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Adventures in the Berkshires and Southern Vermont

WINTER 2020

Arlo Guthrie is a photographer at heart The tennis tournament that ‘almost beat’ Fred Friendly Is there a Pilgrim in your ancestral tree? Photographers train their lenses on ice shanties Hanukkah dishes to make and share

Featuring: Friendsgiving | XC ski season: What to expect | Snowshoeing basics | Christmas tree 101


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TABLE OF CONTENTS

7 13 29 36

Are you a Mayflower descendant?

Hanukkah dishes to make and share

A photographer at heart

Something extra to look forward to Friendsgiving celebrations provide new traditions, food options 

10

Christmas tree 101 Everything you need to know before bringing home a tannenbaum 

16

Photographers train their lenses on ice shanties Brattleboro Museum & Art Center exhibits offer a unique focus on winter 

42

Fred Friendly in the Berkshires

4 From the editor 5 Contributors Online Exclusive:

Celebrate the season

Visit upcountryonline.com

Strap on some snowshoes What you need and need to know to get out on the snow 

44

Cross-Country Crescendo A promising season ahead despite (or due to?) COVID-19 

46 UpCountryOnline.com | 3


FROM THE EDITOR

With the holidays fast approaching, I’m sure many of you have thought long and hard about how and with who you’ll be celebrating this year. Will you stay at home? Or, will you travel? Will you welcome family and friends at your dinner table, or share meals over Facetime, Zoom and Skype? There’s no one-size-fits-all answer in this time of prolonged uncertainty, so I wish you the safest possible solution to spending the holidays with family. The holidays always make me contemplate the meaning of family, those we choose to spend our lives with. Our families are made up of the people we choose, not necessarily the families we’re born into. Sometimes, those two groups overlap. Sometimes, they exist separately, and you get to celebrate Thanksgiving twice or three times, depending on how many Friendsgivings you celebrate (story, page 10). And for many of us, the food on the table — with its familial and religious traditions and significances — is just as important as the people around it. (Turn to page 13 to learn more about specific foods associated with Hanukkah and a few recipes too!) Knowing where my ancestors come from has always piqued my interest. And up until a few years ago, I was under the impression that the vast majority, if not all of my relatives immigrated into this country in the early 1900s, either arriving at Ellis Island from Ireland, Germany and Austria or crossing the border from points north into Maine. After taking an Ancestry.com DNA test and really digging into my family tree, I learned differently, tracing a line of my paternal grandmother, originally a Prindall from Maine, back to the Rev. William Worcester, first pastor and founder of Salisbury, Mass. Then, last year, after speaking at the local chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution, I learned from a newly met cousin (third cousin, twice removed) on my maternal grandfather’s side, that I have family that fought in the Revolutionary War. And still further back, through that same lineage are relatives that arrived aboard the Mayflower in 1620. This year, 2020, marks the 400th anniversary of the Mayflower arriving in Cape Cod Bay with its cargo of weary travelers - Pilgrims and families indentured to the Massachusetts Bay Colony. I am among the 10 million Americans who can claim at least one ancestor arrived on the Mayflower. (Read our story, pages 7-9.) My family descends from two Mayflower families — the Billingtons and the Whites. Family research can be such fun. In my case, I find the Billingtons more interesting to research because John Billington, my 12th great-grandfather, was the first man in the Plymouth colony tried by jury and hanged for murder. His sons, John Jr. and Francis (my 11th great-grandfather), were so ill-behaved they are the subject of a children’s book, “Two Bad Pilgrims.” For those of you who will be with family and friends this holiday season, remember to cherish those moments, because if 2020 has taught On the cover: While season pass sales typically us anything, it’s to appreciate the begin in full force following Thanksgiving, many time we can spend with each other. nordic centers began selling passes as early as Happy Holidays! September this year. Still, despite the singular context of 2020, the season’s success will again rely largely on weather conditions. Berkshire Eagle File Photo. Story, page 46

4 | UPCOUNTRY MAGAZINE | Winter 2020

Jennifer Huberdeau, Editor jhuberdeau@berkshireeagle.com

Publisher Fredric D. Rutberg

frutberg@berkshireeagle.com

Vice President Jordan Brechenser

jbrechenser@berkshireeagle.com

Executive Editor Kevin Moran

kmoran@berkshireeagle.com

Editor Jennifer L. Huberdeau

jhuberdeau@berkshireeagle.com

Proofreaders Meggie Baker Margaret Button Lindsey Hollenbaugh Art Director Kimberly Kirchner

kkirchner@berkshireeagle.com

Regional Advertising Managers Berkshire County, Mass.: Kate Teutsch kteutsch@berkshireeagle.com

Bennington County, Vt.: Susan Plaisance

splaisance@manchesterjournal.com

Windham County, Vt.: Lylah Wright lwright@reformer.com

UpCountry Magazine is a publication of New England Newspapers Inc.


CONTRIBUTORS

FORBES

Cherise Forbes [“Warm your hear with olive oil this Hanukkah,” page 13] is an award-winning writer and photographer based out of Peru, Vt. Her articles, creative writing, and photography have been featured in publications throughout the region as well as online. Follow her work, culinary pursuits, and outdoor adventures on Instagram @Cherise.Forbes. Ben Garver [“A photographer at heart,” page 29] has been photographing the Berkshire hills and people for The Eagle since 1994. In his spare time, Garver enjoys hiking and biking with his Australian cattle dog, Cheyenne.

GARVER

O’CONNOR

OLSEN

Kevin O’Connor [“Cold filtered,” page 42] is a Vermont native and Brattleboro Reformer contributor. Francesca Olsen [“Something extra to look forward to,” page 10] is a writer and communications consultant who lives in North Adams. She writes a regular monthly food column for the Berkshire Eagle in addition to regular feature stories for New England Newspapers. She is a quilter/textile artist and is part of MASS MoCA’s Assets for Artists 2020 North Adams Project cohort. Learn more about Francesca at www. francescaolsen.com. John Seven [“Is there a Pilgrim hiding in your ancestral tree,” page 7] is a writer living in North Adams, and author of many children’s books including “A Rule Is To Break: A Child’s Guide To Anarchy.”

SILVIA

Tony Silvia [“A journalism legend’s life on Stockbridge Bowl,” page 36] is a professional journalist, author, and professor of journalism and digital communication at the University of South Florida. He spent over two decades in broadcast journalism, as a general assignment, political and consumer reporter, in addition to TV news anchoring. His work has been featured worldwide on CNN, CNN-International, Headline News, and the Airport Network, CBS’ “Face the Nation,” Sirius Radio, Newsweek and Sports Illustrated. He is the author of nine books, including the forthcoming “Dyslexia and the Journalist: Battling a Silent Disability,” which features a chapter on Fred Friendly, who was an undiagnosed dyslexic.

SMITH

Jenn Smith [“Bring a tree home for the holidays,” page 16] worked at The Berkshire Eagle as a reporter and editor for 15 years. She’s now a freelance writer in the Berkshires, and is the new engagement editor for the Education Lab at The Seattle Times. While she’ll be relocating to the Pacific Northwest, the Berkshires and Shires of Vermont will always be in her heart.

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Jo Loosemore, curator of “The Mayflower 400: Legend and Legacy’ at the Box Museum in Plymouth, England, stands in front of a wall of photographs of individuals who all can claim to be descendants of the original passengers of the Mayflower and descendants of the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe, who lived in the area where the Pilgrims landed. Photo: The Associated Press

Is there a Pilgrim hiding in your ancestral tree? 400 years later, Mayflower descendants are still among us By John Seven PITTSFIELD, Mass.

When Margaret Rotti’s children finally were all in college, the Pittsfield resident found some time for herself and decided to spend part of it

researching her ancestry on her mother’s side. She didn’t know what to expect, but her efforts eventually led all the way back to the Mayflower. “I wasn't really on the hunt for the Pilgrims, even at that time,” Rotti said. “But, when I

did get to the Pilgrims, there are 12 generations between me and the immigrant ancestor.” The New England Historic Genealogical Society estimates that 10 million Americans are direct descendants of Mayflower passengers. Only 37 of

those passengers have descendants, and Rotti is one of them. Rotti traced her line all the way back to William and Susanna White. William died during the first winter, but Susanna survived with her two children, newborn Peregrine, UpCountryOnline.com | 7


The Mayflower II, a replica of the original Mayflower ship that brought the Pilgrims to America 400 years ago, is docked in Plymouth, Mass., days after returning home after extensive renovations. Photo: The Associated Press

who was born on the Mayflower while anchored in Cape Cod Bay, and older brother Resolved, from who Rotti’s lineage moves forward. (Their half-brother, Josiah Winslow, from Susanna’s marriage to Edward Winslow, was governor of the Plymouth Colony from 1673 to 1680. He also was the first native-born governor of an American colony.) But, at the beginning of the process, Rotti didn’t have a clue about any of that. “My mother, who'd since passed away, had always mentioned that as far back as she could know about her father's family, they'd always lived in Williamstown as long as there was a Williamstown,” Rotti said. “But, she never had any-

thing written because the Town Hall, with the records in it, had burned.” Rotti started her research at the Silvio O. Conte National Records Center, which has since closed and transferred its records to the Berkshire Athenaeum. She began tracing her family tree, starting with the Chamberlains, her mother’s family from Williamstown. She traced them back to 1799; getting as far back as the first census taken in the American colonies. Then, she hit a wall. From there, she was directed to the athenaeum as the likely source for the information she was hunting. “The collections in that local history department, I have to say, are second only to the New England Historical and

8 | UPCOUNTRY MAGAZINE | Winter 2020

Genealogical Society library in Boston,” Rotti said. “I’ve been to Hartford, Conn. I've been to Worcester; I've been to Providence, R.I. I've been up to Montpelier, Vt. I've been all around looking at records. And that's the best collection.”

