Hot coffee and the swish of leaves — #Berkshireweekend

Where the Hoosic River and the Green River meet, the late maples are gold and sifting down along the bank. You can walk through them ankle deep and stir up the swish and the mild sweet mushroom scent.

Today feels like a good day to walk a path you can’t see from the road. This last week, I’ve been coming back to the kinds of places you get to know by living here. A week ago I spent a quiet morning talking with Dede Weber, the baker from Bohemian Nouveaux in North Adams, and watching her transform the shop that held Neville’s Doughnuts for 50 years. (You’ll see that story live in the next few days.)

I remember them. In the early 2000s, Neville’s still used to run on mill time — 4 to 8 a.m., between what used to be the late morning and early evening shifts. On Tuesdays they would stay open later, and when I was a cub reporter at the old Berkshire Advocate, I’d stop in before layout shifts in the newsroom and bring in half a dozen, freshly made, with chocolate glaze.

So it’s joyful to see her transforming a well-loved place with local ingenuity and many local hands — just as it is to sit over coffee on a sunny morning and talk with Tara Franklin, after all the years we’ve talked about her acting roles, about her home bakery, Sweet Sam Bakes, and her new co-leadership of Chester Theatre …

And as it is to hang out at the Bear and Bee talking with writers, and to walk through the Old Stone Mill with Leni Fried and Michael Augspurger as they make their own printing presses and unicycles …

Pleasures in local places

It’s a week for local exporations and byways. The late maples drop deep yellow leaves along the Hoosic River in Williamstown, and the Old Stone Mill becomes a Makerspace in North Adams …

Events coming up …

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

A boy and a lamb walk by the pasture at Hancock Shaker Village.
Apr 17 2024 @ 11:00 am
Hancock Shaker Village welcomes visitors to meet their newest farm babies – lambs, piglets, calves, chicks and kid goats, and enjoy events and activities throughout the Village.
Wildflowers bloom on Stone Hill with the Clark Art Institute in the distance. Press photo courtesy of the museum
Apr 17 2024 @ 1:00 pm
Celebrate spring and Earth Day at the Clark with an art-making activity that incorporates indigenous pollinator seeds that you can take home and plant.
A local exhibit of poems celebrate the Hoosic River on the suspension bridge at Tourists Welcome in North Adams.
Apr 17 2024 @ 6:00 pm
The Hoosic River Watershed Association invites everyone in the communities along the river to celebrate the waterway and write haiku inspired by the river and its surroundings.

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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