Saturday, April 3, 2010

The Berkshires

Today the weather is beautiful here in Hoboken. I asked my mother yesterday when we were going to open the house in the Berkshires. She replied whenever we wanted to. HOORAY!!! Spring is really here when that's her answer to me.
When I was a little girl, we went to the house every single weekend. Spring, Winter and Fall, we would leave every Friday after my dad got home from work drive the 3 1/2 hours up and spend all day Saturday and most of Sunday up there.
The day after school got out for summer break my mother and sister and I would pack up the car and drive up and spend the whole summer up there coming back to the city the day before school began. My dad would drive up to be with us on the weekends.
Our house is in a very rural area and our house is open field on two sides and woods on two sides. We have no internet service, cel phones don't work and we don't get cable TV.
Fun is found in galloping on our 5 1/2 acres of property, going swimming at Center Lake, picking Blueberries, taking long walks, finding frogs and lizards, seeing bears, wild turkey and deer in our field, waking up to hear the beautiful dairy cows down the road, sunrises, playing with the hose, running barefoot in the grass, freaking mommy out by chasing her with a slug, watching the bats hunt at dusk and seeing the millions of beautiful bright stars fill the sky.
Doing all the things that cannot be done living in the city.
Of course we will always head into Pittsfield which is the closest urban area and it's about 40 mins away from us. We have long long standing tradition of shopping at TJ Maxx and then going to Friendly's. Lordy how I love Friendlys. Summer is the only time of the year we go and I always always get the same thing. Fishamajig and a Reese's Peanut butter cup sundae.
I love that I can share the place I have so many amazing wonderful memories of with my own boys.
This summer I'm hoping to send PJ to camp Becket. It's the brother camp to the all girl sleep away camp I attended for 5 years and then worked at for a year. He can't go as a full time camper till he's in 2nd grade but I think if he can go to the day camp this year and next year he will be 100% ready for Sleepaway when the time comes.
Lion too if we could ever get him OUT of diapers. He's all of a sudden making fantastic strides so fingers crossed that he can go to camp too this summer!
After 3 hours on the road we know the journey is almost at an end when we see this sign on the Mass Pike.
This is our house. The barn next to it was built as a place for my dad to have his apple press (he used to make us apple cider and apple sauce from the apples on our trees in the field) and his potting wheel and kiln. A few years ago they renovated it and turned it into a guest house. When the boys and I are up over the summer my mother sleeps out there.
Our property. 5 1/2 acres with apple trees that need serious help but still draw all the deer in the fall.
This is Center Lake. When I was a little girl we would wake up, have breakfast and head to the Lake. We would spend all day there and swim all day with our friends. We still spend most of our days with those same friends who now have children close to my guys ages. One of the families keep a Kosher home and so we often go to their place for BBQ's and get togethers.
Even now 30 years later we still do the same thing. It's one of the things I love about the Berkshires. Time has stood very still up there and if it does move, it's awful slow so the changes are gradual.

As I mentioned the town our house is in is super itty bitty. Population 500. Roads stand quiet and empty much of the time and when a car drives by you always wave at the driver. We are able to let the hounds off the leashes, the kids don't have to hold hands and I've taught them to listen for cars and when they hear one we yell "CAR" and stand to the side of the road.
We have an almost 3 mile loop walk that we do and part of it is on a road that is shut to cars as it's dirt that's eroding and you would destroy your car if you tried to drive on it.
It's lots of hills and you get a good workout. It's also beautiful and I look forward to walking it every day. Quite often when you walk, you pick up a canine pal or two that doesn't belong to you. Our hounds love the company and I love that the dogs always know when to go home and how to get there.(The dogs in these photos are our hounds. Humphrey is the darker one and Georgie is the lighter gal)
Blueberry Picking. I have wonderful memories of my dad and the summer he decided to make his own jellies. Raspberry, Blueberry, Blackberry. He made them all. I remember him working so hard and sweating like a crazy man over the boiling jars. The end result though? Lord was that good stuff. I don't think I'll ever attempt it but I do buy fresh homemade when I see it because it's so superior to the stuff on store shelves. Same with maple syrup. As a little girl we used to tap the trees and take the sap to be made into syrup at the farm down the road. As a result I'm a Maple Syrup snob. I can't eat the fake stuff. Real or nothing for me.
Last summer we took the boys for the first time and Lion did super well but didn't understand that the berries were supposed to stay IN his bucket and so he kept dumping them out!
Carms Restaurant in Chester Ma. Another family tradition. We've been going there since my sister and I were PJ and Lion's ages.
It also hasn't changed in the 30 years we've been eating there. The boots are far too small for normal sized human beings, the food isn't outstanding but it's good and cheap. The decor is exactly the same as when I was little. They recycle greeting cards to use as checks. My mother was amused at their choice of cards for our bill.
The Berkshire Museum is a wonderful way to spend a rainy afternoon. They have an aquarium in the basement with a touch tank, the have a place where you can dig for dino bones, a gem room and a lovely art collection. After the museum we go to King Kone for Ice Cream:
We also have the  Middlefield Cemetery to explore. It's the goth mom in me that drags her children there. Actually it's really beautiful and most of the headstones there are from the 1800's some even older.
Another good rainy day activity is the new FunZone in the Berkshire Mall:
Lots and lots of time is spent at the library and then reading aloud and together the books we get:

Summer truly cannot come fast enough for me...


LoveANewIdea said...

Loved reading about the Berkshires from another perspective! Found your blog because Berkshire Museum shared your Berkshires post on their Facebook Fan Page. Nice blog!

PS I love Carm's too!

Diana said...

I had NO idea they did this!!! Can you send me a link or put one up here?
I love the Berkshires!