STARTING YOUR OWN SEARCH Ann-Marie Harris, acting supervisor of the Local History and Melville Collections at the athenaeum, says she doesn’t see a lot of people seeking out their Mayflower heritage — the most popular request is for Ellis Island information. But, that could change, as 2020 marks the 400th anniversary of the Mayflower’s journey

and arrival in Plymouth — a commemoration being marked in Massachusetts, by Plymouth 400 in partnership with the Wampanoag Nation, and abroad by Mayflower 400 in the United Kingdom and Mayflower 400 in Leiden, Holland. Regardless of what heritage you are seeking out, Rotti and Harris stress that the best path to uncovering your genealogy is to start with yourself and work your way back. “If you start with Pilgrims and work forward, you're going to get lost somewhere, you're not going to even know that you're alive,” Harris said. Before embarking on any research, she suggests compiling lists of information that you already know through family lore, or even hearsay, and use that as your guide. If you get as far back as the Pilgrims, she said, there are plenty of resources to help you on your way. Prime among these are databases that can be accessed on-site through the athenaeum. Thanks to its subscription to the New England Historical and Genealogical Society, researchers can access its American Ancestors database, as well as the Great Migration databases that trace immigration to New England in the 17th century, as well as several others. And there is plenty of printed matter available through the athenaeum that you can’t find online, like “The Pilgrim Descendant,” a collection of volumes focusing on Mayflower genealogy that began publication in 1899 and recently has been reborn through the New England Historic Genealogical Society, in conjunction with the Massachusetts Society of Mayflower Descendants. Other publications recommended by Harris are James Savage’s “A Genealogical Dictionary Of The First Settlers Of New England, Showing Three Generations Of Those Who Came Before May 1692,” as well as the reference book “Mayflower Families Through Five Generations, Descendants


of the Pilgrims Who Landed at Plymouth Massachusetts,” and the recently-released “The Mayflower 500: Five Hundred Notable Descendants of the Founding Families of the Mayflower” by Gary Boyd Roberts. Harris also points to MayflowerHistory.com and CyndisList.com as helpful online resources for your search. Another local resource is the Berkshire Family History Association, of which Rotti is secretary. It offers records from not only Massachusetts, but also from New York, Vermont and Connecticut and, with membership, offers help in your research. When researching your family history, Rotti recommends having patience and the understanding that the information you’re searching for can

come from unexpected places. Her own search for Susanna White’s maiden name — it was needed to trace further back than the Mayflower — had been ongoing for 25 years. But, it wasn’t until a recent article in American Genealogist on the 400th anniversary of the Mayflower’s landing, she said, that she found her answer. “It was a researcher from England who had found out what her maiden name was,” Rotti said. “I’ve been searching everything I could on this side, and never found it.”

GENEALOGICAL SOCIETIES Often, a goal of those who trace their lineage back to the Mayflower is to join The Mayflower Society. Rotti said she

had the required proof to join the Daughters of the American Revolution but is still putting together information to join The Mayflower Society. “Their proof requirements are even more stringent than the Daughters of the Revolution’s were,” Rotti said. “It's documentary proof; they don't want secondhand information.” Harris cautions those who have this goal keep track of citations for every bit of information found, focusing on firsthand sources for that information. “We get people that come in and say, ‘We used the blue book that had silver writing on it,’ ” she said. “You have to really make sure you write what source you got things from, especially if you're going to apply for any kind of membership like The Mayflower Society,

because they're not going to take 'blue book with silver writing on it.' ” But, is joining The Mayflower Society worth the work? Many believe it is. Beyond the prestige of joining a genealogical society, there’s the knowledge and the satisfaction of tracking your ancestry back to the Mayflower that makes it all worthwhile. Plus, the search doesn’t have to end with the Mayflower. There is plenty more to engage anyone who loves the work involved. “There are all these different avenues that you can pursue,” Rotti said. “Once you get into it, it's amazing how far you have to go afield to find some of these little tidbits of information.” •

This image made available by the Library of Congress shows a reproduction of a painting by Jean Leon Gerome Ferris titled “First Thanksgiving” made between 1900 and 1920. It’s estimated that about 10 million Americans and 35 million people worldwide can trace their ancestry to 37 of the Mayflower’s 102 passengers from its 1620 voyage.

UpCountryOnline.com | 9


Something extra to look forward to Friendsgiving celebrations provide alternative traditions, food options By Francesca Olsen NORTH ADAMS, Mass.

It started as a housewarming party held the day before Thanksgiving, in a spacious apartment above Dottie’s Coffee House in Pittsfield. Autumn Bragan, a food blogger and passionate host, no longer lives in that apartment but she’s continued to host a Friendsgiving celebration with 20-ish friends every year since, always on the day before Turkey Day. “It turned into this event where everyone got to have a sit-down dinner before spending time with their families,” she said. You’ve probably heard of, or even attended, a Friendsgiving — an opportunity for friends to come together for a more informal (and perhaps more fun) gathering around Thanksgiving. Some hosts take advantage of the holiday by inviting friends whose families are too far away to visit regularly; some hold raucous potlocks that go well into the evening; some labor over expansive dinners because they don’t get the opportunity to cook for family. Makayla McGeeney, a digital marketing consultant and the main taproom supervisor at Bright Ideas Brewing in North Adams, attends an annual Friendsgiving as a member of the Common Folk Artist Collective, usually the day after the official holiday. Though attendance varies, 25 to 30 people usually show up with side dishes or Thanksgiving leftovers in hand. “You get to taste what other people’s idea of Thanksgiving is,” McGeeney said. “It’s the most

fun dinner out of the weekend — it allows you to experiment with a traditional meal you wouldn’t normally be able to.”

POTLUCKS SHARE THE COOKING Bragan’s Friendsgiving is also a potluck, though she originally volunteered to do all the cooking. “I love hosting anything with food,” she said. “I’m like, just come over, we’ll have a nice dinner. I love all kinds of dinner parties. I was sending people this list of food that was taken care of, and they were like, ‘No! You focus on hors d'oeuvres and the turkey, we’ll bring the rest.’ It’s worked out really well. Friends have even donated turkeys in the past, and always bring plenty of sides.” McGeeney’s Friendsgiving usually employs a group chat to coordinate potluck contributions, with staple meals and alternative takes on traditional Thanksgiving fare, like a bacon-wrapped turkey cranberry salad instead of cranberry sauce, and nostalgic favorites like Rice Krispies Treats. (Bright Ideas crowlers, of course, are also among the offerings.) Both Bragan and McGeeney’s celebrations count guests with dietary restrictions, particularly vegans and gluten-free folks. Since these are potlucks, it’s not difficult to include plenty of applicable dishes in their Friendsgiving spreads. “Whenever we do anything together, the first question is, ‘Is there anyone who can’t eat this, this, or this?’” said Bragan. Usually, she’ll adapt a main course so it is gluten-free (fairly easy to

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do with a turkey), but also really likes making gluten-free appetizers, including crostini topped with butternut squash and different cheeses, which she said were extremely popular last year, and that most people couldn’t tell the difference.

FRIENDSGIVING 2020

This year’s Friendsgivings will likely look different than those past. Bragan is planning a treat drop-off. “I’m bad when it comes to video-calling,” she said. “I was thinking, just me personally making baskets and bringing them to everyone, being able to see everyone for a few minutes. I like to see people!” She’s planning pastries (including the gluten-free variety) and will create a Facebook event and invite friends to sign up for deliveries. She blogs about food on Instagram @thefoodiackiller, and will probably post some of her creations there leading up to the holiday. It’s hard to gather 25-30 people for any event at the moment, but the Common Folk group may decide to have smaller gatherings simultaneously, McGeeney said. Many regular attendees live on the same street in North Adams or within walking distance, making this easy to coordinate. “I’m definitely going home to my family,” McGeeney said. “There may be more, smaller gatherings. Friendsgiving has really made me appreciate friend groups like this, who think about each other as family. It’s something extra to look forward to.” •


FRIENDSGIVING FOOD IDEAS

• 1 smoked pepper jelly chèvre log

WRAPPING FOOD IN BACON

• 2 tablespoons butter

Not a recipe, per say, but who better to pilot a bacon-wrapped dish with than good friends?

Hors d'oeuvres wrapped in bacon Use standard bacon for this, not thick cut, and wrap one slice (or a half-slice, depending on the size of your item) tightly around your food of choice, using a toothpick to keep things nicely packaged. Works great with dates, asparagus, apple slices, shrimp, scallops, water chestnuts, mini hot dogs, mushrooms, etc.

Larger foods wrapped in bacon A chicken, turkey/turkey breast or meatloaf is an ideal candidate for this treatment. Bacon will stick to your meat of choice, but go for a nice lattice pattern on top since it’s a holiday. You probably don’t need toothpicks to hold bacon on, because the natural fats will act as a kind of adhesive, creating a crispy coating for your dish. Cook your meal in the same way you would if it wasn’t bacon-wrapped. For a chicken or turkey, remember to baste regularly — the bacon is not going to stop your poultry from drying out.

