Butternut Mom & kid

You’ve Got To Ski “The Nut”

Come winter time in the Berkshires & one place you’re sure to find our family is Ski Butternut.  Located in Great Barrington, just 5 minutes or so from downtown & its reasonably priced hotels, Butternut (a/k/a “The Nut”) is the ideal family ski mountain. Butternut is approximately 2.5 hours from the NY metro area & just over 2 hours from Boston. And, their lift ticket & lesson prices are super reasonable – only $25 for a weekday lift ticket.

Butternut Great Skier Powder

Butternut Powder Day! *


For the size of the mountain, Butternut has great terrain variety – from beginner to black diamond runs & terrain parks too. Butternut does an amazing job making snow when Mother Nature leaves us short & their ski lessons & race programs are second to none. I’ve had several out town friends sign their kids up for ski lessons at Butternut & their kids had amazing experiences. Butternut also offers super fun snow tubing for kids & adults.

Butternut Ava Alec

My Happy Butternut Skiers

Our kids participate in Butternut’s  Interclub Race Program every weekend & absolutely love it. The instructors are super dedicated & knowledgeable & create a phenomenal skiing experience for the kids. We’ve even become good friends with some families who make the trip up from the tri-state & Boston areas each weekend for the race program.

Butternut - Roll & Ski Group

Butternut’s Great Ski Instruction*

So… if your contemplating a ski trip this winter, get yourself up to the Berkshires ASAP & ski The Nut. See you on the slopes!


*(Photos courtesy of Ski Butternut)

Frozen Lake Ice Fishing

Ode to Frozen Lakes & Ponds

There’s nothing like a winter walk or skate on one of the Berkshires’ many beautiful lakes & ponds. Our family has always loved going for winter walks on the Stockbridge Bowl (a/k/a Lake Makheenac). The lake is dreamlike when it’s frozen and you’re sure to see people of all ages ice fishing & skating.

If you’ve never observed ice fishing, it’s actually really cool to watch (Note to self: I must actually ice fish this winter… though that would mean less skiing…).  It’s especially fun to check out each group’s fishing setup. Old schoolers sit outside on turned over buckets while others huddle indoors, in heated huts, with food spreads that rival the best NFL Sunday tailgate. I’m talking propane fired grill, sausages, adult beverages – the works! Click here to watch a creative, fun Berkshires ice fishing video created by my talented friends at Outpost Productions, based right here in West Stockbridge.


Ice Haus Deluxe

I often tell the story of one of our family winter vacation walks on the Stockbridge Bowl, before we made the Berkshires our permanent home. Upon hearing an ice fisherman lament that he’d been out for hours & hadn’t caught anything, I commented to my then 7 year old daughter how I couldn’t imagine sitting out for hours, in the cold, only to go home empty handed. To which my daughter abruptly responded: “Dad, you just don’t get it. It’s not about catching fish. It’s about hanging out with your friends & having a good time!” Yes… she was, & still is wiser than her years.

Frozen Lake Zamboni II

My Little Pond Zambonis


Another one of our favorite winter pastimes here is skating & playing pickup hockey on one of our nearby frozen ponds. Sometimes it just feels like we’ve jumped onto the canvas of a Norman Rockwell painting.


Then we pinch ourselves & realize that yes, we really are doing this, right in our own backyard.




Foliage Flight Lower Res (High)

Foliage Flying

While many bemoan the end of summer (heck, I used to be one of “those people”), since moving to the Berkshires, autumn has become my favorite season. Cool mornings, crisp, juicy local apples, sunshine filled days, long hikes & dreamlike starlit nights – autumn really is the best. And, the fall foliage that surrounds you up here, with its brilliant hues of orange, yellow & red, is simply breathtaking.

Speaking of foliage, one my favorite Berkshires experiences is taking a fall foliage flight.  A great spot to do this is at the Great Barrington Airport located at 70 Egremont Plain Rd., in Great Barrington.  The cost for a half hour flight, for 3 passengers, is $90 for a half hour & $185 for an hour.  I took the kids for a flight last fall & it was a mind blowing experience.  So mind blowing, that not a week goes by without my son asking when he can start flight lessons at the Great Barrington Airport (lucky me!).

This is Your Pilot Speaking

This is Your Pilot Speaking

If you think the foliage looks great out of a car window, you can’t imagine what it looks like from up above.  And, as an added plus, if you happen to own a home in a Berkshires, your pilot will happily do a fly over for you.

