YOUR LINK TO THE SEASON’S OFFERINGS FALL/WNTR 2019
Wellness, Fitness & Fun | Where the Books Are PLUS: Fall-Winter Events | DayTrip: Albany-Troy, N.Y. And much more
A FREE publication from theberkshireedge.com BerkshiresCalendar.com
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A SAMPLING OF THE SEASONâ€™S OFFERINGS
FA L L / W N T R 2 0 1 9
FEATURES & DEPARTMENTS
TOWNS 6 Great Barrington
22 North Adams
33 Out & About: Wellness, Fitness, & Fun
44 Out & About: Where the Books Are
14 West Stockbridge
25 Southern Vermont
52 Holidays in the Berkshires
28 Salisbury, Conn.
58 Art & Performance
67 Food & Lodging
31 Hillsdale, N.Y.
7 0 Day Trip: Albany & Troy, N.Y.
Welcome to the pleasures of the Berkshires in winter . . .
Calendar .com YOUR LINK TO THE SEASONS’ OFFERINGS
Vol. 2. No. 3
The Berkshire Edge welcomes you to this issue of BerkshiresCalendar.com, an overview of what’s happening in the Berkshires from November through February (plus a bit beyond.) The magazine you are holding is a print companion to our extraordinary online calendar, which you can visit at www.berkshirescalendar.com (hence the magazine’s name) and where you will find the most complete, varied and wide-ranging event listings available anywhere in the Berkshires and its environs, from high culture to community dinners, all online, updated daily and easy to use. Our listings are complete because we invite the public to post their own events for free . . . and they do.
Marcie L. Setlow
VICE PRESIDENT BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT
James E. (Jim) Gibbons CREATIVE DIRECTOR
Leslie M. Noyes ART DIRECTOR
Kelly A. Cade WRITER
Our online calendar puts amazing search features at your fingertips. Search by date, category, venue, name of group or town, and all the events will be sorted and arranged for you. Find in-depth information, including
Phil Holland MARKETING DIRECTOR
dates and prices, for every event or venue, and click through to the box office to buy tickets or make reservations. Each listing also has a map to help get you there.
Rose A. Baumann
And while you’re at the calendar, check out the rest of The Berkshire Edge
A publication of
(www.theberkshireedge.com.) Five years old now, we are still the fastest
growing news publication in the Berkshires, read by up to 83,000 people per month — a complete newspaper, online-only and updated daily, where you can get the latest news, opinions, reviews, real estate information, births and obituaries, and insights into life in the Berkshires. Plus poems, essays, cartoons, serialized novels and lots of other surprises. We figure the more you know about what’s happening in the Berkshires, the more you’ll enjoy yourself. So enjoy!
news & views worth having
David Scribner MANAGING EDITOR
Terry Cowgill ASSISTANT MANAGING EDITOR
Emily Edelman ADMINISTRATIVE ASSISTANT
Marcie L. Setlow, Publisher P.S. We now publish three issues of this magazine per year, coming out on May 1, August 1 and November 1. We’ll have another beautiful issue for you in the spring. The online calendar, however, serves you year-round at www.berkshirescalendar.com.
The Berkshire Edge, LLC P.O. Box 117, Great Barrington, MA 01230 firstname.lastname@example.org www.theberkshireedge.com Contents Copyright © 2019 The Berkshire Edge, LLC; theberkshireedge.com and BerkshiresCalendar.com No portion may be reproduced in whole or in part without the express written permission of the publisher.
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Interior Design Landscape Architecture Design/Build Kitchens & Baths Custom Furnishings Chandeliers & Sconces Oriental & Contemporary Rugs Antiques, Mirrors & Accessories, etc
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Photographers Spotlight: ON THE COVER Special thank you to Eric Wilska and his staff at Shaker Mill Books for allowing us to take over the barn for an afternoon. So much to see, read, and explore. It’s worth a visit.
JOCELYN VASSOS Jocelyn grew up in the Berkshires, moved away, and came back for love. She shoots weddings, events, portraits, and branding photographs for businesses. Some of her wedding photos were featured in the last issue of BerkshiresCalendar.com. Jocelyn works out of Becket. See more of her work at: dearedithandlily.com.
DAVID EDGECOMB David is a photographer and IT professional who lives in beautiful Becket. He is the founder and facilitator of Berkshire Photo Gathering, a group of photographers that meets monthly at the Berkshire South Regional Community Center in Great Barrington to network, share knowledge, and support one another. The Group welcomes new members. More at: berkshirephotogathering.com.
GABRIELLE K. MURPHY Gabrielle is a Berkshires-based photographer. While she enjoys shooting a wide variety of subjects, she is especially drawn to capturing the beauty of the natural world. She’s a member of Berkshire Photo Gathering.
Housatonic Flats, Gabrielle K. Murphy
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A True Aficionado’s Spirit
Tanglewood, Gabrielle K. Murphy PHOTO CREDITS: P 33: Adobe Stock, Halfpoint P 34: courtesy Canyon Ranch P 35: courtesy Kripalu Center for Yoga and Health P 36: courtesy Kripalu Center for Yoga and Health P 37: Adobe Stock, New Africa P 38: John F. Kennedy, JFK Presidential Library; courtesy Berkshire Pulse P 39: Kilpatrick Athletic Center, Kelly Cade; Adobe Stock, snaptitude P 40: Adobe Stock, Michael Flippo; snowshoeing, Gabrielle K. Murphy P 41: courtesy Ski Butternut P 43: Adobe Stock, Roman Samokhin P 44: Shaker Mill Books, Kelly Cade P 45: courtesy The Spotty Dog Books & Ale; The Bookloft, Tim Oberg P 46: Yellow House Books, Ray Garnett; Shaker Mill Books, Kelly Cade P 47: courtesy Rodgers Book Barn P 48: courtesy Northshire Bookstore; supplied by Johnnycake Books P 49: Lenox Library, Phil Holland P 50: Stockbridge Library, Phil Holland P 51: courtesy Scoville Memorial Library P 52: Winterlights, courtesy Naumkeag P 53: Adobe Stock, nelik; Community Thanks Supper, David Edgecomb; Grateful Shaker Supper, courtesy Hancock Shaker Village; The Mount, Patricia Pin P 54: Stockbridge Main Street at Christmas, Janet Pumphrey; Woven Ornament, courtesy Hancock Shaker Village; Adobe Stock, Africa Studio P 55: Adobe Stock, nerthuz; Shop, Sip and Stroll, David Edgecomb P 56: Adobe Stock, Jon Schulte; Adobe Stock, Silvio, Adobe Stock, Moti Meiri; Adobe Stock, Nadiia P 57: Festival of Trees, courtesy Berkshire Museum; It’s a Wonderful Life, Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center; Adobe Stock, Olena P 58: David Macauley, Voyage, courtesy Norman Rockwell Museum P 59: Yuki Morales, You and I, courtesy Norman Rockwell Museum; Sarah Oppenheimer, S-334473, courtesy MASS MoCA P 60: Alexandre-Gabriel Decamps, Cypriot Woman Smoking a Chibouk, courtesy The Clark Art Institute P 61: Katie Paterson, Candle (from Earth into a Black Hole), courtesy Williams College Museum of Art; She Shapes History, courtesy Berkshire Museum P 62: Adobe Stock, Jiri Hera; Russian Ballet Theater, Swan Lake, courtesy of Berkshire Theatre Group P 63: Arlo Guthrie, DennisAndersonPhotography.com P 64: Sense and Sensibility, courtesy Shakespeare and Company; Tanglewood Learning Institute, courtesy of Tanglewood P 66: The New Pornographers, Ebru Yildiz P 67: courtesy Gramercy Bistro; courtesy Gedney Farm; courtesy Asia Luna P 70: The Empire State Plaza, Discover Albany; Albany Institute of History & Art, Discover Albany; New York State Museum, Discover Albany P 71: Experimental Media and Performing Arts Center (EMPAC), EMPAC / Paúl Rivera; Daily Grind, Phil Holland; Victorian Stroll, courtesy Rensselaer County Chamber of Commerce P 72: Troy Savings Bank Music Hall, courtesy Rensselaer County Chamber of Commerce
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best small town in America
In 2012 Smithsonian Magazine named it “Best Small Town in America,” and it just keeps getting better. Great Barrington is home to 7,100 people and is the southern Berkshires’ business and cultural hub. Visitors come for the fun shopping, superb restaurants, world-class entertainment, the year-round outdoor recreation, and the recreational (and medical) cannabis dispensary that opened in January 2019 as Theory Wellness. The dispensary, the first such shop to open in the Berkshires (there are now four others), has been a hit (so to speak) with visitors who like their weed legal and carefully sourced — and there are millions of such people within driving distance who lack legal access to this popular herbal remedy in their home states. Four more dispensaries are in the works for Great Barrington, and not all residents are happy about their best small town’s becoming “the pot capital of the Northeast.” Others point to the million dollars (and counting) that have flowed into town coffers this year from a 3% municipal tax on cannabis sales, all from a single store (do the math and gasp). Great Barrington was founded in 1766, and its historic districts and quaint residential neighborhoods are within walking distance of open spaces. The nearby village of Housatonic features renovated mill buildings, dance studios and art galleries. Great Barrington is also home to Bard College at Simon’s Rock, a four-year liberal arts “early college” with its new Bard Academy for ninth and tenth graders. Berkshire Community College also has a presence in town. 6
This is the birthplace of civil rights leader W.E.B. DuBois, and his childhood homesite is open to visitors. The historic Mahaiwe Center for the Performing Arts anchors the cultural life of Great Barrington, with a full schedule of music, theater, films and other performing arts events. New on the scene is renovated church-turned-performance-space Saint James Place, right in the center of town with the bright red door. Enjoy intimate folk concerts at the Guthrie Center on Division Street; Arlo himself has a place not far away. Catch the latest movies at the Triplex Cinema downtown, where three screens have now grown into four. Great Barrington is home to the local farm-to-table movement, and wonderful restaurants are scattered throughout town, including Baba Louie’s (now on Railroad Street), the Prairie Whale, Café Adam, the solar-powered Barrington Brewery and Restaurant, and Number 10 adjacent to the Mahaiwe. Meet up with friends for coffee or tea and a bite at Rubi’s, Fuel, and Patisserie Lenox, all on Main Street, or ExtraSpecialTeas on Elm. The Great Barrington Farmers Market moves inside to Monument Valley High School for the winter months and changes from a weekly to a monthly schedule. The Berkshire Food Co-op in its new downtown digs on Bridge Street and Guido’s on Route 7 south of town are both open seven days a week year round for top-notch produce, meat, fish, and more. SoCo Creamery serves local ice cream even when snow and ice have come to Railroad Street. As for shopping, cruise Main and Railroad for charming more news and features at theBerkshireEdge.com
TOP LEFT: KELLYCADE,
Clockwise from left: ExtraSpecialTeas, The Mahaiwe Center for the Performing Arts, and the Guthrie Center.
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owner-run shops, such as Lennox Jewelers for jewelry and watches, Griffin for clothing and gifts, and Emporium and Antique Soul for vintage jewelry and collectibles. Original art can be found at the Lauren Clark and Vault galleries, as well as Bernay Fine Art. Craft stores One Mercantile, Evergreen, and Heyday display pieces by artisans from the Berkshires and around the world. Books new and old can be found at The Bookloft and at Yellow House Books, respectively (see Where the Books Are, on p. 44). Great Barrington is becoming a mecca for home furnishing shops and studios. Wingate, opened in 1998 just north of town on Route 7, has grown to become one of the biggest home furnishings stores and design showrooms in the Berkshires. Sett, a tabletop shop, is new on Main Street. Samantha Gale Designs is also on Main, showcasing “the vintage beauty of the farmhouse style.” Just off Main is Hammertown, offering furnishings, “approachable design services,” and more. Slab Design on Main Street belongs to three brothers who are master woodworkers and wood repurposers. Destination Design Center on South Hillside Avenue designs and installs kitchens, baths, cabinets, and window treatments, among other things. Interior design studios are also prominent in the downtown landscape. William Caligari Interiors is a full-scope design studio, servicing clients in the Berkshires and beyond.
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British-born fabric guru Jennifer Owen works out of her eponymous design studio on Railroad Street, and Jess Cooney Interiors has opened a new studio on State Road. Contemplating a makeover? Professionals are standing by. Now get up out of that designer easy chair and get some exercise! Hike up Monument Mountain if weather permits or take the Housatonic River Walk, a national recreation trail. When the snow flies, Butternut and Catamount provide good downhill skiing right nearby. Work out at the Kilpatrick Athletic Center at Bard College at Simon’s Rock or the Berkshire South Regional Community Center. Take dance classes at Berkshire Pulse in the village of Housatonic or at Moving Arts Exchange just north of town. If you prefer simply to stroll, Great Barrington has a day for that: December 14 (details in Holidays, p. 55). Of course, if you should sprain an ankle during your exertions, or have a more serious medical emergency during your stay, Great Barrington’s award-winning Fairview Hospital and its efficient ER are there to help.
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Norman Rockwell was – and still is – here
If Stockbridge seems
strangely familiar, blame Norman Rockwell, who spent his last 25 years living and working right in the heart of town. He created some of his most vision-ary and socially engaged work here, without losing the touch that had already made him the beloved painter of small-town American life. At his death, he bequeathed his studio, archive, and many paintings to establish a museum of his work, now the Norman Rockwell Museum on 36 acres outside the town center. The Four Freedoms are on tour, but a special exhibit for the holidays makes up for their temporary absence. Another new exhibition, Finding Home: Four Artists’ Journeys, opens November 9 and runs all winter (read more about it on p. 58). The town goes retro à la Rockwell on December 8 (noon to 2pm) with a recreation of his Home for Christmas (Stockbridge Main Street at Christmas), complete with vintage automobiles matching the ones in the painting, which was executed in 1956 and touched up a decade later. Most of the buildings Rockwell painted remain, including the venerable Red Lion Inn on the corner of Main and Route 7 and the 1884 House that provided the setting for The Marriage License; btw, it’s for sale. Not pictured: the original Alice’s Restaurant (it was down an alley off Main). Arlo Guthrie first crooned the song fifty years ago. Some drive, some walk, some cycle: most of Stockbridge’s attractions are within easy reach. The self-guided walking tour of the town is highly recommended (the Chamber of Commerce’s helpful website will guide you: https://stockbridgechamber.org/visit/.) Naumkeag, designed by Stanford
White, is a 44-room Berkshire cottage fantasy a mile from the town center that hosts Winterlights, a spectacular LED display that illuminates the extensive gardens Thursday-Sunday from 5-9pm November 22 through the end of December. From a hilltop perch a couple of miles from the town center the Kripalu Center for Yoga and Health affords a stunning view over the Stockbridge Bowl and offers residential stays that focus on yoga, creative expression, wellness and self-discovery; more than 50,000 visitors take advantage of the Center each year. The Stockbridge Library is a particularly fine small-town library, and some of the portraits of former citizens on the walls date from the 18th century, when the first library was begun in the town. A major renovation in 2016 upgraded facilities without sacrificing aesthetics; you’re welcome to stop in. The Austen Riggs Center, a therapeutic community, an open psychiatric hospital, and a center for education and research now in its 100th year, is unobtrusively located right in the center of town; Norman Rockwell and his wife were patients, and the painter’s relations with his distinguished therapist Erik Erikson were recently the subject of an exhibition at the Norman Rockwell Museum. In the evening, you can retreat to the Lion’s Den (all roads lead to – and from – The Red Lion Inn), a basement bistro that serves burgers and local brews. Finer dining is available upstairs. Many other first-rate restaurants and congenial eateries are located south of town along the road to Great Barrington and in other surrounding towns. more news and features at theBerkshireEdge.com
GABRIELLE K. MURPHY, DAVID EDGECOMB
Shopping on Main Street, Winterlights at Naumkeag
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If West Stockbridge isn’t
Clockwise from top left: Holiday merry making, Shaker Dam Coffee House, and No. Six Depot. town. The walls are hung with stunning images by National Geographic photographer John Stanmeyer, and there’s a great selection of coffee table books to browse on. For food and drink, the Tap House at Shaker Mill is a family-friendly restaurant, with a diverse and delicious American menu that is the brainchild of Brian Alberg of the Main Street Hospitality Group. The Tap House is located in the former Shaker Mill Tavern building at the northwest corner of downtown; it’s open for dinner Thursday through Monday and on the weekends for lunch as well. Plus, they cater. Just a short walk away from the town center is the 16-acre Turn Park Art Space – and it comes with a story. In 2016 a young, Russian, art-collecting couple, Igor Gomberg and Katya Brezgunova, appeared out of nowhere and bought 14 acres that included an old lime and marble quarry on (of all places) Moscow Road. They’d been looking for a place to house their sculpture collection and hoped to establish an art park. Turn Park Art Space now combines a sculpture park, exhibition venues, and a beautiful marble amphitheater for outdoor performances. A trail runs along the river and next to striking sculptures from the Soviet Nonconformist Art Movement of the 1950s-1980s. The ongoing Town Hall restoration project is another sign of the town’s vitality, too.
