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:

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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!”.

 

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.

Griffin

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.

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Great one-of-a-kind clothing at Griffin

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NoRo’s Griffin

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

LabSpace

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

LabSpace’s Current Exhibit

See you out in NoRo!

 

 

 

 

 

 

six depot @ TABLE

The Most Amazing Coffee – Right Here in West Stockbridge!

If you haven’t been yet, you owe it to yourself to visit Six Depot Café & Roastery located at Six Depot Street in West Stockbridge. They not only roast all of the coffee beans on site but also serve a full breakfast & lunch menu. I love the Chicken Mechado (the Miami salsa is amazing) & the egg sandwich is off the charts. My kids love the waffles with dulce de leche or Nutella for breakfast but I prefer the local Berle Farm yogurt with fresh fruit, granola & a touch of local honey on top. My favorite coffee is their Seck-Sie, Sumatra Three Ways Blend – but all of their coffees are awesome! They can do a pour over of any of their coffees– so tasty and fun to watch! They also have a large selection of teas. The design and décor of the space – by Adam Medina – is also awesome. And be sure to say hello to owners Flavio Lichtenthal & Lisa Landry who will happily share their vast knowledge & passion of all things coffee, tea & Berkshires with you.

Service with Smile!

Service with a Smile!

They’re also serving dinner on Friday nights now & be sure to check out the rotating exhibits & the concerts & tango dancing going on in their beautiful gallery space.  And, word has it they’ll be broadcasting the World Cup soccer matches in their gallery this summer!

Ice Glen Main

Hiking Ice Glen & the Perfect Post Hike Dinner

Looking for a really fun hike, suitable for all ages and right next to downtown Stockbridge? Then be sure to check out the Ice Glen Trail in Stockbridge (trailhead is on Park Road) . The entire hike will take you +/- 1 hour and you’ll have a blast climbing in & out of the boulders. And, when you’re done and have built up an appetite, stop by Widow Bingham’s Tavern inside the Red Lion Inn.  Chef Brian Alberg & his crew create amazing dishes from the farm fresh produce that surrounds us here in the Berkshires.

Bighma's Tavern Desert

Birthday Dessert at Bingham’s Tavern

My son loves all of the old world charm & nostalgia of the tavern & claims their burger (with farm fresh egg on top, of course) is the best in the Berkshires.  And, as you can see, he never skips their delicious desserts!  He loves the Belgian chocolate mousse with salted caramel & my favorite is the pear creme brulee with smoked almond biscotti.  Bingham’s Tavern has lots of kid friendly options too.

Have an awesome hike & we’ll see you at the Red Lion!

 

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Bachman’s in the Berkshires!

This past August, my wife & I, two kids (9 & 11), traded our suburban NYC life for one in the Berkshire hills of Massachusetts.  How many times have you asked yourself while vacationing somewhere amazing: Why does our time in this awesome place always have to end? My wife & I found ourselves asking this so often while vacationing here that it got us thinking: Hmm….maybe it doesn’t. And, after much debate & discussion, we decided to take the leap & make the move. I’ll continue to work as a realtor here, at Sotheby’s, helping people buy & sell their dream weekend home in the Massachusetts Berkshires & neighboring Columbia County, NY (for my realtor site, click here).

Our Kids Skiing at Butternut

Our Kids Skiing at Butternut in Great Barrington

We’re loving our new life in the Berkshires for so many different reasons. For us, it’s the perfect blend of country relaxation & city sophistication. The natural beauty alone creates a more relaxed pace of life – being surrounded by majestic mountains with tons of hiking & biking trails & crystal clear lakes with soaring hawks & bald eagles. At the same time, the area is chock-full of interesting, creative people, first-rate cultural offerings & an endless array of year-round outdoor activities. Plus, we get to enjoy & experience the evolution of what’s been dubbed the “New Berkshires”, characterized by fresh, innovative arts & haute yet humble locavore cuisine. After a few cups of incredible locally roasted coffee, dinner at one of the many outstanding farm-to-table restaurants or a visit to the world renowned Mass Museum of Contemporary Art (MASS MoCA), we almost forget that we’re not in NYC anymore. If it weren’t for the rolling farmland right outside our window, we totally would. Let’s just say this definitely is not your father’s Berkshires.

So many of the people & places here have fascinating stories, & I’ve hand-picked the most unique of those stories to share with you.  Whether you’re planning a weekend getaway, a second home purchase or a permanent move here, let Bachman’s Berkshires be your go-to resource for the New Berkshires.  And, be sure to sign up to receive regular email updates.

Thanks for joining me on my adventure!