• 1 yellow onion, sliced • 1/2 cup seedless raspberry jam • 1/4 cup of water

DIRECTIONS: Warm the butter in a pan and caramelize the onions; do this slow and low so that you don’t burn them. In another pan, combine the jam and water and simmer until a sauce forms. Cut the baguette into slices and toast at 475 F for about 10 minutes. Smear the crostinis, first with the goat cheese; then top with onions and drizzle with the sauce.

CINNAMON HONEY BUTTER MASHED SWEET POTATOES (Recipe courtesy of Autumn Bragan)

INGREDIENTS: • 3 medium to large sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed • 3 to 4 tablespoons butter • 1/4 cup honey • Cinnamon, to taste (up to 1 teaspoon)

SENSITIVE SNACKS

• Milk, up to 1/3 cup

GLUTEN-FREE CROSTINIS

DIRECTIONS:

(Recipe provided by Autumn Bragan)

INGREDIENTS: • 1 to 2 gluten-free baguettes (can be found in the frozen section of your grocery store if not in the regular bread sections) • For the goat cheese and onion topping:

Boil the sweet potatoes until tender, then drain. In a bowl, add the cooked sweet potatoes, butter, and honey and mash together. As you mash, add in some milk to create a creamy texture. Add in 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon, stir and taste. If you want, add more cinnamon to your liking, but don’t use more than a full teaspoon! Photo: Metro Creative Graphics


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Warm your heart with olive oil this Hanukkah By Cherise Forbes Fried foods are at the heart of Hanukkah dinner, and close to my heart, too. After all, who doesn’t love a perfectly fried potato? Devouring dishes drenched in oil isn’t just a holiday indulgence, however, as the tradition harkens back to the very origins of Hanukkah, which commemorates the “miracle of oil” that followed the Maccabean Revolt. After Jewish rebels successfully reclaimed their freedom from the tyrant king of Damascus, they turned their focus to rededicating Jerusalem’s Second Temple only to find that there was only enough olive oil to keep the menorah lit for one night. Somehow, against all odds, the flames burned for eight in what’s now remembered as the miracle of Hanukkah. Fittingly, olive oil has historically played a starring role in many Hanukkah meals as well. Fried treats like potato pancakes and jelly donuts remain popular today, though the ingredient is also prominent in un-fried dishes. A truly global tradition, the flavors of this holiday are as complex and multifaceted as the faith that founded it. Some of the most endearing dishes, however, juxtapose fresh Mediterannean flavors with those native to Ashkenazi (or, Eastern European) fare for a sweet and savory feast doused in delicious oil. Photos by Cherise Forbes

UpCountryOnline.com | 13


HONEY CHALLAH BREAD In ancient times, olive oil was used for everything from cosmetics to religious rituals. In my kitchen, it’s used for just about everything as well — especially challah bread. While some variations substitute the classic EVOO (extra virgin olive oil) for fats like butter, it’s hard to compete with the earthy sweetness found in the combination of honey, sea salt and olive oil. Plus, every good meal needs a fresh loaf of bread to pass around the table. True, challah may not be a Hanukkah specific food, but it’s a staple of many families' celebrations nonetheless. In fact, you’ll likely find challah on the table for every kind of occasion, down to the weekly shabbat dinner. This recipe combines an easy-to-master dough with a braid that looks fancy, but can be toned up or down depending on your skill level. Start it early in the day so it can rise and, after dinner, save the leftovers for the best french toast you’ve ever had.

and two of the eggs to the yeast mixture and whisk until combined. Measure out the four cups of flour by carefully spooning it into your measuring cup. Top the flour off with ¾ teaspoon of salt and combine. Knead the dough by hand until it is soft and smooth, about 10 minutes. If it remains tacky. add more flour until the desired consistency is reached. Once you’re done kneading, either clean your mixing bowl or grab a new one and cover the inside lightly with olive oil. Place your ball of dough in the bowl and cover with plastic wrap or a damp cloth. Leave the dough to rise in a warm spot for about two hours. Gently poke the dough to deflate, and transfer it to a work space that is also lightly covered with olive oil. If kneading by hand, rub a little into your palms as well. Decide what kind of braid you want to do—three, four, or even six— and divide the dough into even sections accordingly.

SHALLOT AND POTATO LATKES Latkes are said to originate from the story of my favorite historic heroine, Judith. An aspirational figure for fierce, cheese-loving women everywhere, it’s said that Judith took down the Assyrian general Holofernes — whose forces had brought Judith’s town to the brink of death. How did she do it? By tempting him into a stupor with delicious, cheesy pancakes (and plenty of wine). Eventually, limited access to cheese in Eastern Europe made potatoes the most prominent feature of the latkes we know and love today. These golden, crispy treats are a Hanukkah classic, and the addition of sweet shallots really makes these pancakes perfect. If you’re feeling daring, channel your inner Judith and add shredded parmesan for some dangerously delicious latkes.

INGREDIENTS: • 2 russet potatoes, peeled • 1 medium shallot, julienned

INGREDIENTS:

• 2 large eggs

• ½ cup warm water (your sink’s highest temperature setting will work fine)

• ½ cup flour • 1 ½ teaspoon sea salt • olive oil, for frying

• 1 tablespoon active dry yeast (and a sprinkle of sugar)

• ¼ cup Parmesan, optional

• 6 tablespoons olive oil

DIRECTIONS:

• ¼ cup honey • 3 large eggs (use two for the dough, and set aside one for your egg wash) • 3/4 teaspoon sea salt • 4 to 4 ½ cups flour

DIRECTIONS: In a large mixing bowl, combine the warm water and yeast with a sprinkle of sugar. Leave the mixture to proof for about 5 to 10 minutes, until a hefty layer of foam has formed on top. Add the olive oil, honey

Roll each section of dough into a long rope and combine them at the end to begin your braid. For a three-strand braid, cross each section of dough as if you were braiding hair and combine them again at the end. Gently move the dough to a parchment paper lined baking sheet, cover with oil-brushed plastic wrap, and let rise for an hour or two. If your house is cooler, lean toward two hours. Preheat your oven to 375 F when you’re about halfway there, and allow a pizza stone to warm up with it if you have one (if not, your baking sheet will work too). Once your dough is ready, combine the last egg with 1 teaspoon cold water and brush over the bread. Place the loaf in the oven with an extra sheet of parchment paper (two total) underneath to prevent the bottom from burning. Bake for 20 minutes, then tent the dough with aluminum foil. Cook for another 10 to 15 minutes, or until the bread is a deep golden-brown color.

Golden tzimmies

14 | UPCOUNTRY MAGAZINE | Winter 2020

Using a box grater, shred your potatoes. While you want them small enough to be manageable, you also don’t want them to be too flimsy or your latke may turn to mush. Rinse your potatoes in cold water and squeeze as much moisture out as possible using a cheesecloth or paper towel. Cut the shallot into similarly sized shreds (julienned) and combine with the potatoes, eggs, flour and sea salt in a large mixing bowl. Fill a frying pan (cast iron is best), about ⅛-inch high


with olive oil and warm over medium heat. To test if your oil is ready, throw in a stray shred of potato. If it immediately begins to bubble, you’re ready to go. Scoop up a spoonful of your potato mixture, form a ball, and place it in the pan. Flatten the ball with the back of your spoon, and repeat as many times as your pan will allow (you’ll need to fry a few rounds). Fry each side until it’s a deep, golden brown and set aside to drain on paper towels. Serve warm with sour cream and applesauce.

GOLDEN TZIMMES Tzimmes (pronounced tsim-mes) takes slow-cooking to the next level, and the smell of savory root vegetables roasting alongside rich stone fruits all afternoon will infuse your kitchen with an irresistible aroma. Surprisingly sweet, tzimmes is a yiddish dish traditionally prepared with schmaltz (also known as chicken fat) whose name roughly translates to “a big fuss.” But, while tzimmes does take time to prepare, there’s nothing fussy about the bright and versatile dish with ingredients that can easily be improvised. Use what you have on hand, or adjust your tzimmes to your taste!

INGREDIENTS: • 3 large sweet potatoes, peeled • 6 to 9 carrots, peeled • ½ cup prunes, pitted • ½ cup apricots, unsulfured • 1 orange, zested and juiced • ¾ cup water • ¼ cup brandy • ¼ cup olive oil (or schmaltz) • ¼ cup honey • Salt and pepper, to taste

Shallot and potato latkes

DIRECTIONS: Preheat your oven to 350 F and begin by chopping your sweet potatoes and carrots into equally sized chunks Combine the vegetables with the prunes and apricots and place in a large, covered baking tray (foil works too). Mix together the orange zest, orange juice, water, brandy, olive oil and honey to make a syrup. Pour the syrup over the fruits and vegetables in the tray, season with salt and pepper to taste, cover, and cook for one hour. Uncover and stir after one hour. Return the tzimmes to the oven for approximately one more hour, stirring every 15 minutes or so. Let cool before serving.

SUFGANIYOT These festively fried treats may just be the best of them all, especially for those with a bit of a sweet tooth. Sufganiyot goes beyond the classic jelly donut with the earthy addition of — you guessed it — extra virgin olive oil. Eaten around Hanukkah for centuries throughout both Europe and the Mediterranean, sufganiyot has become a global favorite. Freshly fried in a sea of olive oil, this heartwarming dessert will remind you why

this ingredient — and the miracle surrounding it — continues to be celebrated.

