Three days to chase the end of summer – #berkshireweekend

A long weekend of quiet days … what should we do with some free time? I’m thinking I may explore the Taconics, take a long walk along the ridge or look for meadows where the wildflowers stand taller than my shoulders. Where are the natural open spaces where fringed gentians grow?

I could visit the Festival of Books in Spencertown to amble through 15,000 gently used books and listen to writers. Daphne Palasi Andreades will be there Saturday afternoon, talking about Brown Girls, her novel weaving stories of friends coming of age in Queens.

And Mayukh Sen will explore Taste Makers: Seven Immigrant Women Who Revolutionized Food in America — Chao Yang Buwei, the chef who introduced America to stir-fry, or Madeleine Kamman, the Paris-born chef who tangled with Julia Child …

Sunflowers bloom in the Shaker garden.
Photo by Kate Abbott

Sunflowers bloom in the Shaker garden.

BenGable Savories would supply me a picnic lunch if I order ahead (summer vegetable soup, farm-smoked ham sandwich with manchego, biscuits with strawberry jam, peach crisp and Stumptown coffee …) And if I stay into the twilight, at Performance Space 21. I can walk through an old orchard in the dark and untangle a spiderweb with street artist Juhyung Lee.

Or I could ramble through the Southern Berkshires, come back to Edith Wharton’s garden at the Mount (see above) and check out the Lenox Library book sale … and spend quiet hours with the summer shows at the Norman Rockwell Museum or Hancock Shaker Village. My summer interns came with me to both in August, and still I could go back.

I haven’t yet seen Kimsooja’s work with light and woven cloth in the Shaker sisters’ shop, or her community work in the Meetinghouse, intertwining strings. Where PS21 invites people to unweave a web, she is inviting them to weave one together … and remember the women who put their hands to work here in the kitchen and wash house and fields.

This weekend …

Rodin comes to the Clark Art Institute and Rose B. Simpson to Mass MoCA, and Mary Ann Unger’s abstract forms to the Williams College Museum of Art. Armando Cortes brings bright notes to the ceramics group show at Mass MoCA, as Tomm El-Saieh does at the Clark and Rudy Gutierrez at the Norman Rockwell Museum, and sculpture fills Edith Wharton’s gardens (above)…

Events coming up …

Find more art and performance, outdoors and food in the BTW events calendar.

Berkshire sculptor Robin Tost's Spirit Bear honors the relatives of the black bears who live in the Berkshires.
May 23 2024 @ 9:00 am
The annual celebration of local creativity returns with more than 100 hands-on or behind-the-scenes events and open studios across the region, from May 17 to 27.
Mass MoCA catches sunlight on a summer day.
May 23 2024 @ 11:00 am
Mass MoCA and the Williamstown Theatre Festival present The Plastic Bag Store, an immersive, multimedia experience by Brooklyn-based artist Robin Frohardt.
Plums gleam in purple and gold at a farmers market table.
May 23 2024 @ 3:00 pm
The West Stockbridge Farmers Market offers fresh produce — fruits and vegetables in season, eggs, meats and cheeses, breads and baked goods, fudge and jams and more.

By the Way Berkshires is a digital magazine exploring creative life and community — art and performance, food and the outdoors — and I’m writing it for you, with local voices, because I’ve gotten to know this rich part of the world as a writer and journalist, and I want to share it with you.

If you’d like to see the website grow, you can join me for a few dollars a month, enough for a cup of coffee and a cider doughnut. Members get access to extra stories and multimedia, itineraries a bookmark tool. Let me know what you're looking for, and we’ll explore together.

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