Sunday, December 13, 2015

Sunday Salon: Holiday Shopping and Family Time

Well Christmas is officially under way in our family with the coming of Red Lion Weekend, that annual time when members of my husband's family gather in the Berkshires of Massachusetts for a few days of food, shopping and conviviality.

Simon the Cat, Chief Greeter at the Red Lion Inn
Every year is both the same and different; meals together, days on our own going around shopping and sightseeing but let's face it, mostly shopping. I visited several bookstores, including The Bookloft and Yellow House Books in Great Barrington, Shaker Mills Books in West Stockbridge, Rodgers Book Barn of Hillsdale, New York, just over the border,  and The Bookstore in Lenox. The Bookloft and the The Bookstore sell new books; Shaker Mills, Rodgers Book Barn and Yellow House sell used and collectible/antiquarian books. All of them are fun in different ways. You can spend hours at the Book Barn, browsing everything from used recent releases to travel ephemera to things you never knew existed. It's probably my favorite of the used stores. The new-book stores are similar in having wonderfully broad selections and friendly, helpful booksellers. The big thing in the Berkshires this year was the mild weather; barely a drop of snow on the ground and we were all walking around without our coats.

As for other kinds of shopping, my favorite places are T.P. Saddlebank for clothes and Inspired Planet for gifts of all kinds. T.P. Saddlebank in Great Barrington is the flagship store of designer Tasha Polizzi, who designs gorgeous Western-inspired designs in colorful and whimsical wools and leathers. Think Ralph Lauren on the wild side. I love her stuff. Inspired Planet of Lenox is a store stocking sacred objects, jewelry, art and all kinds of global crafts and cultural items. Dudley, the owner and salesman, has a story for everything in his store and creates a warm and welcoming atmosphere that will keep you coming back again and again. Items range from $1.00 on up and there will be some wonderful things for you and for the people in your life.

A bald eagle just outside Lee, MA. They're making a comeback!
But the heart of the weekend is mealtimes spent with family and friends. My husband's family has been doing this trip every December for over 30 years now and this year they welcomed some new friends, as they do from time to time. It was a truly memorable weekend and the best way to kick off the holiday season in earnest.

And I did some reading in between it all, too! Now I'm happy to be back home and looking forward to a busy week.


Laura @ The Shabby Rabbit said...

what an amazing tradition!! :) It's a thing to cherish. Sounds like great shopping too!

Eagles are definitely making a comeback to the point where I almost hit one yesterday. It was on the road eating some roadkill and barely lifted off in time. I looked out my window right into his angry looking eye!! They are BIG!!

The Intrepid Angeleno said...

Since I come from a very small family, that sounds like a really cool family tradition!! Thanks for sharing!

Bryan G. Robinson said...

When I saw the picture of the eagle, I think it was on Instagram (?), I was wondering how that got into NYC. At least, now I've resolved that mystery. :)