February 28 2021 Edition
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By the Way
The first weekend in December — winterberry are deep red along the road. The long row of them in front of Windy Hill Farm is enough to turn my head when I drive by. Tree farms are opening, and plant nurseries are weaving wreathes. I took a short trip this afternoon to talk with Oskar Hallig, and he said these days, just getting out to a shop can feel like a vacation.

I know what he meant. Oskar runs Only in My Dreams Events with his husband, Michael Zippel, and these days they're creating the feeling of a party in a surprise package — keep an eye on BTW for a story about their holiday plans. Their shop in South Egremont is full of humor and local flavors, and driving along back roads to see it ... felt almost like a snow day.

We were careful, masked and well apart, and most of the time I was the only person there. Looking into the Berkshire Co-op and Matrushka afterward, I was thinking about how instinctive this care has become and how much I appreciate the courtesy and common sense in it. I walked up Main Street looking at the lights in the shop windows.

Many local places have web shops now, and I can browse them at home. We are all trying to adapt. This weekend is traditionally the time of holiday walks and downtown celebrations across the county — Williamstown, Stockbridge, Lenox — and they are taking new steps this year, moving outdoors, blending in virtual elements. You may find popup shops and online artisan markets.

And the feeling of a holiday? Maybe we can find that too, like an old song on the radio or an unexpected phone call that makes you laugh, or a sense memory. I remember how it feels to lie in the snow and lift my arms for an impression of wings, but I can't remember when I last tried it.

If we want to put into a box the feeling of coming into a kitchen where someone has made fresh coffee, the feeling of frost and wood smoke and someone handing over a hot mug to cup in cold hands, the feeling when you know school or work is called off and you have an unepected day free ... we have places to start. I'll be looking for them. By the Way Berkshires


Park Square at the winter holidays. Photo by Shaun Muldowney, courtesy of Downtown Pittsfield Inc.

Holidays 2020: Celebrating in the Berkshires

In holiday season in a pandemic, the Berkshires is alive with light shows, local makers online, outdoor performances and festivals of trees. We'll be collecting them here.

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Ventfort Hall hangs stockings by the chimney. Photo by Susan Geller

A Christmas Carol with Gerald Charles Dickens

Through December 31

Ventfort Hall will present the great-great grandson of Charles Dickens reading the classic story virtually. The mansion is also decorated for holiday tours in person.

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Holiday Marketplace (virtual)

December 3 to 5

Berkshire Botanical Garden continues an annual tradition online with a virtual Holiday Marketplace and the garden's Gallery of Wreaths.

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IS183 will open a popup holiday artisan market with works like Ben Evans' sky blue mugs and Amy DiLalla's white howlite earrings.

IS183 holiday artisan popup shop (online)

December 4 to 11

IS183 Art School is hosting its first ever Annual Virtual Pop-up Holiday shop from December 4 to 11, with local artists in photography and ceramics, metalwork and fiber art and more.

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Ventfort Hall houses the Museum of the Gilded Age in Lenox.

Lenox Winterland celebrates outdoors

Opening December 4

Lenox Winterland will celebrate the season with the First Annual Holiday Tree Walk, 30 lit trees in town decorated by artists, a virtual tree lighting, a festive popup with food and cheer at the Gateways Inn and more.

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Mass MoCA presents Hamilton's Daveed Diggs in his band Clipping, streaming in the galleries after hours.

Hamilton's Daveed Diggs (digitally) at Mass MoCA

December 5 from 7 to 9 p.m.

Following their explosive midnight set during Solid Sound 2019, Clipping — Hamilton's Daveed Diggs, William Hutson, and Jonathan Snipes — will return to Mass MoCA (in spirit) for a night of music in the galleries.

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A candle burns in a candle holder with religious sign on a grave.

What if Scrooge were a woman?

December 6 at 3 p.m. (online)

Join the Stockbridge Library to find out, as actor Alison Larkin narrates her adaptation of A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens.

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