the new berkshire list, and blue q, too


(In the interest of full disclosure- this is not a sponsored post. But I have an affiliate relationship with Blue Q because I love them that much. So yes, your purchase supports this site. Thank you!)

This is the moment when I get a lot of questions about Great Barrington and the Berkshires. Our population explodes over July and August, and there are a million different things I could tell you to do, places where I’d insist you should go. My list tends to be a little more low-income and low-key than the average Berkshire list, but it’s filled with food and culture anyway. For anyone who’s looking for one, here it is–my top Berkshire five right now:

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catching at the opportunity


Perhaps we just need to relax our ambitions a bit.

Sometimes, I feel a little envious of those who live in the city. In the city, no one is on vacation. They sweat it out on the blacktop walking to work in the exaggerated heat, escaping into tall, air-conditioned office buildings. They work all week or all July or all whatever period they can make it  and then maybe, if they’re lucky, they escape to water or woods for time away. At least, that’s how I think of it. Continue reading

The horse feathers


Summer! We’re here! Yahooooooo!

The first day, Sadie spend the entire rainy day in bed reading the The Fault in our Stars from start to finish (now I’m reading it, so we can have a movie date), and Rosie was just bored, bored, bored. She’s been perfecting her handstands in the backyard, and they are getting good. A few days later, Joey and the girls went to pick strawberries, and the groundhog has returned to the garden and STILL refuses to eat the weeds. Let the summer begin!

I just finished the first draft of my book, and I feel like I’m on another planet. I spent an entire week at my desk in my pajamas fueled by whatever Joey brought to me on a plate and a daily 4:00 cocktail (or two). The unofficial cocktail of our summer seems to be the horse feathers, a drink introduced to Joey by our friend Caroline. They’re especially good with my new batch of rhubarb bitters, made with the help of Kate Payne’s great new book, The Hip Girls Guide to the KitchenWe’ve been drinking so many of them that I went through an entire batch of bitters. I’d better get another one going.  Continue reading

first of the month: busy busy


I’m a week away from a deadline. It’s not THE deadline, but it’s a big one nonetheless- big enough to have me up when it’s dark and still writing when it gets dark again. At the heart of this, I love what I’m doing, but still, part of me looks out the window at the world and the garden and the birds and I just imagine everyone having so much fun out there. Sometimes it feels like everyone I know is sitting out on my back porch, drinking my favorite beer while I type away the day.

And that’s where I start telling my own story, and I’m starting to think it has more room for improvisation than I thought. Continue reading

how to cook broccoli raab


We’re a few weeks into our farmers’ market season here in the Berkshires. We’re in a new location this year, which is a huge deal because the market had packed into the parking lot of the old train station behind town hall for almost 3 decades. This year, we’re at the Great Barrington Fairground, a place which both as a cause and a location is very close to my heart. The fairgrounds housed an actual fair through my whole childhood, and every September, I remember going to see the apple pies and the gargantuan pumpkins and my favorite, the demolition derby. In 1995, a tornado hit our town, taking out buildings here and there wherever it felt like it. The tornado ripped through the fairgrounds, and although there was some rebuilding after that, the property ended up getting stuck in the hands of people from far away who didn’t care about it. Finally last year, friends of mine got the money and energy together to buy it and in the hopes of returning it to the community. I couldn’t be happier, and I love being there at the market with the mountain behind me, standing in the place which for so long now has been empty save for teenagers looking for hidden places. The ground itself seems to be glad to have us. Continue reading