Sunday, December 13, 2009

Sunday Salon - A Weekend in the Berkshires

This weekend my husband and I traveled to Stockbridge, Mass., for his family's annual retreat at the Red Lion Inn, a beautiful and historic hotel in the heart of the Berkshires. Not that I sound like ad copy or anything. Usually he and I go with his parents and two other couples, along with their children, for a weekend of family time, shopping and holiday tradition. This year it was just his parents and us, and that was fine. We still had a great time. The photo on the right is the candy castle in the main dining room of the inn; it sits at the very back, near a long table. It's been there for years.

The living room is also the entryway; there's a wonderful fireplace and lots of comfortable places to read, sit and relax; I used to bring little handcrafts to do during our visit, but this time I just brought a book to read, Peter Manseau's Songs for the Butcher's Daughter, which I'm enjoying very much.

Any time we didn't spend in the dining room or the living room we spent exploring the area's shops and scenic vistas.

I have a few favorite stores to visit- T.P. Saddlebank in Great Barrington, home to designer Tasha Polizzi's beautiful clothes, The Yellow Barn bookstore, also in Great Barrington, a wonderful used and rare bookshop, and Berkshire Books, in bucolic Sheffield, another used and rare bookstore. I also love Inspired Planet in Lenox, home to a truly unusual and varied mix of artifacts and artwork from all over the world- not to mention a very friendly and chatty shopkeeper who we enjoy visiting every year. I picked up a silver pendant from India that I had seen last year- I can't believe it was still there after a year! I think it was waiting for me. At Berkshire Books, we saw some great things- a gorgeously illustrated, very old version of Alice in Wonderland with incredible illustrations by Harry Rountree that reminded me of Hayao Miyazaki, and an old book of Irish folktales, and more.

I bought a little stash of Margaret Atwood stuff- a first edition of The Blind Assassin, a copy of The Journals of Susanna Moodie (a collection of poetry) and Rude Ramsay and the Roaring Radishes, a children's book of all things. I would have loved to buy the Alice book but I didn't have the necessary $350-plus-tax in cash. Probably just as well. Oh well! A pretty successful weekend, I'd say!

We've been decorating the house this afternoon and tonight we're headed to the Brattle Theater in Cambridge for their annual showing of "It's a Wonderful Life." I've been going every Christmastime since I was 17!

You can read more Sunday Salon here.