The Berkshires in the Summer 7-18-10

The Berkshires in the Summer


Richard J. Garfunkel


This past Friday, we left right on schedule for the Berkshires with our Lincoln Town Car. The Jaguar was in the car hospital at EurroMecchanica, and it was just as well. We would need a lot of room for all our gear, food and, once we got to the Berkshires, our children and our daughters’ good friend. It was a smooth uneventful drive up the 100 miles to the end of the Taconic Parkway and into Massachusetts. The next leg of the trip brought us to the Mass Pike (I-90) and then to Routes 20 and 7 north. On the way we stopped to stroll through the remarkable 100 year old Cranwell Resort, Spa and Golf Course in Lenox. It is a remarkable structure that is adjoined by various cottages and a large mansion.


After that short stop we were back on the road and came upon the entrance to the Mount Greylock State Park, which encompasses Massachusetts’ first forest preserve and its 1898 Massachusetts Veteran’s Memorial. It’s about an 8 mile winding drive to its summit which at 3491 feet is the highest point in the state and where the 93 foot Memorial was constructed in 1932. Most of the roads, the Bascom Lodge which sits nearby, and the ski shelters were built under the auspices of the New Deal’s Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) during the 1930’s.


Geographically, Mount Greylock forms an 11-mile long by 4.5-mile wide island-like range between the Hoosac Range to the east, the Green Mountains to the north, the Berkshires to the south and east, and the Taconic Mountains to the west with which it is geologically associated; all ranges are associated with the Appalachian mountain chain. On average, Mount Greylock rises 2,000 feet above surrounding river valleys and 1,000 feet above the Berkshire and Taconic Mountains. From the summit, views of up to 70–100 miles are possible into five different states: Massachusetts, New York, Connecticut, Vermont and New Hampshire.The beacon on the top of the memorial tower can be seen from as far as 70 miles.


After our drive up onto the summit, we parked, walked into the monument and later gazed down into the valley below which overlooks Adams, MA. After our visit to the facilities at the Bascom Lodge, we headed back to Route 7 north and our trip up and through the northern edge of Pittsfield to Guido’s Market, which is located across the street from The Dakota, a landmark log cabin restaurant. Once we paid for our provisions, we made our way up the last leg of our journey to the Country Inn at Jiminy Peak. Our lodge was centrally air-conditioned, quite roomy with three bedrooms, two baths, five televisions and an outdoor deck.





Eventually our son Jon arrived from Boston, we went to dinner at John Harvard’s which is the local restaurant, located in the main building, and we settled in for the evening. The next morning, after breakfast, Jon and I got in three sets of tennis, we all went back to our lodge, showered and dressed. We headed south on Route 7 to Pittsfield to Zucchini’s Restaurant to meet Dana and her friend Craig, who were driving west from Boston for lunch. We all had a great meal, which included small pizzas, fried zucchini, salads and wraps.


After our meal we headed over to Pontoosuc Lake where we strolled around, observed the boaters, in their kayaks, sail boats, and small motor craft, along with the swimmers who were enjoying the beautiful clear waters. We snapped some pictures, and then made our way back to the Country Inn. Once everyone was settled in, we changed for tennis, drove to courts, we all got in lot of hitting, and after terrific sweat in the 85 degree sun we changed and made our way to the hot tub. After we were all worn out from tennis, the sun and the hot water, we made our way back to the lodge, watched some baseball, parts of the 3rd round of the British Open, and rested a bit. For dinner we had planned a BBQ and during the week I had made my way down to Fairway, a wonderful new supermarket on Boston Road in Pelham, NY. So we were well-prepared with a 2lb boneless sirloin steak among other goodies. 


After dinner, we decided to drive down to Pittsfield for some ice cream. There’s a very popular soft-ice cream “joint” right off Route 7 and we were able to choose some exotic flavors and mixtures, fight off the mosquitoes, and make our way back before it got too dark, and the lightning we were watching turned into an ugly weather event. Eventually, late into the evening, when all the lights were out, the rains did come and it came with a vengeance.


The next day brought beautiful clear weather. After an early breakfast, we got to the courts, played some more tennis, headed to the hot tub and the pool, and made our way back for a BBQed lunch on our deck. Once we were quite satiated, we packed up, straightened out our accommodations and headed south to Lenox and Tanglewood. We built in enough time, left in our three cars, arrived around 2 PM and all reconnoitered on their great lawn, not far from the enclosed amphitheater.


There were thousands of other music lovers there, and most had brought picnic lunch goodies, but we only needed our beach chairs and liquid refreshment. It was sunny, but we were well-prepared with sun screen and before long the music started with Keith Lockhart conducting. The program included renditions of Liberty Fanfare, This is My Country, Rodeo, and America the Beautiful.  The highlight of the afternoon was a musical tribute to the Kennedy Brothers, entitled The Dream Lives On, which was composed for the 125th anniversary of the Boston Pops Orchestra and narrated by Alec Baldwin. After the intermission, the finale featured Arlo Guthrie and his music. The program was over by 4:30 PM, we picked up our chairs, made our way to the East lot, found our cars, escaped quickly, and we all left for home. It was a busy three days, but the planning was flawless, the timing precise, the food was great, the weather cooperated, and every one got home safe and sound.

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