TOP LEFT: DAVID EDGECOMB
on your radar, maybe it’s time you pointed your radar in its direction. The town of 1,650 lies between Stockbridge and the New York border, only 40 minutes from Albany but a world away, with hills, ponds, and streams beckoning the city dweller with visions of the countryside. Don’t let the dreaminess deceive you, though, because West Stockbridge is hopping, even in winter. The opening of No. Six Depot in the old railway station in 2013 started it all. No. Six is a small-batch coffee roastery, café, art gallery and event space that serves as a gathering place for both locals and visitors; the sandwiches are delicious, and their coffees show up on menus throughout the Berkshires. The lively downtown area is home to stylish restaurants, including Rouge, one of the best in the region, and one-ofa-kind shops, too. One-of-a-kind, as in Charles H. Baldwin & Sons, which has been preparing extracts for cooks for 125 years; boomers will think they’ve gone back in time, amidst the retro novelties and candies. Not far away, Truc Orient Express offers authentic Vietnamese food in their eatery, as well as Vietnamese crafts such as pottery, silk scarves and jackets, and lacquer work. An exceptional bookstore awaits browsers: Shaker Mill Books on Depot Street (see Where the Books Are, on p. 44) has a large but choice selection of rare, used, and out-of-print books, including a great collection of books about the Berkshires. Hotchkiss Mobiles Gallery is another West Stockbridge gem; Joel Hotchkiss has been designing ingenious mobiles since 1978, and the gallery will open your eyes to where the concept has gone since Calder. Sandy Klempner@HOME, right on Main Street, has a choice selection of vintage treasures for home decoration; a look in the window and you’ll want to go in. The Stanmeyer Gallery and Shaker Dam Coffeehouse are located under one charming roof at the north end of
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eat, shop, learn
says a visitor who knows the Berkshires, “and it’s so pretty, too.” Lee may be unpretentious, but that makes its charm and eye-appeal only more alluring. Even the steeple on the First Congregational Church, the tallest wooden spire in New England, soars discreetly above the town. But make no mistake: Lee will welcome you warmly and keep you quite busy. For one thing, Lee hosts an astonishing range of restaurants, from those serving sophisticated farmto-table fare such as Starving Artist Café and Chez Nous, to Greek, Vietnamese, Chinese, Peruvian, Italian, French, and Indian establishments, as well as humbler eateries where you can get a hot dog on the go, pick up a pizza (try Timothy’s), or join the locally sourced customers for a plate of corned beef hash at Joe’s Diner or a tall draught beer at Moe’s Tavern. Newly opened Canna Provisions, right off the Mass Pike as you head into town, offers a full line of THC and CBD wellness offerings (legal weed, in plain English). The service is personal, the interior stylish, and the shop specializes in what it calls “energizing” strains of cannabis. The eclectic collection of shops downtown is complemented by the more than sixty stores at Premium Outlets, with name-brand merchandise at discount prices, just one mile east of town via US Route 20. The Outlets is the most popular attraction in Berkshire County, with about two million annual visitors, some of whom then head into Lee and environs to find things that can’t be found anywhere else. While not as eminent in the arts as its Berkshire neighbors, Lee has its own distinction. From a renovated former five-anddime on Main Street, the College Internship Program (CIP) offers a year-long curriculum focusing on creative and educational development in the visual and performing arts for young adults with Asperger’s, autism, ADHD, and other learning differences. The Spectrum Playhouse in a converted church and the Good Purpose Gallery on Main help integrate these individuals into the community and enrich their lives through creative work in fields where they often display special abilities.
Clockwise from top left: At the top of downtown, it’s the Jewelry Box, Joe’s Diner, and the Goodwill Store, not to mention a place to park; then drive down the main street (Route 20) to the Starving Artist Café where there are regular musical performances, or dine at Chez Nous.
FIND OUT EVERYTHING THAT’S HAPPENING THIS WEEK — Go to: www.berkshirescalendar.com more news and features at theBerkshireEdge.com
LESLIE NOYES, DAVID EDGECOMB, GREG NESBIT PHOTOGRAPHY
“What I love about Lee is that it’s very low key,”
still gilded after all these years
Clockwise from top left: An American Craftsman, Casablanca, Chocolate Springs Café, Lenox Print & Merchantile, Canyon Ranch.
Lenox has been a popular retreat
since the 19th century, when wealthy New Yorkers built some 75 so-called “cottages” there and in nearby Stockbridge. Many of those that remain are open to the public. Ventfort Hall, built for J.P. Morgan’s sister in 1893, even has a museum dedicated to the Gilded Age in several of its 50 rooms. At The Mount, the former summer home of novelist Edith Wharton, the writer’s presence is palpable, even in winter. You will feel it not only in the rooms she designed but in those where she wrote: chiefly her bedroom, writing in bed. Tours of the house begin on the hour weekends 11 a.m.-4 p.m. through February. Canyon Ranch is anchored by another “cottage,” as are the luxurious hotel/restaurant/spa/condo complexes at Blantyre and Cranwell; the latter, now a Miraval Resort, will emerge from a major renovation in the spring. In the meantime, the Gateways Inn, with only eleven rooms, is the height of Berkshires B&B lodging, complete with a restaurant and a lounge for live music. Lenox is the gateway to Tanglewood, where the newly built Linde Center for Music and Learning is offering its first winter programs. The summer season at Shakespeare & Company has ended, but the Company’s educational projects in the region continue, showing a public face in school performances at the Tina Packer Theater, November 21-24. A festive fundraiser takes place on December 13, complete with a staged reading of an adaptation of Jane Austen’s Sense
and Sensibility. Three public performances follow on that same weekend. Explore downtown on Main and Church Streets and you’ll find that Lenox is alive with shops and restaurants — some of the best in the Berkshires. Catwalk, a stylish resale clothing store sponsored by the Berkshire Humane Society, opened this year on Church, and the popular upscale clothing retailer Casablanca has moved to elegant new quarters on the street. Steilmann, on Walker Street, carries women’s European fashions, and trendy CERI Boutique has recently opened a women’s clothing store on Housatonic Street. Lenox Print & Mercantile on Housatonic offers vintage treasures as well as crafts by over 60 local artisans. An American Craftsman on Walker Street features the work of many artisans working in wood, clay, fiber, metal, glass, leather, and mixed media. The Bookstore & Get Lit Wine Bar brings the town together for regular readings, good conversation — and good wine; out-oftowners definitely welcome. Lenox eats well. Alta, Nudel, Bistro Zinc, and Firefly are some of the reasons. Firefly has good music on the weekends, too, and attracts a younger crowd. One treat for the palate is right off Route 7: superb chocolates and great coffee and cocoa await you at cozy Chocolate Springs Café. Saveur magazine recognized chocolatier Josh Needleman as one of the top 10 in the United States. Lenox is still gilded, but in a good way. BerkshiresCalendar.com
HOLIDAY HOUSE TOURS
Saturdays & Sundays November 23 – January 5 Festive decorations throughout the mansion provided by the Lenox Garden Club. Special winter-themed activities in December.
The Mount Many wealthy men — and a few wealthy women — had grand houses (or “cottages,” in the parlance of the time) built for them in the 19th and early 20th centuries in Lenox and surrounding towns. One of those women was Edith Wharton, but she built with a difference: in collaboration with two architects (she fired the first), she designed every aspect of her and her husband Teddy’s 1902 Lenox mansion, The Mount, and its extensive gardens, too. She had seen her share of great houses in her European travels, and in 1897 she had published (with Odgen Codman Jr.) The Decoration of Houses, with its critique of contemporary excesses in home design. Although Wharton had been born a Jones (as in “keeping up with the Joneses”), she had her own ideas about the uses of money. No one today would mistake The Mount for a cottage, but Wharton designed it to be lived in, not just shown off. The kind of life that Wharton aspired to lead there — and did lead for the ten years she summered at the property — was both creative and social. At The Mount Wharton applied herself primarily to fiction writing, and her bedroom was where she composed novels like The House of Mirth and Ethan Frome. She wrote in bed with a dog or two at her feet, strewing pages on the floor for an assistant to gather and type up (the widely reproduced photo of her sitting primly at a writing table in her library was shot for publicity purposes). As for society, her modest dining room boasted no chandelier, just a round table that seated six; she valued good conversation with close friends over social display. Guided tours of The Mount run on weekends, November through February, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.; tours leave on the hour. Decorated for the holidays by the Lenox Garden Club, The Mount offers Holiday House Tours Saturdays and Sundays, November 23 to December 22.
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the city at the center
A city of 45,000, Pittsfield is the geographic and commercial center of the Berkshires, with a proud history of manufacturing — and the contemporary challenges and opportunities that the decline of that sector has brought. Cultural initiatives have lifted the city’s mood and kindled its aspirations to become a hub for the arts. The opening of cannabis dispensaries Temescal Wellness west of town and Berkshire Roots to the east has also lifted moods. Pittsfield’s downtown is now its Upstreet Cultural District, anchored by the beautifully restored 1903 Colonial Theatre, part of Berkshire Theatre Group, and the innovative Barrington Stage Company, which now attracts almost 60,000 patrons per year to its four downtown venues and has become the incubator of shows that regularly go on to stages in Boston and New York. The Whitney Center for the Arts, established by Pittsfield native Lisa Whitney in 2012 and located in the creatively repurposed 1865 Thomas Colt House, is another beehive of culture: it presents art shows, intimate theater and music performances, and special events. The vibrant Pittsfield visual arts scene features public art, galleries, studios, and cooperatives, and the First Fridays Artswalk (5 to 8 p.m. on the first Friday of the month). Located in the center of town on North Street, the Berkshire Museum is a wonderful resource for the region. Like many small-city museums, its holdings range across subjects and fields of knowledge. The natural history displays in “BerkTop, from top left: the Museum Facsimilies Outlet Store, Hancock Shaker Village, the Bershire Museum’s Tree Festival; bottom, Methuselah.
shire Backyard,” the aquarium, and the exhibits of industrial technologies developed in the Berkshires make it a great place to take children to discover worlds beyond their screens. The new, immersive “Curiosity Incubator” gallery is a portal to greater awareness of the human family, and a special exhibition, She Shapes History, celebrates the centenary of women’s suffrage in America and is open all winter long. Right next door to the Berkshire Museum is the Museum Facsimiles Outlet Store, a fun store for gifts. If you’re in the market for furniture, Paul Rich & Sons, also on North Street, has 30,000 square feet of floor space to look at, most of it American made (and no assembly required). You never know what you may find at ReStore at 347 Columbus Avenue; the store carries donated home improvement products, building materials, and more; profits go to Habitat for Humanity. Pittsfield isn’t all urban: the 11,000-acre Pittsfield State Forest offers year-round adventure, and Bousquet Ski Area on Yokun Ridge is a popular destination for a day on the slopes. You’ll have to eat and you’ll have to stay: you can do both at trendy, 45-room Hotel on North, another repurposed downtown building that successfully blends new and old. For eating and drinking, there are 50 other restaurants, cafés, and wine bars to choose from, too. Meet a friend for coffee at Dottie’s, pick up lunch at the Marketplace Café, drop into Mission for a locally sourced seasonal menu or a glass of wine, or settle into Methuselah and sixteen taps of craft beer, artful cocktails, and artful eats. The International House of Tacos is another spot with outstanding food. Stop in at Thistle and Mirth for the beer and the company, and end up (if you’re still crawling) at The Lantern Bar and Grill, a venerable and recently reopened Pittsfield institution. For an entirely different vibe or family visit, 700-acre Hancock Shaker Village beckons from outside of town along Route 20 in Hancock. The Shakers created a utopian religious farming community here in the 1780s. The grounds and buildings are now a living history museum. Although regular visiting is closed for winter now, the Village is open in November and December for special holiday events (see pp. 53 and 54).
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if you build it . . .
Clockwise from left: MASS MoCA, Spinoff Yarn Shop, and The Porches hotel.
It began with manufacturing, thanks to power generated by the Hoosic River flowing right through the center of town. Shoes, bricks, hats, cloth, marble, and the iron plates that sheathed the battleship Monitor in the Civil War poured forth from North Adams’s busy factories. When the Depression shut many of those factories down, the Sprague Electric Company arrived to save the day. Sprague’s development and manufacture of components for early NASA launch systems and the consumer electronics industry provided employment for more than 4,000 workers in the post-war period, until foreign competition in the 1980s led to the closing of the firm and a sharp decline in the town’s economic fortunes. Many former New England mill towns have never recovered from such setbacks. For North Adams, recovery came from a surprising source: contemporary art. Sprague Electric’s beautiful and extensive brick buildings, dating from the 19th century, lay idle. Thomas Krens, then Director of the Williams College Museum of Art, saw an opportunity. The result was the creation of MASS MoCA, the largest museum of contemporary art and performance in America, which opened in 1999 and has been growing in space and scope ever since. It hosts both temporary and permanent exhibits, spaces for artists in diverse media to create large-scale works, and events like the annual musical FreshGrass Festival in September. They built it, and people came, about 160,000 a year at last count. The town began to thrive once again. Galleries, restaurants, and shops sprang up to cater to visitors. The ongoing River
Revival project reimagined the Hoosic as a community resource. The town (technically a city, the smallest in Massachusetts) now has a vibrant Cultural District and a Downstreet Arts Initiative. The creative economy has spread to other former factory facilities as well, now home to artisans and specialized producers of everything from food to beer. The former Norad Mill is now honeycombed with businesses and shops. Freia Yarns, which produces hand-dyed yarns, relocated there from California, and for DIY knitters, the Spinoff Yarn Shop in the same building is worth a trip up to the third floor (there’s an elevator). Looking for a novel place to stay? Consider The Porches, which bills itself as (brace yourself) “an intimate 47-room boutique property whose retro-edgy backdrop and industrial granny chic décor combine to create a strikingly colorful style all its own”; it’s right opposite MASS MoCA. TOURISTS, located down by the riverside where an old motel once stood, opened last year and brings you close to nature. And to eat, try PUBLIC for original, farm-fresh takes on American classics and a wide selection of craft beers (no reservation required, except for large groups); Gramercy Bistro (“eclectic modern fare”); or the Hub on Main Street (“comfort food in a retro-accented diner”), all within walking distance of MASS MoCA. If you prefer food for the mind, the Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts (MCLA) is not far, and it too has caught the art bug with its innovative undergraduate art programs and MCLA Gallery 51. more news and features at theBerkshireEdge.com
a college town and then some
Williamstown, tucked into Massachusetts’ northwest corner, was one of America’s first college towns; the town and the college both date to 1791. Williams College, consistently ranked at or near the top of America’s liberal arts colleges, is the town’s largest employer. You don’t have to have a connection to Williams, though, to enjoy what the town — and the College — have to offer. You could begin with Spring Street, the commercial center, where you’ll find galleries, stylish clothing stores, coffee shops with fast Internet connections, and restaurants that cater to the tastes of college students, locals, and visitors alike. Shop at the Greylock Gallery on Spring, which brings together traditional and contemporary art from emerging and established artists. Pick up a book at the spacious Williams Bookstore and dive in at Tunnel City Coffee inside the store or at its larger quarters across the street. Step into Mountain Goat Artisans around the corner on Water Street for pottery, weaving, furniture, jewelry, women’s clothing, honey, photography, original art and more. And if you have medical or recreational marijuana needs, Silver Therapeutics is ready to serve you from a small shop a mile east of downtown. Images Cinema, one of the few remaining independent movie theaters still in operation, is also on Spring Street. This
non-profit community theater presents a wide range of independent, foreign and classic films. The staff are welcoming and the popcorn is fresh. Visitors travel from all over the globe to The Clark Art Institute for its extraordinary permanent collection, groundbreaking special exhibitions, and striking architecture by Pritzker Prize-winning architect Tadao Ando. The Clark campus boasts 140 acres of lawns, meadows and walking trails. The special exhibitions put art in social as well as artistic context and have recently featured music and video as well as painting and drawing. Two are new for the winter season: Travels on Paper (November 16-February 9) and Arabesque (December 14-March 22). The Williams College Museum of Art has reopened after renovations, the 15,000 objects in its collection more accessible than ever. Its special exhibitions are focused and thought-provoking; some of those planned for this winter involve music and scent. The Museum established a presence at 76 Spring Street during the renovations, and the same premises have now become the attractive Museum shop. There’s a lot of wild country around Williamstown and well-maintained trails will get you out on it, on foot, on snowshoes, or on skis. The Williams Outing Club publishes an
Clockwise from left: Images Cinema, Tunnel City Coffee, the Clark Art Institute, a view of the town from Route 2 heading east. BerkshiresCalendar.com
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excellent guide to North Berkshires recreation, and the Williamstown Rural Lands Foundation trail kiosk at Sheep Hill on Cold Spring road south of town offers complete information on all local trails, including those in the Hopkins Forest, the Mount Greylock Reservation, and Field Farm. Fine restaurants like Mezze, south of town on Route 7, source local foods. There’s Indian cuisine at Spice Root on Spring Street and a Mexican menu at Coyote Flaco, also south of town on Route 7. If you’re just looking for lunch, the Spring Street Café is a standby. The Neapolitan-style pizza at Hot Tomatoes on Water Street is exceptional, and the Water Street Grill is a watering hole with many craft beers on tap, good food, and a warm ambiance. For Chinese fare, Chopsticks, just east of town on Route 2, is the best choice in the region. If you’re cooking for yourself, stock up at Wild Oats on Route 2 east of town; last year they carried products from 130 local organic producers. Holiday farmers markets take place in the Williams College Town Fieldhouse on Latham Street on November 24 and December 15. For a fresh, fragrant Christmas tree, head down Route 43 south of town to Ioka Valley Farm, which grows four varieties. Take a hayride to the field where you can choose (and cut!) your own tree if you like (freshly cut trees also available). They’ll put a stand on it for you, too, and wrap your tree for ease of travel. If you’re not an Eph (that would be a Williams student — an “eef”, as in College founder Ephraim Williams) you may wonder why everyone is wearing purple. Hint: the college mascot is a purple cow; you may prefer to see than be one.
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from the Berkshires to the Greens
Clockwise from left: the Dorset Inn, bowls ready for firing at Bennington Potters, Elm Street Market in Bennington for on-the-go sandwiches, the interior of the Old First Church in Old Bennington.
