taking the Berkshires by storm

My family (my Mom, sister A1 and bro-in-law M, and Monster niece and nephew S and A: ages 4.5 and 3 years) came out for a long weekend, driving from Michigan. I had some time off while they were here, but also had to work a little, so I found some things for us and them to do. If you are ever in Berkshire County, MA, here are some things worth checking out:
  • Umpachene Falls: One of the best kept secrets in the Berkshires; Umpachene is a series of tiered rocks which splash the Umpachene River down. You can either hike (carefully) up the falls on the very slippery rocks (I fell and took Monster niece S with me, though we both got up and laughed it off), or hike the trail through the woods which follows the falls. Be careful, you eventually hike to a point where it becomes private property. We had a great afternoon; Mummy Dearest, Hubby and their two kids (Big and Little Fish) and M&N and their two kids (M&S) joined my family. We ate a picnic hodge podge lunch, the kids played with bouncey balls and on the swing sets, we climbed in the Falls--a great day. Why can't every day in the summer feel that wholesome and good? It was like one of those old Country Time Lemonade commercials, where the old man is doing the voice over while the camera pans out over a sleepy summer field with blowing reeds and a kid swinging in a tire swing somewhere in the background. A good day.

  • The Berkshire Museum: The museum, which has a current exhibit on frogs, was a crowd pleaser for the most part. The kids enjoyed the museum, but only for about 2 hours and they grew a little antsy. Mom, A1 and M enjoyed it and all said that they would like to go there again when the kids are a little older and might get a little more out of it.

  • The Berkshire Scenic Railway: Before I had to work on Sunday we took the kids to historic Lenox (which is a gorgeous city that I would like to one day wander around in, if for nothing else, to at least stare at the old houses) and rode the historic train, stopping in Lee and then Stockbridge before returning back to Lenox. The ride was slow and scenic, offering views of the three cities with a back-yard glance. Instead of seeing the main streets and the shops, we passed through the more "rural" vistas. My favorite part of the ride was going past the Berkshire Quarry, which I had never seen before. The view from the train was spectacular (and reminded me a lot of that scene in Garden State where they go to the quarry). It was very cool to sit in the old cars and wonder about the travelers who made their slow journeys (slow in comparison to ours) to final destinations; and what those destinations meant to them.

Overall, the family visit was good and low stress. It was nice to show the kids around the farm and hear the oohs and ahhs as the kids saw the cows in the pasture next to my house sidle up to the fence for an evening greeting.

Yes, life is good.


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