Field Trip: The Berkshires: Mon-Wed.

(Previously in our story:  intro, Thurs-Sat , and Sunday.)

Monday:

Monday was going to be our last full day in the Berkshires, with checkout on Tuesday at 11. Reality differed.

After another fab breakfast, we wanted to see what Pittsfield looked like. The assistant innkeeper, David, suggested a walk on the Ashuwillticook Rail Trail, which runs about 11 miles from Pittsfield to Adams, MA.  It was an inspired idea. We walked in the warm sun from about 11 until about 1, from the Farnam’s Road entrance in Cheshire to the town of Cheshire proper, and back, maybe 4 miles. The trail abuts a reservoir and other wetlands, with views of mountains in the near distance. We saw a fair number of bicyclists, and a few runners, rollerbladers, and other walkers.

Ashuwillticook Rail Trail - view from Farnams Rd entrance
Ashuwillticook Rail Trail - view from Farnams Rd entrance
Ashuwillticook Rail Trail - trail
Ashuwillticook Rail Trail - trail
Ashuwillticook Rail Trail - reservoir
Ashuwillticook Rail Trail - reservoir
Ashuwillticook Rail Trail - mallard in profile
Ashuwillticook Rail Trail - mallard in profile
Ashuwillticook Rail Trail - daisies, yellow lilies, lilypads
Ashuwillticook Rail Trail - daisies, yellow lilies, lilypads

After using the facilities (which are far too rare on the trail … only two locations and both are early in the 11-mile walk), we headed off for the Goodwill store and to find a place for lunch.

I was blithely making my way through hangers of short-sleeved tops when T. came over and said that he couldn’t find his wallet. Not welcome news. Checks of the car and a trip back to the trail entrance/rest stop yielded no wallet. I wondered how we would pay for dinner and lunch with the $30 cash we had on hand.

First item of business, we drove into Pittsfield and hit an ATM, where we withdrew cash to cover expenses for the rest of the trip. Then more worrying, more searching (another trip to Pittsfield), and finally phone calls to relevant authorities to cancel and restrict accounts.

By now it was about 5:30 p.m., we hadn’t eaten since breakfast, and we’d really seen enough of Pittsfield. We’d also missed tea, though the innkeeper, Ellen, saved us some yummy scones, which we ate later.  At some point, I checked email and saw that a voicemail had come through on our home phone; it was AAA in Albany, who had received a call from the man who found T’s wallet! He had also, we learned the next day, called others, including the Cheshire police, trying to track us down — such diligence and generosity of energy and time.

We finally walked down the hill into Lenox for dinner, again outside at the very casual Olde Heritage Tavern, where we split veggie nachos and fish &  chips (very good fries) and beers and discussed whether to stay another night so that we could connect and regain the wallet, or whether to have the police mail it (as they offered).

After checking on the dog, we got in the car and went to Tanglewood to walk around but it was dusk and closing, so we spent only about 10 mins before scurrying out. Still, it was lovely.

Tanglewood view - evening
Tanglewood view - evening
Tanglewood - Koussevitsky Shed, evening
Tanglewood - Koussevitsky Shed, evening
Tanglewood - gardens in evening
Tanglewood - gardens in evening

Tuesday:

Another great breakfast! We decided to stay another night after we got the name and phone number of the wallet-finder. We called him and arranged to meet him at mid-day near another Rail Trail entrance. We also learned that the wallet was completely intact. Relief.

We returned to Tanglewood to wander the paths and look at the Koussevitsky Shed and Ozawa Hall. There was so much activity going on, with carpenters, tree surgeons, gift shop staff, lawn care folks, and others working busily to prepare for the season’s start at the end of June.

Tanglewood - Ozawa Hall
Tanglewood - Ozawa Hall
Tanglewood - Koussevitsky Shed, morning
Tanglewood - Koussevitsky Shed, morning
Tanglewood - inside Koussevitsky Shed
Tanglewood - inside Koussevitsky Shed

We went back to the Inn to let the dog out, then onward to Pittsfield yet again, to meet the much-appreciated wallet-finder. After a short and happy interaction, he got on his bike and started down the trail, and we took another Rail Trail walk, until about 2:30 p.m., this time under a somewhat hotter sun.