RIGHT: DAVID BARNUM/BENNINGTON POTTERS
You can’t go up inside the Bennington Battle Monument during the winter months, but the 306-foot limestone obelisk, which commemorates a pivotal Patriot victory of the Revolutionary War, dominates the landscape in all seasons from its perch in Old Bennington. The nearby Bennington Museum devotes a room of its rich and eclectic collections to the Battle; an adjacent gallery is home to the largest exhibit of paintings by Grandma Moses (Anna Maria Robertson) in the world. If you bring children, be sure to take them into the transplanted schoolhouse where the artist learned her ABCs in the 1860s; it’s meant to be played in as well as learned from. In the 19th century Bennington emerged as an important and innovative industrial center, a heritage it still proudly continues. Timber frames, airplane components, snowshoes, craft beer, jewelry, and pottery from the famous Bennington Potters are among the many products manufactured here. The Potters’ funky-elegant retail store is located right next to where the stoneware is made (self-guided tours are available if you want to see the potters in action). A major downtown redevelopment is now in progress. In the meantime, a scattering of fun shops and restaurants keeps things interesting, and on March 9 the 3rd annual Southern Vermont Winter Homebrew Festival will draw brewers and drinkers out of their cabins for a spirited get-together and competition; reserve early, as tickets are limited. If you stay the night, have breakfast at the Blue Benn, a classic 1940s railcar
diner with a menu for all tastes. For lunch, Sunday brunch, or dinner, the Mount Anthony Country Club offers locally sourced seasonal dishes and beautiful views. The Vermont Arts Exchange presents concerts and dances (think zydeco from Louisiana and jazz acts from Montreal and New York) at its Main Street location, while at Bennington College many performances and presentations are open to the public without charge. The Oldcastle Theater Company puts on plays of a high standard all year long. Robert Frost lived in nearby Shaftsbury during the 1920s and 30s, and his grave is located behind the beautiful Old First Church in Old Bennington. If you like covered bridges, Bennington has three of them. Scoot right through them all (one car at a time) on the way to North Bennington, if you’re willing to meander across the Walloomsac River three times. North Bennington was writer Shirley Jackson’s home for the latter half of her life, but the natives insist that the village was not the setting for “The Lottery” (Raising Demons and Life Among the Savages, her hilarious accounts of child-rearing in the 1950s, are another matter). The trails in the McCullough Woods are a popular spot for walking and cross-country skiing, and the annual North Bennington Winterfest on January 26 is an all-out affair, complete with an optional plunge in the icy waters of Lake Paran. Once a summer retreat, Manchester is now a four-season leisure and shopping destination, and in winter it’s the perfect starting-point for day-trips to the ski areas of southern and BerkshiresCalendar.com
Mancester Designer Outlets and cross country skiing central Vermont. Hotels, inns, and B&Bs abound, led by the grande dame of them all, the Mt. Equinox Resort. A range of restaurants caters to visitors and locals alike. Robert Todd Lincoln’s historic home, Hildene, perched on an escarpment, overlooks the Valley of Vermont; don’t miss the fully restored Pullman car, queen of the railroading era and a stop on Vermont’s African American Heritage Trail. Twelve miles of walking trails become cross-country trails in the winter; skis and snowshoes are for rent on site. And then there is shopping. Charles F. Orvis got it started in 1856 when he opened a store dedicated to fly-fishing and accessories for the great outdoors. The flagship Orvis store is still there, and it has the distinction of being the oldest still-operating mail order business in America. Manchester Designer Outlets are also home to many leading clothing brands, whose easy-to-get-to stores make bargain hunting a pleasure. For books and gifts, there’s the well-stocked Northshire Bookstore in the center of town, which hosts frequent readings by leading writers. There are also stores for cooks, for wine-lovers, art-lovers, antique-hunters, and for sports enthusiasts of every stripe. Fun fact: the snowboard was invented in 1977 by Jake Burton Carpenter in his Manchester garage. In nearby Dorset, in the fateful summer of 1776, the idea of Vermont as an independent republic was born in Cephas Kent’s tavern. In today’s Dorset, the aura of the 18th century lingers. Kent’s tavern is no more, but the splendid Dorset Inn has dominated the town green since 1796. If you’re “from away” and are thinking of buying and running a Vermont country store like the wonderful 200-year-old Dorset Union Store (and bakery) on the green, read Ellen Stimson’s Mud Season first; she bought and ran that very store and lived to write (and laugh) about it.
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the quiet corner, with bears
Left to right: Sweet William’s Bakery, Jumpfest, Provisions at the White Hart Inn, Salisbury General Store and Pharmacy.
home there, you can be forgiven if you wish you did. As the northwesternmost town in of Connecticut, it’s where Litchfield County meets the Berkshires. It’s elegant and well kept and home to two prep schools, but also wild and mountainous: black bear habitat. Salisbury has a small-town feel, with full-time and part-time residents whose lives often take them into Manhattan, just a little over two hours by car and also reachable by rail from Wassaic, only fifteen minutes away. Who wouldn’t feel a little tug at a little place with a “For Sale” sign on the lawn? Salisbury is a welcoming town, whether you own real estate there or not. It thrives on the mixture of people it attracts, from celebrities (Meryl Streep has lived there for years) to race-car drivers and their fans drawn by Lime Rock Park. Begin with a walk down Main Street and follow your nose to Sweet William’s Bakery, famous for pies, cookies and (in season) its gingerbread men. Right across the street is the Salisbury General Store and Pharmacy. Around the corner is browser-friendly Johnnycake Books (see Where the Books Are, p. 44), specializing in rare and collectible volumes. Go a little further and you’ll soon be on the Railroad Ramble, Salisbury’s scenic Rail Trail. Outdoor activities draw many people to the area. If (before it snows) you can hike half a mile — uphill, that is (the hike is listed as ”moderate to strenuous”) — pluck up your courage and try the trail to Lion’s Head for spectacular views over the surrounding countryside. The trailhead is only a mile out of town on Bunker Hill Road (there’s a parking lot marked “Hiker Parking” where the road comes to an end); the road begins at
the Salisbury Town Hall in the center of town. The main event of the winter season is Jumpfest, held in February, 2020. Ski-jumping was the original extreme sport, and Salisbury’s Satre Hill has a long history as a jumper’s proving ground; the Salisbury Winter Sports Association has been promoting the sport for more than 90 years. SWSA volunteers provide training to area jumpers from the age of six on, and some grow up to be competitors at meets in New England and New York: Jumpfest is one such competition, and the three-day event climaxes with the Eastern U.S. Ski Jumping Championships. Jumpfest is a spectator event, too, with food, beverages, and bonfires all three days, and a “human dog-sled race” after target-jumping under the lights on the opening Friday. But perhaps you took the advice of the New York Times and travelled to Salisbury simply to dine at the White Hart Inn on dishes prepared by celebrated British chef Annie Wayte. The Inn houses Provisions, a stylish café and sandwich spot, the casual Tap Room, open for dinner and serving what the restaurant characterizes as “elevated British-inspired comfort food,” and the elegant Dining Room, with offerings that highlight seasonal ingredients sourced from nearby farms. The food is both exotic and local — a good reflection of the town itself.
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TOP LEFT: KELLY CADE
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a quiet town, with ukuleles and cannabis canopy
The town of Sheffield lies just north of the Connecticut border in the Housatonic River Valley, with gentle mountains on both sides. It’s only 100 miles from New York’s Central Park as the crow flies, or two and a half hours by car, and it’s where the Berkshires officially begins. After almost 300 years, it’s still a rural town with a comfortable pace of life. Second homes both new and old mix in nicely with working farms. Part of the town lies along Route 7, and the charming village of Ashley Falls is just a few miles to the southwest. Sheffield is also home to visitor-friendly Big Elm Brewing and the Berkshire Distillery (both offer tours and tastings), a prominent clay works, and a surprising number and variety of antiques dealers. There’s always something going on at Dewey Memorial Hall, an impressive fieldstone and marble structure on the Sheffield green. The Stagecoach Tavern, as its name implies, got its start in an earlier age; now it’s a place to go not only for food and drink but jazz and events; it’s part of the Race Brook Lodge cluster of buildings in a woodsy setting off Route 41.
If you like your music with strings attached, you might also like to visit the Magic Fluke, where they make ukuleles, banjos, violins, and more. Many visitors head straight to the Marketplace Café on Elm Court in the center of town. The chef-owners created a popular catering business in 1993 — the first such farm-to-table enterprise in the Berkshires — and have branched out into four “retail” locations, each with its own style (the others are in Pittsfield and Great Barrington). They legalized it: Sheffield is the site of Massachusetts’ first licensed outdoor cannabis growing facility, Nova Farms, “boasting 80,000 square feet of sun-grown, organic cannabis canopy,” according to the company. Cannabis canopy is simply the extent of contiguous vegetative growth — like the rain forest, but with marijuana. Theory Wellness is also planning outdoor cultivation at Sheffield’s Equinox Farm, well known as the first organic market garden in western Massachusetts. A new retail and cultivation facility called The Pass is expected to open soon on Main Street (Route 7) north of town. In Sheffield, the times, they are a-changin’. more news and features at theBerkshireEdge.com
TOP LEFT AND RIGHT: KELLY CADE,
Clockwise from top: Magic Fluke, Bash Bish Brew & Que, and Big Elm Brewing.
hillsdale, new york Route 23 from the Taconic through Hillsdale
LEFT AND TOP RIGHT: PHILL HOLLAND
towards Great Barrington is a well-worn path for many visitors to the Berkshires. Nowadays, though, the traffic goes both ways, as Hillsdale has become a destination that Berkshire residents and visitors are increasingly drawn to. Just when Hillsdale tipped towards trendy could be debated, but it has definitely happened: the formerly sleepy farming town is now a second-home magnet with a vibrant artistic and commercial culture in which part-timers are as invested as year-rounders. Passiflora hung out a lonely shingle in 2009, billing itself as “an eclectic mix of all things contemporary, quirky, and chic” (primarily housewares and personal care products, with an emphasis on local artisans); ten years later it’s still going strong. The Federal designation of the Hillsdale Hamlet Historic District in 2010 certainly advanced the cause. In 2011 interior designer Matthew White renovated an 1855 commercial structure on the village square into what is now the stylish Hillsdale General Store; the building also houses the CrossRoads Food Shop, a farm-to-table restaurant. White then went a step further, opening HGS Chef, which sells cookware and offers on-site cooking classes with top chefs, in another made-over building across the street. Tiny Hearts Farm, which grows flowers organically on 15 acres in Copake, has a showroom next door. If you’re looking for traditional American food and drink and perhaps a game of pool, the 1881 Mt. Washington House is also in the neighborhood. In addition to its tavern with antique pressed-tin walls and ceilings and the original mahog-
where New York meets the Berkshires
any bar, the Mt. Washington fits three pool tables under its roof and presents live music on weekends. The Casana T House is closed at present, but the Hillsdale House, right in the center of things, has reopened after a makeover; expect great pizza. Meanwhile, the owners of Passiflora have turned a former tattoo parlor into the Village Scoop, which serves non-alcoholic cocktails as well as exceptional artisanal ice cream. You can still get a haircut in Hillsdale, too, at least if the pole outside Trudy’s Barber Shop is spinning; men’s haircuts $18, beards extra, basic women’s trim, $19. Not all the action is in the village. Mirror Mirror, located on Route 23 between the Route 22 junction and the town center, offers both vintage clothing and housewares. The Swiss Hutte Inn & Restaurant, just east of downtown on Route 23, is a popular spot for lunch and dinner. Zurich native Chef Gert Alper presides over a marriage of European cuisine with locally sourced ingredients. Turn south on Route 22 and you’ll see O’s Hillsdale Country Diner on your left; the O is for Otto and the food falls in the “fine diner dining” category. For DIY food, Hillsdale also has the Hillsdale Supermarket (“home of the one dollar sale”), a classic full-service IGA right near the village square. It’s locally owned and has an excellent meat department; if you’re coming for the weekend, stock up your larder for less. Random Harvest is a worker-owned neighborhood market, café and community space that offers food and goods sourced directly from more than seventy local producers. If you’re coming in from the Taconic, it’s a convenient stop just east of Craryville on Route 23.
Clockwise from left: Hillsdale General Store, Passiflora, the team at the Random Harvest café BerkshiresCalendar.com
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out and about
wellness, fitness, and fun: now is the time!
The word wellness is probably part of your life (think “employee wellness programs”), but you may remember a time when it wasn’t.
The word wellness
has existed in English since the 17th
century, but it didn’t really catch on until the 1990s. Lexical sleuth Ben Zimmer traces its modern meaning to the preamble to the World Health Organization’s 1948 constitution: “Health is a state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.” This positive and comprehensive conception of health beckoned for a new term, and “wellness” was re-baptized in the 1950s to convey it. Fast-forward six decades and wellness is everywhere, including the Berkshires, which have become one of the top wellness destinations in the country.
Kripalu Center for Yoga and Health
Three venues lead the way. The non-profit Kripalu Center for Yoga & Health in Stockbridge is one reason for the Berkshires’ national wellness profile. Not only does it attract thousands of out-of-town visitors — and local residents — each year to its scenic campus overlooking the Stockbridge Bowl, it has served as a training hub for yoga practitioners throughout the region. Kripalu bills itself as the largest retreat center in North America, and it is also a center for education, with a mission that forges connections to the wider world with all its challenges and conflicts through the wisdom and practice of yoga. Kripalu can accommodate up to 650 guests, and roughly 50,000 people pass through every year. For those who don’t wish to stay overnight, day passes are available with advance registration, which include access to the Center’s daylong array of classes and workshops, as well as three superbly prepared healthy meals. Kripalu (named after Swami Kripalu, an influential Indian yoga master whose name means “compassion”) has three main branches: programs, R&R Retreat, and the Kripalu Schools. Leading teachers and practitioners offer programs lasting news, views & what’s happening at theBerkshireEdge.com
three to five days in the fields of mindfulness, personal growth, nutrition, spiritual development, yoga, and more. Kripalu offers R&R with a difference, with everything you need to renew and recharge while you rest and relax. There are four levels of yoga classes to choose from — beginner, gentle, intermediate, and vinyasa — as well as YogaDance® at noon, which will get you moving and grooving. In addition, there are workshops in nutrition and mindfulness, and guided (and unguided) outdoor walks and hikes on the 200-acre grounds; snowshoes are available in the winter months. Thanksgiving and New Year’s are popular times for reflection and renewal, with programs to match. Along with certificate programs in yoga, Ayurveda, yoga therapy, and mindful outdoor leadership offered by the Kripalu Schools, Kripalu’s RISE program helps professionals in such fields as health care, education, and law enforcement understand and cope with the stresses both they and those they deal with face on a daily basis. Offerings in Healing Arts, from massage to energy work, extend Kripalu’s therapeutic reach, and the Kripalu Kitchen (subject of a new cookbook) provides nourishment of the most basic — and appetizing — kind. Also in Lenox, Canyon Ranch is another leading retreat. Once you get used to the idea that there is no canyon, and no ranch either, this spa and wellness center can come into focus. The original Canyon Ranch opened in Tucson in 1979 and was one of the pioneers of the modern wellness experience. The Lenox version followed in 1989 at the Gilded Age Bellefontaine mansion on a 130-acre hilltop site. Besides accommodations for up to 200 guests, Canyon Ranch includes an impressive 100,000-square-foot spa complex with exercise, weight training and cycling gyms, yoga and Pilates studios (instructors lead classes), indoor tennis, racquetball, basketball and squash courts, indoor and outdoor swimming pools, a running track, BerkshiresCalendar.com
out and about: wellness, fitness, and fun massage and bodywork rooms, and skin care and beauty salons (Botox injections available). Physicians and nutritionists may be consulted on site. No alcohol is served with meals, and there is no bar; you can BYOB, but why would you when you can get high on health? Canyon Ranch is pricey, but there are regular promotions and discounts, especially for groups. More than half of the guests are repeaters. “From here I can see the very hills of Heaven.” So proclaimed the Reverend Henry Ward Beecher in 1853, when he purchased the property then known as Blossom Hill. The spectacular view remains, but the 320-acre plot in Lenox has gone through many transitions since, and is currently undergoing another. Anchored by a Gilded Age mansion, in recent decades the resort known as Cranwell (after a former owner) became well known as a retreat and spa with an 18-hole golf course designed by Stiles and Van Cleek. Miraval Resorts (itself owned by Hyatt Hotels), another wellness enterprise with roots in Arizona, purchased the property in 2017 and is in the process of a $60 million upgrade. That astonishing investment promises to produce what the resort calls “the Miraval Experience” on a grand scale. It’s designed to provide “multiple wellness modalities” to guests, to develop the practice of “mindful intent,” and to “gift resiliency,” according to a spokesperson.Those wellness modalities will include not only traditional spa treatments, healthy meals, and physical activities such as yoga, swimming, mountain biking, cross-country skiing, and golf, but also immersion in the creative arts, from pottery and painting to preparing herbal remedies. There’s a catch, though: you’ll have to wait until the makeover is complete, sometime in the spring of 2019, to take advantage of the full range of new offerings. In the meantime, Sloane’s Tavern is open, as is the Bistro in the mansion itself, daily from 4 p.m. to 9 p.m.
Kripalu Center for Yoga and Health
YOGA | Wellness isn’t only about keeping your bodily machine in good working order. You have a mind, and you need to keep that fit too, especially where it joins the body. That’s where yoga comes in, which combines physical with mental or spiritual practice. The Berkshires is definitely yoga-friendly, with many well-established centers, studios, teachers, and classes. Yoga alone won’t make you aerobically fit, but the New York Times reports that even the energy expended by those who move slowly during sun salutations is comparable to the demands of a stroll at three miles per hour. Moreover, “flow” classes (vinyasa yoga) are very popular in the Berkshires; they’re a fast-paced series of postures or asanas that emphasize the flow between movements, rather than the holding of single poses. In any case, yoga is good for your organism, and winter is prime yoga season in the Berkshires. Lenox Yoga, for example, offers Hatha, Kriya, Kripalu, SUP Yoga, Ashtanga, Vinyasa, and Power Yoga, and has recently added Pilates Taiji and Qigong. Don’t worry if you don’t speak the lingo. Beginners are welcome, and classes are available on either a drop-in or package basis. Also in Lenox, right on Route 7, is Zaanti Yoga Studio, which offers Wild Woman Moon Circles on the Sunday closest to each month’s new moon.