INGREDIENTS: • 1 tablespoon active dry yeast • 1/2 cup warm water • 1 orange, zested and juiced • 2 large eggs, separated • 3 to 4 cups flour • 4 tablespoons sugar • 1 teaspoon sea salt • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract • 1 tablespoon brandy • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature • strawberry jam or other desired filling • powdered sugar for dusting • olive oil for frying

DIRECTIONS: In a large bowl, proof the yeast and water with 1 tablespoon of sugar until a foam forms on top Whisk in egg yolks one at a time and then add the orange juice, orange zest, brandy, vanilla, about 2 cups of the flour and the remaining sugar. Knead

for about five minutes or until combined. Begin adding the butter 1 tablespoon at a time, kneading thoroughly each time. Add flour between each addition of butter until the dough is smooth and continue kneading on a floured surface for about 5 minutes, until the dough is no longer sticky. Cover the inside of a clean mixing bowl with olive oil and roll the ball of dough until it is lightly coated. Cover and let rise for approximately one hour. Roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface and use a small mason jar top (or a cookie cutter) to section out rounds about 2 inches thick. Transfer to a baking sheet and allow the rounds to rise for another hour. When they’re just about ready, heat 2 inches of olive oil to 350 F in a tall pan with a thick bottom. Once the oil is heated, carefully drop the first round of dough into the pan using tongs. Allow to fry until each side is golden brown and then set the donut on paper towels to dry. Once all of your donuts are complete, use a piping bag or cleaned condiment container to fill them with strawberry jam or the filling of your choice. If your filling is too thick (or too boring) combine with a drop of brandy before using. Top with powdered sugar. • UpCountryOnline.com | 15


Bring a tree home for the holidays Everything you need to know before bringing home a tannenbaum By Jenn Smith POWNAL, Vt.

After years of planning, patience and careful cultivation, Golden Acres Farm in Pownal, Vt., has transformed into a happy little choose-andcut Christmas tree spot. "I absolutely love Christmas," said Katie Vandale, a paramedic and captain for the Bennington Rescue Squad. She co-owns and operates the seasonal tree farm with her boyfriend, Murray Lewis Jr., who helped her transform the 5-acre former horse pasture into an orchard of balsam and Fraser fir trees. They did so by planting about 100 5-year-old saplings in 2008; a sapling takes between 6 and 8 years to mature. Now they have about 1,500 trees in various stages of growth. So when visitors come and choose a Christmas tree, they're taking home a tannenbaum with at least an 11-year history. While pine and spruce are also common species of New England Christmas trees, Vandale said she prefers to grow firs, known for their longevity, dark green color, signature aromatics and soft needles. Vandale said she doesn't expect many changes in business amid the COVID-19 pandemic. "In fact, I think there will be a lot more people looking to get outside this year to have that getting-a-Christmas-tree experience," she said. Still, patrons should expect to wear a facemask and follow Centers for Disease Control and Prevention public health guidelines. Whether you're planning to visit Golden Acres, a nod to the farm's resident golden retrievers, or another local tree farm, here are Vandale's suggestions for preparing to take home and care for a live tree for the season.

BEFORE YOU GO … Select a space: In choosing a place to display your coniferous centerpiece, be sure it's away from baseboards, fireplaces and other heating sources, but close enough to an electrical outlet, should you plan to plug in Christmas lights.

Measure twice, cut once: Know the maximum width of the display space, and be sure to factor in to the height added inches from the tree stand and topper. Be sure you have a vehicle big enough to transport the tree, too. Remember that, once cut and exposed to indoor warmth, the branches will settle downward and out a bit.

Plan for your pets: If you've got rambunctious dogs like Vandale, use a sturdy stand and perhaps additional anchors. If your pet tends to chew, consider putting your tree inside some sort of barrier, like a baby gate. The new pet-proofing trend? Anchoring or suspending a Christmas tree from the ceiling. Move over, Mass MoCA maples!

Caring for your tree … If you choose a pre-cut tree, be sure to have at least a half-inch tall disc cut from the base to freshly expose the trunk so the tree can absorb more water. Be sure to get the tree home and into a stand with water within 6 to 8 hours of cutting. Cut Christmas trees can drink up to a gallon of water a day, so check its stand and water it regularly. A cut tree will typically keep from four to six weeks until it starts significantly shedding its needles and browning. Skip the additives, like sugar, aspirin or pre-bottled chemicals. Vandale says they don't really do much to extend tree life significantly and could be a danger to pets or kids if they ingest the treated water.

Learn more about choosing a local tree farm, tree and care here: mass.gov/service-details/ christmas-tree-farms christmas-trees.org/treeselection.htm

Call ahead: Double-check a tree farm or stand's hours by calling ahead or visiting its website or Facebook page. Also check to see whether the tree farm accepts credit and debit cards, or cash only.

pss.uvm.edu/ppp/articles/xmastree.html vtchristmastrees.org •

What to bring … Dress for the weather: Choosing and cutting a Christmas tree takes time. Be sure to bring gloves, a hat and a face covering; wear sturdy boots for the mud and snow, and warm layers of clothing.

Gather your gear: Bring a saw, sled and rope to secure your tree for transport, as recommended by the farm. Have a camera ready to capture the magical moments. A Thermos of hot cider or cocoa can also make moods merry and bright.

16 | UPCOUNTRY MAGAZINE | Winter 2020

Ian DeAngelis and Alex Babcock haul a Christmas tree cut in the field at Ioka Valley Farm in Hancock, Mass. Berkshire Eagle File Photo


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Dover, Vt.

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20 | UPCOUNTRY MAGAZINE | Fall 2020

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793 Upper Dover Road, Marlboro, Vt. 5 bed • 3.5 bath • 5,500 sq. ft. • $2,745,000

Atop 200 acres of conserved land, near skiing & lakes, sits this remarkable estate. Featuring three residences, two ponds, stables, trails, pasture, a studio/event barn, horse barn, equipment building, in ground pool, stone walls, patios and perennial landscaping. All these take a back seat to absolutely stunning long range easterly views. Each building has been renovated

to the highest quality. The main house features original beams, dual master suites, four fireplaces, a spacious kitchen and a three-car garage. The stone lodge has an open concept great room with stunning architectural elements, upscale kitchen, two fireplaces, two bedrooms, two full and two half baths, cupola-like office, a gym, garage and deck. The charming summer cottage

22 | UPCOUNTRY MAGAZINE | Fall 2020

has two bedrooms, a bath, a large keeping room with fireplace, country kitchen and wraparound porch. The horse barn has a large hayloft, and the equipment building is perfect for tractors and machinery. Every residence is served by high speed internet & wifi cameras. $2,745,000 • MLS #4820438

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85 Orchard Street, Brattleboro, Vt. 3 bedrooms • 2.5 baths • 2,554 sq. ft. • 0.46 acres • $250,000

Stress-free living on Orchard Street, Brattleboro’s most sought-after neighborhood! Picture yourself in this light-filled, two-level townhome just right for those thinking of agingin-place with choice of a master and connected full bath on the first floor. The tree top deck lets you enjoy sunlight on the golden leaves of Fall or hang with friends over a glass of wine in the dappled sunlight of summer. Enough room for everyone! 2,500 square feet means room for kids or grandkids upstairs in the two huge bedrooms and central lounge area. Modern and clean, with hardwood floors throughout. Perfect set up for work-from-home with super-high speed cable internet. Large two-car garage. You’re 15 seconds from I-91 (Exit 2) and two minutes from downtown for restaurants and shopping. You will love the convenience of having the yard and gardens cared for, drive plowed, town water and sewer service, town trash and recycling pickup, and all building maintenance done. Need even more room? There’s a full basement with plumbing pre-hooked. And so much to do… Join the over 100 local art studios and galleries, live performance, classical and jazz music that Brattleboro has to offer. For the active, you’re seconds from the extensive Retreat trail system, and walking distance from the Vermont Deli, Memorial Park (With Winter ski-lift), and the Brattleboro Farmer’s Market. Try out an easier lifestyle amid everything Vermont has to offer. MLS #4809932

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120 Hinesburg Road, Brattleboro, Vt. 3 bedrooms • 3.5 baths • 3,921 sq. ft. • 16.7 acres • $525,000

Amazing location! On a paved road sitting high on a hill, this 17-acre property abuts a large, fenced orchard with no view of neighboring homes. Minutes to town and Interstate 91, yet close enough for food delivery to your doorstep. The landscaped lot is perfect for celebrating birthdays, weddings, family reunions, or large gardens or pasture. Plenty of room on the land for hiking, 4-wheeling, or potential future development. Home is built strong with 2x6 exterior walls and is extremely well insulated. Windows are extra-tall and triple paned for maximum efficiency. The full-length deck is great for taking in views of surrounding hillsides and various wildlife. Breathtaking views during foliage season. The kitchen with a full island is open to the family room for good conversation while cooking. Three bedrooms with three and a half bathrooms, a master and bath the whole width of the home plus a room on the second floor for exercise, crafts, gaming, etc. The living room overlooking the deck and the garden view is huge and can fit the whole family. The first-floor office with high-speed Wi-Fi is perfect for working from home. Walk-out basement includes a full-size bathroom, kitchen area and large family room for the Man Cave or mother-in-law apartment. The 2.5 car garage has radiant heat tubing in the floor, engineered expansion beams overhead for wide-open space with plenty of storage above. A must see for even more fab features! MLS #4825323 26 | UPCOUNTRY MAGAZINE | Fall 2020

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A photographer at heart Arlo Guthrie shares his passion for photography

Arlo Guthrie does a sound check before a Shenandoah concert at the Guthrie Center in Great Barrington. Shenandoah, in various forms through the years, has been playing with Guthrie since 1975. Photo by Ben Garver

By Ben Garver WASHINGTON, Mass.

