February 28 2021 Edition
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By the Way
It's a clear winter day, with the sun on the snow the way we haven’t seen it yet all winter, and it’s a holiday week, and not just because Lincoln turns 212 on Friday. What does a holiday about union mean in a pandemic, when so many people are isolated?

Sometimes February 14 is a reason for a cupcake and a good cup of coffee, and some kind of color in the cold. That’s one way to think about it — the kind of day it was when I was a kid, when chocolate showed up at breakfast, and once or twice tiny rose bushes in pots that we tried to keep alive through the winter. It was a little added silliness to brighten a cold morning.

I remember the first time I shared it with with someone else. We swung by the college snack bar, something we’d almost never done. I gave him hot cocoa and he gave me a 10 cent ring from one of those machines at the front of the grocery store. And we were laughing. We were high on it, on the day itself, just because we were there together.

So maybe Valentine’s day can mean something in the pandemic. Covid has taken away a lot of casual contacts, and yet it makes me aware of them. Time with family and friends becomes that much rarer. When I’m talking with someone in a story interview and the conversation opens up, and they let it move into raw, real places, even for a quick beat, that’s tangible, and I’m thankful. Human connection can mean a lot of things.

And if this is a holiday about love, maybe love can broaden out too. John Steinbach defines 'being in love' as having the world light up around someone. He defines it to explain how he feels about Montana.

If falling in love means being stirred and scared and drawn out, touched more than I understand, transported, then I've been in love with a tip off the Maine coast and a northern Connecticut farm nearly all my life. I've been in love with a hemlock tree, sitting in the top branches, and with a muddy ring full of horses, with Stone Hill full of fireflies, with playing live music in a hay barn, and — unmistakably — with writing a novel.

There’s an intensity in that feeling, and it can come up even in ordinary moments, like walking into a grocery store to hear a song playing over the speaker: kiss me in the rain. It reminded me how it feels to be swung up laughing and feel the water on someone's neck. The song ends, I won't even mind that I got wet. I don’t see it that way. Getting wet is the whole point. Getting soaked and sloshed and absorbed. And if Valentine's Day reminds me of that feeling, I'll toast to that, too. — By the Way Berkshires


In honor of Valentine's Day, and of all our restaurants forging ahead through the pandemic and the cold, here are tributes to two local places, and you can find more in the food secion on BTW. I've visited the Lost Lamb on a winter day not long ago, and though the Public memory here goes back before the pandemic, the spirit is the same.
Croissants wait on the counter in the sun at the Lost Lamb bakery and cafe in Stockbridge.

Parisian pastry comes to the mountains at the Lost Lamb

Pumpkin tarts and spicy chocolate mousse, clam chowder and crusty baguette — where does New England meet a French pâtissière? In Stockbridge, Claire Raposo runs the Lost Lamb bakery and cafe ...

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Light flickers on salmon and wine at Public Eat + Drink in North Adams.

Public Eat + Drink serves purple potato chips and humor

Macaroni and cheese in the middle of a menu with mussels and fennel sausage in a rich broth, and sticky toffee pudding? When the cold snap came, my friend Sandy suggested we go out to dinner ...

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Images Cinema presents 'Acasa, My Home' to screen virtually. Film still courtesy of Images.

Acasa, My Home: Images virtual film

Through February 11 (virtually)

Images Cinema presents the film 'Acasa, My Home' to screen at home, as a family in Romania is forced away from a close life on the land.

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A coffee grinder and copper tea pot invoke the lives of many people who worked behind the scenes at The Mount, Edith Wharton's historic house in Lenox.

At Edith's Table: Food in Wharton's work

February 11 at 4 p.m. (online)

Writer and food historian Carl Raymond will give a virtual talk on food and dining in Edith Wharton’s major fiction and memoir — At Edith's Table: Food and Dining in Wharton’s Life and Work.

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Jules Dalou, Bacchus and Ariadne, 1894, Marble. Acquired by the Clark, 1996. The Clark Art Institute, 1996.3.

Valentine's Day at Home

February 11 at noon

The Clark Art Institute invites the Berkshires to send some love and good cheer to friends, family, a special someone or yourself.

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Ventfort Hall sets the table for a celebration. Photo by Kevin Sprague, courtesy of Ventfort Hall

Literary Conversations on Love

February 13 at 4:30 p.m. (online)

For Valentine’s Day, award-winning audiobook narrator/producer Alison Larkin and Berkshire actor and playwright Anne Undeland will host Literary Conversations on Love: Austen, Bronte, Alcott.

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Daffodils anticipate the spring in the annual show of bulbs at the Berkshire Botanical Garden.

Galentine’s Day flower workshop

February 13 at 6 p.m. (online)

Berkshire Botanical Garden will offer a Galentine's Day flower workshop in a celebration of friendship among women, with Colie Collen, founder, farmer and designer at Flower Scout.

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Guitarist and singer / songwriter Steve Katz will perform a live virtual concert with Dewey Hall. Press photo courtesy of Dewey Hall

Steve Katz livestream concert

February 13 at 7 p.m. (online)

Guitarist, singer-songwriter and producer Steve Katz, best known for his work as a member of the Grammy Award-winning band Blood, Sweat & Tears, will perform in a free livestream with Dewey Hall.

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