We recently returned from an overnight trip to Great Barrington, MA, just east of Albany, NY, in the Berkshires of western Massachussetts. It was a "quirky get away," as one of us had work to do, on Friday, while the other of us was pretty much a Boo Boo, to her Yogi. But it promised one more adventure in this year of marvelous drives, so, why not?
Upon arriving in Great Barrington, we decided on lunch, which we had at Friendly's on Stockbridge Rd, just down the street from our overnight quarters. I mention this because we went to Friendly's BEFORE checking in. It was nice, as Friendlys go, but we were later to see the error in our choice! After Sarah conducted her business, three of us asked the desk clerk about a place for dinner. Given a sheet with numerous places within walking distance we decided to try one. Still not entirely sure of the distances and all, we managed to get to the Adams Cafe, before we were able to get the car past third gear! So, we parked and went in, to find a "half hour" line of folks ahead of us. Rather than wait it out we opted for another place, which, it turns out, was nearly right next door; the Aegean Breeze. This Greek restaurant had quite a selection of foods, not the least of which were our selections, a cabbage and rice special (which two of our small group ordered, and loved) and the scallop kabobs which I tried. Wow! We were, all three, filled to overflowing with the delicious dishes and we enjoyed the atmosphere provided by the owners and attentive wait staff. A remarkably pleasant evening! We finished off the evening visiting with our new friend, and sharing some music. It was delightful!
The next morning we set out to enjoy some of the local flavor, which turned out to envelope much more than the strip of restaurants and accomodations we had found the day before. This dleightful community houses a number of tourist attractions as well as the sightseeing stops for a more "sophisticated crowd;" as was evidenced by well to do looking folks stumbling around town, in need of guide dogs or reasonable facsimiles, thereof! In our vagabond shuffle we were able to locate the Town Hall, which was near the site of the first outright refusal of English decree, over 240 years ago. Additionally, we were able to find more wonderful dining facilities, as well as the local music store! Hoo hoo!
I managed to sample several of the guitars they had on display as well as chat with the two folks who were working in the store. We had some fun with the morning lack of business, by filling it with camaraderie. We eventually purchased some guitar strings, and a pair of guitar shaped earrings (acoustic guitars, of course, to reduce the strain on the ears!), as well as exchanging information with the guitarist/singer, who was restringing several of the display instruments. His name is Dave Reed, and he has a very nice website, www.Tamboura2.com, which features his music.
From the music store to the Farmers' Market we continued our trek, encountering some very nice people as well as the expected knuckleheads who seem to pop up, like whack a moles, everywhere you go, these days. Still, they were not able to deter us, and we had a chance to sample the baked goods,as well as some produce and cheese at the market, before seeking out the Barrington Brewery, for lunch. It is a restaurant/tavern that brews its own beers, so we had an opportunity to try some of the local flavor; which didn't fail to impress! Both the food and drink were delightful! It was almost like being just a bit away from home, as this was the first state we've visited, in a while, where you actually cannot get wine in the local drugstore or grocery! It was humorous, in Florida, earlier this fall. I was getting ready to walk down to the Publix Grocery and asked Sarah if she needed any wine; Walgreen's also had a fine selection of $5.00 bottles! Not to mention the $1.99 mouthwash which was 21% alcohol! Anyway, buying alcohol in a package or liquor store seems so much more familiar to us, it was a welcome characteristic in this visit of the state that is home to the Red Sox! Hey, nobody's perfect!
Finally, after our lunch, and an exchange of silliness with a delightful waitress, we began our drive back home, happy to have found this gem of a place to visit. They have the Norman Rockwell Museum, nearby, as well as several colleges and museums, and no fewer than three ski resorts within close proximity to Great Barrington. Additionally, this area is the "second home" to a large number of folks from the metro NY area, as well as some from Boston. The NY and NJ license plates rivaled the MA plates, even this late in the year, because so many folks actually own homes in the area; homes which they live in for a good part of the year, in addition to their main residences. The area was quite involved with various commerce and tourist related businesses, but Sarah found a terrific price on a picninc table at one of the hardware stores. Although it had to be disassembled, we were able to reassemble it within five to ten minutes, after we brought it home in the back of the Mini Cooper! To be completely honest, the table was a glass surface with metal legs, which came apart easily enough to transport along with our luggage and the guitar which was riding in the back of the car. Still, this was an eye opener as for the flexibility of the Mini and how easily it can provide the necessary room and transportation for regional gigs! Hopefully, we'll be able to return to that area for just such a gig, sometime next year! Meanwhile, I have to admit that there is plenty to give the adjective "Great" to Barrington! It was a very nice time and place for spending part of the weekend!