Welcome to day 19 of 31 Days of Heterotopias: Motels and Hotels, a month of posts about how motels, hotels, and inns function as heterotopias and liminal spaces in society.  Each post will look at these ideas from its own vantage point, which may not obviously connect with the others, and which may mention motels and hotels only peripherally or may focus on them without referencing heterotopia or liminality. I won’t attempt to tie the posts together. They’ll all be listed here, as they are posted.
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I have stayed in at least one B&B that worked for me, because we — spouse, dog, self — were in one of several separate cottages surrounding the Birchwood Inn, in Lenox, Massachusetts — in the Berkshires — and the innkeeper (Ellen, who has since retired; unfortunately, the new owners don’t seem to rent the cottages anymore) had two dogs of her own: a sweet golden retriever, Quinn, who was trained to help the deaf, which the innkeeper partly was, and this lovely little black dog, Piper, a beagle-lab (bagel) who looks demonic in my photo for some reason.

birchwoodinnpiper

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This was May 2010; spouse and I hadn’t had time away together except for a family birthday party in two years, and after our difficult fall and winter — full of sad goodbyes and uprooting, spouse’s medical diagnosis and ongoing treatments, the dog’s medical diagnosis and ongoing lab tests, my father’s death and my mother’s Alzheimers, as well as the weight of friends’ sorrows in tough times — it was a much needed pampering. Sometimes B&Bs are good for pampering, as long as they leave you alone, and they did.

We interacted with Ellen and other folks only at breakfast and afternoon tea (yes, tea! so civilised; talk about pampering), if we felt like it  — though with Piper more often, as she had the run of the place — and the breakfasts, at our own table, were incredibly delicious, including: cheese blintzes with a Maine blueberry sauce on top, a spring omelette with peas and asparagus, lemony stuffed French toast, fondue Florentine soufflé, fabulous ginger pear pancakes, a berry fruitini, a watermelon and kiwi stacked on a crumble with a lemon curd topping, poached pears with a lovely sauce, and sausage, bacon, or ham if desired.

birchwoodinnbreakfastroom

We were invited to sit on the inn porch, for tea and otherwise, and I think we did …. it’s been 7-1/2 years and I can’t quite recall anymore, though I remember that we got bread, cheese, a fruit tart, olives, beer, etc., at the local farmer’s market and gourmet shops and had lunch on our own cottage porch one day.

birchwoodinnfrontporchseats
Birchwood Inn seats and table on the porch
birchwoodinnfromlawn
Birchwood Inn porch from the front lawn
birchwoodinnourdoorandporch
our cottage and porch
birchwoodinnourporch
our cottage’s porch
foodfarmersmarketlunch
farmers market lunch

We bought marcona almonds and cheese at Rubiner’s Cheesemongers in Great Barrington, too. (I guess the woman behind the counter wasn’t pleased about my photo.)

greatbarringtonRubinersCheesemongers

Somehow I neglected to take any photos inside the cottage room, except of our dog, Gretchen:

gretchenatbirchwoodinn21may2010gretcheninbirchwoodinnroomonbed21may2010

She seems relaxed.

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This was our cottage from the outside, in the evening —

birchwoodinnourcottage

there was a rabbit running around  —

birchwoodinnbunny

— and our entrance (the back entrance) into the Inn proper —

birchwoodinnourentrance

— and another shot of the Inn’s porch:

birchwoodinnwithfrontporch

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It was quite a nice place to be, walkable to Lenox, and the restaurants in the Berkshires were amazing, especially Viva Tapas Bar in Stockbridge — their fried artichokes live in my memory as one of the best things I have ever eaten — which sadly apparently closed in 2012,

vivarestaurantfoodwineatvivafoodfriedartichokes

and especially especially Rouge in West Stockbridge, from whom I still get emails and to which I would return in a heartbeat if it were closer. (I guess I took these weird photos with my phone at the time. Sorry!)

rougebarStockbridgeMA22May2010foodrouge

Bistro Zinc in Lenox was good, too, where, sitting next to a tall window that opened onto the sidewalk, I had trout meuniere and spouse had soft shell crab. Mmmm.

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There are so many interesting things to do and places to visit in the Berkshires. We had only a week or so and went to Edith Wharton’s house, The Mount — what I remember from it is climbing hydrangeas; the mind-boggling Asia Barong in Great Barrington (still get eccentric emails from them, too); Naumkeag House & Gardens in Stockbridge (44-room Gilded Age house, designed as a summer home by the architectural firm of McKim, Mead, & White, the former country estate of New York City lawyer Joseph Hodges Choate); Kennedy Park trails in Lenox; the Ashuwillticook Rail Trail, which runs about 11 miles from Pittsfield to Adams, MA — we walked from the Farnam’s Rd entrance in Cheshire to the town of Cheshire proper, and back, about 4 miles; Tanglewood, in Lenox, where the Boston Symphony Orchestra plays in the summer; and a play (preview performance of Julius Caesar) at Shakespeare & Co. in Lenox.

