Getting out into the warm days of fall color — #berkshireweekend

Walking across the grass carrying homemade bread, I looked for old friends in the people gathering around the barn. The sun was out and the afternoon still held some warmth. They had potluck tables set out and a fire going in the fire pit, and a pot of cider stat on the stones to keep hot.

A few days ago, in her monthly drop-in writing group, Berkshire novelist Lara Tupper asked us all to think of a fall day, and I looked back to the cider festival in Vermont where my old college contradance group would gather for the weekend and play for a barn dance.

People would pick apples and start up the old cider press in a hay barn now mostly used to store summer theater props. Leaning against the barn wall I played reels with an old friend who had brought her fiddle with her from Northampton.

That kind of gladness is what I remember — feeling comfortable among people I’d known for years and people I’d never met, sight-reading tangos, talking about travels and folk traditions, the inner workings of the eyes, constellations. Walking in the dark, a friend showed me how to find Delphinus, the dolphin, for the first time.

At night we would dance, and one of the two old friends who hosted us would call. He had taught himself in college, as the band had learned these old jigs and waltzes. Musicians would switch in and out, dancing to get warm, and once eight of us formed a set and played while we danced to the high fast swing of Calliope House, feeling the sound in our breath and our hands and our moving bodies all at once.

That feeling’s what I’m looking for this long weekend. In these warm days before the cold comes, we have harvest festivals and downtown gatherings. Artists blow glass and shape clay. People gather for conversation and music and celebration for Indigenous Peoples Day. It’s a good time for cider doughnuts. Caramel apples and hot cider.

Celebrating in harvest time

The long weekend brings celebrations of Indigenous Peoples Day in Great Barrington, along with the annual harvest festival at Berkshire Botanical Garden and bright fall color in the hills.

Photos from Indigenous Peoples Day by Ryan Nelling, and photo of pumpkin painting by Susan Geller.

Events coming up …

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

A microphone waits in golden light. Creative Commons courtesy photo.
Feb 28 2024 @ 7:00 pm
The Egremont Barn welcomes all comers to perform on the tavern stage for a night of acoustic music in a friendly space.
Skyler Gallun and Sky Marie hold hands laughing in Barrington Stage's 10x10 Festival of New Plays. Press photo courtesy of the theater
Feb 29 2024 @ 7:30 pm
Barrington Stage Company's annual 10x10 New Play Festival returns for its 13th Year as a compact cast of actors perform 10 short plays by 10 playwrights.
Skyler Gallun and Sky Marie hold hands laughing in Barrington Stage's 10x10 Festival of New Plays. Press photo courtesy of the theater
Mar 1 2024 @ 7:30 pm
Barrington Stage Company's annual 10x10 New Play Festival returns for its 13th Year as a compact cast of actors perform 10 short plays by 10 playwrights.

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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