About two years ago, I invited myself to photograph Shenandoah and Arlo Guthrie at the Guthrie Center in Great Barrington. Before the show got going, Arlo looked at my gear and asked me if he should get the new Nikon camera. I had no clue, but spent the next few days comparing the new

camera bodies to other camera bodies and looking up charts and tables that indicated that he should buy the camera ... because it is awesome. Answering a question for Arlo Guthrie is not easy. He is famous, and his gatekeepers are his children, and understandably, protective of him and his time. Anyway, I earnestly tried, through his business office, to convey the message: “Buy the

new Nikon.� But, I never really thought the message got very far. I see Abe Guthrie, his son, quite a bit in the field. So, I figured I could just tell Abe to tell Arlo to buy the new Nikon. You see, Arlo is a darn good photographer. He gets up early, knows where to find wildlife and photographs the grand theaters he plays at. It is all on Flickr, at flickr.com/photos/ folkslinger, and it is awesome.

Two years later, I finally had a chance to talk to Arlo during an interview with The Berkshire Eagle about the launch of a fundraiser benefiting the Guthrie Center in Great Barrington. I told him to buy the new Nikon, and he told me he was happy with his old one. It turns out, he never got the message, but he did agree to let me ask him about his passion for photography. UpCountryOnline.com | 29


“The great hall in advance of our sold-out last annual Thanksgiving show [at Carnegie Hall in New York City.]. It was also the last show of the calendar year.” (Taken on Nov. 30, 2019. All photos by Arlo Guthrie)

Editor’s note: The following interview was conducted via email, prior to Guthrie’s Oct. 23 announcement that he will no longer perform on stage or tour. It has been edited for length and clarity.

Ben: I think of you as a storyteller; what do you try to communicate with your photographs? ARLO: My photos aren’t really meant to communicate to anyone outside of myself and a few friends. They are just something I like doing for me. That hasn’t stopped me from making some of them public; it’s just not intended to become public.

Ben: What was the first camera you owned? ARLO: A Kodak Instamatic.

Ben: When did you first develop an interest in photography? ARLO: When I was about 10 years old, I wanted a camera for my birthday. I have no memory of why I wanted one. My mother said she’d get me one if I agreed to take photography classes from a neighbor, who had a darkroom set up in his garage. I agreed, although it seemed crazy to have to take lessons for a Kodak Instamatic. Nonetheless, I learned how to develop film from Manny Leb-

30 | UPCOUNTRY MAGAZINE | Winter 2020

ensfeld in his garage, along with a few other neighborhood kids. I grew up and left home around 1965, when I was 18, and I had long lost contact with Manny Lebensfeld back then. Then, out of the blue, a few years ago, we ran into each other at Elizabeth’s (restaurant in Pittsfield). It had been almost 50 years since I’d seen him. He had seen my Flickr and social media sites with photographs and took some pride that he was the one who had showed me the ropes early on. Because of his help, I was much better able to use the digital cameras that are constantly improving. I actually know what I’m doing — I mean, at least I’m familiar with the terms. He was quite an inspiration.

Ben: Did you take a camera to Woodstock? If so, what did you photograph? ARLO: I don’t think I went to Woodstock with a camera. It was enough bringing the instruments.

Ben: Did you have a bus during the Woodstock era? Can I photograph your buses? ARLO: I got our first bus, a GMC Scenic Cruiser, in 1976, seven years after Woodstock took place.


“My piano in the morning light as the sun comes up over the hills.” (Taken on Aug. 22, 2020)

Ben: If you had all access at Woodstock, in a job like mine, looking back now, what pictures do you think you would have taken, should have been taken then? ARLO: There were moments, like when the promoters decided in a meeting on the field that the concert should become a free event. I think someone actually did film that.

Ben: You mentioned on Flickr that you purchased your first color digital camera

in 1994. What kind of camera was it? What caused you to transition to a color digital camera at that time? ARLO: It was a long time ago, so I may be mistaken, but the first digital cameras that could be used with a computer were black-and-white only. I had one of those, probably a Photoman from Logitech. The photos were really small and had almost no resolution. But, fairly quickly, over the next few years, the technology advanced so that the pictures were bigger, more resolution, and color became possible. I simply moved

along with the times, acquiring the latest thing available to the general public. Unlike the film cameras, the digital photos were instantly editable. I loved that feature. It’s like playing in the darkroom without the chemicals.

was outstanding for capturing the morning light. I’d get up very early, never knowing what, if anything, would be in view. The photos of the Indian River are some of my best. The wildlife, as well as the natural beauty, was inspiring.

Ben: Looking at your Flickr photos, you seem to take more photos of sunrises than sunsets. Is there a particular reason why?

Ben: When you’re on the road, is there something other than venues that you tend to take photos of?

ARLO: The landscape photos I’ve uploaded to Flickr go back over a decade, and during that decade, I lived along the Florida east coast with a view that

ARLO: Not much. The venues, I thought, would be a challenge, as they were usually dark when we arrived. But, the architecture, of some of the turn-ofthe-20th-century theaters, was UpCountryOnline.com | 31


“The old church has been our home venue for over 20 years. Seen here it’s set up for our Troubadour Series.” (The Guthrie Center in Great Barrington. Taken on Aug. 14, 2018.)

worth documenting. They don’t build anything like them anymore. Most of the time, it was just taking pictures of dinner and sending them to people for fun. Every so often, we’d get a break at some nice place, and I’d get one of the cameras out and go looking around. They were few and far between. But, places like along the beach in Hawaii were inspiring. There were not enough of those times.

last Thanksgiving show at Carnegie Hall, you photographed it. Looking at this photo, almost a year later, what’s it like to look at that photo now? Does it evoke any particular memories of past performances? Or particular emotions?

Ben: Last year, before you performed your

ARLO: Funny, I was just looking at those this morning. We had no idea at the time, last

32 | UPCOUNTRY MAGAZINE | Winter 2020

November, that there would be no shows at Carnegie Hall this Thanksgiving (2020) weekend. It was my last in a series of shows I began in 1967. Every year, my wife, Jackie, and I would pack up the kids and head to New York City after Thanksgiving. Last year, I decided to end that tradition; 50-plus years being enough. We had no idea of the coming pandemic, so it would’ve been our last show there anyway. Jackie passed away 8 years ago, and now Carnegie will have to wait until it can reopen safely. Who knows when that will be?

I’m happy we had a great night in 2019, and a great tradition that I was able to do for so long.

Ben: You were in Florida at the start of the pandemic. What were you photographing then? ARLO: We had just finished a gig in Tennessee when I returned to Florida for a short break. During that break, I took lots of photos. We also had to deal with venues closing all over the world. We’ve


“Just a shot of the farm where we live during the first hints of Fall 2020.” (Taken Sept. 12, 2020)

“I was out walking and saw this individual. So, naturally I had to take a picture. Beautiful colors…” (Taken on July 25, 2020.)

been out of real work since then. I sold my place in Florida and returned to the farm in Massachusetts, where we’ve been holed up for months. Not a bad place to endure a pandemic.

Ben: What are you photographing during the pandemic? Has the pandemic and physical/social distancing impacted or transformed your photography?

ARLO: My style of photography hasn’t really been impacted by current events. My home here is out in the middle of not much. I’m looking forward to the fall and the gorgeous colors that are coming. I got interested in butterflies this past summer and in other creatures in the wild. I tend to shoot whatever is within sight. And whatever captures my attention.

Ben: Now that you’re back in the Berkshires,

have you changed what you're photographing? Is that change based on a change in locations? Seasons? ARLO: I like documenting events photographically. I also like seeing where we were five years ago; 10 years ago. It’s fun to see the old farm in all of the transitions it’s been through. The church [Guthrie Center] in Housatonic is likewise always going through physical transitions, as we slowly keep

the restoration in progress. I document these things with pictures. And every once in a while, the sunrise will produce spectacular colors, and I’m there with a camera. There’s plenty to do that keeps me busy.

Ben: Do you have a favorite place to take photographs? ARLO: Not really; I do tend to return to certain places at different times of year to capture the magic. • UpCountryOnline.com | 33


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A journalism legend’s life on the Stockbridge Bowl The tennis tournament that ‘almost beat’ Fred Friendly

36 | UPCOUNTRY MAGAZINE | Winter 2020


By Tony Silvia The Berkshires long has been an oasis for those seeking to escape the congestion and occupational pressures of life in the big cities, especially for those in the public eye. From Fanny Kemble, the famed 19th-century actress, to current residents James Taylor and Meryl Streep, and second-homeowners such as Yo-Yo Ma, the ability to live almost anonymously is a powerful allure, an elixir beckoning from afar. That was true for one of America’s most legendary journalists, the late Fred Friendly, president of CBS News from 1964 to 1966 and co-inventor of the investigative news documentary. Like others before and since, Friendly and his wife, Ruth, were drawn to the Berkshires for its natural beauty, quiet, solitude and cultural bounty. The couple owned a cottage at 7 Oak St. in Stockbridge, bordering the Stockbridge Bowl — less than 2 miles from the gates of Tanglewood in Lenox. It was the idyllic getaway the high-powered — some might say work-obsessed — Friendly needed to recharge before returning to the confines of CBS News headquarters on bustling West 57th Street in Manhattan in New York City. And it proved to be the perfect relaxation spot, all except for one visit — an especially hot Fourth of July, a day spent playing one too many games of tennis that ended at the Berkshire Medical Center.

