The Berkshires


May 2014

We summited both the top of Massachusetts and the top of Connecticut on this trip.  Both tops are in the Berkshires.

What do I know about the Berkshires?  Certainly it is a pretty area.  I’m told that the Berkshires and the nearby Green Mountains are the result of a collision between Africa and North America, some 500 000 002 years ago, give or take twenty minutes.  This collision pushed up the Appalachian Mountains and formed the bedrock of the Berkshires.  Erosion over all the years wore down the mountains to the more bite size physique they are today.

I’ve always had the impression that you need to possess a fair amount of money to live in the Berkshires.  I can’t say that impression is true, but…  Residents live in neighborhoods called Chase and Manor and Glen.

Cupolas abound.  They are on columns, churches, houses and even the fence posts.  The Cupola is the name of the school newspaper at the Salisbury School, a private, all-boys college-prep boarding school situated on a hill beyond a lawn the size of some small European countries.  Tuition and fees run up to $60 000 per school year.  This is a high school.  Like I said, I’ve always had this impression…

Houses are surrounded by enormous fields of short-trimmed grass, as if everyone gets their own fairway.  Riga Meadows is a large equestrian center here.  Public libraries have sprouted up everywhere.  If you live here, your diction, no doubt, is precise.

There are many digits in the price of homes on this peculiarly named street.

Tourism proliferates in the Berkshires, with numerous camps, hiking trails, covered bridges, waterfalls, bed and breakfasts and water sports.  Visual and performing arts, museums, libraries and considerably expensive restaurants.

In fact, when we ask about dining choices in the area, we are cautioned that, “Dinners are expensive around here.  You’ll spend fifty to sixty dollars for an entree.  You’ll be paying New York prices.”

The Berkshires are responsible for the word summer to be used as a verb, as in, “I plan to summer in the Berkshires.”

Connecticut has the third highest median household income of all the states.  Yeah, there is money here.

We do not seek to pay “New York prices” for dinner, or for anything for that matter;  we are pleased with less expensive diversions.  One evening before sunset, we are treated to this interspecies dance in the parking lot of our inn.  This is our idea of a good time.

We lodge at the Inn at Iron Masters, so named for this area’s rich heritage based on iron making.  (Our inn is essentially a motel, but in the Berkshires, you call it an inn and you up the price by a factor of three.)

I used to work with a guy who lived in Ligonier, about an hour east of my home town.  Ligonier is the local equivalent of the Berkshires.  I remember the time when he mentioned that he would be running his dogs over the weekend.  “Oh,” I asked.  “How many dogs do you have?”

“Twenty-eight,” he said.

“I’m sorry.  Twenty-eight?”

“Yeah.  They’re beagles.  I belong to a hunt club and this is my weekend to take the dogs out, get ‘em some exercise.”

I imagine many dogs in the Berkshires run in this fashion.

Notice the whale at the top?  This is Herman Melville country.
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