I live in a very interesting area of upstate NY - right on the border of Massachusetts/Berkshires, and not far from Vermont. This, quite frankly, is its saving grace. While you can still reach The City in about two and a half hours, you don't have to drive all that far to find some top-notch museums, music, arts, theater and almost any other branch off the cultural tree you can think of. I happen to be a fan of local theater, although sometimes it can make you squirm. Especially the musicals - think nails on a chalkboard.
As marvelous as all the kul-cha is around here, it is the natural beauty of the various mountain ranges (you folks out west would refer to them as 'hills'), forests, lakes, rivers, parks, and wildlife that surround me that really makes me love it. It is beautiful here - even when it's 9 degrees. Not AS beautiful, but beautiful nonetheless.
So it is extra wonderful when you can combine the two:
|Sylvie in front of the Clark Museum's back entrance.|
|Looking from the back entrance towards the hiking trails.|
|Lovely Winter landscape.|
The Clark Art Museum is located in Williamstown, MA. It is a gem. During the winter, admission is free and they have wonderful programs throughout the spring, summer and fall that mix art, music and families. They recently created two hiking trails throughout their extensive property and Sylvie and I took the one with steps. It was a good workout, the views were wonderful and it was fun to have someone non-furry to hike with :).
Living in this area, you are liable to run into all kinds of people. A case in point: Sunday morning, we went to the local firehouse breakfast to surprise a couple of mutual friends. You do NOT go to the breakfast for the food. When asked if there was whole wheat toast, our 'server' answered, "There is whole WHITE toast." However, the people watching is great fun. A lone fellow, Sunday paper in hand, came in towards the end of our stay, and sat at the far end of our table. He had a grey complexion, grey hair and beard (both scraggly), a knit cap clamped on his head, and many layers of what looked like thermal undies, topped with fleece. Sylvie noticed he was reading the Sunday NYT, so asked if she could read the headlines on the sections he had read and put aside. That simple question launched him into a 20 minute monologue about his son at RPI (and the amount of the tuition - hefty), his wife who has a highly paid job at Columbia (they live in The City and have a weekend home here), his four-year-old daughter (he has three kids, each 14 years apart), his retirement (the amount he gets every month PLUS the additional LARGE amount he gets for having a minor), ad nauseum. We finally had to start putting on our jackets and edging away - before we became snarky.
We had a lovely lunch at a Thai restaurant, where I discovered an Indian restaurant had moved in next to it -- I L.O.V.E. Indian food! I will have to go, even if it means creating great angst in my heart because I can't eat the naan.
With all this good food, good kul-cha and boon companionship, it's no wonder I am still giddy!