Tag Archives: travel

More Hancock Shakers….

 

The second building we toured was the living quarters of the Brothers, Sisters and Elders.

 

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Everything was segregated by sex…. even the stairways were separate.

Everyone was busy, and everyone had a job.

 

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The women sewed clothing.

 

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The men made shoes.

 

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The women grew herbs and mixed their own medicines….

 

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As well as ran a simple hospital.

 

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The men made traditional boxes…

 

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And furniture.

I’m pretty sure everyone did this:

 

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The beds didn’t look very comfortable…

 

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And there was a lot of praying.

 

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Probably for a queen size Serta pillow soft, but that might just have been me.

 

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It’s hard for me to believe 300 people in the prime of their lives lived and worked together without ever being more than Friends.

But I could sure use a Shaker woman or two to come clean my house.

I certainly don’t have all that pent up energy to waste.

 

Hancock Shaker Village

 

After the frigid air on top of Mt. Greylock, we were happy to spend the rest of day 4 of the Berkshire vacation down on the valley floor. Having heard wonderful things about the authentic and fully restored village of the Shakers… we headed there.

We were also starving, so we were glad to find they had a cafe on site.

 

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It was a cute little place called Seeds, with all the food being organic and locally sourced. Many of the fruits and vegetables from the farm itself.

 

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The seats were handmade, traditionally Shaker in style and surprisingly comfortable.

 

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The menu was a little kale and quinoa heavy for my taste…

 

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But the sandwiches were tasty and the salads crisp and fresh.

 

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Thus fortified, we entered the village.

 

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It’s a large lovely place, full of history and tours we didn’t have the time to take.

 

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A little background:

Hancock was the third among the nineteen major Shaker communities established between 1783 and 1836 in New York, New England, Kentucky, Ohio and Indiana.

The Shaker population reached its peak in the mid-19th century, with an estimated 4,000 to 5,000 members. More than 300 Shakers lived at Hancock during it’s peak. Today, the Shakers only remain active at Sabbathday Lake in Maine, with two Believers.

The Shakers are a religion of friends, and do not engage in sex.

Not too hard to imagine why the idea died out.

 

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This was a beautiful place to tour….

 

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With the dominant feature being the amazing circular stone barn.

 

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The community was entirely self sufficient, and the first building we entered was the big red one in the back.

 

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Laundry was a bit more labor intensive in those days….

 

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And the husband was all for getting me one of these.

 

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That contraption was for heating the irons, with the table behind being the board.

 

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The entire community took meals together, so the kitchen was impressive.

 

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And like most of the village, the pieces are an antique collector’s dream.

 

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Yes, the husband was drooling.

 

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There was a room for everything.

 

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And it was all efficiently laid out.

 

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Simple, quality workmanship.

 

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The buildings were well crafted, filled with natural light and beyond solid.

Apparently the Shaker women were fanatical house cleaners, sweeping and scrubbing nonstop.

But hey, they were celibate.

What else were they gonna do?

 

 

 

Mount Greylock… last part.

 

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Bascom Lodge, haven for hikers and climbers on top of the mountain..

 

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I could have cared less…. but the husband wanted to check it out.

 

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I was hoping for a warm respite from the wind inside.

 

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But to be honest it was pretty damned cold even in the building. Notice everyone is having coffee with their coats still on.

 

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There’s a fireplace, people! Light the damned thing.

We could have stayed and ordered a $17 grilled cheese sandwich for lunch, but elected to move on.

That is, I elected to move on…. and jogged halfway to the car through the biting wind only to realize that the husband hadn’t moved an inch and was standing outside the lodge jaw jacking with other tourists with the the car keys in his pocket.

 

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Grrr.

Not to mention Brrr!

 

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Jog back to the lodge, grab the husband mid sentence…. and pull.

You know all those people who say women talk too much? They’ve never met my husband.

The man would talk to a tree stump. And probably has.

 

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Seriously…. conversation in -10 wind chill is over rated.

 

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Nestled in the warm car, the ride down the mountain was as pretty as up.

 

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We passed a lake…

 

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And some nice farm land.

 

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On our way to the next destination.

 

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It’s only day 4 remember?

We were gone a week.

 

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Mount Greylock… Part 2.

 

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So we reached the top and found the tower.

 

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It was a tower.

 

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It was big.

 

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Thinking it would be warmer,  I ran inside.

 

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It was impressive, but still freezing cold and the sound of the wind whipping around the structure was eerie as hell.

 

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There were stairs.

 

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Lots and lots of stairs….

 

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Which I climbed halfway, lost my breath, said to hell with it and let the husband reach the top alone.

 

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The following are a few of the hundred shots he took that actually resembled something other than a giant blur. Photography is not his strong point.

 

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Bascom Lodge, more on that later.

 

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Windmills.

 

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North Adams again.

 

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Ranger station with bus loads of tourists.

 

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And before you say “Hey, stop picking on your husband those shots are great!”

 

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He literally took 106 pictures and those are the result. The other 101 look like this one of me:

 

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Jazz hands? Who can say…

Not the worst picture of me ever taken, but still.

 

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Goodbye tower…

 

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It’s been real.

Windy. It’s been real windy….

 

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So ends the soldier’s memorial tower post.

 

 

Well, if you insist…..

Mount Greylock

 

Day 4 dawned cold and windy, temperature 29 degrees. So of course we decided to visit the highest peak in Massachusetts where it’s 10 degrees colder at the top.

 

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We stopped at the visitors center first, to get the lay of the land.