In Great Barrington, familyfriendly LifeWorks Studio has been offering yoga and related practices in a supportive environment since 2013. Yoga Great Barrington, located just off Main Street, offers a range of classes. They’ll also provide a private instructor if you’d like to make yoga an option for your wedding guests (or the bride and groom) — it’s a thoughtful alternative to pitchersful of margaritas, especially during the morning hours. SRUTI Yoga Center, located in an upstairs studio on Railroad Street, bills itself as the home for Ashtanga yoga in the Berkshires. For goat yoga, you’ll have to wait until spring (at Hancock Shaker Village), but winter is the perfect time to try aerial yoga at Berkcirque in Great Barrington. Adults and children can also learn tumbling, clowning, juggling, aerial work, tight wire and unicycle, all under the big tent of fitness arts. Wait, there’s more. Greenhouse Yoga in South Egremont, which opened in 2017, offers hot vinyasa yoga in a space where even the plants seem to participate from the windowsills. Berkshire Yoga Dance & Fitness, located in a 1,600 square foot studio above the Beacon Cinema in downtown Pittsfield, offers a range of classes; newcomers and drop-ins are always welcome. Pittsfield is also the home of Radiance Yoga, the northern sister to Yoga Great Barrington.
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Tasha herself presides over Tasha Yoga in Williamstown and North Bennington, Vermont. She teaches Anusara yoga, among other things; don’t be surprised if you pick up a little Sanskrit during class. Smalltown Yoga, also in Williamstown, is led by a Williams grad (Amy Sosne ‘05) who returned to the area four years ago. She took up yoga as a 9-year-old and teaches both children and adults. In nearby North Adams, Frog Lotus Yoga occupies a beautiful space in a former cotton mill. North Adams Yoga bears a plainer name, but experienced practitioners can enjoy classes such as Funky Advanced Flow Yoga. At the other end of the Berkshires, Sheffield Yoga Studio offers classes in TriYoga®, a style that unites breath and mudra with flowing and sustained postures. The Won Dharma Center, located on 426 rural acres in Claverack, New York, half an hour west of Great Barrington on Route 23, approaches yoga as an element of spiritual practice based in Won Buddhism. The mission of the Center is to provide a refuge for contemplation and renewal in a serene, natural setting. Meditation services, movement classes, workshops, walking, and healthy meals are provided to guests. A Community Yoga Class takes place on Thursdays at 6 p.m.
Wellness and Yoga (alphabetical by town) Won Dharma Center 361 Rte. 23, Claverack, N.Y. 518-851-2581 Berkcirque 115 Gas House Ln., Great Barrington 518-821-7420 LifeWorks Studio 50 Castle St., Great Barrington 413-591-0189 SRUTI Yoga Center 33 Railroad St., Great Barrington 413-717-5058 Yoga Great Barrington 30 Elm Ct., Great Barrington 413-717-3122 Berkshire Pulse 420 Park St., Housatonic 413-274-6624 Canyon Ranch 165 Kemble St., Lenox 413-637-4100 Cranwell/Miraval 55 Lee Rd., Lenox 413-637-1364 Lenox Yoga 4 Main St., Lenox 413-822-7750
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Zaanti Yoga Studio 449 Pittsfield Rd., Lenox 413-496-9642 Berkshire Yoga Dance & Fitness 55 North St #201, Pittsfield 413-418-4001 Frog Lotus Yoga 189 Beaver St., North Adams 413-664-8686 Radiance Yoga 401 North St., Pittsfield 413-717-3122 North Adams Yoga 26 Holden St., North Adams Sheffield Yoga Studio 1224 N. Main St., Sheffield Greenhouse Yoga 45 Main St., South Egremont 413-591-3108 Kripalu Center For Yoga & Health 57 Interlaken Rd., Stockbridge 413-448-3152 Smalltown Yoga 64 Spring St., Williamstown (973) 477-4266 Tasha Yoga 20 Spring St., Williamstown The Left Bank, North Bennington, Vt. 413-346-3638
out and about: wellness, fitness, and fun President John F. Kennedy led a physical fitness campaign in the early 60s, as anyone who was in school at that time will remember. The campaign was mostly directed at American youth, but Kennedy also had some advice for older Americans (which those youths have now become): “Our citizens are living longer, and we want them to participate fully in that longer life. But they can only do so if they give some of their time and some of their effort to maintaining their vitality.” Well said, JFK!
Michelle Obama said it best | “Let’s Move.” It was a call to action principally directed, as Kennedy’s was, at youth, and in particular at childhood obesity. “The physical and emotional health of an entire generation and the economic health and security of our nation is at stake,” the First Lady warned when she launched “Let’s Move” in 2010. As for adults, she spelled it out: “You need to be active 30 minutes a day, at least 5 days a week, for 6 out of 8 weeks.” You can do that, can’t you? And more? She does!
FITNESS | A million years ago, when our ancestors were chasing antelopes across the savannah, there was no need for gyms. A simple paleo diet and plenty of exercise kept early humans in shape. Life was just one long cross-fit workout. But now – so many of us sit and sit for hours on end, all but taking root at our desks or in our recliners. This is not what our bodies were designed for! Let’s face it, most of us could benefit from increased physical fitness, especially during the winter months. Have all the hygge you like, but if you don’t also get out and exercise, your health and sense of well-being will suffer. Fortunately, the Berkshires abound in opportunities for physical activity and wellness, year round. Some will cost you, and others are absolutely free, at least once you’re suitably outfitted. Some are for indoors, others for out: winter works both ways. In the beginning was the gym: think of ancient Athens, when a visit to the gymnasion might involve nude wrestling (men only) and then a talk-and-walk with your philosophy tutor. Nowadays, clothing is not optional, but plenty of choices remain – and you don’t have to look fit (at all) to walk in the door. To go to the gym, especially that first time, is to go with a purpose. And the beauty of it is, you will succeed, if you keep at it. You won’t lack for help, either. Berkshire gyms are staffed by knowledgeable and supportive fitness pros. How do you know what gym to choose? Choose the one you look forward to going back to, even when it’s 38
snowing, and that fits most conveniently into your life and budget. Yes, you could stay at home and get on the treadmill in the basement, or sell the silver and invest in a Peloton (a trendy, high-end, Wi-Fi-equipped, stationary exercise bike), but there’s something about being surrounded by fellow fitness enthusiasts, perhaps in a class led by a live instructor, that supplies an extra dose of motivation and social fun. There are many roads to fitness, from lifting weights to dancing and drumming, running, walking, swimming, spinning, going bowling, skiing, skating, volleyball, pickleball, boxing, martial arts: the point is to be active! Every day!
Here are some places to do it. Twenty years ago, Bard College at Simon’s Rock came up with a new concept in campus fitness facilities. The Kilpatrick Athletic Center was created to serve not only Simon’s Rock’s 450 students but members of the public in Great Barrington and beyond as well. Community members contribute financial support to the Center through memberships and fees, and they have been integrated into its life in a way that breaks down the typical distances between town and gown. Indoor soccer attracts local players to the gym on Wednesday and Friday nights, for example, and the Masters Swim program brings together serious swimmers of all ages (18 and up). more news and features at theBerkshireEdge.com
Kilpatrick Athletic Center, Masters Swim
Kilpatrick’s facilities are first-rate. They include an 8-lane spring-fed swimming pool, a state-of-the-art fitness center, an aerobics and dance studio, a gym for basketball and indoor soccer with a sprung track on the upper level, squash and racquetball courts, outdoor tennis courts, a climbing wall, and (as of this fall) a poolside sauna. You can work out on your own or participate in classes led by expert staff in cardio workouts, Zumba©, various varieties of yoga, racquet clinics, and more. You can hire a personal coach or trainer, too. Memberships are available in various configurations, and nonmembers may participate in general classes by paying the day-guest fee or by purchasing a day-guest passbook. Non-profit Berkshire Pulse, with extensive studio spaces in a re-imagined old mill in the village of Housatonic, is another prominent fitness-and-more organization, one that adds the dimension of artistic expression to most of its programs. It offers a mixture of dance classes for teens, adults, and children that culminate in public performances of original choreography each May at Simon’s Rock, as well as a range of other classes in tai-chi, Zumba©, hip-hop, jazz, yoga, Pilates, tap, flamenco, Scottish folk dance, African and Latin dance, modern dance, ballet, and world music percussion. There’s also a popular dance program for boys. Many of the classes at Berkshire Pulse are intergenerational and, thanks to tuition assistance made
possible by sponsors and donors, they’re accessible to participants across the economic spectrum. On-site and in-school programs involve students from Connecticut and New York as well as the Berkshires. Teenage and adult classes begin new sessions in late January. Berkshire South Regional Community Center (Berkshire South, for short) is a large, non-profit fitness resource in Great Barrington with a mission of enhancing the well-being of residents of South County. It serves all ages and incomes with programs and classes in an aquatic center with a main pool, a therapy pool, and a children’s splash pool, as well as a fitness center and gymnasium. Pickleball, anyone? Or perhaps you’d prefer the Aqua Zumba© Dance Party or the Power Hour fitness workout. Find the full lineup in the online catalogue. Memberships and day passes are both available. South County residents (with proof of residency) can try out the Center for free on selected Sundays.
Now in its fourth year from quarters just north of Great Barrington, Moving Arts Exchange (also known as MAX) is a non-profit dance organization offering a range of classes for children, teens and adults, including working with its resident and teen dance companies. It also stages MAXFlash events and site-specific dance and video projects, and collaborates with the MAX Choir and other local artists and arts organizations.
Zumba© | If yoga is too slow for you, and pumping iron holds no joys, there is always Zumba©. If you don’t know what Zumba© is — then where have you been these past 20 years? “Ditch the workout — Join the party.” On the strength of that slogan, and by mixing low- and highintensity moves to Latin and world-music rhythms in “an interval-style, calorie-burning dance fitness party,” licensed Zumba© instructors have carried the craze across the globe, including to more than a score of locations in the Berkshires. Don’t be afraid to try — “non-judgmental” is part of the ethos.
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out and about: wellness, fitness, and fun Lenox Fit 90 Pittsfield Rd., Lenox 413-637-9893
Fitness (alphabetical by town) The Berkshire Boxing Club 72 Stockbridge Rd., Great Barrington 413-591-0204
Rhythms 55 Pittsfield Rd., Lenox 413-637-2727
Butterfly Life 455 Dalton Ave., Pittsfield 866-586-0054
Personal Body Precision 36 Pittsfield Rd., Lenox 413-637-1414
Crossfit Pittsfield 505 East St., Pittsfield 413-626-6325
Spartan Fitness 439 Pittsfield Rd., Lenox 413-443-4839
Curves 5 Cheshire Rd., Pittsfield 413-499-0990
Miner Combat Fitness 69 Union St., North Adams 413-652-4563 or 413-663-0225
Gymfest of the Berkshires 10 Lyman St., Pittsfield 413-445-5689
Martial Arts Institute of the Berkshires 54 State Rd., Great Barrington 413-528-9560
Berkshire County Fitness Strong Ave., Pittsfield 413-281-7616
Planet Fitness 690 Merrill Rd., Pittsfield 413-445-5100
Moving Arts Exchange 325 Stockbridge Rd., Great Barrington 413-645-3153
Berkshire Family YMCA 292 North St., Pittsfield 413-499-7650
Retro Fitness 675 Merrill Rd., Pittsfield 413-358-4219
Lee Snap Fitness 14 Pleasant St., Lee 413-243-8000
Berkshire Nautilus 42 Summer St., Pittsfield 413-499-1217
Sports & Fitness of Berkshire County 11 Taconic Park Dr., Pittsfield 413-442-6608
Soules Sports and Fitness 925 Pleasant St., Lee 413-394-4906
Berkshire West Athletic Club 100 Dan Fox Dr., Pittsfield 413-499-4600
Berkshire South 15 Crissey Rd., Great Barrington 413-528-2810 Crossfit 11 Crissey Rd, Great Barrington 413-528-0909 Kilpatrick Athletic Center 84 Alford Rd., Great Barrington 413-528-7777
The Great (Winter) Outdoors You might as well embrace the winter when it comes. Many, of course, can’t wait to seize the activities that are unique to the season. Those skating scenes illustrated by Currier and Ives in the 19th century? They still come to life on Berkshire lakes and ponds. If you’re a skier, let others grumble as they dig out after the latest storm; your outlook has been switched to “bring it on.” What climate change taketh away, modern snowmaking equipment giveth back, as long as it’s cold on the mountainsides. The downhill runs at the major ski areas and the miles of groomed (and ungroomed) cross-country skiing trails throughout the Berkshires will get you outdoors and keep you moving. And if you haven’t snow-shoed lately, you might be surprised at how much fun and convenience there is in modern equipment. You don’t have to wait until it snows to get out, of course. When the trees are bare, the varying contours of the beautiful Berkshires landscape emerge. Walk at a brisk pace, make your heart beat, and observe what Whitman called “the smoke of my own breath” rising into the chilly air as you hike. Every town in the region has trails. Modern adjustable lightweight walking sticks add stability and give your upper body a workout, too.
more news and features at theBerkshireEdge.com
Sooner or later, though, it’s going to snow. The Berkshires can get blanketed — or even belted — in December, if not earlier, but there can also be a spell of shirtsleeve weather when it should be freezing outside. Fortunately, Berkshire ski areas know how to make the best of whatever comes, and you can track real-time conditions online. When the weather cooperates, there is great and affordable skiing to be had at both alpine and cross-country destinations in the region.
Skiing Here’s an alphabetical listing of ski areas in the greater Berkshires; cross-countryonly areas are so noted. Berkshire East Ski Area, Charlemont Berkshire East, off Route 2 in Charlemont, is a family-friendly 1,840-foot mountain with 45 trails, 18 of them lit for night skiing. Annual snowfall averages 9 feet. Six lifts handle up to 6,200 skiers per hour, and tubing is available on weekends. A wind turbine proves 100% of their electricity; Berkshire East was the first ski area in the country to generate all of its power needs on-site. Other recent investments in facilities have given this old-time area the benefit of modern amenities. Bousquet Ski Area, Pittsfield Located just southwest of Pittsfield, family-owned Bousquet is one of the oldest ski areas in the country; it opened in 1932. It isn’t fancy, but the fundamental things apply. 200 skiable acres are serviced by four lifts. The vertical drop is 750 feet, with 22 runs ranging from beginner to expert. Tubing on a 450-foot course is also available; tubes are provided with the price of admission. The lodge is warm and welcoming, the food is good and reasonably priced, and Thursday nights (from 3 p.m.) are a steal at $10 for a lift ticket. Like other Berkshires ski areas, Bousquet has been investing in infrastructure improvements. The
Yellow Chair upgrade is complete, as are enhancements to lighting, snowmaking, grooming, and the terrain park. Bromley Mountain, Peru, Vt. The south-facing slopes of familyfriendly Bromley are a 15-minute drive east from Manchester. Nine lifts can handle more than 10,000 skiers per hour. Forty-seven trails are evenly split among beginner, intermediate, and advanced levels; the Runaround is two and a half miles long. There are three freestyle terrain parks as well as a terrain-based learning zone. And on sunny days you can get a goggle-tan. Ski Butternut, Great Barrington Butternut, “where ordinary people become skiers,” lies only a few miles from the center of Great Barrington on the eastern slopes of East Mountain. Many Berkshires residents have learned to ski here, and a recent innovation called terrain-based learning involves practicing turns and other maneuvers on a course of teaching features sculpted into the snow. There’s no night skiing at Butternut, but that means that the slopes are groomed and ready early in the morning. Midweek passes are especially affordable, with special discounts for seniors. Canterbury Farm Cross Country Skiing, Becket With almost 14 miles of groomed trails at an elevation of 1,650 feet, Canterbury Farm provides serious (and fun) skiing, skating, and snowshoeing experiences. Lessons and rentals are available, with guided nature tours on Sunday mornings.
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Catamount Mountain Resort South Egremont, Mass., and Hillsdale, N.Y. Easy-to-get-to Catamount straddles two states: the 1,893-foot summit is in Massachusetts, while most of the 40 trails take you to New York. Catamount has been around since 1939 and was acquired in 2018 by the same people who run Berkshire East. The lodge has been renovated, new trails have been added for the current season (including three double black diamond trails), and a newly installed zip line that is more than a mile long (making it the longest in the Continental U.S.) will be open through the Thanksgiving weekend, weather permitting. The weather doesn’t always permit, of course, but all Catamount ski trails have snowmaking. Hilltop Orchards (cross country) Richmond It’s an orchard, it’s a winery, it’s a Nordic Ski Center with many miles of scenic groomed trails. Ski and snowshoe rentals are available on site. Après ski takes place by a stone fireplace with a glass of wine, a cup of cocoa, or a steaming mug of the orchard’s own cider. Jiminy Peak, Hancock Now with 45 trails and 9 lifts (including a six-passenger express that takes you to the 2,380-foot summit in five minutes), and amenities to serve both resort dwellers and visitors alike, Jiminy Peak has been a favorite Berkshires winter destination since 1948. A wind turbine on top of the mountain supplies twothirds of its energy, and solar panels cover the rest.
out and about: wellness, fitness, and fun Maple Corner Farm (cross country) Granville At 1,500 feet, there is snow here when the valleys are bare. The sugaring season breakfasts are terrific. Mohawk Mountain, Cornwall, Conn. Eight lifts and 25 trails (of which 12 are lit for night skiing) serve skiers at this venerable northwest Connecticut area, which pioneered modern snowmaking techniques. The adjoining State Forest offers cross-country skiing and snowshoeing. Notchview (cross country), Windsor Notchview is a 3,108-acre reservation most of which lies above 2,000 feet: snow country. There are 25 miles of trails, some groomed for classic crosscounty skiing, others for skate-skiing, with a separate trail system for “skijoring”
— skiing with dogs (your dog or dogs pull you!). Ski and snowshoe rentals are available at the lodge. Otis Ridge, Otis Family-oriented, affordable Otis Ridge has 11 trails and four lifts. It’s the least expensive ski area in New England, according to the New York Times. The trails run the gamut, with most falling in the intermediate range. No crowds, just good skiing. Rentals available. Prospect Mountain, Woodford, Vt. This cross-country skiing destination in the Green Mountains is 15 minutes east of Bennington on Route 9. There are 20 miles of well-maintained ski trails and tracks for snowshoers, too. In 2018, Prospect hosted the U.S. National Snowshoe Championships.
