A trip to New England in the late 1990s had us escaping a rainy Boston day for the movies, where we had an epiphany while watching chick-flick masterpiece, Runaway Bride. Remember?
RB reunited Julia Roberts and Richard Gere (whose on-screen chemistry in Pretty Woman sparks so powerfully that we usually watch it wearing welder’s goggles), exchanging the broad-shouldered glam of late-80s LA for the rustic downhome-ness of Hale, Maryland. Maybe it was because we’d left the Berkshires behind the day before with a heavy heart, but I was less interested in indecisive spinster Maggie Carpenter’s relationship with vengeful non-fact-checking hack Ike Graham, than what life would be like if you could live in cool, bohemian Hale.
My trademark machismo crumbled, as I ached for Hale’s version of small town America through a mist of girly tears. Thankfully we were sitting in the dark. Hale combined the arty chutzpah of Great Barrington with the working mens’ swagger of Lee: I wanted to be there, and not just as a tourist. I wanted to josh with Maggie and the other townsfolk while buying a washer for an out-of-production tap. Cheer on the softball team. Greet my friends and neighbours on Main Street. Dye an uppity city slicker’s hair all the colours of the rainbow.
All this flooded back last weekend when I picked up a shade (not a washer) from a woman (not kooky Maggie) in the hardware store, ran into the landlord of my local bar, and bumped into regular Briarcliff guests from New York who are, themselves, joining the neighbourhood as they build a home in Beartown Forest (I won’t be dyeing their hair when they aren’t looking, though. They’re nice people.)
The point of this dreary ramble (there’s a point?) is that modern travellers would rather be locals, even if just for a day or two, than tourists. We’re that way, and if the last two years are anything to go by, many of you are too. What our guests really want to know is: where do we go when we have a night off? Where do we shop, swim, hike? They want the skinny on what locals do in their spare time, so that they, too, can be locals for a short time. So having spent two years giving guests our version of what makes the Berkshires cool, we’re going to write about it and put it online, to help you plan your trip or help you decide whether or not you’d like to explore this area.
Our new blog will be going live soon and you’ll be able to access posts from this page, Facebook and twitter. Stay tuned.