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…

 

 

Pillow

You’ve Got to Go To Jacob’s Pillow

During our vacations in the Berkshires, I’d often hear people rave about Jacob’s Pillow – the renowned dance festival that takes place every summer in Beckett. The Pillow is approximately a 35 minute drive from Great Barrington & this year, the festival runs through August 24th.

What’s always intrigued me about the Pillow is just how passionate people are about the place. Many people will tell you that their first exposure to a live dance performance was at Jacob’s Pillow & that ever since, they can’t get enough & now visit the Pillow many times each summer.

Last summer, my wife & I attended our first full length, live dance performance, at the Pillow, & like so many others, we too were smitten by the place. And, just last week, we took the kids to the Pillow for their first time – &, no surprise – they’re also hooked.

Pillow Kids

Strolling the Pillow Grounds

In the last week alone, we’ve seen 2 separate performances at the Pillow. The first performance was by the Trey McIntire Project – simply amazing. The second half of that performance was titled “Mecury Half-Life” & was set entirely to the music of classic rock band Queen – one of my son’s favorites. The second performance we took in was “Unreal Hip Hop” - super creative, high energy & lots of fun for both us & the kids.

An afternoon or evening at the Pillow isn’t just about the dance performance, but also about having lunch or dinner there, strolling the grounds & soaking up the spectacular setting & energy of the dancers & dance students from around the globe. If you arrive an hour or so before your scheduled performance, you’ll have plenty of time to picnic or dine at one of the Pillow’s 3 dining establishments – The Café at Jacob’s Pillow, The Barre at the Café & the Pillow Pub. We really like the Pillow Pub. It has nice sandwiches & a great selection of local, craft beers on tap.

Pillow Pub

The Pillow Pub

The Pillow also has many free outdoor performances throughout the summer – known as “Inside/Out Performances”  – set in an outdoor amphitheater with breathtaking mountain views. Not to be missed.

Have a blast at the Pillow!

 

Ashuwillitcook both

Berkshires Biking- The Ashuwillticook Rail Trail

One of our favorite outdoor family activities in the Berkshires is biking. This will be the first of several posts on some of our favorite bike rides here.

We love biking here not only because it’s a great workout but also because you get to take in all of the natural beauty of the Berkshires – the rolling hills, glorious mountains, pastoral farmland, crystal clear lakes & lots of wildlife (In fact, I just observed a porcupine scurrying across the road on my last ride!). The bike rides here range from relatively flat & easy to very hilly & challenging.

One of our favorite rides with the kids is the Ashuwillticook Rail Trail (say that 10 times fast), in Lanesborough. The reason why this makes for such a great family ride is that it’s mostly flat & not too strenuous. Yet, you get to ride alongside beautiful lakes (including the 418 acre Cheshire Reservoir), mountains, streams & babbling brooks – without car traffic (with the exception of a couple of crossings that are clearly marked & difficult for the kids to get through on their own, because of strategically placed barriers).

Ahuwillitcook Ava

Cheshire Reservoir. Awesome!

The Ashuwillticook Rail Trail is a former railroad corridor converted into a 10-foot wide paved trail. It’s also a great place for jogging & rollerblading. The Rail Trail runs parallel to Route 8 through the towns of Cheshire, Lanesborough & Adams. The southern end of the rail trail (which is where you’ll probably want to start) begins at the entrance to the Berkshire Mall off MA Rte. 8 in Lanesborough & travels 11.2 miles north to the center of Adams. So, the total ride is 22 miles and takes several hours. It’s just under a 40 minute drive from downtown Great Barrington to the start of the Rail Trail – well worth the trip.

There’s a cute little ice cream shop along the ride – in Cheshire – that also sells cold beverages. And, when you get to the end of the trail in Adams, there’s a really nice visitor’s center with very clean restrooms & snack machines. Once inside the visitors center be sure to check out the Thunderbolt Ski Museum which features a fun exhibit (with a movie) on the 10th Mountain Division & the now legendary Thunderbolt Ski Race.

Thunderbolt Ski Museum in Adams

Thunderbolt Ski Museum in Adams

The Thunderbolt Ski Race started in the 1930s & still takes place every year on nearby Mount Greylock - the highest point in Massachussets.  Once in Adams, you can also walk around the streets near the Visitors Center & check out the beautiful classic brick mill buildings – some of which have been converted into loft residences.

Have a blast on the Rail Trail!

 

 

mahaiwe-performing-arts

Don’t Miss the BIFF & The Big Takeover Band

The Berkshire International Film Festival kicks off this coming Thursday night, May 29th, at the Mahawie Performing Arts Center in Great Barrington with a screening of May in the Summer. The festival runs through Sunday June 1st with screeinngs at the Mahawie Theater in Great Barrington, the Great Barrington Triplex & the Beacon Cinema in Pittsfield. In addition to a wide array of films from around the world, many of the films’ writers & directors are in attendance and do Q&As with the audience after the screenings. I attended last year’s festival & the event was outstanding. The highlight for me was the screening of Crash Real, after which Kevin Pearce, along with his family (his father is renowned glass blower Simon Pearce) gave a powerful talk & took questions from the audience.  During the day, there were also some great bands playing on Railroad Street.  If you’re thinking of coming up & need a place to stay, the Days Inn Great Barrington is super convenient as it’s only a block away from the Mahawie & the Triplex & a quick walk to Great Barrington’s awesome shopping & restaurants.

On Friday night, May 30th, a great ska band  – The Big Takeover Band – will play at the Gypsy Joynt Cafe on Main Street in Great Barrington. I saw these guys last year & they rocked. And, the Gypsy Joynt’s food & drink never disapoint.

Gypsy Joynt, GB

Gypsy Joynt, GB

Enjoy the shows!