Southern Berkshires

Thompson Chapel at Williams College shines a warm light on a snowy night. Photo by Kate Abbott

Berkshire holiday music warms midwinter BTW

Winds in the reeds lift a clear tone in longing for home — a heartbeat Last year, on a snowy day, we heard a solo harp. Students sang a medieval carol and a modern one by Richard Wilbur, our former poet Laureate and former Berkshire voice in the hills, and Rick Spaulding talked gently, sadly,…

Fresh snow piles and hemlock trees on a December morning at The Boulders in Dalton. Photo by Thom Smith

The friendly hemlock — East coast evergreen

Berkshire Naturalist Thom Smith finds color in the winter woods. Never confuse this evergreen with a Christmas Tree — regardless of the name, it will be a happier tree outside than inside, as its needles fall upon drying out. It’s a common tree in cool woods with moist soil throughout New England, and north well into Canada,…

Three in One Afternoon — BNRC Lenox hikes

Berkshire Naturalist Thom Smith takes a fall walk in the hills over Lenox. Since 1967 Berkshire Natural Resource Council (BNCR) has worked alongside many Berkshire landowners to open land to everyone and keep it natural through preservation. As the lands they protect continue to grow, it is sometimes hard to become familiar with all of…

Ecophilia in the winter garden

Flat stepping stones hang in the air. A small boy sits in the shadow of vast objects above him. The image looks impossible, out of scale, and out of gravity. And then the perspective shifts into place, and the image is a reflection — the stones sit at the edge of the lake, and the…

BTW Harvest festivals and artists fill the hills

Last time I saw the fairgrounds, two glass-blowers were shaping a pumpkin on a metal rod and pulling the molten glass like taffy to give it a stem. A fiber artist brought panels as large as oil paintings in silken thread, and my parents found a table of wooden books — boxes carved like grimoires…

Kinetic sculpture at Chesterwood

George Rickey’s metal forms caught the light and shifted in the wind. By that summer, he had shown them worldwide from Osaka to Berlin. In 1978, Maxwell Davidson met George Rickey for the first time at Rickey’s studio in East Chatham, N.Y. Davidson had opened his New York gallery 10 years before, and that summer, Rickey…

Outdoor sculpture in leaf season

Berkshire naturalist Thom Smith strolls through the Mount’s grounds and gardens. As the summer season wanes, outdoor sculpture in leaf season takes on a new light, and The Mount in Lenox continues to draw people in even before they reach the mansion. Take a relaxing stroll along one of the Berkshires’ loveliest of driveways toward what…

Abstract and landscape gleam at Good Purpose

Surfaces shimmer like water at sunrise. The paintings are layered in color, in oils and Venetian plaster or encaustic pigments in hot beeswax. Patricia Hogan and Marcelene I. Mosca share their work, abstraction spilling into landscape, cityscape and motion, in Two Perspectives, a new exhibit at the Good Purpose Gallery of CIP (the College Internship Program),…

Ashintully — Serenity on the Brow of the Hill

Four standing Doric columns are holding up the sky. They mark the site of Ashintully, the last remains of a Georgian-style mansion lost to fire in 1952. The columns guarded the entrance to a 35-room turn-of-the-20th-century “Berkshire Cottage.” Now the serenity of the view of brilliant white columns along the shore of a flower dotted…