 50 of their selections. I suppose I’ll have to visit the Berkshires quite often then, and stay within walking distance from the Forge!
The return trip was made leisurely along the Mohawk Trail, making several stops along the way to enjoy the view, and visiting a few of the gift shops. At the Eastern Summit Gift Shop in Florida, MA, there was a display of Native American artwork. As Native American spirituality is quite similar to my Wiccan spirituality, I’ve always had an affinity for Native American crafts. I instantly fell in love with this little hand-painted pottery vase, so needless to say, it was another one of my purchases. (The picture with my tiny key-chain digital camera doesn’t quite do the coloring justice.)
So there you have it, some highlights from my trip to the Berkshires. More to follow when I’ve gotten my pictures developed.
Oh, and lest I forget when I post my pictures, one of my stops along the Mohawk Trail was to pay homage to the Great Spirit along with the “Hail to the Sunrise” monument.
Photo by John B.
“Hail to the Sunrise Monument depicts a Mohawk Indian looking to the East with arms uplifted to the Great Spirit. The 900-pound bronze casting is erected on a nine-ton boulder. It is a monument to the Five Indian Nations of the Mohawk Trail. The inscription on the arrowhead tablet at the statue’s base reads: ‘Hail to the Sunrise – In Memory of the Mohawk Indian’. The memorial included a pool with 100 inscribed stones from various tribes and councils from throughout the United States.”
“Keep close to Nature’s heart…and break clear away, once in awhile, and climb a mountain or spend a week in the woods. Wash your spirit clean.”
~ John Muir