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Stratton Mountain Resort Bondville, Vt. At 3,875 feet, Stratton is the highest peak in southern Vermont. The vertical drop of 2,003 feet is about twice that of ski mountains in Massachusetts, and 99 trails radiate from the summit. You’ll have to drive two hours north from Great Barrington to get there, but fresh powder on Stratton is a heady experience. The mountain averages 15 feet of snow a year, and 1,200 snow guns add to that total as needed. The 11 lifts can carry almost 34,000 skiers an hour, but expect lines on weekends. Stratton Village, near the summit, provides amenities and a lively winter nightlife scene. Stratton is also known for its ski school and as the place where snowboarding was born.
Stump Sprouts (cross country), Hawley This rustic cross-country area is just east of the Berkshire County line, and just south of the Mohawk Trail, in the mountain town of Hawley (pop. 337). There are 15 miles of groomed trails for classic cross-country skiing and for winter biking when conditions permit. Ski and snowshoe rentals are available. Wild Wings Ski Touring Center Peru, Vt. Located high up in the Green Mountain National Forest 15 minutes from Manchester, this Nordic ski touring center is reliably snowy, with loop trails at all levels. Rentals are available. So is a yoga studio practicing vinyasa style “slow-flow” yoga — with a view.
Canterbury Farms Pond 1986 Fred Snow Rd., Becket 413-623-0100 Located at the Canterbury Farm Ski Touring Center Lenox Skating Rink 65 Walker St., Lenox | 413-637-5530 A public outdoor rink.
Skating The following are public skating rinks. Not included: the Berkshires’ many skatable lakes and ponds (when conditions permit – be careful!). Boys and Girls Club of the Berkshires Skating Rink 16 Melville St., Pittsfield 413-448-8258 Public skate times take place every Saturday and Sunday afternoon for a modest fee. The Club offers figure skating and learn-to-skate lessons, too.
Monterey Outdoor Ice Pavilion 411 Main Rd. Monterey 413-528-1443, ext. 248 This is a free outdoor rink for families to use at their own risk until 9 p.m., except for scheduled hockey times. Peter W. Foote Vietnam Veterans Memorial Skating Rink 1267 Church St., North Adams 413-664-8185 Public skate times vary.
FEEL THE HEAT MARTIAL ARTS INSTITUTE OF THE BERKSHIRES • Gain Endurance • Manage Stress • Improve Safety Awareness • Learn Self-Confidence 413-528-9560 54 State Road, Great Barrington, MA 01230 www.MAIBTaekwondo.com news, views & what’s happening at theBerkshireEdge.com
Come experience a high-energy indoor cycling class, swim in our 8-lane spring-fed heated pool, take your fitness to the next level with a personal trainer, or sweat it out in our new poolside sauna.
BECOME A MEMBER TODAY! Visit simons-rock.edu/kilpatrick or call 413-528-7777.
84 Alford Rd. Great Barrington, MA 01230
out and about
Books Are where the
A good book by the fireside — or any other warm place — is what many residents of the Berkshires wish for in winter. Let the sleet patter while you turn the pages of that new novel or of some favorite volume from the past. There is nothing so mindful — and transporting — as the silent concentration of reading. Wrote Emily Dickinson in landlocked Amherst: “There is no frigate like a book/To take us Lands away.”
Shaker Mill Books
The Spotty Dog Books & Ale
The Berkshires have always had a bookish streak. The region’s bookstores are sustained by a faithful following of residents and visitors, and public libraries serve as community hubs in virtually every town. In an age of screens, books still get respect in the Berkshires. What would the region be without its independent bookstores? Whether catering to the trade in new, used, or antiquarian books, they have all had to reckon with the advent of Amazon and other online booksellers, and most have been able to adapt, with the help of their loyal customers. There is something about the physical act of browsing and the social act of purchasing a book in real time at a real place that adds value to the experience of reading. Not to mention the help you are likely to get from staff who know their stock. If they don’t have the book you’re looking for (and they usually do), they can always order it. “It costs more, but it takes longer,” says Matt Tannenbaum (unapologetically), for 43 years owner of The Bookstore in Lenox. “Cheaper,” he says, “is a race to the bottom. We treat you like a human being, not an algorithm.” Tannenbaum tells the story of a mother and her three-year-old who came in towards the end of the day. When it was time to leave, the child announced, “I miss this place already.” The dawn of the Berkshires as a summer destination brought writers like Hawthorne, Melville, and Oliver Wendell Holmes to the region in the mid-19th century and put it on the literary map. Fifty years later, Edith Wharton was writing novels and stories at her home, The Mount, in Lenox and entertaining Henry James there. There are writers in these hills today, too. When they have a new book out, you can catch many of them reading at The Bookloft in Great Barrington, The Bookstore in Lenox, and at other venues in the region.
The Bookloft One popular way to socialize your reading is to join a book club. Some libraries sponsor or accommodate clubs, and so do some bookstores. The Bookloft, for example, hosts monthly book groups and is associated with many more. At the Lenox Library, the First Tuesday Book Group meets once a month to read and discuss a book together.
out and about: where the books are
Yellow House Books
The Bookstores The Bookloft 322 Stockbridge Rd., Great Barrington 413-528-1521 The Bookloft may be located (at present) in a mall just north of Great Barrington, but don’t let that put you off. It’s the real thing: a fine, large independent bookstore that has been in operation since 1974. They have the latest titles and plenty of older stock as well, with a good selection of well-priced remaindered books at the back. The children’s and juvenile sections are especially rich, and there’s an appealing collection of book-related gifts. The staff is helpful, and the store has a strong record of supporting Berkshires authors. Frequent meet-and-greets with writers make this store a beacon of local literary life. A move is in the works: sometime in the spring of 2020 the Bookloft will have a freestanding home of its own at 63 State Road in Great Barrington. Yellow House Books 252 Main St., Great Barrington 413-528-8227 This jewel of a used bookstore has been under the same owner(s) since 1991. All the stock is of high quality and interest: classics, children’s, art, gardening, history, biography, and more, with a
surprising selection of sheet music and books about music. The Bookstore and Get Lit Wine Bar 11 Housatonic St., Lenox 413-637-3390 A discriminating selection of general interest titles, a nook for children to read and play in, and a wine bar for adults (“Get lit,” get it?), right in the heart of Lenox: who could ask for anything more? Well, there is more: Matt Tannenbaum, the genial owner, and his friendly and knowledgeable staff; a side area for used books furnished with comfortable armchairs; and readings by local authors (40 of them per year). The shop is open yearround, seven days a week. The poetry section alone makes it worth a visit. And where else does Thomas Hardy get a foot and a half of shelf space? The wine selection pairs well with his novels. Shaker Mill Books 3 Depot St., West Stockbridge 413-232-0252 Visitors, be warned: you are going to find many books you’ve been meaning to read in this large and attractive shop, and you’re going to find them like new and discounted 40% or more. The stock is extensive and well organized, the quality is high, the staff
knowledgeable, and the prices hard to resist. There is a special section of Berkshires books and shelves of choice older volumes and rarities. Art, music, fiction, non-fiction, children’s books, plus a comfortable chair or two where you can read — or steady your mind before heading to the checkout. Stockbridge Coffee & Tea 6 Elm St., Stockbridge 413-931-7044 Coffee, tea, pastries, quiche, cookies, brownies, biscotti — and books. The mostly softcover books are what the store calls “gently used” and include both fiction and non-fiction. Don’t look for Harlequin romances or other pop titles, though. Barnes & Noble 555 Hubbard Ave., Pittsfield 413-496-9051 No one would mistake this B&N for an independent bookstore, but it tries. The sheer number of titles, the spacious physical layout, and a staff that knows books are all assets. B&N pioneered the bookstore-as-café-withcouches idea, and you can sip your in-store Starbucks as you read. In addition to books and magazines, the bookstore sells movies, music, toys, games, and electronics. more news and features at theBerkshireEdge.com
Shaker Mill Books
Second Life Books 55 Quarry Rd., Lanesborough 413-447-8010 Founded in 1972, Second Life Books specializes in antiquarian and outof-print books by and about women, first editions of American, English and Continental literature, Americana, abolition and other social reform movements, and a wide range of printed and manuscript material from the 16th to the 20th century. Open by appointment. The Williams Bookstore 81 Spring St., Williamstown 413-597-3131 Williams College opened this 10,000-square-foot bookstore, café, and event space in 2017. Besides course books for Williams students, there’s a wide selection of general interest titles and a large children’s section, plus plenty of Williams College merch. The first floor includes a café operated by Tunnel City. Chapter Two Books 37 Spring St., Williamstown 413-883-6322 Non-profit Chapter Two Books carries what it calls “lightly, slightly used books.” The store is staffed and managed by volunteers, all books have been donated, and the proceeds
Rodgers Book Barn
benefit the town’s David and Joyce Milne Library. MASS MoCA (North Adams), the Clark Art Institute (Williamstown), and the Norman Rockwell Museum (Stockbridge) have art-themed gift stores with plenty of books on offer. The gift shop at The Mount, Edith Wharton’s home in Lenox, is stocked with Wharton’s works and other volumes that pertain to gardening, architecture, and literature at the turn of the (20th) century. Visitors who take the tour of her house will also get a look at her personal library. The Kripalu Shop at the Kripalu Center in Stockbridge is a good source for books about mindful living and related subjects.
Bookstores without borders The Chatham Bookstore 27 Main St., Chatham, N.Y. 518-392-3005 The motto of this bookstore is “Community Through Books.” They’ve been at it for more than 40 years on Main Street in Chatham with current and classic books and a wide selection of art supplies as well. The store displays artwork and regularly sponsors
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interactive readings and discussions with authors. Friendly and knowledgeable staff are there to help. Rodgers Book Barn 67 Rodman Rd., Hillsdale, N.Y. 518-325-3610 It’s a little out of the way and winter hours are limited (Friday-Sunday, 11am-5pm), but as you travel the back roads of Hillsdale to get there, bear in mind that you are approaching an enchanted castle filled with roughly 50,000 “old and unusual books,” as the shop’s legendary proprietor, Maureen Rodgers, puts it. You will not leave empty handed, as the well-organized stock is of high quality and priced to sell; most titles are just a few dollars. Walk in, and stagger out. The Spotty Dog Books & Ale 440 Warren St., Hudson, N.Y. 518-671-6006 It sounds old-timey, and it is. The bookstore and the bar are housed in a nicely restored 1890 firehouse. The store carries over 10,000 new titles in all categories, including a large section of books and toys for kids and sections featuring local writers and subjects. The beer selection is also impressive and mostly drawn from upstate New York and Vermont. You could settle in to a glass of C.H. Evans Pump Station BerkshiresCalendar.com
out and about: where the books are
Pale Ale, a Hennepin Saison from Ommegang, or a Key Lime Pie Gose from Westbrook, for example. Not to mention the latest bestseller. Oblong Books & Music 26 Main St., Millerton, N.Y. 518-789-3797 6422 Montgomery St., Rhinebeck, N.Y. 845-876-0500 The name refers not to the shape of books or bookstores but to a strip of land along the Connecticut-New York border that was disputed in colonial times. That’s where the town of Millerton lies, near Connecticut’s northwest corner. One store is located there, the other due west in the Hudson River town of Rhinebeck. Both are cozy, wellstocked bookstores that help anchor their communities. The Golden Notebook 29 Tinker St., Woodstock, N.Y. 845-679-8000 It’s named for the Doris Lessing novel (a favorite of the founder’s), but if you had Golden Books in your childhood, feel free to think of those instead and the intense pleasure they gave you. Now in its fifth decade, this store is one of the things that makes — and keeps — Woodstock Woodstock. Their monthly book club meeting is open to all; details and selections on their website. Fun fact:
one day a man walked into the store and proceeded to help an employee rearrange the display of children’s books; somehow the bookseller failed to recognize David Bowie. Johnnycake Books 12 Academy St., Salisbury, Conn. 860-435-6677 Housed in a 19th-century farmer’s cottage on a side street in the village of Salisbury, this shop offers a fine collection of rare and collectible books in rooms well suited for browsing. The Bennington Bookshop 467 Main St., Bennington, Vt. 802-442-5059 This browser-friendly bookstore in downtown Bennington has particularly good sections on Vermont authors, local history, and hiking. You can pick up Penguin’s recent reissue of Robert Frost’s New Hampshire, for example, which includes “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening” and other favorites; the poem came to him, he said, “like an hallucination” at his home in nearby Shaftsbury one summer morning in 1922. The Northshire Bookstore 4869 Main St., Manchester, Vt. 802-362-2200 424 Broadway, Saratoga Springs, N.Y. 518-682-4200
These two wonderful and roomy stores help anchor their respective downtowns and sponsor events with prominent authors. The book selection is extensive; browse away, or let the staff picks be your guide. The children’s departments are stocked with the classics as well as the choicest of the latest, and have space for play, too. Both stores also carry gifts, magazines, postcards, clothing, a wide selection of audiobooks, and more. Grover Askins, bookseller Eclipse Mill Artist Lofts 243 Union St., North Adams 413-664-6493 This bookstore on the first floor of a building filled with artists’ lofts carries a used and antiquarian stock emphasizing the arts. Other subjects include history, natural science and gardening, litera-ture, music, theater, cookery, and sport. “Open by chance or by appointment,” so call ahead. Howard S. Mott Inc. Rare Books and Manuscripts 170 S. Main St., Sheffield 413-229-2019 Open by appointment only, but if first editions, autograph letters, historical manuscripts, early Americana, and more in that line are your thing, a treasure trove awaits you right off Route 7 in Sheffield. Appraisal services are also available.
Left, The Northshire Bookstore; right, Oblong Books & Music
HIGHLIGHTS | The Stockbridge Library, founded in
The Libraries There are 32 municipalities in Berkshire County, and there are 31 public libraries, ranging from the 53,000-square-foot Berkshire Athenaeum in Pittsfield to the one-room Taylor Library in Hancock. As the Berkshires were settled in the 18th century, the first lending libraries followed. They began to flourish in the 19th century as the appetite for knowledge increased and prominent citizens provided for them through donations and bequests. The early 20th century was also a period of library development, sparked by Andrew Carnegie’s grants; the original part of the Lee Library, built in 1907, is a Carnegie library. Twenty-first-century technology has transformed libraries into information portals and nerve centers for their communities. Many of the libraries of the Berkshires participate in the largest library network in Massachusetts, Central Western Massachusetts Automated Resource Sharing, Inc. (C/W MARS). The network includes public and academic libraries with more than 8.5 million physical items and e-books available for borrowing by Massachusetts residents. All you need to access the network is a valid library card.
1789, is one of the oldest in the region. A major renovation completed in 2016 increased reading, study and activity areas and expanded access to the museum and archives. Visitors are welcome and will find the library an oasis of calm — and enlightenment — right on the busy corner of Main and Elm Streets. The Lenox Library occupies the Greek Revival premises of the 1815 former County Courthouse, giving it an impressive classical appearance. It’s not just a façade: there are 20,000 square feet of space inside, including a reading room that served as a ballroom for the first generation of Berkshire cottagers (before cottages got grand and had their own). A Distinguished Lecture Series presents speakers monthly through the winter on Sunday afternoons; the lectures are free and open to the public. The Monterey Library recently completed a $3.1-million makeover. The sunny new reading room leads out onto a deck that overlooks the Konkapot River. The Berkshire Athenaeum, right in the center of Pittsfield, has two rooms of special interest. One is dedicated to the history of Berkshire County; the other, the Herman Melville Memorial Room, holds the world’s largest collection of Melville personal memorabilia and a rich collection of research material. The excellent libraries of Williams College are open to the public, though borrowing privileges are restricted. Special Collections excepted, Williams’s holdings are shelved in open stacks, making them ideal for browsing on a particular subject. Some libraries in the Berkshires are now lending more than books. Want to borrow a ukulele? The Bushnell Sage Library in Sheffield has four of them in stock, along with an acoustic guitar, a 4.5-inch reflector telescope, and a 10/30x stereomicroscope. The Berkshire Athenaeum in Pittsfield lends games, tools, musical instruments, technology, and more. You can also use one of their 3-D printers to print your project. In Becket, The Becket Athenaeum lends adventure chests with science experiments for kids, and you can even play an electric guitar in the library (using headphones, of course). DVDs and audiobooks are also available for loan at most libraries. “Libraries are more than libraries,” says Mark Makuc, Director of the Monterey Library, with a touch of Zen in his tone.
The Herman Melville Memorial Room, at the Berkshire Athenaeum holds the world’s largest collection of Melville personal memorabilia.
out and about: where the books are
A Massachusetts library card is a valuable thing!
Adams Free Library* 92 Park St., Adams 413-743-8345
Taylor Memorial Library 155 Main St., Hancock 413-738-5326
North Adams Public Library* 74 Church St., North Adams 413-662-3133
Alford Library 5 Alford Center Rd., Alford 413-528-4536
Hinsdale Public Library 58 Maple St., Hinsdale 413-655-2303
Otis Library and Museum* 48 North Main Rd., Otis 413-269-0109
Becket Athenaeum 3367 Main St., Becket 413-623-5483
Ramsdell Library* 1087 Main St., Housatonic 413-274-3738
Peru Public Library 6 West Main Rd., Peru 413-655-8650Â
Cheshire Public Library* 23 Depot St., Cheshire 413-743-4746
Lanesborough Public Library* 83 North Main St., Lanesborough 413-442-0222
Berkshire Athenaeum* 1 Wendell Ave., Pittsfield 413-499-9480
Clarksburg Town Library* 711 West Cross Rd., Clarksburg 413-664-6050
Lee Library* 100 Main St., Lee 413-243-0385
BCC Jonathan Edwards Library* 1350 West St., Pittsfield 413-236-2150
Dalton Free Library* 462 Main St., Dalton 413-684-6112
New Marlborough Public Library* 35 West Main St., Marlborough 508-624-6900
Richmond Free Public Library* 2821 State Rd., Richmond 413-698-3834
Monterey Public Library* 452 Main Rd., Monterey 413-528-3795
Sandisfield Free Public Library 23 Sandisfield Rd., Sandisfield 413-258-4966
Mt. Washington Library East St., Mt. Washington 413-528-2839
Savoy Hollow Library 720 Main Rd., Savoy 413-743-3759
Florida Public Library* 56 North County Rd., Florida 413-664-0153 x14 Mason Library* 231 Main St., Great Barrington 413-528-2403
To get one for free, all you have to be is a Massachusetts resident and apply in person at your local library. How town libraries define residency is up to them. The Lenox Library, for example, makes cards available to visitors who reside in the Berkshires for the period of a month or more. Second-home owners are generally eligible for cards; bring a utility bill or other proof of residence with you when you apply. The Stockbridge Library also extends privileges to those who work in or go to school in the town (with proof) and makes cards available to out-of-staters for the modest fee of $25/year. Cards issued by any C/W MARS library are also valid at others in the network.