An acclaimed journalist Friendly was a well-established journalist when he arrived in the Berkshires. Before becoming CBS News president, he had produced “See It Now” with his broadcast partner, Edward R. Murrow, and later, “CBS Reports.” Among his greatest accolades was producing the March

9, 1954, broadcast of “See It Now” — a critical look at Sen. Joseph McCarthy and the House Committee on Un-American Activities — often referred to as “television’s finest hour.” The broadcast, now seen as one of the most influential programs of its time, hastened the end of McCarthy’s communist witch hunt. It was the subject of the 2005 Oscar-nominated film “Good Night and Good Luck,” depicting the courage Friendly (played by George Clooney) and his broadcast partner Murrow exhibited while challenging the despot McCarthy. In his 20s, Friendly, who grew up in Providence, R.I., attended Nichols College in Dudley, Mass., about a twohour car ride from Stockbridge; a proximity that might have helped forge his connection to the Berkshires. Even as a young man, Friendly was known to be driven, a perfectionist, someone who had high expectations of himself and others. Once he became president of CBS News, the need for a respite from the pressure cooker of daily crises and decision-making became more crucial. Longtime associate Marty Levin, who worked with Friendly in 1979 producing the Columbia Journalism School’s “Fred Friendly Media Seminars,” recalls that his boss seldom separated work from pleasure. “The only time I socialized with him was around work events. I can’t ever remember being at a nonwork-related event with him.” He can remember having some fabulous dinners with the Friendlys, but only after threehour meetings. “We never had a purely social occasion.” While Friendly could enjoy himself, “he was always on,” Levin says. “He was one of those people I think of like Steve Jobs … who refused to take the world as it was but fashioned it in his own aspirations. He’s also one of those people I think of as bigger than life.”

Former CBS News President Fred Friendly speaks April 29, 1987, in the U.S. Capitol rotunda in Washington, D.C., where he is honored by the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Council. Friendly and the late correspondent Edward R. Murrow were given the award for their reporting of the liberation of Nazi death camps in spring 1945. LEFT: Fred W. Friendly is pictured at Washington National Airport on Feb. 15, 1966. In New York City earlier in the day, Friendly resigned as president of CBS News, in a dispute over the network’s decision to air an episode of “I Love Lucy” instead of live coverage of a Senate hearing on the Vietnam War. Photos: The Associated Press

UpCountryOnline.com | 37


Friendly, center, Mike Wallace of CBS’ “60 Minutes,” right, and Columbia University President George Rupp chat before the Alfred I. DuPont-Columbia University Awards ceremony Jan. 27 1994, in New York City, where Friendly received the Gold Baton Award, the highest honor, for his five-decade career in journalism. Former CBS News correspondent Walter Cronkite, left, and his former boss, former CBS News President Fred Friendly, chat at a cocktail reception before the Alfred I. DuPont-Columbia University Awards ceremony in New York on Jan. 27, 1994. At the ceremony, Friendly received a Gold Baton Award for his five-decade career in journalism. The award, established in 1942, honors excellence in broadcast journalism. Photos: Associated Press

In physical stature, Friendly was, indeed, large, at 6 feet, 2 inches tall, but it was his imposing nature, as a journalist, a boss and, in his last position, as a professor, that characterized a man who could drive others, and himself, to the brink of exhaustion. “No one could say ‘no’ to him,” is how Levin put it. “He simply didn’t accept ‘no’ when there was something he was passionate about and wanted to accomplish.”

It was, he adds, one of the reasons behind Friendly’s success. “If he wanted to accomplish something, your saying ‘no’ was a piece of data, not a turndown.” That applied to everything he did, including recreational activities, tennis among them. And that is where the most often-told tale of Friendly’s connection to the Berkshires resides — beginning on a tennis court and ending at Berkshire Medical Center in Pittsfield.

38 | UPCOUNTRY MAGAZINE | Winter 2020

‘An Overachiever’s Tale’ Friendly wrote about the episode in a July 1979 column, “An Overachiever’s Tale,” for The Berkshire Eagle. That month, on the Fourth of July, he and Ruth had signed up for a mixed-doubles tennis tournament at the Stockbridge Golf Club. Ruth was the better tennis player, but Fred was typically tenacious — almost to the point of his own demise.

As the tournament began, the couple anticipated being eliminated early on, perhaps after the first match of the day. (In all, they would play 70 games.) Instead, the couple readily defeated their often-younger opponents and moved up in the competition. Soon, the team of Friendly and Friendly was set to play in the quarterfinals. “Drenched, blistered and dehydrated,” they took a 45-minute break before returning to the court. It was


the first of several regretful decisions Friendly would make that afternoon. Deep into the second set of the quarterfinal match, Fred’s troubles began. “Suddenly, my chest began to ache as if a 20-pound stone was strapped to it,” he wrote. “That made my breath come in even shorter bursts. The stone felt heavier, or more like a concrete corset tightening around my chest. I was growing dizzy with moments of double-vision.” Ruth, certain that his blisters were bothering him, suggested that they quit. His reply resonates with those who knew Fred Friendly best: “I will not leave this court.” Finally, it was over, the other couple won 6-1. Handshakes were exchanged. Ruth ruffled Fred’s feathers when questioning his apparent anger with her for suggesting that his foot blisters were the cause of his struggles on the court. “It’s not my feet. It’s my chest that’s killing me,” he recounted in the column. “At least one of us suspected I was a fool.” The Friendlys returned to their cabin on Stockbridge Bowl and Fred had, what he called, a “medicinal” scotch. His chest still was pounding. Ruth, taking his pulse, could tell his heart was racing at 150 beats per minute. Fortunately, their cabin was located a few hundred yards from Camp Mah-kee-nac, a boys’ summer camp on Hawthorne Road that still exists. Ruth set off to find the camp’s doctor, who, in less than 10 minutes, had the Lenox Volunteer Ambulance Service in the Friendlys’ driveway. Suddenly, he was en route to the hospital. Along the way, he recounted seeing some of his favorite Berkshire landmarks along Route 7: “the closed Curtis Hotel, the Log Cabin, Friendly Ice Cream (no relation), the new Deli, the Baseball Pitcher, my beloved popcorn stand on The Square, North Street and the row of theaters and — suddenly — there we were

at the emergency dock of the Berkshire Medical Center.” It was determined, after multiple tests and several days’ stay, that he hadn’t had a heart attack, but an atrial fibrillation — similar, not the same, but just as potentially deadly. The episode led Fred to quip that among his CBS colleagues, “the laugh line was ‘Friendly doesn’t get heart attacks or ulcers, but he sure is a carrier.” To this day, Ruth insists that what saved her husband was chicken soup from the Berkshire Medical Center’s vending machine, the only after-hours nourishment she could find for a hungry Fred.

A friendship is struck

Among those who had a hand in Fred Friendly’s playing in the tennis tournament on that near-fatal day was Fredic Rutberg, an attorney and judge, now president and publisher of The Berkshire Eagle. “I was a young guy then and I joined the Stockbridge Golf Club,” Rutberg says. “I became the chair of the committee to organize two big tournaments every year, including the one on that July Fourth, the mixed-doubles tournament, in which it just so happened Fred was playing with his wife, Ruth. They had to play more than one round and it was a blisteringly hot July Fourth weekend. Later, I heard that, at the end of the day, he felt bad and went to the hospital. He was overdoing it.” That was the end of his personal connection to Friendly, Rutberg says, until “about 10 to 15 years later I had a note that Fred had called. The message was that they needed some zoning issues resolved involving their cottage at the north end of Stockbridge Bowl.” It was a call that would be the beginning of a friendship. Before agreeing to do the legal work, Rutberg joked with Friendly: “I said, ‘By the way, I almost killed you.’” Friendly told Rutberg, "If you can get me this permit, I'll

Fred and Ruth Friendly. Berkshire Eagle File Photo

come to teach a class for you." Rutberg, who, at the time, was an adjunct professor at the Western New England School of Law in Springfield, took him up on the offer. “He came, and it was an amazing class,” Rutberg recalled. In recent years, since Friendly’s passing in 1998, Rutberg occasionally still runs into Ruth Friendly, now 96, at various spots around Stockbridge and Lenox.