The Mount

themountthruarchway
long view of The Mount
themountbackviewfrombelow
view of The Mount from below
themountfromfrenchgardens3
The Mount from the French gardens
themountarcheswithvines
arches
themountallium
allium
themountitaliangardenwithfountain
Italian garden with fountain
themountinsided
interior
themountinsideenotedogtreats
table setting (note dog treats)
themountinsideikitchen
kitchen
themountinsidef
people in the living room
themountinsideb
fireplace and columns
themountinsidea
another interior shot
themountinsideafadedtulips
faded tulips

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Asia Barong …. a unique place: “In the unlikely event we do not have what you are looking for, we can search in Asia for it. Or by using the link to the order form below, we can carve to your specifications any sculpture in any quantity or material.”

asiabarongoutsiderecliner
outside Asia Barong … I can see this in my garden
asiabarongoutside
buddha, elephant, etc.
asiabarongTwithjeep
a Jeep, with shovel, axe, etc.
asiabaronginsidehugephallus
a huge phallus, upstairs
asiabaronginside
inside
asiabaronginsidecolour
more inside

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Naumkeag (not quite open for the season, and no indoor photos allowed):

naumkeaghouseandtreepeonies
back of house
naumkeagfrontofhouse
front of house
naumkeagmaples
maples
naumkeagsteps
steps
naumkeagasiangarden
Asian garden
naumkeagpinktreepeonies
tree peonies
naumkeagwhitetreepeonies
white tree peonies
naumkeaglitepinktreepeonyclose
pink tree peony, close
naumkeagtreepeonies
tree peonies in bloom
naumkeagviewlawns
views

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Kennedy Park in Lenox:

naumkeagwoodlandpath

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Ashuwillticook Rail Trail

AshuwillticookRailTrailsign

AshuwillticookRailTrailreseservoirc
reservoir
AshuwillticookRailTraillilypadsgalore
lily pads galore
AshuwillticookRailTrailcottagewithlupines
cottage with lupines
AshuwillticookRailTrailpinkhoneysuckle
pink honeysuckle
AshuwillticookRailTrailfemalemallard
female mallard duck

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Tanglewood

TanglewoodKoussevitskyShedevening
Koussevitsky Shed
TanglewoodKoussevitskyShedinside
Koussevitsky Shed (inside)
TanglewoodOzawaHallandT
Ozawa Hall

Tanglewoodgardensevening24May2010

Tanglewoodtreetrunks
tangled tree trunks

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Shakespeare & Co. – some dilapidated buildings on the property

lenoxshakespeareandcohouseclenoxshakespeareandcohouseb

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Also, the 15-acre Berkshire Botanical Garden, in Stockbridge:

bbgsign

bbgwallwithsedums
wall with sedums
bbgstripedirisyellowclose
striped yellow iris
bbgweepyconifer
weepy conifer
bbgpoppy
poppy!
bbgrodgersias
Rodgersias … a favourite of mine
bbgopenpinkpeonies
pink peonies
bbgpondandlawns
pond and lawn
bbgfrog2
frog
bbgfrog
another frog
bbgalliumwalkway
walkway with allium
bbgdianthusgarden
dianthus swath
bbgcornerofyellowshed
yellow shed
bbgyellowshed
yellow shed
bbgpurpleshed
purple shed
bbginsidepurpleshed
inside purple shed

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Plus this quirky cemetery in Stockbridge! (cemeteries are another heterotopia, uniting all other places and people in a community in a past-present sacred-forbidden place of crisis, often on the margins of town — this one is on the edge of a golf course):

stockbridgecemeteryarchway

stockbridgecemeteryhorseracingandredsoxsmall
He liked horse racing, she’s a Red Sox fan
stockbridgecemeterybarneyslanesmall
Someone liked golf

stockbridgecemeteryphotosofdeceasedsmallstockbridgecemeteryviewtogolfcoursesmall

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If you want more travelogue, I blogged about this in May 2010 in several posts: intro; Thurs-Sat; Sunday; and Mon-Wed.)  I note, on re-reading them, that the innkeeper saved us scones one day when we didn’t make it back for afternoon tea on time. That’s one perk of a good B&B: you are offered comfort and reliability in a difficult, unreliable time.

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* Thanks to James Taylor for the title …. “With 10 miles behind me, and 10,000 more to go.”

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One thought on “Now, the Berkshires seemed dreamlike

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