Ashuwillticook Rail Trail - marsh and pads
Ashuwillticook Rail Trail - marsh and pads
Ashuwillticook Rail Trail - sign of the beaver
Ashuwillticook Rail Trail - sign of the beaver
Ashuwillticook Rail Trail - lilypads galore
Ashuwillticook Rail Trail - lilypads galore
Ashuwillticook Rail Trail - pink honeysuckle
Ashuwillticook Rail Trail - pink honeysuckle
Ashuwillticook Rail Trail - female mallard
Ashuwillticook Rail Trail - female mallard

Feeling well-exercised, we ate a light lunch at Panera in Pittsfield (I hadn’t been to one in about 8 years due to geography) then returned to the dog, and another glorious iteration of tea, and then off to West Stockbridge for another dinner at Rouge – we thought. But they were, sadly,  closed on Tuesday night, so we went to Olio, another Mediterranean restaurant in town. This was a disappointing meal. We got appetizers (spanakopita, beef and chicken kabob, tapenade, and two diminutive crabcakes) but the selection and the quality were just average, and the portions were minuscule, especially compared with Rouge and Viva. We ordered a shrimp dish but they were out of shrimp, which didn’t surprise me as I had overheard a diner near us had counting  exactly one shrimp in his appetizer.

When I requested a wine list, I was asked whether I wanted red or white. I said red, and the waiter named 4 types of red wine, one of which I couldn’t understand even after asking him to repeat it. I had a glass of a red wine (a Côtes du Rhône, I think) and it was fine, but the whole meal was sort of like that, a bit Fawlty-Towersish as we overheard some other diners characterise their experience!  The owners stopped by and welcomed us, which was very nice, and the decor was comfortable and attractive, but the food (selection, quality and portion size), the somewhat aloof waiter, the fighting we could hear going on in the kitchen (or between the kitchen and waiter), and the lack of wine list were … off-putting. (Someone else had a great meal there.)

On the way back to the Inn, as we drove through Stockbridge, we passed a large stone archway with what looked like headstones set far off the road, but it was all unmarked. I asked T. to turn around and, seeing no No Trespassing sign, we drove through the archway to a very interesting cemetery!

Stockbridge Cemetery - archway
Stockbridge Cemetery - archway
Stockbridge Cemetery - view to golf course
Stockbridge Cemetery - view to golf course
Stockbridge Cemetery - golf ball on astroturf
Stockbridge Cemetery - golf ball on astroturf
Stockbridge Cemetery - Barney's Lane
Stockbridge Cemetery - Barney's Lane
Stockbridge Cemetery - horse racing and Red Sox
Stockbridge Cemetery - horse racing and Red Sox
Stockbridge Cemetery - dog and cat
Stockbridge Cemetery - dog and cat
Stockbridge Cemetery - photos of deceased
Stockbridge Cemetery - photos of deceased

We finished off the night with a short walk in Lenox and a stop for frozen yogurt and ice cream at The Scoop, which was mad busy with many families all meeting and greeting, catching up, and ordering ice cream and yogurt. We sat on a bench along the road with everyone else, then walked back to the Inn for our last night.

Wednesday:

After our last breakfast (my favourite: cheese blintzes with Maine blueberries), we walked the Kennedy Park/road walk we had taken on Friday, but in reverse. Took exactly one hour and we saw no one else on the trail. Except this guy:

Lenox - Kennedy Park - snail
Lenox - Kennedy Park - snail

There was also something that looked like snow all over the place in one area, but it must have been a kind of plant debris …

Lenox- Kennedy Park - snow
Lenox- Kennedy Park - snow

After our walk, we finished packing, said our farewells, and headed for home. It was a memorable trip for us for many reasons, and I hope you’ve enjoyed it, too.

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