Roger, Roger!

Roger, Roger!


So, what are you waiting for?  Get up here quick – before the leaves are gone & we’re all skiing in knee deep (I pray…) snow.

Foliage Flight - Alec Ava

The Eagle Has Landed

Happy fall & have a safe flight!

Allender Summit

Hiking Alander Mountain

There’s nothing quite like fall hiking in the Berkshires. In addition to the temperature being ideal & no mosquitoes (well ok, very few mosquitoes), hiking through the almost iridescent fall foliage, at times feels transcendental. One of my favorite hikes here is Alander Mountain Trail. The Alander Mountain Trail passes over rushing streams, through verdant open meadows, involves some good climbing over boulders & ends at the summit with a magnificent payoff – unforgettable vistas all the way to New York State’s Catskill Mountains.

Allender Alec Summit

The Payoff!

The hike is approximately 8 miles round trip & with its good climbs, it makes for a nice workout. Plan on spending a couple of hours on the mountain & you should bring water, snacks & your camera.

Winter Wonderland

Alander Winter Wonderland

The trailhead is located in Mt. Washington State Forest (click this link for the official trail map) in the town of Mt. Washington, which borders South Egremont. It will take you 15-20 minutes to get to the trailhead from downtown Great Barrington.  If you’re using a GPS, enter the intersection of East Street & West Street in Mt. Washington as your destination. You’ll see the parking lot & ranger station on your right. And, you can click here for a trail guide with trail notes.

One of My Favorite Sounds

Alander Mountain hikes have become really special times for me & my son –  my now tried & true hiking companion. There’s something really special about getting away from it all together.  We always have great conversations & laugh a lot – without the interruptions of phone calls, texts, etc.  And, on our last hike, he decided to geocach (click this link for more information on geocaching) & was super excited when he found a hidden cache, close to the summit (for a small price, I may just tell you its location…).

Geocaching- Found It!

Found the Cache!

If you can get up to Alander Mountain over the next couple of weeks, the foliage should be at its peak, making the experience & views even more spectacular. Have a blast hiking & enjoy Alander!


kid in the country cover

On Being A Kid In the Country

We just marked the one-year anniversary of our move from suburban New Jersey to the Berkshires. It’s been a great year & the kids have really adapted well to life in the country. Aside from their participation in the usual after school activities & sports, living here has really helped the kids develop an appreciation for the simpler things in life, especially the natural beauty that surrounds us. Most of their weekends involve a good hike, swimming in the nearby lake or former marble quarry or a bike ride on the nearby rail trail that runs alongside the beautiful Williams River.

kid in the country alec

Quarry Swimmer

A couple of weeks ago, I had an experience that for me, highlighted just how great it is to be a kid in the Berkshires. After a long day of work, I was about to pull into our driveway when I spotted our kids heading down to the brook that abuts our house, to catch frogs & tadpoles.

Catching Frogs

The Simple Pleasures

I pulled the car in the driveway and walked down to brook to watch them. And, that’s when it hit me. Sometimes it’s the simplest things in life that give the greatest pleasure. And that yeah, it really is great to be a kid in the country!





Housy Rising 2

Hangin’ in Housy

Have you been to Housy? Housy (pronounced who-zee), a/k/a  Housatonic, is a gem of  a neighborhood that’s often overlooked by Berkshires weekenders & visitors. Housatonic is a village within Great Barrington that was formed in the early 1800s around textile & paper mills. The Housatonic River runs through the center of Housy and magnificent old brick mill buildings dot its landscape. You owe it to yourself to at least take a ramble through Housatonic (on Route 183, just off of Route 7, in Great Barrington), & experience it’s blend of natural splendor, the beautiful architecture & local arts vibe.

Housy Water Tower


And, while you’re in Housy, be sure to stop in at these great spots:

Berkshire Mountain Bakery

Housy BMB

Berkshire Mountain Bakery (“BMB”), located at 367 Park St. (Rte 183), is one of the best bakeries – anywhere.  If you don’t believe me, stop in and try any of their breads – all made from grains milled right at the bakery. BMB also does amazing croissants & baked goods & has great seasonal homemade soups (my favorite is their butternut squash). Their chocolate bread is to die for & I love a special bread they make during holiday season. Aptly named Holiday Bread, it’s studded with dried fruits & has marzipan (almond paste) in the center. I like to toast it and then spread the marzipan over the warm bread. Nothing like a slice with a cup of hot coffee, in front of the fireplace, on a Berkshires winter morning.