A respite from the world The Friendlys, like so many high-profile seasonal residents, left their mark on the Berkshires, just as the Berkshires left its mark on them. A 1990 Tanglewood program lists them among prominent contributors to its annual fund. The couple frequently attended Shed concerts and, at other times, enjoyed the Boston

Symphony Orchestra from the deck of their cottage. And Fred Friendly could get so engaged by the Berkshires’ ambiance that he often would put aside communication with the world outside, apologizing for his negligence in replying to a letter. In one response, he wrote: “I am flunking in correspondence. My support staff is Ruth Friendly and the two of us irresponsibly ignored the growing piles of mail this summer as we enjoyed the bucolic scene from our cottage in the Berkshires.” Even as he pondered his fate from a hospital bed after the tennis incident, Friendly remained focused on the beauty surrounding him: “The view of my beloved Berkshires from the Berkshire Medical Center is pleasant enough, but the one I cherish most is across Stockbridge Bowl at sunset. I need to work on my head, not my tennis, to make sure that miracle shows up every day.” • UpCountryOnline.com | 39


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Cold filtered: Photographers train their lenses on ice shanties Brattleboro Museum & Art Center exhibits offer a unique focus on winter

42 | UPCOUNTRY MAGAZINE | Winter 2020


By Kevin O’Connor BRATTLEBORO, Vt.

Emmy Award-winning lensman Federico Pardo has circled the globe for such clients as National Geographic and Univision. But, in his recent downtime, he has focused not on the warmth of his native Latin America, but instead on the cool sight of ice fishing in southern Vermont. “I first thought, ‘ Who would want to sit on a frozen pond for hours on end to wait for a fish?’” Pardo says. “Then I saw the look of the shanties and the landscape of winter — a world I had never seen before. All of the elements were attractive to me.” Environmental journalist Erik Hoffner boasts an equally expansive career as a contributor to publications ranging from Orion magazine to the international nature news website Mongabay.com. But, he too is happy to center his camera on the icy waters near his home in Western Massachusetts.

“When fishing holes refreeze overnight, they create fertile ground for nature’s wild artistic side,” Hoffner says. “These perfectly augered circles become worlds at once interstellar and cellular, dreamlike and tactile.” Pardo and Hoffner haven’t met but nonetheless have come together at the Brattleboro Museum & Art Center through two complementary exhibits. The first, “Ice Shanties: Fishing, People & Culture,” features Pardo’s photos alongside Vermont Folklife Center recordings of local anglers speaking about their structures and sport. Pardo came to New England via a circuitous route. He was born in Colombia, and he earned a biology degree from Universidad de Los Andes in Bogotá and a Master of Fine Arts in science and natural history filmmaking from Montana State University in Bozeman. Traveling to Vermont to visit friends, Pardo began photographing the shanties on

Brattleboro’s frozen West River floodplain in 2016, playing with long-duration exposures lit by sunset and moonlight. “Even though I had lived in the U.S. and experienced a couple of winters, I had not seen these crazy pop-up structures on the ice,” recalls Pardo, who now is based in Green Bay, Wis., but is on the road three-fourths of the year. “Everything just clicked and I started shooting.” The second show, “Ice Visions,” spotlights Hoffner’s 20-year exploration of lakes and ponds in Massachusetts. Aiming his camera downward, the Ashfield, Mass., resident noticed cracks and crannies that, photographed in black and white, come to life as eyes, stars and galaxies. Museum curator Mara Williams calls Hoffner this generation’s Snowflake Bentley, the pioneering Vermont photographer who used a microscope to capture the first image of an individual snow crystal, in 1885. But, Hoffner’s observations sound more like

contemporary Green Mountain author and activist Bill McKibben, who wrote the first book introducing the idea of global warming to a general audience. “Due to milder-than-usual temperatures during the past winter,” Hoffner says, “on many mornings I found barely a skin of new ice covering the prior day’s fishing holes. Bubbles pooled up at the surface before freezing, creating striking new kinds of formations I’d never seen before, ones that perhaps reveal the fingerprint of a warming climate.” Organizers hope the two exhibits shed new light on what many consider to be a dark season. “Pardo’s striking photographs of ice shanties and Hoffner’s exquisite, almost abstract images of frozen-over ice-fishing holes provide viewers with complementary perspectives on an iconic Vermont pastime,” museum director Danny Lichtenfeld says. “Together, they illuminate a welcome sign of winter.” •

IF YOU GO: The Brattleboro Museum & Art Center is open Wednesday through Sunday, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., with more information available at brattleboromuseum.org.

ALSO ON VIEW: The late Vermonter Wolf Kahn (pictured in this 1959 self-portrait) is one of several artists featured in the Brattleboro Museum & Art Center exhibit “Figuration Never Died: New York Painterly Painting, 1950-1970.” More information about the show, which spotlights the works of 10 inventive artists, including the late Robert De Niro Sr., is available at brattleboromuseum.org. Previous page: Federico Pardo’s “Ice Shanties: Fishing, People & Culture” pictures structures in southern Vermont. Left: Erik Hoffner’s “Ice Visions” spotlights his 20-year exploration of lakes and ponds in Massachusetts. Photos provided by the Brattleboro Museum & Art Center.

UpCountryOnline.com | 43


Jeff and Erin Neblett snowshoe at Notchview Reservation in Windsor, Mass. Berkshire Eagle File Photo

Need to escape the indoors (or your family) this winter? Strap on some snowshoes By Cherise Forbes NORTH BENNINGTON, Vt. We’ve all been there: stir crazy, unable to stand another second of holiday debates, or simply in need of some fresh air and exercise. While the average winter poses its own challenges for those looking to get outside, this season promises to be even more complicated with no end to social-distancing measures in sight. With shorter days and snowfall looming, beginners and avid athletes alike are looking to snowshoeing as a

much-needed respite from life behind closed doors. “We’ve sold more snowshoes this summer than we will generally sell in November,” said Bob Dion, two-time National Snowshoe Racing Champion and co-owner of Dion Snowshoes, based out of North Bennington. “It’s going to be a really busy year — a lot of new people will be out there.” For those new to snowshoeing, the endeavor may initially appear to be more intimidating than it actually is. In reality, just about anyone can enjoy the outdoors on snowshoes, regardless of ability

44 | UPCOUNTRY MAGAZINE | Winter 2020

or weather conditions. “It gets you out there on even the lousy days,” said Denise Dion, a National Champion in her own right and co-owner of Dion Snowshoes alongside her husband. “With snowshoeing, there’s no learning curve, you just go out your door.” As a low-impact activity, snowshoeing can be a great option for older adventurers or athletes recovering from an injury. The sport is also less technical than cross-country or downhill skiing, making it an accessible introduction to winter recreation. “ W hen you’re in the

woods on snowshoes, there’s no pounding,” Bob explained. “In the summer, there are roots and rocks on the trail, or twists and turns, but in the winter most everything is covered depending on snow conditions. It’s more forgiving.” That simplicity is also a boon in bad weather, as snowshoeing is almost always an option regardless of temperatures, according to Bob. “Even the really horrible days are enjoyable,” he added. “You’ll hear about the wind chill or the snowfall, but once you’re out in the woods it’s a lot warmer, and you’re shielded from the wind.”


“Once you get outside, you realize how glad you are to be out there — how wonderful it is,” added Denise. “There are no real skills required as long as you have a good snowshoe. It’s just like walking.”

PICKING OUT A GOOD SNOWSHOE What makes a good snowshoe? It depends on how you plan to use it, the couple explains. Generally, look for something narrow with a good binding system and solid traction. Beyond that, consider where you plan to snowshoe (rugged terrain, groomed trails, or a golf course?), how often you plan to go, and whether you’ll be walking or running before you buy. Bob and Denise recommend borrowing first, though, and asking friends who snowshoe about the equipment that they like. Snowshoe races or events can also provide a great opportunity to survey gear, as many brands bring demos for participants to try.

WOOL SOCKS AND LIGHT LAYERS Beyond a good pair of snowshoes, wool socks that can withstand some wetness are also essential, as are light layers. Try to match your footwear to the activity and choose sneakers for winter running, or light boots for hiking. You can forget the poles unless you would use them for the same terrain, and female athletes can also forgo “women-specific” gear, Denise says. “Everyone just wants the smallest, lightest snowshoe that they can get away with,” she explains. “Conditions do matter, especially if you’re going out into the backwoods where no one has been before, but other than that you just want something comfortable.” Most importantly, make sure that you’re comfortable with your binding system and how well it remains attached

to your shoes. “You don’t want to be fighting with your equipment,” Bob added. “No one wants to take off their gloves and try to fix their bindings in the snow.” Snowshoeing is also a great option for athletes looking to take their winter training to the next level, and that’s exactly how Bob and Denise found the sport. As avid trail-runners and cross-country skiers, the couple became immersed in the sport of snowshoeing when the popularity of racing began to rise over the last 20 years. Exasperated with the icy pavement and slushy sidewalks entailed in winter running, Bob found that running on snowshoes opened up more terrain and made the season fly by. “You can go out for hours and come back much more tired than if you were running on the roads or just hiking somewhere,” he said, “but you recover really quickly because there’s no pounding or impact.” More competitive types might also find the sport alluring, as snowshoe racing seems to have its own unique logic. While the racer at the front of the pack may typically run 5-minute miles, the strain of breaking in the snow evens the field. Their pace may slow to about 10 minutes on snowshoes, Bob explains, while a runner closer to the 10-minute-mile range who is at the back of the pack won’t slow down much at all. Having participated in recent National Championship races hosted by Prospect Mountain in Woodford, Vt., the Dions have seen first-hand how relative amateurs can post a challenge for even experienced athletes. “A lot of people really surprise themselves when they get out there,” Bob said. “We’ve seen a lot of local athletes get medals at those National Championships, which you wouldn’t have a chance at in most sports.” “If you’re interested in racing just try it,” Denise encour-

Denise Dion. Photo provided by Denise Dion.

aged. “You can be at the back of the pack and still get a sense of how it feels to take it to the next level.” Though snowshoeing has existed for thousands of years, its popularity has continued to grow over the last two decades

among hobbyists and competitors alike — and for some, like Bob and Denise, snowshoeing can become a lifelong passion. With a little push from a global pandemic, it seems that the sport is about to become more popular than ever. • UpCountryOnline.com | 45


Carlea Manley, right, helps get snow out of her sister Liliana’s boot as they use their day off from school to check out the cross country skiing conditions at Notchview in Windsor, Mass., last winter. Berkshire Eagle File Photo

Cross-Country Crescendo: A promising season ahead despite (or due to?) COVID-19 By Cherise Forbes

While winter has yet to officially begin, the season is already shaping up to be a busy one for nordic centers throughout Southern Vermont and the Berkshires. As social distancing measures continue, more and more people are flocking to outdoor activities that allow a blood-pumping workout, a healthy dose of fun, and a

sense of adventure — and cross-country skiing certainly fits the bill. “I think a lot more people will be looking at cross-country because it’s so diffused,” said Dana McNair, co-manager of Viking Nordic Center in Londonderry, Vt. “You don’t have to be anywhere near the crowds, and it’s so much easier to be socially distanced.”

