Field trips in an unexpected world #this weekend

The tadpoles are coming up for air. From the edge of the pond, we can see the bubbles when they touch the surface. Early this morning the beaver were swimming close along the eastern shore. It’s late morning now, with a rare breeze, and a young eagle is riding the thermals, high up.

No, wait — two — they’re large raptors, wings spread and glinting when they turn. We’re wondering whether the tips of their wing feathers are really lighter, or maybe the sunlight’s catching them as they swing around.

One dives batting at the other, and then there are three, five, six … chasing each other and circling so high none of us can tell whether any of the newcomers are turkey vultures. We’re staring up at the aerial show, and none of us, in three generations of cousins, have ever seen anything like it before.

I’m glad we have this time now. This is the living season. It’s the season for field trips and picnics and cold tea with a kick of ginger. Sweet corn is back in the farm stands. The crickets are out, and the air is full of voices.

A few days later, on an afternoon wandering in the Southern end of the county, Ben and Scarlet, my summer interns, brought me to a roadside place I’d never seen before.

The Bistro Box looks at first like the kind of casual summer popup where my chosen grandmother used to take me for fried clam rolls, the kind of place my grandfather would glory in finding on the Maine docks. It’s a takeout window under white pines that look tall enough to have grown for a hundred years, with picncic tables and a box full of frisbees and a smell like a campfire grill.

But the chalk menu involves peach ice cream from Maple Valley Farm, blueberry lemonade with the berries visible in the cup, and truffle fries with parmesan cheese. My hamburger came with a homemade bun and a tang of salt, and Scarlet’s and Ben’s with tomato bacon jam.

And we sat in the shade, mulling over the summer art at the Norman Rockwell Museum, and sharing fries with a grin, until clouds blew in for a few minutes in a dramatic skyscape of light and shadow, and a quick summer shower sent us up to downtown Great Barrington to take shelter in the Yellow House bookstore and talk over their graphic novels …

This weekend …

Berkshire Mountain Bakery in Housatonic offers fresh sourdough bread and pastries along the Housatonic River, above, and the Bistro Box in Great Barrington serves homemade roadside fare under the white pine trees.

Events coming up …

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

The Bear and Bee Bookshop brings science fiction and fantasy and more to North Adams.
Feb 8 2023 @ 8:00 am
The Bear and Bee bookshop invites LGBTQ+ folk an informal evening of conversation and quiet activities in a warm community place, every second Wednesday of the month.
Notchview in Windsor grooms miles of trails for cross-country skiing and snowshoeing.
Feb 8 2023 @ 8:30 am
Now that snow is falling, the cross-country ski and snowshoe trails are open at Notchview, up on the ridge in Windsor.
Filed pasta. Courtesy photo by Stu Spivak.
Feb 8 2023 @ 4:00 pm
BBG educator Rachel Durgin will lead a winter cooking class, where kids will learn to read recipes, gain skills and have fun in the kitchen.

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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