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.

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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.

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

 

 

 

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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.

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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!

 

 

 

 

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…

 

 

Richmond Pond

We’ve Got the Kayaks!

One of our favorite outdoor activities in the Berkshires is kayaking. Kayaking can be a great cardio workout or you can just take it slow & soak up (sorry, couldn’t resist) the beautiful surroundings. I find being out on the water early in the morning or at dusk so magical & peaceful. There are so many great lakes in the Berkshires where you can just drop in your kayak from the boat launch, paddle away & explore. Some of my favorite lakes for kayaking are Richmond Pond in Richmond (great fishing & we’ve spotted bald eagles and beavers there too), Stockbridge Bowl  (there are boat launches in both Stockbridge & Lenox) & Lake Mansfield in Great Barrington (just up the hill from downtown).

My son kayaking & fishing on Richmond Pond

My Son – Living the Life on Richmond Pond

Thinking of buying a kayak? Well, kayaks were one of our first purchases when we moved to the Berkshires. We found the employees at EMS in Lanesboro (at the Lanesboro Mall) to be extremely knowledgeable & helpful with our search. Be sure to ask if Nate, the store manager, is going to be in when you go, as he’s super knowledgeable on kayak & paddle choices. And, he’ll also help you choose & install the appropriate car racks for your car. If fishing is your thing, Nate can also set you up with a fishing rod holder that easily clips on to your kayak so the rod doesn’t get in the way when you’re paddling.

If you’re not quite ready to purchase a kayak but still want to give kayaking a try, you can rent kayaks from the Arcadian Shop in Lenox. For an extra fee, they’ll even deliver to the public boat launch at Stockbridge Bowl and Decker’s Landing on the Housatonic River (in Lenox) with pickup at Woods Pond.

Happy paddling!