Things I Learned While Vacationing In The Berkshires

View from the lodge

From the grounds at Tanglewood
  • Thoroughly elitist though this observation be, high gas prices make for surprisingly pleasant driving conditions. We're used to heavy traffic on long weekends, but we sped right through. I know my fellow citizens are suffering & I regret that; I'm suffering myself when I'm not on vacation. But I fully enjoyed the sense of owning the road over the weekend.
  • Yankees love window boxes. I'm not sneering, they're delightful. But seriously, I have never seen so many window boxes in my life. Even the guard rails on the bridges are adorned with window boxes.
  • If you hike in soggy conditions, it will be very pleasant as long as you keep moving. Pause for a moment to take a photo, however, and you will be able to hear the mosquito swarm coming for you. You have three seconds before impact. Even Mr. W., who is a low personal CO2 emitter, and therefore doubts the existence of the mosquito, was swatting 'em off my head while I was snapping.
  • Animals, too, prefer civilization to the wild. Hiking high into the mountains, we caught sight of no wildlife apart from birds & bugs. Taking a walk through a well-groomed neighborhood near our cabin, however, I saw rabbits, racoons, groundhogs, badgers, foxes and deer. The deer were particularly numerous on the side of the highway in New York on the way home. A whole forest to choose from, and they all come nibble the leaves on the trees closest to the traffic. Why is that?
  • The portion of New York that abuts Western Massachussetts is especially beautiful. Mountains, rolling hills, meadows filled with wildflowers and animals everywhere. It was like being in Bambi.
  • Artists are weird. On a rainy day we went to both the Norman Rockwell museum (came away more impressed with him than I knew there was reason to be); and Arrowhead, where Melville wrote Moby Dick (and hung out with Nathaniel Hawthorne). Melville was said to be enticed to the site by the stunning view from his study window, and the entire entertaining tour of the home builds toward the big "reveal." Then you get there and the view may or may not be great (we had fog), but the window is so tiny....
  • The Divine Mercy Shrine (cool virtual tour here) is glorious. And in possession of a truly amusing relic.