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Trip Report NY & Berkshires-brief trip

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Just back from a week in southern New York plus weekend in Berkshires. We were in a Road Scholar program (formerly Elderhostel) located in Warwick Center. You drive through Florida to get there! Yes, we are "older" but Road Scholar no longer has an age requirement...check it out www.roadscholar.org for yourself.

Warwick Center has many such programs year round plus camping for children. It is located in a beautiful valley on Rte. 94 at the NY-NJ border. Modest comfortable rooms with absolutely fabulous menu. We had been here awhile back for a Christmas program that included the decorated Hudson River mansions and trip to the City for Rockettes and Christmas Carol shows. http://warwickcenter.com/Elderhostel.htm#July

Our week had three courses...Shakespeare's "The Comedy of Errors" taking in a production at Boscobel on the Hudson www.boscobel.org/main.html ...also
www.hvshakespeare.org/content/comedy-errors. Lovely setting overlooking the valley.
Second course on Gilbert & Sullivan with a glance at their comedic work. Not everyone is a G&S fan but I like such silly stuff. http://www.musicalslol.com/gilbert.htm

And the third course on peacebuilding took a hard look at violence and how this can be
faced. One example is seen in the efforts in Liberia. We saw a video on how the women of the country organized to oust corrupt dictator Charles Taylor and work with rebel forces. www.praythedevilbacktohell.com/synopsis.php

Also we took a bus tour into New York City (only about an hour away) to tour the United Nations building and Ground Zero. We snacked at Charlie's Panini, one of many spots near the World Trade Center site. Everyone should appreciate the many ways the UN agencies promote humanitarian and peace efforts. www.un.org/en
We had not seen the World Trade Center site where considerable construction is going on. Maybe you've taken the walking tour which we did with earphones and then a stop at the museum sponsored by the families and loved ones of victims. Very moving with so many photos displayed. www.tributewtc.org/index.php

Friday we left for our Berkshires weekend. Stop off at Woodbury Common with the many outlet stores located just south of Newburgh on NY Rte. 32.
www.premiumoutlets.com/outlets/outlet.asp?id=7 About 160 miles to Pittsfield. But big mistake...staying in a Travelogue. We went for cheap and that's what we got plus shoddy. Should have been back in Crowne Plaza where we were a year ago.
(www.fodors.com/community/united-states/the-berkshires-a-wonderful-week.cfm)
Excellent dinner at Broulee's in downtown Pittsfield which is struggling to make a come back. www.brulees.com

Nice breakfast next morning with an old friend and her sister at On a Roll on same street. (http://onarollcafeandcatering.com) When I say "old friend" I mean this lady walked everyday to grade school with my wife in Cedar Rapids in the 1930s. We decided to join Harriett and Jan going to Jacob's Pillow. Now I'm not much into modern dance but this was Spanish tango and I loved it. Enjoyed a pre-performance talk also.
www.jacobspillow.org/festival/2011/07/tangueros-del-sur
Once in the five piece band the pianist was spotlighted and picked the piano strings for a selection and then the cellist joined him...just amazingly beautiful.

What else to do in the Berkshires? So many choices in various towns as you know.
http://berkshires.org http://berkshires.com Yet to get to Norman Rockwell Museum
but I bet some of you have...www.nrm.org. Well, we enjoyed an excellent dinner at a place called 99 www.99restaurants.com Great menu featuring selections for $9.99.
Then we headed south to a comedy by Capitol Steps. Yes, it is a satire on absolutely
every politician and official...can you believe what they do? This is in a room at a resort.
www.capsteps.com www.capsteps.com/live/cranwell2011.html My wife has never laughed so hard!

Breakfast at reliable Friendly's. And then our reason for being in the Berkshires: a performance by Joshua Bell and the Boston Symphony on Sunday afternoon. Yes, Tanglewood is a popular place for people to sit out in the lawn with a picnic. A bit warm but doable and many did. We just got a snack in a tent and had excellent seats inside the shed. The concert: first piece an original called "Loco" which really got the slide trombones working. Then Joshua Bell and Bruch's "Fantasia on Scottish folk melodies for violin with orchestra and harp." Wow! Just great, with marveous accoustics. But wait...after intermission was Tchaikovsky's "Symphony # 6" the Pathetique. I was about ready to weep after the final 4th movement...after ready to cheer after the 3rd movement!
Back to the car and home. I found you can get the program notes on line.
www.bso.org/images/program_notes/20110710.pdf OK, enough...not staying at "that" motel but instead home. Yes, Mass Pike back to Boston area had traffic delays but sometimes very little. Snack at McDonalds. Safely home. Whew.

Bil in Boston

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