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)

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

Iconic

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!

 

 

Bike-n-fly-plane

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!

 

alford-loop-cue-sheet

Awesome Berkshires Biking – The Alford Loop

The Berkshires has some of the most scenic bicycle riding on the East Coast. One of my favorite rides is known as the Alford Loop, which takes you through some really beautiful spots in Great Barrington & Alford. The Loop is an an approximately 24 mile ride, round trip, from the center of Great Barrington (the ride above is slightly longer because it leaves from just outside of town, on Rte 7). You can easily make the ride shorter by turning back if & when you get tired.

Alford Cows

Alford Loop Pastoral

I never tire of riding the Alford Loop. It’s like the greatest hits of Berkshires biking because you get to take in the vast breadth of the natural splendor here. You’ll travel on rolling country roads, surrounded by beautiful farmland, open wildflower meadows, babbling brooks, rivers & streams & get some of the best mountain views around. And, there’s all sorts of wildlife abound. On one of my recent Alford Loop rides, I witnessed a porcupine scampering across the road at dusk & there are always lots of cows (not to worry – they’re behind fences (most of the time…), white tail deer, horses, foxes, rabbits & oodles of beautiful birds. And, there are generally very few cars on the roads for the Alford portion of the ride. You’ll be fine doing this ride on a hybrid bike. While a road bike is always nice, it definitely is not necessary. You can click the featured image above for a printable ride map & cue sheet or, you can also  click on this link.

More Alford Loop Scenery

Alford Loop Meadow & Mountains

If you’re in need of a bike rental, a tune-up or repair of your own bike, or just need some new equipment or accessories, Berkshire Bike & Board, located just outside of downtown Great Barrington, on Rte 7, is great. They also run free group rides during the summer & have free maps at the shop with some of the other popular Berkshires rides.

If you’re interested in other rides in the Berkshires, just give me a shout. Have a blast on the Alford Loop & enjoy the scenery!

Meatballs 2

Great Berkshires Restaurants & Bars for Visiting Day Weekend

Some of you will be visiting your kids for visiting day this weekend at one of the many sleep-away camps in & around the Berkshires. Over the last several weeks, I’ve received numerous requests from sleep-away camp parents for Berkshires lodging & restaurant recommendations.  I’ve compiled a quick list of some of the restaurants here. Sure, there are plenty more great places to eat & drink here – but I wanted to give you a quick few in the event you’re in a jam & still haven’t booked reservations.

Great Barrington

Master Mixologist Walter

Walter: Allium’s Master Mixologist

Our go-to, favorite restaurant in the Berkshires is Allium, located at 42 Railroad St. in Great Barrington.  The food is locally sourced (i.e. “farm-to-table”) & is off the charts delicious. The nice thing about Allium’s menu is that it has rotating small plates, in addition to normal size entrees – so you can easily share a bunch of different dishes with your table. My wife & I just ate there the other night & among our usual small plates of fried pickled red onions with garlic aoli; farro with snap peas, radishes, pistachios, pecorino, arugula, basil, mint; & fish tacos with almond romesco & lime slaw – we had the striped bass.  The fish was prepared beautifully with a super tasty sauce on the side & the accompanying locally harvested carrots were unbelievably sweet & succulent. The vibe at Allium is really fun & the service is warm & attentive. Allium also has a terrific bar with master mixologist Walter at the helm. In the event Allium’s tables are all booked up by the time you call, it’s also nice to have dinner at the bar.

Egremont

John Andrews

John Andrews

One of our favorite restaurants in Egremont is John Andrews Restaurant, located at 224 Hillsdale Rd. (it also fronts Rte 23). John Andrews is another awesome Berkshires farm-to-table restaurant & always serves inventive, yet straightforward, outstanding cuisine. The owner & chef, Dan Smith, is so talented & the menu changes weekly – featuring the freshest, in-season produce from local farms. If you like lamb & the Berle Farm lamb is on the menu – be sure to order it! No matter what the style, Dan Smith is a man who knows knows how to prepare lamb! John Andrews also has an extensive selection of wines, cocktails & craft beers.

West Stockbridge

Truc

Truc Orient Express

One of the first things we sought out when we moved here from the NYC suburbs was good, authentic Asian food.  And, we found it, right in our own neighborhood, at Truc Orient Express, located an awesome Vietnamese restaurant located at 3 Harris Street in West Stockbridge (coming from Great Barrington, when you get to Main St. in W. Stockbridge, turn left onto Depot Street. Take a left into the driveway just past Rouge Restaurant & you’ll see Truc’s restaurant straight back). The food here is delicious & authentic & the co-owner, Louie, couldn’t be a sweeter guy.

Stockbridge

We love eating at Widow Bigham’s Tavern at the Red Lion Inn – located at 30 Main Street.  If you’re up for something more formal, the main dining room at the Red Lion Inn is also always a treat. Chef Brian Alberg’s creative & delicious creations never disappoint. Click here for my earlier post on Bigham’s Tavern. And, when your done eating, be sure to head downstairs for a nightcap at The Lion’s Den, which always has great live music.  If you happen to be here when Sun Mountain Fiddler is playing, get their early.  These guys are super talented, loads of fun & always pack the house.

Becket

Dream Away Lodge

Dream Away Lodge

For a one of a kind Berkshires dining & drinking experience, head to The Dream Away Lodge located at 1342 County Road in Becket. The food is great, the decor super funky & the place chock full of music history. In fact, back in 1975, members of Bob Dylan’s Rolling Thunder Revue—including Dylan, Arlo Guthrie, Joan Baez & Allen Ginsberg—dropped by the former speakeasy & brothel & ended up staying all day making music. The Dream Away is also a great place to grab drinks & hang out with  friends. They have an outdoor bar with a large firepit, plenty of seating & they usually have live music on weekends.  Check here for their live music schedule.

Lenox

Brava Wine Bar

Brava Wine Bar

Alta Restaurant & Wine Bar, located at 34 Church St. in Lenox is always great. Their menu has a wide variety of dishes, the ambience is really nice & they make great specialty cocktails.  And, Brava Wine Bar, located at 27 Housatonic Street is another great choice for dinner or drinks – with an awesome selection of hard to find craft beers on tap & lots of great wines by the glass.

So…have a great visiting day & an even better dinner afterwards!

 

 

 

 

Mud Day

Don’t Miss Mud Day!

This Saturday, May 17th is Mud Day! What on earth is Mud Day, you ask?  Mud Day is a spring festival celebrating the Berkshires landscape & the environment. The festival is held at Muddy Brook Elementary School – 318 Monument Valley Rd., in Great Barrington, from 11am – 3pm.  The event is open to the public.

We went last year with the kids & it was a blast. It’s such a wholesome family event – no cheesy game booths & prize tickets for junky plastic toys that linger around your house for years.  Each class exhibits a project they worked on during the school year related to the environment & conservation.  And, the highlight (for the kids, at least) are several mud pits that the kids get to play in.  Our kids’ favorite was the tug of war mud pit. They’ll also have lots of fun craft activities for the kids.  Last year my daughter spun her own colorful jump rope that she still uses.

My daughter creating her own jump rope

My daughter creating her own jump rope

To top it off, there will be great food (from Prairie Whale, ice cream from The Scoop & amazing doughnuts from Home Sweet Home Doughnut Shoppe ), musical entertainment & plenty of mud for the kids to romp around in.  Important tip: bring a spare change of clothes for your kids & bring them to the festivities in clothes that you don’t mind them getting dirty.  Enjoy!