46 | UPCOUNTRY MAGAZINE | Winter 2020

A similar spike in outdoor recreation occurred this summer, with many retailers selling out of supplies including kayaks, canoes and mountain bikes. There’s been a “huge surge” in recreational visitors at various sites operated throughout the Berkshires by The Trustees of Reservations according to Matt Krumme, director of recreational en-

terprises for the organization, with many campsites booked solid this summer. Once the snow falls, Krumme anticipates an equally busy season for Notchview, which offers 17 kilometers of groomed skiing in Windsor, Mass. “We’re anticipating a really strong season,” Krumme said. “We’ve already seen an enormous surge of people who want


to stay close to home, but still get outside.” While season pass sales typically begin in full force following Thanksgiving, many nordic centers began selling passes as early as September this year. Still, despite the singular context of 2020, the season’s success will again rely largely on weather conditions. “As long as we get some decent snow, we expect to have a solid year,” said Prospect Mountain Association President Dave Newell, who has also seen season pass sales increase earlier than usual. “This is a refreshing outdoor recreation and it’s virus friendly.” While cross-country skiing itself is relatively pandemic-safe, the logistics surrounding the sport have become a little more complicated. Service

windows are a new addition at nearly all nordic centers in the region, and many rental protocols have been reconfigured to space patrons out both in terms of time and physical distance. Now more than ever, the historically hyper-local nature of businesses like Wild Wings Ski Touring Center, in Peru, Vt., may help such protocols run smoothly. “We’re pretty good at recognizing people and their cars, so they can just wave to us from afar,” said Tracy Black, Wild Wings co-owner, who has encouraged patrons to purchase season passes in the interest of limiting traffic. “Skiers can put their boots on in the car and then just go straight to the trails and have a great experience.” While some indoor spac-

es like warming huts may be closed or limited, the change also presents new possibilities for outdoor picnicking and even old-school tailgating. “When I first started working at Viking back in the day, we didn’t really have places for people to eat, so everybody tailgated,” McNair said. “It was cool because you could look out at the parking lot around lunchtime and people would be gathered around their truck beds or lawn chairs to eat.” At Canterbury Farm, in Becket, Mass., heaters and fire pits have even been added to outdoor spaces to encourage distanced-yet-cozy gatherings of skiers, snowshoers and even ice skaters. “ We are excited about opening and getting people outdoors exercising in this

beautiful and historic place,” said Linda Bacon, owner of Canterbury Farm. “This is a safe sport during a pandemic and, with our extensive and varied terrain, one can ski without feeling like they are in a crowd.” “This might be the first year that cross-country skiing gets some props for not having lifts,” McNair concluded.

Explore for Yourself Prospect Mountain 204 Prospect Access, Woodford, Vt. 802-442-2575 Prospectmountain.com

Owned and operated by a cooperative of local citizens, Prospect Mountain offers a little something for everyone. There are trails for all abilities — you can get your bearings on the flats, or get your blood pumping by ascending the peak — and Prospect’s terrain continues to be refined year after year. Woodford is often graced with good snow, though the team at Prospect is eyeing snowmaking as a longterm goal! DON’T MISS: The grilled cheese — you won’t find a better one. With widened trails and great variety at Prospect, you may even enjoy the skiing enough to earn two!

Canterbury Farm 986 Fred Snow Road, Becket, Mass. 413-623-0100 canterbury-farms.com

While season pass sales typically begin in full force following Thanksgiving, many nordic centers began selling passes as early as September this year. Still, despite the singular context of 2020, the season’s success will again rely largely on weather conditions. Berkshire Eagle File Photo

Described by many as a “local gem,” Canterbury Farm is nestled in a stunning expanse of forest that has been carefully managed for more than 80 years — and it shows. With more than 200 acres of private land, visitors can enjoy cross country skiing, snowshoeing, and ice skating at Canterbury Farm while remaining safely distanced. DON’T MISS: The opportunity to try something new. W ith Canterbur y Farm’s knowledgeable staff and wide UpCountryOnline.com | 47


array of rentals, you can learn how to ski, try out snowshoeing, or take a twirl on the ice.

Wild Wings Ski & Yoga 246 Styles Lane, Peru, Vt. 802-824-6793 wildwingsski.com

Wild Wings offers a strong system of classic cross-country ski trails, as well as some newer skate trails, in Peru’s notorious snow pocket. There’s often snow to work with and, on top of that, the trails are expertly groomed and maintained. While Wild Wings is a favorite of local elite skiers, including Olympian and Peru native Sophie Caldwell, their trails can be enjoyed by both beginners and pros.

DON’T MISS: Your turn in the terrain park. Adolescent skiers and adults alike love the opportunity to test their skills with jumps and other challenges configured in the field across from the Wild Wings warming hut. Of course, shooting down Peregrine will also give you a thrill!

Notchview

Route 9, Windsor, Mass. 413-684-0148 thetrustees.org/content/ ski-notchview/

Notchview is one of the largest nordic centers in Massachusetts, and it’s experienced grooming team ensures that every possible day on the trails can be savored. Despite a less-

than-ideal winter in terms of snow last year, Notchview’s stewards managed to stay open for 100 days by prioritizing drainage, forest management and snow farming. DON’T MISS: The family-friendly atmosphere. This year, Notchview hopes to cultivate a social-distanced community hub outside of its lodge, complete with waxing stations, food and shopping opportunities.

Viking Nordic Center 615 Little Pond Road, Londonderry, Vt. 802-824-3933 Vikingnordic.com

Viking boasts a vast 30-kilometer trail system and,

with four separate entrance points, it was easy to avoid the crowds before the era of social distancing. You can even get the place to yourself, with the night-course available for rent by groups or families. Does your partner prefer to snowshoe while you like to ski, or vice versa? It’s no problem at Viking, where both types of visitors can explore the terrain side by side. DON’T MISS: A romantic night-ski along Viking’s lantern-lit trails. Visiting during the day? Plan a picnic atop the Troll’s Knoll trail, where you’ll find a stunning view of the West River — and maybe a few otters playing on the ice as well. •

Alice Courtright, of Bedford, N.Y., clips the boots to the skis of her daughter Margret Courtright, 4, at Prospect Mountain in Woodford, Vt. Bennington Banner File Photo

48 | UPCOUNTRY MAGAZINE | Winter 2020


PHOTO CREDITS: SNOW PLAYGROUNDS, COVERED BRIDGE, OLD FIRST CHURCH, FALL FUN, FESTIVALS, FOUR CHIMNEYS INN BY YELLOW NOTE. BENNINGTON POTTERS BY DAVE BARNUM. MT. ANTHONY COUNTRY CLUB & OLD BENNINGTON BY GREG NESBIT. © MARU LEÓN DESIGN

BENNINGTON VermontBeginsHere.com AND —

Snow Playgrounds

Oldcastle Theatre

Mt Anthony Country Club

Basement Music Series

Old Bennington

Five Covered Bridges

Bennington Museum

Hawkins House Jewelry

Bennington Monument

Vibrant Arts Scene Bennington College Hiking & Biking Trails Antiques & Shopping Hemmings Cruise-Ins Farmers Markets Robert Frost House Garlic Festival Food Truck Festival Revolutionary War History Swimming in Lake Paran Southern Vermont Arts & Crafts Festival Downtown Restaurants and Cafés Microbreweries Sonatina Piano Camps Park McCullough House Living Room Theatre

Old First Church

Fall Fun

Four Chimneys Inn

Landscapes

Bennington Potters

Destination Weddings Unique Inns — Bed & Breakfasts

Craft Breweries

14 Miles from Williamstown, MA — just over the line!


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Profile for New England Newspapers, Inc.

UpCountry Magazine, November/December 2020  

Arlo Guthrie, photographer; Fred Friendly, journalism legend; Pilgrims' descendants; ice shanties at BMAC; Hanukkah delights, and more.

UpCountry Magazine, November/December 2020  

Arlo Guthrie, photographer; Fred Friendly, journalism legend; Pilgrims' descendants; ice shanties at BMAC; Hanukkah delights, and more.