Sheffield Bushnell-Sage Library* 48 Main St., Sheffield 413-229-7004 Egremont Free Library* 1 Buttonball Lane, South Egremont 413-528-1474 Stockbridge Library Association* 46 Main St., Stockbridge 413-298-5501 Tyringham Free Public Library 118 Main Rd., Tyringham 413-243-1373 West Stockbridge Public Library* 21 State Line Rd. West Stockbridge 413-232-0308 David & Joyce Milne Public Library* 1095 Main St., Williamstown 413-458-5369
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Sawyer Library Williams College 26 Hopkins Hall Dr. Williamstown 413-597-2501 Windsor Free Public Library 1890 Rte. 9, Windsor 413-684-3811 *CW/MARS network
Libraries without borders Roeliff Jansen Community Library 9091 Rte. 22, Hillsdale, N.Y. 518-325-4101 Scoville Memorial Library 38 Main St., Salisbury, Conn. 860-435-2838
Bennington Free Library 101 Silver St. Bennington, Vt. 802-332-9051 John G. McCullough Free Library 2 Main St. North Bennington, Vt. 802-447-7121 Martha Canfield Library 528 E Arlington Rd. Arlington, Vt. 802-375-6153 Manchester Community Library 138 Cemetery Ave. Manchester, Vt. 802-362-2607
618 Reviews Samantha Local Guide Âˇ 130 reviews 3 days ago
Love, love, love this place! Give yourself several hours - or even half a day - to browse the incredible selection and variety. Plenty of things for plenty of people - adults and kids, best-sellers and the even better less-common finds, books and gifts and local treasures. Exactly what a antha! great bookstore should be! Sam
www.northshire.com Scoville Memorial Library
Manchester Center, VT Saratoga Springs, NY
new & used books | food & gifts | events | book signings BerkshiresCalendar.com
holidays in the berkshires
Winterlights is back at Naumkeag by popular demand with even more lights this year. On November 22, the switch is flipped on this immersive LED light installation on the grounds of the 44-room Gilded Age “cottage” in Stockbridge. Visitors are welcomed through the front doors into the festively decorated first floor of the mansion before setting out on a self-guided walking tour of gardens illuminated by a spectacular array of tiny, shimmering lights. The tour winds through the many garden “rooms,” the forests, greenhouses, and allées of the 44-acre estate, including the iconic Blue Steps. In addition, there will be live music, including performances by local choral groups, special guests (including Santa), children’s activities and more. Winterlights is open Thursdays through Sundays 5-8 p.m. through the end of December.
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Thanksgiving is better in the Berkshires. You’re likely to go over a river and through the woods on your way, even if your grandmother doesn’t live here (and it isn’t snowing). Thursday, November 28, is Thanksgiving Day this year, and a number of events both sacred and secular are open to the public in the region.
Many area restaurants put together special Thanksgiving meals, and it’s a good bet that the ingredients (including the bird) won’t have traveled far from the farms where they were raised. If you’re doing the cooking, Berkshire Grown, a non-profit that supports local agriculture, sponsors Holiday Farmers Markets in Great Barrington November 23 and Williamstown November 24. The holiday markets also take place in Great Barrington December 14 and in Williamstown on the 15th; winter markets are scheduled monthly in Great Barrington through April. If you’d like to savor a candlelit harvest dinner in the Brick Dwelling, where Shakers ate communally beginning in 1830, and support the Village’s farm internship program at the same time, join in the Grateful Shaker Supper at Hancock Shaker Village (due west of Pittsfield on Route 20) on Saturday, November 30 at 6 p.m. Tickets are $90 for non-members. A tour of the building follows dinner. The United Church of Christ in Lenox, also known as The Church on the Hill, will hold a simple service of Thanksgiving celebrating the Goodness of Creation in word and song on Thanksgiving Eve, Wednesday, November 27 at 6:30 p.m. at the Meetinghouse. Lee Congregational Church is partnering with Catholic St. Mary’s for an Ecumenical Thanksgiving Service on Sunday, November 24. This year the service will be at the Congregational Church at 7 p.m.
The Berkshire South Regional Community Center in Great Barrington puts on its annual Community Thanks Supper on the Tuesday before Thanksgiving, this year on the 26th, with seatings at 5 p.m. and 6:15 p.m. Dinner is aimed at locals, but donations are gratefully accepted from one and all, and non-perishable food items are collected for local food banks.
HOLIDAY HOUSE TOURS take place at The Mount Saturdays and Sundays hourly from 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. from November 23 to December 22. The Lenox Garden Club decorates Edith Wharton’s modest mansion in Gilded Age style.
Norman Rockwell painted the scene in 1956 and touched it up in 1967: Home for Christmas (Stockbridge Main Street at Christmas). From noon till 2 p.m. on Sunday, December 8, you can step right into the painting — not the original eight-foot long canvas, on view in the nearby Norman Rockwell Museum — but the annual recreation of the scene Rockwell depicted as conjured up by the Stockbridge Chamber of Commerce, complete with vintage automobiles and other touches from the past. If nature cooperates with a dusting of snow, it will be déjà vu all over again, because this is the 30th time the town has put on this popular event. Admittance to the Main Street activities is $5; children under 12 free. The weekend of celebrations begins on Friday at 5 p.m. at the Stockbridge Library with readings of classic stories of the season, then continues on Saturday with house tours, a children’s sing-along, caroling with luminaria, and a holiday concert at the First Congregational Church. Total immersion in the holiday mood arrives on Sunday as the past comes to life on Main Street. Rockwell painted that holiday mood at one of its peak moments in Christmas Homecoming: the return home of a family member for Christmas. That painting and Rockwell’s 1923 Christmas Trio, a cover for The Saturday Evening Post showing a bundled-up group of Dickensian carolers and musicians in full voice, share pride of place in an exhibit at the Norman Rockwell Museum called The Spirit of Giving Illustrated (November 16-February 9), which includes works from other artists as well.
The Clark puts on a Sugar Plum Fairy Tea Party on December 15, 12:30-1:30 p.m. That will put you (and your young charges) in the mood for an encore broadcast of the Bolshoi Ballet’s HD production of The Nutcracker in the Clark’s auditorium. Individual tickets are available for the tea party or ballet, but the combo ticket is a better deal.
A wreath-making workshop kicks off the holidays at Hancock Shaker Village on Sunday, November 24 (2-4 p.m., repeated on December 8). Things get into full swing December 6-8, beginning with a Yule Jam on the 6th at 7 p.m., featuring live music in the Believers’ Room, a roaring fire, food trucks, holiday cocktails and local beer; wear an ugly sweater and get $2 off the $12 cover charge. Santa does brunch, and you can too at Brunch with Santa Saturday, December 7, and Sunday, December 8, 10 a.m.-2 p.m., with crafts, music, story time, and visiting the animals in the Round Stone Barn. Adults $45, children 12 and younger $25. A Holidays Around the World Dinner takes place from 6 to 9 p.m. on Saturday the 7th, and on Sunday afternoon and evening (at 4 and 6 p.m.) a Service of Lessons & Carols will take place in the 1830 Brick Dwelling, featuring choral music, singing of familiar carols, and readings by noted Berkshire residents; no charge for admission. The Lenox Contra Dancers get together on the third Saturday of every month to swing their partners (and some strangers too) at the Lenox Community Center on Walker Street. November 16th is one such Saturday, and they’ll get together on a rare fifth Saturday (November 30), too. The climax of the season comes on December 21 from 5 p.m. to 11 p.m. with a Potluck Supper and Double Dance to the tunes of the Russet Trio.
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Shop, sip, and stroll Do you know how to stroll? You’ll catch on if you join in at the Southern Berkshire Chamber’s Annual Holiday Stroll in Great Barrington, Saturday, December 14, 3 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Activities kick off at 3 p.m. with an hour of magic by Ed the Wizard in the Mason Library. The stroll proper begins at 4 p.m, when shop windows come alive (literally), and hayrides, wreath-making, games, crafts, a photo booth and more swing into action. As darkness falls, several firepits blaze up to cast light and warmth. Santa makes an appearance at 4:30 at the bottom of Railroad Street and takes requests over the next two hours in the lobby of Berkshire Bank. If you’d like to put your suggestions in writing, a quiet spot is set aside where you can pen a letter to him at the North Pole. As 7 p.m. approaches, carolers from the Steiner School lead the crowd to the Town Hall for a menorah and tree lighting. Then come fireworks. A concert by the Berkshire Children’s Chorus concludes the festivities. Thanks to event sponsor Lee Bank and the local activity sponsors, all of this fun is free.
The Berkshire Botanical Garden’s annual all-day Holiday Marketplace finds the Garden transformed into a glittering holiday market on Saturday, December 7. The highlight is the Gallery of Wreaths, a Garden tradition offering one-of-a-kind wreaths created by some of the area’s most talented designers and artists. A holiday plant sale features flowering plants, traditional centerpieces, and holiday swags, and regional craft vendors offer a range of products from jewelry and woodenware to beeswax in many forms. In North Adams, Greylock WORKS puts on the 3rd coming of its popular Festive Holiday Market on November 23 from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. at its impressive quarters at 508 State Road. Two weeks later the Williamstown Chamber of Commerce sponsors its annual Holiday Walk on Spring Street and environs, with old-fashioned caroling, horse-drawn carriage rides, a Reindog Parade, a Penny Social, and a visit from Santa. Another popular (already sold out!) event is the Children’s Holiday Extravaganza at Pittsfield’s Colonial Theatre, December 1 at noon, doors open at 11 a.m. Those fortunate enough to have tickets will enjoy entertainment, face painting, popcorn, pizza, a visit from Santa and Ms. Claus, raffles, prizes and more. Anyone is welcome to bring non-perishable food items for donation.
The Colonial Theater will also be hosting
performances of A Christmas Carol, in a version adapted by Eric Hill and directed by Travis Daly. The show opens on Saturday, December 7, at 7 p.m. and runs through December 28, with 2 p.m. matinees on Saturdays and Sundays. Adults $39, children 16 and under $29, with the exception of the Wednesday, December 11, 6 p.m. Special Community and Sensory-Friendly Performance, when all tickets are $5.
Pittsfield’s Whitney Center for the Arts presents Christmastime In The City, the annual holiday variety show directed by Monica Bliss and Jeff Hunt, on Friday, December 13 at 8 p.m., Saturday, December 14 at 8 p.m., and Sunday, December 15 at 2 p.m. The show evokes the Christmas spirit through song and the spoken word. Tickets may be purchased online at www.thewhit.org or reserved by calling 413-443-0289. Be forewarned: they sell out.
Southern Berkshire Chamber’s Annual Holiday Stroll
The hit public radio series Selected Shorts adds “for the Holidays” to its title for a special show from the stage of the Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center at 2 p.m. on December 15. Stories classic and new will be read by actors Teagle F. Bougere, Jane Curtin, James Naughton, and Parker Posey.
The Cantilena Chamber Choir will present a Christmas program at Lenox’s Trinity Church on December 12 at 3 p.m.
In late December, the Berkshire County Women of Color Giving Circle will host its annual Kwanzaa event. All members of the community are invited to attend. There will be music, food and opportunities for discussion.
Hanukkah begins Sunday, December 1. A great place to find a beautiful menorah is Concepts of Art in Lenox. And don’t forget to buy your candles early at the supermarket before they run out. Even if you aren’t celebrating Hanukkah at your house, your stomach will thank you for some potato pancakes (latkes) and jelly donuts (sufganiyot), the traditional foods of the season. As the holiday gets closer, check for celebrations at local synagogues and temples.
The Lee Congregational Church puts on several events during the holidays. The annual Holiday Fair will be held on December 7 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. The Fair includes hand-crafted items, holiday decorations, baked goods, lunch, a raffle, and a “nearly new” shop. Two weeks later on December 13 and 14 comes the Sounds of the Season Concert, both evenings at 7 p.m. at the Church. Jim Morrison directs the Christmas Angels Chorus (break on through) with special prelude music by the Lee Bell Choir starting at 6:30 p.m. All are welcome at this free Lee holiday tradition, which includes a visit from Santa and refreshments following the concert. On Christmas Eve a “no rehearsal” pageant begins in late afternoon, giving children the chance to participate as Mary or Joseph, angels, shepherds, wise men, and animals. At 7 p.m. all are welcome at a service of scriptures, carols, Holy Communion, and the concluding candle lighting and singing of “Silent Night.”
Trains are a holiday thing, whether they’re chugging around the Christmas tree or running along the tracks of the Berkshire Scenic Railway. Their holiday Tinseliner will take you back to the 1950s; it will also take you from Adams to North Adams and back. Santa will be on board, and there’s a stop at a Christmas tree yard as well. The trains run weekends on November 29 and 30 and December 1, 7-8, 14-15, and 21-22. Departure times vary; check ticketing online. Don’t let the children have all the fun: there’s a BYOB Mistletoe and Martini train (complete with live music) Saturdays at 6:30 p.m., November 30-December 14.
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All are welcome at the United Church of Christ in Lenox during the season of Advent. On four successive Sundays, beginning on December 1 at 10:30 a.m. at the Meetinghouse, the Advent Wreath, made of a circle of evergreen branches laid flat to symbolize eternal life, is lit. Four blue candles stand in the circle, and each Sunday one more candle is lit until all four are burning bright. In the center of the circle is a fifth candle, the white Christ Candle, which is lit on Christmas Eve, when the Candlelight Service of Lessons and Carols will be celebrated at 5 p.m. At the end of the service the Christ light is passed around, and each person lights the candle in their hands as the house lights are dimmed and all join in singing “Silent Night.” The Sheffield Historical Society is behind the town’s 20th annual Festival of Holidays, November 7 - December 24 on weekends 10 a.m.-3 p.m. at the Old Stone Store on Main Street (you can’t miss it). The Store sells crafts by Berkshire artisans, including jewelry, pottery, leather goods, basketry, carved wooden items, glass ornaments and many other decorative pieces, as well as holiday goodies made by Society members and friends. There are toys and books for little ones and home accessories for adults, all at small-town prices. The opening night reception takes place on December 6, from 7-9 p.m.
Free seasonal family events at the Sandisfield Arts Center include a Cool Yule Party, December 7 at 5 p.m. to 7 p.m., with crafts, caroling, holiday tree-trimming (you create the ornaments) and refreshments. The free family film nights (with popcorn) that began in May run right through December. South of the border, Hometown Holidays in Salisbury, Conn., is an annual event that takes place at the White Hart Inn on the first Sunday in December (this year, the 1st). Santa will be doing some advance work there, and you can expect cookies and hot cocoa, too. The Salisbury Band and Hot Chocolate Society plays Christmas music, and charismatic singer and choirmaster Michael Brown leads the gathering in some old-time, full-throated caroling. Northwards in Vermont, the Park-McCullough House in North Bennington puts on a holiday celebration for all comers in December, and at the Bennington Museum December 7 is Festival Family Day: there’s a children’s shopping boutique, crafts, photos with Santa, a bake sale, and more. Admission is only $3 per head, and children who bring a non-perishable food item for donation are admitted free.
The Berkshire Museum’s Annual Festival of Trees The festival runs from November 16, 2019, through January 5, 2020. Local businesses decorate trees in original ways to match the year’s theme (this year it’s “heroes”). Explore the sparkling indoor forest after hours, when the galleries are lit only by the twinkling lights on every tree. All ages welcome. A Festive Preview Party will celebrate the opening of the Festival November 15 from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m.; call to reserve tickets.
The Berkshire Bach Society presents an all-Bach program on New Year’s Eve, Tuesday, December 31 at 6 p.m.
The Mahaiwe will show the Christmas classic It’s a Wonderful Life on December 20 at 7 p.m.
Then comes 2020, ready or not!
art & performance year round, more than ever
By November the season (as in summer) is definitely over. After its explosion in July and August, it lingered into October on the Berkshires cultural calendar, but now the birds have flown south (some of them) and the big summer exhibitions have closed at the Clark Art Institute and the Norman Rockwell Museum. But winter is a season too, as in Live From the Met opera broadcasts, which may be viewed at the Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center in Great Barrington, at the Beacon Cinema in Pittsfield, and at the Clark itself in Williamstown.
Art The fact is that winter has its own art exhibits, with fewer people by your side when you see them. The Clark Art Institute and the Williams College Museum of Art in Williamstown, the Norman Rockwell Museum in Stockbridge, and MASS MoCA in North Adams are the headliners, but innumerable galleries, craft shows, and intriguing displays of public art extend the visitor’s art experience in virtually every town. The Norman Rockwell Museum holds the world’s greatest collection of Rockwells, and it also mounts provocative special exhibitions on the art of illustration and on prominent illustrators. “What defines home?” the Museum asks in Finding Home: Four Artists’ Journeys (opening November 10). The pathways to finding a place of one’s own are explored in compelling visual memoirs from four master illustrators. The theme that ties their personal journeys together is immigration: the artists Frances Jetter, David Macaulay, James McMullan, and Yuyi Morales came to this country after beginnings elsewhere. Besides more than 150 works of art on view, personal mementos — toys, skates, tea sets, clothing, photographs, travel documents — accompanied by video commentary, will illuminate each illustrator’s story. To comprehend the phenomenon of MASS MoCA, you have to think big. It’s the ultimate loft, with 250,000 square feet more news and features at theBerkshireEdge.com
Left: David Macauley, Voyage; Yuyi Morales, You and I, at the Norman Rockwell Museum.