 

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And there were some pretty nice views already.

 

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We found Smokey the bear.

 

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Slacking as usual.

 

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And some disturbing nature displays with dive bombing dead owls….

 

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As well as seriously angry squirrels.

 

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There was also something near and dear to my heart…

 

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Shoes!

But this was our destination….

 

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3,491 feet up to the top of Mount Greylock and the soldiers memorial tower.

 

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Since it was 29 degrees and windy as hell, we elected to drive not climb.

 

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Stopping along the way to take pictures like the tourists we were.

 

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And the vistas were worth fighting the bitter wind.

 

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But not talking to other tourists as the husband always does.

 

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This is the part where I ditch him and scramble back to the warm car….

 

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Farther up the road we encountered a section of rock with water running out it’s side.

 

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What is it about water? You’d think we’d never seen it before and are required to jump out and gawk at the miracle.

 

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Which made others do the same.

Without further ado, I give you…. WATER!

Behold the wonder.

 

 

More vistas.

 

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More water.

And if you think it wasn’t cold up there?

 

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Trust me, it was.

More photo ops.

 

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That’s the town of North Adams down below.

 

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And then finally, in the  so friggin’ cold I thought my lips would fall off  wind, we saw the top.

 

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To be continued…

But you knew that, right?

 

 

Powder Hounds.

 

 

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Well, no.

 

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But that’s the general idea.

Night 3 found us at a nice little restaurant right past the driveway of our resort.

 

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It was a rustically (is that not a word?) attractive, homey place…. nestled right at the foot of the Jiminy Peak Ski slopes.

 

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Full of warm wood and earth tones, and hounds on the walls.

 

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The drinks were nothing memorable, no specialty cocktail list and just your average margarita. (Okay, 3 average margaritas… geesh.)

 

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But the menu was comical…

 

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And the shrimp scampi flatbread appetizer to die for…..

 

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It was a quiet, relaxing spot to end the day.

 

 

Alright already….

You people are so pushy.

 

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Chicken marsala with whipped potatoes for me. I passed the nasty orange slop to the husband who loves squash….

 

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A strange looking chicken cacciatore  for him, but he didn’t complain so that’s a plus.

 

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I wanted him to order the sundae, because who can resist bacon sprinkles? But no.

He did however ask me for my phone after he went into the men’s room.

I didn’t really like where that was going….. but he only came back with this:

 

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A funny poster about brewing beer that was over the urinal.

Bless his little heart, he likes to share.

 

 

 

Day 3 and we cross into New York.

 

The third day of the Berkshire vacation dawned dreary and wet, so we slept in and got a late start.

 

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We’d decided to drive over to New York State to tour Olana, a castle of the Hudson River Valley. The ride was wet and uneventful, full of the classic  “blurry, taken through the window, my husband was driving 85 mph”  photographs.

 

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Those are cows, in case you were wondering.

As we neared the destination I figured I would look it up on my phone and get a little background….. which I should have done before we left because apparently you have to book a tour in advance and they were full for the entire week we’d be in the area.

Damn.

I love me a good castle.

 

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It was a little drier in New York… and here’s a photo of a fence.

 

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Which would have been a photo of a glorious farm if the husband wasn’t Mario Andretti. I have scores of  that was supposed to be  “insert fabulous subject matter here”   photos.

You can always tell where I’ve been by the great photos I’ve missed.

 

 

 

 

So we drove aimlessly through gorgeous farm country and scenic mountain valleys. Shame you won’t see any of it here.

And before the food police hit their sirens….

 

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We stopped at a main street diner in some podunk town I don’t remember the name of and had lunch.

 

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Grilled chicken salad melt for me, hot turkey sandwich for the husband. Okay?

 

 

The town next to the podunk diner town happened to be Kinderhook,  (children’s corner in Dutch)  the home of the 8th President of the United States, Martin Van Buren… so we said why not? And took another tour.

We’re nothing if not boring.

 

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We got our tickets and it started to rain, naturally.

 

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So we sprinted soggily down the lane towards the house, Lindenwald.

 

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There’s the husband huddled on the porch waiting for the Park Ranger. Doesn’t he look thrilled?

 

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We were the first ones there and had to wait 20 minutes for the rest of the group to show up. How fun!

 

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Upon entry? Dark.

As a friggin’ tomb. They keep the shades drawn to block the sunlight that will fade the furniture and wall paper and won’t let you use a flash to take pictures. Yay!

 

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After much cajoling and since there was absolutely no sun, I managed a few brighter shots.

 

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The presence of the portable fan kind of killed the aesthetic, but at least I could see it.

 

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I can’t say I knew much about good ole Martin, or that I ever really wanted to…. but there was a lot of interesting American government history related by the ranger. Enough to know these good and simple men of yesteryear would be spinning in their graves at what’s going in Washington today.

 

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Even during his years in the White House, Van Buren listed his occupation as “farmer” on his taxes. That speaks volumes.

 

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The home wasn’t grand, and housed multiple generations of his children and grandchildren. This tower of stairs as seen from the second floor, lead to nowhere… but you know the grands probably loved racing up and down them daily.

 

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Since the house wasn’t large enough to accommodate a banquet hall, Martin ordered and stuck his long dining table right in the front hall for state suppers with dignitaries.

 

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An entry in his journal from later years spoke of a meal he had with Abraham Lincoln. Apparently he laughed so hard at the young Lincoln’s jokes, his ribs hurt the next day.

Nice to know Abe wasn’t always so somber.

 

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