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A Long Weekend in the Berkshires - Trip Report

A Long Weekend in the Berkshires - Trip Report

Old Aug 26th, 2012, 07:09 AM
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A Long Weekend in the Berkshires - Trip Report

A Long Weekend in the Massachusetts Berkshires
August 16-19, 2012

Every year, a group of friends from Stony Brook University spends a long weekend in the Berkshires. One person does all the planning. She buys tickets and makes reservations and we enjoy the fruit of her labors. Since the whole weekend costs approximately $1000, I won’t be giving specific prices for the pre-booked hotel, events and meals.

This year, we were fortunate to enjoy one of the most beautiful weekends of the summer. We boarded the Port Jefferson/Bridgeport Ferry ($45 for car and driver, $15 for each additional passenger) on Thursday, August 16 and drove north on Route 7 to Great Barrington. This picturesque town has many interesting shops. The sidewalk is decorated with flowers and the shops have artistic displays. We purchased some jewelry, then drove on to Pittsfield, Massachusetts where we met a few other friends and had dinner in Elizabeth’s Restaurant ($75 for dinner and wine). This restaurant specializes in delicious vegetarian fare and has an entertainingly whimsical menu. After dinner, we headed for the Cranwell Resort where Capitol Steps (the group that puts the “mock in democracy”) entertained with their satire of the latest “news”. We then drove on to the Williams Inn in Williamstown, where we stayed for three nights.
The following morning, we took a lovely walk around the area. There are many choices for a stroll, one of the most interesting being the Williams College Campus. This college, established in 1798, has lovely historical buildings, an excellent art museum and a large, modern theater space.

This morning however, we chose to take a six mile walk along Route 7. We had breakfast in the Moonlight Diner which is decorated with memorabilia from the l950’s. We then drove 45 minutes east on Route 2 (The Montauk Trail) to the beautiful artist’s community of Shelburne Falls. The road takes you past bucolic scenery and panoramic views of the surrounding mountains.


Shelburne Falls is famous for its Bridge of Flowers. An old stone bridge has been converted into a virtual botanical garden. The town also boasts The Pot Hole, a waterfall created of granite during the glacial age. Artists and artisans occupy shops in the quaint little town. A world-class glass blower sometimes demonstrates his craft in the Salmon Falls Artisan Showroom, but he was not in residence when we were there.


We returned to Williamstown and attended a performance of A Month in the Country by Turgenev. The next morning, we met at the nearby Clark Museum for a docent’s presentation and some very interesting exhibits, including one of recently archeological discoveries from northern China, and another which compared Sterling Clark’s photographs of China taken in l908-9 with photos of the same venues as they exist today.

Breakfast today was at the Chef’s Hat Diner. They have a huge menu and a choice of delicious omelets prepared to order. In the afternoon, the Stockbridge Sinfonia presented a free concert at the Rockwell Museum in Stockbridge. It featured a fine young trombone player. You can purchase lunch there, stroll the sculpture-filled grounds, visit the museum and see Norman Rockwell’s studio.

We had dinner at the Church Street Café in Lenox. The restaurant was almost completely booked when we called for a last minute reservation, but they accommodated us graciously in the indoor dining room. We were unable to enjoy the porch with its view of the flower-filled garden, but we were able to enjoy the nicely prepared food. ($110 with a bottle of wine).
Saturday night’s Tanglewood concert was an 80th birthday tribute to John William, who not only composes but was the conductor of the Boston Pops Orchestra from 1979-1995. The orchestra performed for a record crowd of close to 30,000 people who sat either in the shed or on the lawn enjoying the music and the beautiful weather. Guest soloists were Yo Yo Ma, Jessye Norman and Gil Shaham. Testimonials, including ones from Presidents Clinton, Obama and Stephen Spielberg were projected on the giant screens.


Sunday morning, The Williams Inn provided our group with a spectacular buffet brunch. Following a culinary treat, we savored an audiovisual one - an energy-filled performance by the Brazilian modern dance/hip-hop group, Kafig.

After a 2 hour drive back to Bridgeport, we caught the ferry for the ride home. The Berkshires is a virtual feast of cultural events, quaint towns and natural beauty. Not far from Boston and New York, it is no wonder that it is the perfect choice for a mini vacation!

Pictures available at http://community.webshots.com/user/irmart The Berkshires
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Old Aug 26th, 2012, 07:39 AM
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Apologies - it's the Mohawk,not the Montauk Trail. You can't take the Long Islander out of me!!
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Old Aug 26th, 2012, 11:01 AM
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So many Williams! Sounds like a good time. Thanks for the report.
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Old Aug 26th, 2012, 02:31 PM
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Nice report!
Just a small correction, Elizabeth's is not a vegetarian restaurant and serves wonderful fish and meat as well as their renowned pastas and salads.
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Old Aug 26th, 2012, 03:05 PM
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Wonderful report! We were in the area in July and agree that it is perfect for a delightful weekend. Did you have great fireworks at Tanglewood after the concert?
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Old Aug 26th, 2012, 07:32 PM
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What an awesome trip! I love the Berkshires in the summer. Thanks for sharing.
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Old Aug 27th, 2012, 05:27 AM
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Sounds like a most pleasant weekend in one of the most beautiful areas of the country.
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Old Aug 27th, 2012, 05:43 AM
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Partypoet, where did you all stay (without the price ? Are the food prices per person, per couple or ?
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Old Aug 27th, 2012, 06:07 AM
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Sounds like a great trip. I hadn't noticed your misnomer of the Mohawk Trail until you pointed it out...
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Old Aug 27th, 2012, 09:35 AM
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We stayed at the Williams Inn. I'm not sure about the price since we probably got a group rate. The food prices are for two people. We didn't have fireworks at Tanglewood because it wasn't the last weekend of the summer and it was a Saturday night.
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Old Aug 27th, 2012, 12:07 PM
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We were at Tanglewood on Sat 7/14 and there were great fireworks at the end of the concert.
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Old Aug 27th, 2012, 12:24 PM
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7/14 was the night of the 75th anniversary celebration for Tanglewood. Their biggest event of the year is "Tanglewood on Parade" which closes with the War of 1812 Overture accompanied by fireworks and the lighting of 3 Civil War Cannons. Highly recommend this nite. Its always a Tuesday night in the end of July.

Elizabeth's used to have the best white pizza until a few years ago when they got rid of pizza...

Is anyone else curious why Rome is listed as the Destination in this Post advertisement?
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Old Jul 17th, 2013, 09:24 AM
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A
Webshots has shut down and, unfortunately, is no longer available.
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