By Ramona Flightner/ @ramonaflightner
A few weekends ago I traveled to the Berkshires to go to a concert at Tanglewood, the summer home of the Boston Symphony Orchestra. It is a magnificent place to listen to world-class music in a relaxed atmosphere. My aunt and I like to attend a concert a year, spending a weekend in the relaxing Berkshires. We eat a picnic on the gorgeous lawns before the concert and then we find our seats underneath the shed. We always get tickets under the shed as we have been rained on too many times to risk not being under cover! On the night I went with my aunt, we listened to Joshua Bell perform although I must admit the highlight for me was listening to Tchaikovsky’s 4th Symphony. Brilliant.
There are so many things to do in the Berkshires and each year we try to do something different. One year, we visited Edith Wharton’s residence, The Mount. (http://www.edithwharton.org). Another year, we visited the Norman Rockwell museum. (http://www.nrm.org). This year, we decided to travel to Adams, MA to visit the birthplace of Susan B. Anthony. (http://www.susanbanthonybirthplace.com). We are both very interested in the suffrage movement and it plays a part in my books.
We made the short journey to Adams, found the museum, and had a wonderful tour of the house. The museum opened a few years ago and is restored to the fashion of Susan B Anthony’s time. I have always loved sunflowers and they had sunflower motifs outside the house. I asked why sunflowers, and the guide told me that the sunflower was the chosen flower for the suffragettes.
Inside, I liked the room where they showed how the old wooden walls were made. They left one wall open before plastering had been placed on it with the lattice woodwork visible. When we touched the wall, we could feel the horsehair used in the mortar-like material.
The Anthony family ran a small mill in Adams and they housed the young girls who worked at the mill. This meant that Susan’s mother had to wash and cook for everyone. I found the kitchens fascinating and I couldn’t imagine having to cook for 18 people from that small space. There was also a room showing timeline of events in Susan’s life, and I enjoyed reading the wall, learning more about her. The giftshop/ bookstore had great items and I, of course, bought another book.
We then traveled to North Adams and visited a museum about the Hoosac Tunnel. It was the second longest tunnel in the world when completed in the mid 1880’s. The railway and subsequent trade brought many immigrants to the area and I had not realized that the town of Adams and North Adams had been so prosperous at the turn of the 20th century.
Finally, we journeyed to the Schantz Galleries in Stockbridge, MA, a gallery specializing in glass. I had seen a picture of a Chihuly in the Tanglewood program and we wanted to see his work.
When they had his exhibit at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston last year, I had been unable to visit. Thus, we visited the gallery and saw beautiful glass by many artists, including Chihuly.
Alas, they were all slightly out of my price range, but it was wonderful seeing this beautiful art. I love the Berkshires and if you are ever in the area, it is an area worth a visit. I hope you are all having great summers!