BMB also makes a wonderful assortment of home made take-away pizzas that bake quickly in your home oven (they’ll cook them there too, if you prefer).  We have a tradition of calling in our take-away pizza order as we’re finishing up a day on the slopes at Ski Butternut – so it’s ready for pick up when we swing by on our way home. The pizzas barely make it out of our oven before they’re devoured by our kids and weekend guests.

Housie Market Cafe

Housy Market 2

Housie Market Cafe opened recently at 226 Pleasant Street & we just love it. They’ve got awesome meals & coffee & this place has a genuine, local vibe. They also sell staples such as milk, eggs, bread, etc. One of my favorite things there is the peanut butter & kimche sandwich. Yes, you read that right – peanut butter & kimche!  It’s the perfect mix of salty/spicy & sweet in a sandwich pressed on the grill & served warm. The kimche is from Hosta Hill  – made just a stone’s throw away, in Housatonic – & is some of the best I’ve had, anywhere. Housie Market also has plenty of more traditional items on its breakfast & lunch menu. And, as a bonus, they serve wine & beer too.

Brick House Pub

Housy Brick House

Brick House Pub, located at 425 Park Street North (Rte 183), is far more than a pub. Sure, they’ve got lots of awesome local craft beers on tap, but they also have a nice menu with great pub food including really good burgers & pizza. It’s a great place for a casual meal – even if you aren’t drinking.  And, they have live music most weekends (check their website or call for the schedule).

Pleasant & Main

Pleasant & Main, located at 1063 Main Street, recently opened in the former Jack’s Grill space, with former Manhattan restaurateur Craig Bero at the helm. The decor is super cool & they have a great breakfast & lunch menu. Pleasant & Main serves community suppers Thursday-Saturday.  The food is good & is very reasonably priced. Call or check their website for the nightly menu.  And, make sure to order the crepes for dessert. Our kids live for them.

Enjoy Housy!



Dick van Dyke as Bert the chimney sweep in Mary Poppins

“Ello Govnah!”

A short while back, my son & I were headed out for a hike in the neighborhood. As we were walking to the trail, we saw a man doing some lawn work & my son exclaimed, “Dad, I think that’s Deval Patrick, Governor of Massachusetts!”. Though I knew Governor Patrick had a weekend home in the Berkshires, I highly doubted that he’d be out doing yard work, especially on such a beautiful day. But alas, my son was right, it was, in fact, Governor Patrick.

We went up to say hello & the Governor couldn’t have been nicer. He chatted with us, asking my son how he liked living in the Berkshires & his new school. And, he let me snap this picture for posterity:

Deval 2

The Gov!

Wow!  Who better to endorse the Berkshires as the perfect place to escape the stresses of everyday life than Governor Patrick? Have a look at this interview in the Spring 2013 issue of Berkshire Magazine, where the Governor professes his love for the Berkshires & explains what makes this such a magical place.

So… next time you see you the Governor around the Berkshires, put on your best Cockney accent & give him your best “Ello Govnah!”.


Bowl Magical View

Last Licks of Summer On The Bowl

As of late, we’ve been getting our last licks of all of the awesome summer outdoor activities here. This past weekend, we kayaked on Stockbridge Bowl (a/k/a “the Bowl”) (see my earlier post “We’ve Got the Kayaks” for more information on kayaking in the Berkshires).

My son chose to float around & fish while I opted for a cardio workout of a couple of laps around the Bowl. Problem was that the cardio workout wasn’t quite “cardio”. You see, the late summer light made the surrounding Bowl scenery even more spectacular than usual.  And, I ended up stopping every couple of minutes to snap photos of the scenery. It’s experiences like this that make me appreciate how fortunate we are to call this magical place home.

Here are a couple of the photos:


Bowl Ducks

Bowl Ducks


Lilly Pads In Bloom










Sailing on Bowl

Sailing the Bowl

The upside of the end of summer is that autumn – one of the most beautiful times of year here – is right around the corner. Stay tuned…



Prarie Whale Front

Hanging in Great Barrington’s NoRo

Over the last year or so, NoRo – the northern section of Great Barrington’s Main Street has really taken off, with the opening of some super cool businesses & a really great restaurant.  I’m referring to the section of Main Street that’s just north of Rosseter Street (get it – NoRo?). To me, NoRo, with its new, fun & creative businesses truly embodies what’s been termed the New Berkshires.  Here are 3 of my favorite places to go in NoRo:

Prairie Whale Restaurant

If you’re looking for awesome farm-to-fork dining, Prairie Whale Restaurant, located at 178 Main Street, Great Barrington, is your place. Mark Firth (co-founder of Diner, Marlow & Sons & Marlow & Daughters, in Williamsburg, Brooklyn) & wife Bettina Schwartz opened Prairie Whale in 2013 (it was originally called Bell & Anchor). Prairie Whale has been a huge draw to locals & weekenders alike. The menu has so many great great choices & includes awesome meat, poultry, seafood & vegetarian options. You can’t get more locavore than Prairie Whale. Many of the vegetables come directly from the restaurant’s own vegetable garden (when you’re there, walk out back & check it out) & from Mark & Bettina’s farm in nearby Monterey.  And, yes, they’re even raising their own lambs & pigs now. Our personal menu favorites are the Brick Chicken, Duck Confit, Burgers, Tuna Tartare & Kale Salad. Because everything is sourced locally, the seasonal menu changes frequently. The other night we had the crostini with local goat cheese, mint & roasted peaches as an appetizer – off the charts delicious! Their salads are also super fresh & tasty. And, they’ve got a great bar with seating that offers a full range of wine & cocktails along with several locally brewed craft beers on tap – including Wandering Star Brewing Company & Glass Bottom Brewery.

Prairie Whale Front

Farm to Fork in NoRo

What we especially love about Prairie Whale is that its got a super fun vibe. There’s plenty of outdoor seating, a ping pong table & yes, corn hole! (If you don’t know what the heck corn hole is, you’ll have to pay a visit & learn. No cheating & checking Wikipedia!).  We always bump into friends at the bar, some of them the very farmers who supply the restaurant’s produce or local artists who are part of the Berkshires burgeoning art scene. And, Prairie Whale also has live music some evenings (check the link above to confirm) by great local band The Lucky Five.


When I first walked in to Griffin, located at 177 Main Street (across from Prairie Whale), I was super excited to see such a fun, stylish shop right here in Great Barrington. Owners Connie Griffin & partner (in life & business) Paul Giroux feature so many unique clothing items for adults & kids, great shoes & super cool, one-of-a-kind furniture pieces. They’ve also got a nice vinyl collection for sale. And, while you’re there, be sure to check out their art gallery next door to the shop.

Griffin 4

Great one-of-a-kind clothing at Griffin

Griffin 3

NoRo’s Griffin












What’s amazed me about the Berkshires since moving here is the number of amazing local artists with their fun, funky & often thought provoking work. In the past, the work of these artists was rarely exhibited or sold within the Berkshires. I’m happy to report that Susan Jennings & Slink Moss co-owners of LabSpace, located at 177 Main Street (across from Prairie Whale) are helping to change that with their new gallery, LabSpace. You owe it to yourself to stop into Lab Space – where you can admire work by super talented local artists like Huckleberry Delsignore or to catch one of their special events (check website above for schedule).


LabSpace’s Current Exhibit

See you out in NoRo!








Berkshires Bike N’ Fly This Weekend

One of the highlights of the summer in Great Barrington is spending the afternoon at the annual Berkshires Bike-N-Fly held at the Great Barrington Airport, located at 79 Egremont Plain Rd. The Bike-N-Fly takes place this year on Saturday, August 16th from 10-4. I always love taking guests by to see the airport, After all, it’s not every day that you get to watch private planes take off right over your head while being surrounded by lush corn fields and spectacular mountains.

If you like bicycling, you can start the day with your choice of a 20, 35 or 50 mile ride over the rolling hills of the Berkshires. I regularly ride the race routes & trust me, the scenery all around you won’t disappoint! The rides finish at the airport where you’ll be cheered & welcomed to the Fly-In with loads of fun activities for the entire family.


The Kids Flying High

Our Kids – Flying High in The Berkshires

There will be live music starting at 10am with bands including local favorite Emily Mure, a car show with lots of classic cars, balloon rides, airplane rides & helicopter rides too. You can even try your hand flying a flight simulator with the expert guidance of a flight instructor.  For the kids, they’ll have kids bike races, face painting, balloons & a bouncy castle. And of course, no one goes hungry in the Berkshires. There will be a variety of local food vendors including the always awesome home made ice cream from The Scoop in nearby Lenox.

Have an awesome weekend & enjoy the Berkshires Bike-N-Fly!