Sarah Oppenheimer, S-334473
(about five acres) of open and naturally lit space in the former Sprague Electric complex astride the Housatonic River in the heart of North Adams. But it’s also a big idea: it reconfigures the traditional, jewel-box concept of a museum as “a dynamic open platform that encourages free exchange between the making of art and its enjoyment by the public, between the visual and performing arts, and between an extraordinary historic factory campus and the patrons, workers, and tenants who once again inhabit it . . .” One recently opened exhibition and another opening December 14 are good examples of what the Museum aims at. Sarah Oppenheimer designs interactive spaces. Her recently installed S-334473 performs as (to let the Museum tell it) “a dynamic spatial switch: two instruments work in tandem to reorient the exchange of sight and circulation within Building 6. A visitor’s touch sets the work in motion, pivoting volumes of
glass and metal along a 45-degree axis through a defined arc.” There’s more, and you get to see behind the curtain. The December 14 opening belongs to South African sculptor Ledelle Moe; the show is called When. Moe is a sculptor of huge figures and objects. Some of the forms — colossal weathered heads, for example — fall somewhere in between, like the shattered remains of Ozymandias. At the center of the exhibition is an 18-foot-tall kneeling female figure. Other examples of Moe’s original takes on monumental art are on view too. Patrons also come for the roughly forty other current exhibitions and for collections like the Sol Lewitt galleries and for Anselm Kiefer’s striking Velimir Chlebnikov (2004), a steel pavilion containing 30 paintings dealing with nautical warfare. The Kidspace “is a child-centered art gallery and hands-on studio” that hosts exhibitions and provides educational experiences in collaboration with leading artists. BerkshiresCalendar.com
art & performance year round, more than ever The Clark Art Institute is destination enough for
Alexandre-Gabriel Decamps, Cypriot Woman Smoking a Chibouk
ARTISTS, AWAKE! The second installment of Art of the Hills, a juried exhibition highlighting the work of local artists, is coming to the Berkshire Museum next summer. The idea this year is “narrative.” Applications open January 6, 2020.
any art lover from anywhere; moreover, the Clark has grown substantially in recent years. The collection features European and American paintings, sculpture, prints, drawings, photographs, and decorative arts from the Renaissance to the early twentieth century. A Gilbert Stuart George Washington looks down at you with a profoundly reassuring gaze; around the corner, Gauguin invites you to escape to Tahiti. Every Saturday at 11:15 a.m. all winter long you can take a guided walk through the galleries with a member of the Clark’s education team. You’ll join fellow art lovers for a personalized look at highlights from the permanent collection, learn about the history of the museum, and gain new insight into some Clark favorites. Two exhibits opening at the Clark in November and December, respectively, are full of fantasy. Travels on Paper (November 16-February 9) presents the 18th- and 19th-century appetite for printed imagery on the part of armchair travellers (and real ones, too). The exhibit aims to take you on “a world tour featuring prints, drawings, and photographs by Camille Corot, Alexandre-Gabriel Decamps, John La Farge, Robert Macpherson, Thomas Moran, Félix Teynard, and many others.” Forget that cruise: this exhibition is much more fun, and with less chance of shipwreck. It’s followed by an exhibit (Arabesque December 14-March 22) on a style of ornamentation that has done some traveling itself: arabesque, a sinuous, spiraling, or serpentine line or linear motif that is often combined with other decorative elements. The Museum suggests that it implies “infinite freedom and self-engendering form,” noting its association with Islamic art and architecture as well as its importance to key movements in European art. You may have noticed that the Clark is not only about art these days. It shows live HD broadcasts of the Metropolitan Opera, performances by the Bolshoi Ballet, and plays from London’s National Theatre. On December 6 the Cassatt Quartet will be presenting an unusual program at the Institute. They’ll be playing several world premieres composed by members of the Williams College faculty as well as music for the season: Vivaldi’s “Winter” and selections from Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker Suite. Many visitors to the Clark also stop in at the Williams College Museum of Art to see selections from its collection of more than 15,000 art objects spanning the globe and the centuries right up to the present. A number of fall exhibitions carry on into December and January, like Sense and Suggestion more news and features at theBerkshireEdge.com
Katie Paterson, Candle (from Earth into a Black Hole) (through January 26), in which contemporary works use sound, movement, and heat — or the suggestion of these — to create emotion. Katie Paterson’s Candle (from Earth into a Black Hole) culminates in the last two burnings of the candle on November 7 and 21. At each, the candle will burn for two hours (5:30 to 7:30 p.m.), releasing different layers of scent while dancers (on the 7th) and choral singers (on the 21st) perform original interventions inspired by the work. The collections and exhibits of the Berkshire Museum encompass science and natural history, art, industrial innovation, U.S. history, and more. Enter those doors and you will always learn something new. She Shapes History, the recently opened exhibition celebrating the 100th anniversary of women gaining the right to vote in America, sheds light on some of the exceptional women who have shaped the course of U.S. history, including local heroes Susan B. Anthony (born in Adams in 1820) and Elizabeth Freeman of Sheffield and Stockbridge, who sued for and won her freedom in 1781. You — and your children — will also learn about the techniques of civic advocacy employed by the activists who won women the right to vote after a campaign that lasted decades (they persisted).
VISIONARY WED DINGS UNFORGETTABLE MOMENTS SPACES FOR 40–400.
massmoca.org/gather | 413.662.2111 | North Adams, Mass.
Four Artists’Journeys opening November 10
She Shapes History at the Berkshire Museum.
The Spirit of Giving Illustrated through February 9, 2020
Stockbridge, MA • NRM.org • Kids & Teens Free
art & performance year round, more than ever
And a Galaxy of Galleries, too When museums are not enough, or simply for a change of pace, the region’s distinctive galleries and craft fairs beckon. Some draw on the creative resources of the Berkshires’ own artists; some bring fine art and objets d’art from the far corners of the world to the main streets and side streets of the region’s towns. Whether you’re after a one-of-a-kind gift or simply an object of desire for yourself, or just to browse, the Berkshires make it easy to see original examples of the latest developments in painting and sculpture, home furnishings, work in glass, clay, and cloth, hand-made furniture, bowl-turning, iron-working, photography, jewelry, quilting, and more. To gallery-hop in the Berkshires is to feel the pulse of the region’s creative economy. And perhaps to contribute to it . . . One place to start is the Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts (MCLA) Gallery 51’s annual 99-Cent Art Show, Made by Hand, which runs November 29-December 29 in North Adams. Art is priced from 99 cents to $99.99. The opening reception takes place from 5-7 p.m. on November 29th. Russian Ballet Theater, Swan Lake
more news and features at theBerkshireEdge.com
winter season 2019 Theater, Music and more The Boston Symphony has abandoned Tanglewood for winter quarters in Boston, and the boards of the Fitzpatrick have fallen silent. Not to worry: you’ll find plenty going on at other Berkshire venues well into the New Year. The Berkshire Theatre Group hosts a number of lively shows beginning in November. Berkshires-born bluesman Albert Cummings plays Pittsfield’s Colonial Theatre on November 9, and the following week the Russian Ballet Theater presents Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake on the 15th. The sets are hand-painted, the 150 costumes hand-sewn, the choreography based on the oldest St. Petersburg version of the ballet. If you come back the following evening, you’ll be enjoying fantasy of a different stripe: the Rotary Club of Pittsfield brings you the Elvis and Orbison Tribute Show, for the benefit of local recreational projects. A Springsteen tribute follows on the 22nd, when Tramps Like Us performs the Boss’s classics. The voltage remains high for the Rev Tor and Friends Rock & Soul Holiday Show on November 29. Then, in December, it’s all A Christmas Carol all the time. The Colonial goes dark for most of January and February, with two exceptions. Top Berkshires musicians get together for a tribute to Jackson Browne on January 25, and a Patsy Cline tribute show, Memories of Patsy, comes to town on February 15.
DECEMBER 14 – 15
Winter Play Reading Festival A weekend showcasing works by emerging and established playwrights.
JANUARY 18 – 19
FEBRUARY 15 – 16 On November 23 the Mahaiwe is celebrating the 50th anniversary of Arlo Guthrie’s Alice’s Restaurant, but it’s been sold out for some time.
art & performance year round, more than ever
Sense and Sensibility
Fresh-faced, L.A.-based comedian Jared Goldstein performs at the Colonial’s Comedy Garage November 14. He’s beyond bi-coastal: he grew up on Long island. Shakespeare & Company’s education arm involves over 500 high school students in the region in an intensive 9-week Shakespeare program that culminates in student productions at the Tina Packer Theater November 21-24. The energy is high, the theater usually packed. If you’re looking for festive evening entertainment on December 13 and are willing to pay a little extra to support the Company, reserve now for their costumed reading of Kate Hamill’s clever adaptation of Jane Austen’s Sense and Sensibility; champagne toast included. Three more performances for the general public follow over the weekend. WAM: it stands for Where Arts and Activism Meet, and it creates professional theatrical events for everyone, with a focus on women theater artists and/or stories of women and girls. Now in its 10th season, it puts on two productions as bookends
to the Berkshires summer theater season. The fall offering is Pipeline, which plays at Shakespeare & Company’s Elayne P. Bernstein Theater in Lenox through November 9. In 2018 Dominique Morisseau won an Obie for Playwriting for the Lincoln Theatre Company production of Pipeline, which dramatizes issues of race, class, parenting, and education. Pipeline was first presented by WAM as a Fresh Takes reading last year and is the second such reading to move on to a full production. This is also WAM’s second time partnering with Multicultural BRIDGE, the local social action organization. DREAM/AWAKE, a new play by actor and playwright J. Peter Bergman, premieres at the Whitney Center for the Arts in downtown Pittsfield on November 8, with five more performances on weekends through November 24. Monica Bliss and Bergman co-direct. You can sing anything you want at Great Barrington’s Guthrie Center, at least at its weekly Hootenannies on Thursdays at 7 p.m. They run year round and are open-mic. If your musical tastes run to classical, Close Encounters with Music will be presenting three exciting performances at the Mahaiwe over the course of the winter and one at Saint James Place, also in Great Barrington. On December 14 the Borromeo Quartet tackles Anton Arensky’s “Quartet in A Minor” for two cellos, a personal tribute to his beloved friend Tchaikovsky. Close Encounter’s musical director Yehuda Hanani joins in on the second cello. Hanani is joined by other stellar players for two masterworks in “Grand Piano Trios — Shubert and Brahms” on February 22 at Saint James Place. If winter is still lingering on March 21, an escape to the music of Saint-Saëns, Debussy, and Fauré is available at the Mahawie on that day in the form of a piano quartet of players ready to make a French connection. To close out the season, the Boston-based, Grammy-nominated choral ensemble Skylark comes to the Mahaiwe to present a program called
Following a successful inaugural summer, the Tanglewood Learning Institute is offering a range of forty programs at the Linde Center for Music and Learning through the winter months. The Center opened in July and is located in Lenox, off Hawthorne Road. Its four connected buildings are designed for performances and presentations, but music and oratory are not the only arts on the card. Talks and workshops relating to painting, photography, cinema, modern dance, and cooking are also on offer, some involving partnerships with other Berkshires cultural institutions. Also on the winter schedule are immersion weekends (including one for amateur fiddlers March 13-15), Sunday afternoon chamber concerts with BSO players, and on April 11 a concert by the Tanglewood Festival Chorus to mark its 50th anniversary — and herald the coming of spring. ‹ Bonnie Bewick will be participating in Fiddlers’ Weekend.
more news and features at theBerkshireEdge.com
www.BerkshireTheatreGroup.org (413) 997-4444
DECEMBER 7–21 at The Colonial Theatre
Annual Community Production
CLOSE ENCOUNTERS WITH MUSIC is known for presenting exceptional concerts, but it also sponsors conversations on musical themes. Jungian analyst Melinda Haas will discuss the creative psyches of “Three Gentlemen of Vienna — Beethoven, Shubert and Mahler” at the Seven Hills Inn in Lenox at 3 p.m. on November 10.
Hidden Symbols, Secret Codes on April 25. Dan Brown, author of the Da Vinci Code, gets into the act via video, but the close encounters come in the form of a cappella selections ranging from du Fay and Jannacconi to Benjamin Britten, Sara Rimkus, and Gregory W. Brown. Gramophone has called Skylark’s singing “passionate . . . radiant . . . exquisite . . . ethereal . . . thrilling.” Lakeville, Connecticut-based Crescendo, a musical organization with a formidable chorus now in its 15th year, will be presenting A Tale of Divine Love and the River Spirit on December 28 at 4pm at Saint James Place in Great Barrington and on the following day at the same hour at the Methodist Church in Lakeville. The tale in question is Antonio de Líteres’s charming Acis y Galatea (1708), a two-act zarzuela (a popular genre of musical drama that flourished in the Spanish Baroque) that tells of the love between mortal Acis and sea-nymph Galatea. The Cyclops Polyphemus also fancies the nymph, alas. Other intriguing Crescendo concerts take place on February 1 and March 29 at Saint James, and on April 12 celebrated soprano Julianne Baird sings arias by J.S. Bach and his children. Lenox’s Cantilena Chamber Choir will present its annual Martin Luther King weekend Psalms and Spirituals open sing on Sunday, January 19, at 3 p.m. at the Trinity Church in Lenox. The Baltimore Urban Choral Arts Society will make a return appearance at the event. If you’ve never seen a Metropolitan Opera broadcast live in HD, you’re missing something that has caught on around the world. You can see the broadcasts at the Mahaiwe in Great Barrington, the Beacon Cinema in Pittsfield (with exceptionally comfortable seating), the Clark Art Institute in Williamstown, and Time and Space Limited in Hudson, N.Y. Not only is the sound full and true, but the camerawork enables you to see the performers acting as well as singing. Going backstage to see the mechanics of set-changes plus interviews with the stars during intermissions is a fun added feature. The Met has programmed some wonderful productions this winter, including Puccini’s Madama Butterfly and Tosca, Berg’s Wozzeck, Handel’s Agrippina, Wagner’s Der Fliegende Holländer, Philip Glass’s Akhnaten, and George and Ira Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess. A rebroadcast of Julie Taymor’s production of Mozart’s The
Charles Dickens adapted by Eric
directed by Travis
NEW YEARS EVE WITH
MAX CREEK at The Colonial Theatre
The Colonial Theatre • 111 South Street, Pittsfield, MA 01201
A Season of Tradition
Embrace the beauty of the Berkshires GRATEFUL SHAKER SUPPER
Saturday, November 30
An intimate candlelit dinner
HANCOCK SHAKER VILLAGE INFO/TICKETS
Friday–Sunday, December 6–8 A magical weekend filled with family activities
THE BIG CHILL
Sunday, February 16
Snowman making, live music, a roaring fire & more
1843 West Housatonic St, Pittsfield, MA BerkshiresCalendar.com
Experience the Drama
Chamber Music Arti Dixson & James Cammack, Michael Chertock, Borromeo Quartet, Rachel Priday, Yehuda Hanani
Sam Waterston, Avirodh Sharma, Inna Faliks,
OCTOBER 2019 JUNE 2020 CELEBRATING OUR 28TH SEASON
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art & performance year round, more than ever
The New Pornographers at MASS MoCA Magic Flute is scheduled for December 8. Broadcasts begin at 12:55 p.m. on selected Saturdays and Sundays, with Wednesday rebroadcasts in most cases. Scott Eyerly introduces the weekend operas at the Mahaiwe at 11:30 a.m., and hour and a half before Yannick Nézet-Seguin steps up to conduct. The Mahaiwe does other HD broadcasts too. The Bolshoi Ballet presents Raymonda on Sunday, November 10, at 1 p.m. and Le Corsaire at the same hour on the Sunday following. On December 22 it’s The Nutcracker, as only the Bolshoi can perform it. Giselle follows on January 26, Swan Lake on February 23, Romeo and Juliet on March 29, and the series concludes on April 29 with Balanchine’s Jewels. The Mahaiwe’s bright screen seldom rests. A Bette Davis film series runs through the winter, and the Thanksgiving weekend tradition of showing the The Wizard of Oz from 1939 continues, this year on November 30 at 4 p.m. MASS MoCA isn’t just art. It’s innovative performances, too, in a variety of modes, from Delsonido, a Brooklyn-based band from Barranquilla on Colombia’s north coast (bring your dancing shoes, December 7, 8pm), to Josh Gondelman, a Boston-based comedy writer for John Oliver who has decided to stand up and be laughed at himself (November 23, 8pm). Also on tap: on November 14 The New Pornographers perform “in support of our brand new record In the Morse Code of Brake Lights,” according to advance publicity. Two nights later on the 16th, celebrated songwriter Shaina Taub and friends provide an intimate evening of musical stylings of selections from the American Songbook. Smaller venues also get into the act: The Stagecoach Tavern in Sheffield regularly hosts intimate musical acts for brunch and in the evenings. Slip over into Hillsdale and dance to live music (weekends) at the Mt. Washington House; shoot a game of pool there if you prefer. Or just hang on for the 10×10 Upstreet Arts Festival in Pittsfield. This lively ten-day event in mid-February showcases an eclectic mix of theatre, dance, music, comedy and more. Who needs summer? more news and features at theBerkshireEdge.com
food & lodging BERKSHIRE GROWN Restaurants & food services committed to locally grown ingredients. FOOD & LODGING KEY
R L G C
Restaurant Lodging Grocery Catering
NORTH Blackinton Manor L blackinton.manor.com 1391 Mass. Ave. North Adams, MA 01247 413-663-5795 Brewhaha! R facebook.com/brewhahacafe 437 West Main St. North Adams, MA 01247 413-664-2020 Gala Steakhouse & Bistro @ Orchards Hotel R galarestaurant.com 222 Adams Rd. Williamstown, MA 01267 413-458-9611 ext. 517 Gramercy Bistro R gramercybistro.com 87 Marshall St. North Adams, MA 01247 413-663-5300 Mezze Bistro + Bar and Mezze Catering + Events R C mezzerestaurant.com or mezzecatering.com 777 Cold Spring Rd. Williamstown, MA 01267 413-458-0123 (restaurant) or 413-458-8745 (catering) Wild Oats Market G wildoats.coop 320 Main St. Williamstown, MA 01267 413-458-8060
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Firefly Restaurant and Catering R C fireflylenox.com 71 Church St. Lenox, MA 01240 413-637-2700
The Marketplace Café Pittsfield R ourmarketplacecafe.com 53 North St. Pittsfield, MA 01201 413-358-4777
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NAtURAlly Catering and Take.out C 180 Elm Street Pittsfield, MA 01201 413-822-7738
Guido’s Fresh Marketplace R G guidosfreshmarketplace.com 1020 South St. Pittsfield, MA 01201 413-442-9912
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No. Six Depot Roastery and Café R G sixdepot.com 6 Depot Street West Stockbridge, MA 01266 413-232-0205
Baba Louie’s R babalouiespizza.com 42 Railroad St. Gt. Barrington, MA 01230 413-528-8100
Olde Forge Restaurant R 125 N Main St Lanesboro, MA 01237 413-442-6797 or 413-443-9764
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Rouge Restaurant & BistroR rougerestaurant.com 3 Center St. West Stockbridge, MA 01266 413-232-4111
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Gorham & Norton G facebook.com/GorhamNorton 278 Main St. Gt. Barrington, MA 01230 413-528-0900
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Red Door B&B L reddoorbnb.com 55 Cliffwood Street Lee, MA 01238 413-394-4375 The Red Lion Inn R L redlioninn.com 30 Main St. Stockbridge, MA 01262 413-298-5545
Interlaken Inn R L interlakeninn.com 74 Interlaken Rd. Lakeville, CT 06039 860-435-9878 John Andrews Farmhouse Restaurant R johnandrewsrestaurant.com 224 Hillsdale Rd. S. Egremont, MA 01258 GPS: 1 Blunt Rd. Gt. Barrington, MA 01230 413-528-3469 The Marketplace Café Sheffield R C marketplacekitchen.com 18 Elm Court Sheffield, MA 01257 413-248-5040 The Marketplace Kitchen Table R marketplacekitchen.com 240 Stockbridge Road Gt. Barrington, MA 01230 413-528-2233 Nejaime’s Wine Cellars nejaimeswine.com 3 Elm St Stockbridge, MA 01262 413-298-3454 Number Ten R numbertengb.com 10 Castle St. Gt. Barrington, MA 01230 413-528-5244
Roadside Store and Cafe R gouldfarm.org/roadside-store-and-cafe 275 Main Street Monterey, MA 01245 413-528-2633 Rubiner’s Cheesemongers and Grocers & Rubi’s Coffee and Sandwiches R G rubiners.com 264 Main St. Gt. Barrington, MA 01230 413-528-0488 SoCo Creamery R sococreamery.com 5 Railroad Street Gt. Barrington, MA 01230 413-528-8400 The Southfield Store R oldinn.com/the-southfield-store 163 Main St. Southfield, MA 01259 413-229-5050 Stagecoach Tavern R stagecoachtavern.net 864 So. Undermountain Rd. Sheffield, MA 01257 413-229-8585
more news and features at theBerkshireEdge.com
Swiss Hutte R L swisshutte.com Route 23 in Hillsdale next to Catamount Ski Area. Hillsdale, NY 12529 413-528-6200 or 518-325-3333 The Tap House at Shaker Mill R 5 Albany Road West Stockbridge, MA 01266 413-232-8565
SPECIALTY PRODUCERS Artisan Beverage Cooperative (Katalyst Kombucha and Green River Ambrosia) artbev.coop 413-773-9700 Worker-owned crafter of fine libations. All are sulfite and gluten free. Tasting Room Open Friday 4-7 p.m. Sat 2-6 p.m. Asia Luna asialuna.com 518-672-4959 All natural, using the finest pure essential oils—soaps, scrubs, mist sprays, bug spray, spa and soy candles, body butter and more. Assembly Coffee Roasters assemblycoffeeroasters.com 413-443-0280 A true micro-roastery, roasting specialty coffees for wholesale clients and for our own webstore in small batches.
