Looking for something to do on Friday night? You can sit on a blanket in a high meadow, sharing blueberries while you’re waiting for a new play to begin. You can dance to live bluegrass and African blues.

By the Way Berkshires has a free weekly newsletter with a roundup of events and new stories and places we are discovering. It comes out by the end of the day on Wednesdays, so you’ll see it in your inbox on Thursday mornings.

This is a rich place, even in deep winter. Even in a pandemic. I’ve lived here 20 years, and I find new places and people every day. Doors are open when you know where to look. Let me show you some of the ones that stand out to me.

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A hand holds out an open book in evening light.
Photo by by Ivan Radic

BTW Newsletters

If you’d like to see some of our newsletters, you can find them on the home page with our weekly stories, or take a look at the whole library in our newsletter archive … or check out a few below.

newsletter archive
Daffodils gleam in the sun at the annual Naumkeag tulip and daffodil festival.
Photo by Kate Abbott

How can women stand together now?

I am watching the rain and trying to understand how to write to you today. How can I talk with you about spring gardens and baby animals when the country is debating whether I and 166 million women should have the right to live full, strong lives — should have the right to live?

We are talking about the right to privacy. We are talking about all of us having places in our lives that belong to us. We are talking about women living in our own bodies, feeling wholly ourselves — feeling alive in our own minds, confident and charged — so that we can make lives that withstand hard times and then open to the sun, and we can welcome people in, our families, friends and communities.

May 4, 2022 How can women stand together now?
A two-tone trillium blooms on the Dome trail in Williamstown.
Photo by Kate Abbott

Have you ever held a newborn lamb?

It’s 40 degrees and raining, salamander weather, and I’d like to be slopping around in the glorious, raw New England spring. The trees are knobbled with leaf buds and catkins, and the azalea by my front door has opened its first petals in the raw weather.

Not long ago, Bill Mangiardi at Hancock Shaker Village handed me a new lamb. Her wool was dense and still tightly curled, and I held her like a puppy, tucking a hand under her small back feet.

April 27, 2022 Have you ever held a newborn lamb?
One of Veena Chandra's Sitar students performs outdoors on Mountain Day at Williams College. Press image courtesy of Williams College
Photo by Roman Iwasiwka

Live music converges from across the world

… How can I describe it for you — how the sitar can fill the hall, taut and tenor? Hidayat Kahn seems to sit listening and quiet and then shift a finger on a wide fret and send a current through the music.

And the tones, the intervals, the rhythms are all new to me. I don’t have the words for them yet. The music has its own language, and I’ve only begun to hear it. But I can feel it. When the melody instruments are pairing up, responding to each other, and then the drums pick up all at once and everyone comes in together — the energy lifts and crests, and the tabla shifts its tone as Nitin Mitta shifts the angle of his hands.

April 6, 2022 Live music converges from across the world