Jul 14, 2011

Stockbridge, Massachusetts

Today I did what I wish I could do three days a week....(What? A girl needs to be home to get laundry done :) I had an adventure.

It started when I woke up to an amazingly beautiful day....sparkly sunshine.....white clouds.....yes, puffy ones :) brilliant green trees and a endless blue sky. Not to hot, not to cold, perfect temperature with a hint of wind. I picked up a dear friend and we headed to the Massachusetts Pike AKA I-90. And we headed west towards Exit 2. It always makes me eternally happy to head towards Exit 2. It is 30 miles from Exit three, where I live, to Exit 2. Why all the talk about Exit 2? Let me tell you there is so much to do off of Exit 2....(yes, I just used the word exit 6 times....but I think you will forgive me :)I feel so sad that I have barely scratched the surface of what is there to see:

Norman Rockwell Museum

Mt. Greylock

Tanglewood (summer home to the Boston Pops)

the Clark Art Institute in Williamstown (that has an exhibit right now that I MUST see)

Edith Wharton's home and gardens

quaint towns with fascinating shopping

countless hikes

countless museums

and this list has barely scratched the surface of all the possibilities in Berkshire County.

But before I burst I better focus because today was only about Stockbridge, Massachusetts. Stockbridge is a very quaint New England town. A huge tourist destination....especially in the Fall. Norman Rockwell used its residents and main street in many of his paintings....so that should tell you loads. We arrived in the town at about 11:00 and parked in the very first parking spot we came too. I really like to do that :) We got out and started walking. Lots of fun shops to look in. I found a picture in a gallery that I simply must have. It was taken in the area and it was rolling hills with perfect clouds. It was very big and I just need to find $1,500 dollars laying around so I can own it. In this gallery there were so many amazing pictures of scenery from the area...oh, and there was an enormous friendly St.Bernard that became my new best friend.

I rarely buy in the shops but I really could browse all day I do love to know my options in case buying ever crosses my mind someday in the future. The only purchase I made today was a pink rubber ball that fits in my hand, smells amazing, and promised to bounce amazingly high. It was a $1.59. I have already bounced it up and down my driveway, against the garage door, and sniffed it's awesome rubbery smell, and am very pleased with my purchase. I just have to hide it from my kids.

One of the most important parts of the trip to Stockbridge is The Red Lion Inn. If you are ever sitting around at your boring old house wondering what to do for lunch you should grab a friend...or not.... and go eat at the Red Lion Inn. The Red Lion Inn is one of the few American Inns in continuous use since the 18th century. It has 108 individually decorated rooms. I would love to catch a glimpse of them all :) The history of the Inn is amazing and way too lengthy to entertain you with here. But you could google it if you need to know. Which I bet you just do not know that you need to know :)

Usually when I go to the Red Lion Inn I just wander around and admire it on the outside and the inside. But today we actually ate there. I have thought long and hard about how to describe the lunch I had to you and I have come to the conclusion that the deliciousness of the food can only be conveyed with yummy noises, lifted eyebrows, and eyes. I had steak, spinach, and the most luscious onion rings ever. I wish I could share with you so that you could know exactly how they were so you could feel the same happiness I felt. That is why I can never go anywhere alone....how can you not share the joy? We sat at a table outside under a umbrella. It truly was perfect. We took our time and savored every minute.

Something I always marvel at everytime I see the Red Lion Inn is their huge front porch full of wicker furniture. All sorts and sizes. I meant to sit for awhile and people watch but got distracted. We went into the gift shop in the Inn but I did not last too long in the shopping area I heard piano music coming from somewhere and had to know. So I left my friend and wandered out and found the piano. An old man, a guest of the inn, was sitting at the piano with no sheet music in sight playing song after song by memory. I hid around the corner and watched him for about 10 minutes. I wonder what his story was and how he learned all those songs. Several cute little old ladies walked by him and swooned :) It was so sweet. He played so well. I could have listened forever. A huge cat walked by chased by an elderly guest intent on asking the cat how his day was. A funny, fast moving, and not overly observant, chatty lady walked by and asked if I was the piano players wife....I smiled demurely :) What could I say? :) A picture of George Washington peered at me from the wall. It was an indelible moment.

We did a little more window shopping but sadly our real lives reached out and grabbed us and we had to head for home.

But I resolved that I will go to Exit 2 once a week for the rest of the summer and explore something new. It felt so good to have an adventure. To feel the sunshine and be distracted. To be with a great friend who knows way too much about me and yet, still loves me was the frosting on the day!

1 comment:

nanci said...

I love Stockbridge, but I've never gone into any of the stores. I have eaten at the Red Lion Inn and the food was delicious! Be sure to visit Naumkeag on one of your visits - it's incredible (you will absolutely LOVE the gardens).