Battenkill Wholesome Foods battenkillwholesomefoods.com PO Box 1002 Manchester Ctr, VT 05255 802-375-2698 Gluten-free, high energy products—energy bars, crumble topping, cereals. Available online and in local stores. Berkshire Hills Fresh Dog Food berkshirehillsfresh.com Fresh, whole, raw food for dogs. Berkshire Mountain Distillers Farm Distillery Berkshiremountaindistillers.com 356 S Main St Sheffield, MA 01257 413-229-0219 Tasting room and educational tours throughout the facility and gardens. Offering fresh herbs and botanicals for cocktails and infusions. Custom labeled gins for restaurants. BerkShore berkshore.com 413-336-7795 Providing Berkshire County with a selection of curated local and regional seafood directly from the Boston Fish Pier. Big Elm Brewing bigelmbrewery.com 413-229-2348 Taproom open Thurs-Sun 12-7 p.m. Handcrafted ales and lagers.
Dancing Bare Soap dancingbaresoap.com 54 Upper Liberty St. Plainfield, MA 01070 413-634-2208 Organic, vegan, hand crafted soaps using homegrown and locally sourced herbs and flowers. Great Cape Baking greatcapebaking.com 508-322-0408 Hand-cut cider and seasonal doughnuts, New England farmhouse style breads, small batch preserves. Events, farmers markets, weddings. Hop2O Soda hop2osoda.com 518-860-3804 Hop2O is a hops-infused sparkling soda made in two locations in Columbia County. Handcrafted, artisanal, farm product. Hosta Hill hostahill.com, Info@hostahill.com Maddie Elling & Abe Hunrichs 15 Commercial Street Pittsfield, MA 01201 Producing lacto-fermented sauerkrauts, kimchis, and hot sauces from locally grown vegetables. Handmade in the Berkshires! JACUTERIE jacuterie.com Hand-crafted charcuterie.
Auntie Elsie’s Oatmeal Crisps auntieelsies.com 413-461-1076 Oatmeal crisps made with the finest ingredients from local farmers.
Braise Worthy braiseworthy.com firstname.lastname@example.org 40 Melville Street Pittsfield, MA 01201 Frozen meal CSA and mobile food cart for events.
Klara’s Gourmet Cookies klarasgourmet.com 413-243-3370 Hand-baked gourmet cookies using natural, organic, non-GMO ingredients wherever possible.
Balderdash Cellars balderdashcellars.com 413-464-4629 Boutique winery focused on producing ultra-premium wines from grapes grown by world-class CA vineyards.
Caroline’s Scottish Shortbread on Facebook 413-212-1482 Traditional homemade Scottish shortbread, my grandmother’s recipe.
Mary’s Kitchen 413-637-0747 Cakes, pies, muffins, cookies, Middle Eastern Dishes available upon request. 50 yrs experience. Work of Love.
Clarksburg Bread on Facebook 413-662-2291 Breads, granola, granola bars, cookies, muffins, and coffeecakes.
Naga Bakehouse nagabakehouse.com 802-325-3596 Family-run micro-farm and woodfired bakery specializing in hearty breads and hand-crafted matzah.
Barrington Coffee Roasting Company barringtoncoffee.com 800-528-0998 Farm direct coffees roasted to order in the Berkshires.
Oliva Provisions on Facebook 518-653-4045 Oliva Provisions makes an artisanal Lacinata Kale and Walnut Pesto with love and organic locally grown kale. Ooma Tesoro’s Kitchen and Factory oomatesoros.com 413-684-0898 Marinara sauce. A generationsold recipe made new. Small batch sauce brimming with fresh ingredients. Paper Cake Scissors papercakescissors.com 802-823-4094 Savory and sweet scones, chocolate truffles, biscotti, meringues, marshmallow caramels and handstenciled tea towels. Pioneer Valley Vinegar on Facebook 413-575-0745 12 flavors in 4 base vinegars, using locally grown herbs, berries and spices. Preserved: Vintage Wares, Jams & Pickles on Facebook 214 Dawson Road Hillsdale, NY 12529 518-325-3218 Antiques, furniture, artwork, jewelry, vintage clothes, homemade jams and pickles. Find us on Facebook! Open by appointment or by chance. R&G Cheese rgcheese.com 518-436-7603 We offer a full line of artisanal cheeses, both cow and goat’s milk, as well as yogurt. Strudel Z strudel-z.com 917-551-0286 Baked with hand-pulled dough and fruits and vegetables from Hudson Valley farms. The Sweetish Baker thesweetishbaker.com, facebook. com/thesweetishbaker 413-429-5997 Granola, pies, galettes, rugelach, muffins, cakes and cookies. Custom orders happily accepted.
albany & troy, new york
Clockwise from left: The Empire State Plaza Ice Rink is open daily, noon to 8 p.m., free admission, skate rentals available; a docent tells all at the Albany Institute of History and Art; the 9/11 exhibit at the New York State Museum includes FDNY Engine 6, one of the first vehicles to respond to the attack on the World Trade Center in 2001.
Before there was New York City,
or rather New Amsterdam (1626), there was Albany, or rather Fort Orange (1624). Henry Hudson put the site on the map for the Dutch when he sailed up the “North River” in 1609. Albany became the capital of New York State in 1797 and was one of the portals through which America developed in the 19th century, especially after the 1825 completion of the Erie Canal (“from Albany to-oo Bu-a-ffa-lo”). Governor Nelson Rockefeller put his mark on the city architecturally in the 60s and 70s with the creation of the imposing Empire State Plaza, which houses New York State office buildings and The Egg, the iconic raised pod that includes two theaters and a wrap-around lobby; the Plaza also has a public ice-skating rink. The capital is a destination for state legislators and 11,000 people who work in state government, but its reputation has tended toward the gritty (see William Kennedy’s novels) more than the trendy – until lately. If it hasn’t been on the radar of Berkshire residents and visitors, now is the time. The city is less than an hour away from most of Berkshire County and offers a surprising range of things to see and do. It’s urban, but accessible, and it makes for a stimulating visit that you may wish to extend into the evening.
The New York State Museum (free admission) is . . . well, big, to begin with, with high ceilings and large-scale exhibits. Its ongoing offerings include an atmospheric evocation of the Adirondack wilderness; a celebration of 1920s Harlem; the Bird Hall; the Fire Engine Hall; a moving 9/11 exhibit; an impressive exhibition dedicated to the lives of the native peoples of New York; and the fully reconstructed skeleton of the Cohoes Mastodon. Ambitious temporary exhibits mean that there is always something new to see. Go on a weekday and you may find yourself among schoolchildren. Weekends make for wonderful family visits. The Albany Institute of History and Art on Washington Avenue is also worth a look, if only for the permanent exhibition (enlarged and remounted in 2017) of 90 landscape paintings from the influential mid-19th century Hudson River School. Hamilton fans will not want to miss The Schuyler Sisters and Their Circle (through December 31), and the ongoing exhibition called Traders and Culture: Colonial Albany and the Formation of American Identity provides a fascinating look at the intersection of Dutch, English and Native American culture and commerce in the region’s formative years. If you want to step further into the past, the exhibit on Ancient Egypt is no less captivating. The more news and features at theBerkshireEdge.com
The Experimental Media and Performing Arts Center (EMPAC) at RPI
The Daily Grind on Albany’s Lark Street
museum’s Ptolemaic Period mummy and his coffin are on view in the Heinrich Medicus Gallery, along with a selection of over seventy objects highlighting ancient Egyptian daily life, afterlife, and animal mummies. If you find the scale of the exhibits somewhat overwhelming, head over to Lark Street for a cup of coffee and an entirely different vibe, beginning with one of the artsy cafes (like the Daily Grind at number 204). You can shop for carefully curated curios, jewelry and vintage clothing at Elissa Halloran Designs (at 229 Lark). A certain seediness is part of Lark Street’s charm: you can get a tattoo at one of several parlors, or you can get a tattoo removed at Shocker Tattoo at number 302. For lunch, you’ll have your choice of Indian, Thai, Asian, Mid-Eastern and vegan cuisines, the latter at Berben & Wolff’s Vegan Delicatessen, upstairs at number 227. Consider lingering: Lark Street really comes into its own in the evenings, when bars like the Savoy Taproom, the Oh Bar (with a mostly gay crowd), and Susie’s (a classic dive that is open till 4 a.m.), all clustered near the junction of Lark and Route 20, come to life. The Savoy offers an eclectic and original food menu, too. Another choice for lunch is the newly opened Albany Kitchen at 55 Columbia Street, based on the successful version of the same food court concept at the Troy Kitchen in Troy. Eight independent stalls, each with its own kitchen, purvey quick, tasty, and inexpensive food on the upper level; the street level has the seating, a bar, and a performance stage. For lunch
Troy’s Victorian Stroll is on December 8 this yeaer.
or dinner, dp at 25 Chapel Street downtown is an American brasserie offering what it calls “market-driven comfort cuisine.” Excellent Mexican and Southwestern fare can be had at El Loco at 465 Madison Avenue, and if you’re staying for dinner and are thinking Italian, consider Café Capriccio at 49 Grand Street. There’s holiday fun, too. Washington Park puts on a fabulous, family-oriented drive-through light show (Capital Holiday Lights) November 23 through January 2, 2020. The half-hour ride takes you through 125 displays at a cost of $20 per vehicle.
TROY | Twenty minutes northeast of Albany and on the other side of the Hudson sits the resurgent city of Troy. In the latter 19th century, iron, steel, textiles, bells, and detachable collars and cuffs made it one of the nation’s wealthiest, setting it up for a fall when manufacturing declined in the 1970s. The last decade, though, has seen the transformation of its walkable downtown into one of the liveliest urban centers on the Hudson. It’s also one of the best-preserved downtowns in the Northeast, with many of its grand 19th-century structures intact. Lewis Comfort Tiffany perfected his window-making skills here, and eight striking examples of his work may be visited, including what many consider his masterpiece, the windows and interior of St. Paul’s Church. The church is usually open on Saturdays during market hours and for Sunday services as well. BerkshiresCalendar.com
day trip albany & troy, new york
Muralist Kevin Clark painted the interior of the Troy Savings Bank Music Hall on the outside of a building at 50 2nd Street. The Hall itself is said to have perfect acoustics.
The energy generated by the Troy Waterfront Farmers Market makes Saturday the best day to visit. More than a hundred growers, bakers, brewers, artisans and chefs set up shop inside at the Troy Atrium on 4th Street every Saturday till 2pm, November through April. Shopping and eating don’t have to end there, though. Downtown Troy hosts a wonderful variety of shops, from Market Block Books to lighting and clothing stores, an extensive Ace Hardware store and a violin shop. Troy’s art scene is lively, too. The Arts Center of the Capital Region, on River Street right by Monument Square, operates galleries and a Holiday Shop that’s open Thursday through Sunday from November 21 to December 22. Collar Works, also on River Street, is a non-profit art space with a mission of exhibiting “challenging and culturally relevant contemporary artworks” by emerging and under-represented artists working in a variety of media. There’s music, too, if you’re willing to extend your visit into the evening. The Hangar on the Hudson on River Street presents a variety of hometown and far-flung talent, mostly in solo acts. The Troy Savings Bank Music Hall will be hosting an eclectic range of musical entertainments this winter, from Hot Tuna on December 3 to the National Symphony
Orchestra of Ukraine on February 13. For something completely different, check out the Experimental Media and Performing Arts Center (EMPAC) on the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute campus to see where the intersection of sound, image, and space is headed. As for eating, you could have lunch at Manory’s: open since 1913, this neighborhood diner on Congress Street hasn’t changed much in 116 years. Illium (that’s “Troy” in Latin), on Monument Square in the 1835 Cannon building, is a café and bistro with an appetizing choice of sandwiches and salads. On River Street right on the Hudson at the north end of downtown, Dinosaur Bar-B-Que is as long in the tail as a brontosaurus and attracts a diverse crowd with good food and drink. Troy Kitchen is a food court with five restaurants, including a Jamaican establishment that serves curried goat. If you’re looking for superb local craft beer, Brown’s Brewing has been producing it since 1993; the taproom is on the north end of River Street. For a wider choice, try The Ruck on 3rd Street, and pair your beer with one of the tasty bites and plates. As you walk through the downtown area, cast your eyes on the upper floors of those handsome brick buildings; that’s where software engineers and tinkerers, some of them graduates of RPI, are working in tech startups. A makerspace on 3rd Street called The Tech Valley Center of Gravity is designed to serve their needs. Innovation sometimes takes a retro turn: Bard & Baker opened last year as a café and board game provider at the former Troy Record building at 501 Broadway; the burgers are great, but many people with (or without) children come to play one of the more than 600 games. Chutes and Ladders (and fries), anyone? While you’re in the neighborhood, tune into WOOC 105.3 FM, part of the non-profit Sanctuary for Independent Media. The signal is only local at this stage, but they also stream. Let them tell it: “Expect a radio station that provides sanctuary for the discussion of a wide range of ideas to advance our mission of using art and participatory action to promote social and environmental justice and freedom of expression.” They produce a great jazz program, and there’s a Sanctuary TV station too. Troy knows how to throw a party. Troy Night Out takes place from 5pm to 9pm on the last Friday of each month and draws a crowd to a medley of art openings, music, shopping, and dining. The first Thursday after Thanksgiving (December 5th this year) inaugurates four days of holiday festivities. The epicenter is the enchanting Holiday Greens Show at the 1827 Hart-Cluett House on 2nd Street; the Rensselaer Historical Society and the Van Rensselaer Garden Club have been teaming up to present it since 1956. The climax of the fun comes on Sunday, December 8, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., with the Victorian Stroll. You’ll see plenty of people in period costume (feel free to be one yourself). There’s music, and Santa, and lots of good cheer. And it’s free. more news and features at theBerkshireEdge.com
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