Tag Archives: massachusetts

Cross Country Skiing in the Berkshires

Cross Country Skiing in the Berkshiresvia

The first of [February] was covered with snow
So was the turnpike from Stockbridge to Boston
The Berkshires seemed dream-like on account of that frosting
With ten miles behind me and ten thousand more to go.

While some parts of the U.S. are blooming with flowers and sunshine-y afternoons allow *gasp* a pair of sandals, it’s still snowy here in Boston.

As we celebrated the vernal equinox last week, it’s technically spring. But today I’m going to talk about snow and my new hobby – cross country skiing. I should post on this topic before we (finally) catch up to the rest of you!

The last few years I’ve wanted to buy cross country skis. I have no winter hobby, and one can only watch so many movies when the world is covered in snow for months at a time. Cross country skiing was going to be that hobby.

Cross Country Skiing in the Berkshires
This year we finally did it! We waited until the end of the season and snatched up all our gear at L.L. Bean for 50% off. If you’re lucky they might still have a pair. Plus, you will get ski passes for local trails with your purchase. All in all, the cost for everything was less than a one-time downhill lift ticket for just one of us!

We purchased Classic Touring skis. Classics have “fish scale” texture on the bottom of the ski for gripping. Touring skis are best for beginners and for use on groomed trails, as opposed to skate skiing, which is a motion similar to ice skating. Touring skis are a bit wider, therefore steadier.

You will want to get fitted for your skis and poles, as there are several varying factors like weight and height.

Cross Country Skiing in the Berkshires

Our first foray into our new hobby drove us out to the beautiful Berkshires a few days after a snowstorm (hence the James Taylor quote above). I’ve been driving through the Berkshires for nearly ten years now, but this summer when we went to a James Taylor concert at Tanglewood, was the first time we actually visited. It’s a beautiful area.

Canterbury Farms

Canterbury Farms of Becket, MA was our snowy destination.

“With 22 Kilometers of groomed and tracked ski trails, you will ski alongside beautiful brooks, beaver ponds, stone walls, lakes, fields and mountains where nature abounds. Our trails meander through old wood stands which gives you the feel of being in the wilderness.”

Sounds lovely, huh? As the say, a picture says a thousand words:

Cross Country Skiing in the Berkshires

The trails were well-groomed and very pretty.

Trails were easily marked, and you are well warned of difficult hills ahead if you want to stick to flatter trails.

We saw a few other skiers, but most of the time it was just us. As evidenced by the strong sun, we went in the late afternoon.

Cross Country Skiing in the Berkshires

Don’t Own Skis?

If you don’t own skis, they have all the equipment available for a day rental.

Canterbury Farms also has an inn and kitchen. Eat something hearty – XC skiing burns lots of calories!

What to Wear

Don’t be fooled into dressing for downhill skiing. Cross country is a WORKOUT and you will warm up right away. I was happy in leggings under thin waterproof exercise pants (falling happens to every snow-bunny), a fleece, sunglasses and my trusty felt earwarmers. I didn’t even wear gloves I was so warm from the workout.

I also wore a small backpack that held an unneeded scarf, my camera and a bottle of water (we definitely needed that!).

For a Weekend in the Berkshires

Next year we plan to rent a small cabin and make a weekend of it.

In that case, I’d also like to spend my time in the Berkshires exploring some of the following:

I can truly say I’m a bit sad to see the snow go – I want to go skiing again!!

Have you ever tried cross country skiing? What’s your winter hobby?

Day Trip: Gloucester, MA

A few weekends ago I spent the weekend hanging out with a good friend, and we spent Saturday lollygagging around one of our favorite seaside towns – Gloucester (glaw-sstuh), Massachusetts.

Do people still use phrases like lollygagging? Is it just me? Mom, what have you done to my vocabulary!?

I’ve really missed living on the North Shore of Boston, so it was a pleasure to run rampant on our old stomping grounds.

I love Gloucester. It’s the no frills fishing town you’d expect it to be (a la The Perfect Storm).

It was supposed to snow, but fortunately it was mostly just a “wintry mix”… don’t you hate that weather prediction? What in the world is a “wintry mix”?

For breakfast you need to hit up my favorite – Sugar Magnolias. If you’re craving sweet, get the Carrot Cake pancakes. It’s you want savory, get the Irish Bene. (Oh boy, I’m drooling just thinking about it.) And if the line’s too long, walk around the corner to The Two Sisters. Smaller place, but equally satisfying.


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Make your way down Main Street and pop in three of my favorite stores:

Dogtown Books – where you might be able to find a vintage hardcover of your favorite childhood chapter book or the new best-seller that’s on your list of things to read.

My favorite store – no really, I don’t even know what the name of this store is because I just refer to it as “my favorite store”. … after a brief stint in Google, I’ve determined the store’s name is Main Street Arts & Antiques. Even though this store isn’t that large, I could sift through it for the whole afternoon.

On this particular weekend, my friend and I satisfied ourselves with the boxes and boxes of vintage postcards. Oh my stars, postcards were so much more clever/pretty back in the day! This store is full of treasures and I usually don’t walk out empty handed. On this particular day I came home with a handful of vintage postcards now hanging in my office.

Lastly, if you love vintage clothing and accessories you have to hit Bananas. You can’t miss it, as there is a giant yellow banana hanging outside the establishment. If you’re looking for suede fringe hippie pants, an I-am-16-going-on-17 Sound of Music dress or a Jackie O. pillbox hat, Bananas is your place. And don’t get my started on the jewelry cases. If you’re looking for vintage jewelry, this is your mecca.

Before we left, we made to stop by the Lone Gull coffeehouse for some joe and sandwiches. I had the BLT and it was quite tasty. (They make it with ranch dressing, strange, huh?). And the apricot pastry was a unique sweet to wrap up the meal.


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If you have some more time:

Glazed Pottery Studio is the perfect way to spend a relaxing evening with girlfriends.

And driving over to Annisquam is a visual delight.

And if you’re there in August – make sure to be there for St. Peter Fiesta and the Greasy Pole if you want to see Gloucester at it’s finest!

You can’t make this stuff up. via

(And by finest, I mean the Gloucester men sloshing around in costumes trying to grab a flag at the end of a greased-up and lard-covered log that is suspended 30 feet over the Atlantic Ocean! It’s a must-see. Just trust me.)

And don’t forget to say hello to this guy and while taking a walk through Stage Fort Park.

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Thanks for a wicked awesome Saturday, Gloucester. I miss you.

Weekend Trip: Rockport

One of our favorite places to spend a Saturday is in Bear Skin Neck in Rockport, MA. One of our first dates was in Rockport. We went to My Place by the Sea for lunch. That was my first big trip of many to Rockport!

1. My Place by the Sea (www.myplacebythesea.com) The food is fantastic and the ambiance is worth the drive. Also, Moose claims it’s the best clam chowder he’s had in New England. I am a sucker for Woodman’s, but MPBTS is definitely in my top three.

2. The Fishing Shack
This is the most photographed place in New England. It’s fun to walk around and look at the buoys. You can see if from nearly everyplace in Bear Skin Neck.

There are lots of cute shops for window shopping and dawdling. There are also lots of artisans – metalworkers, glassblowers and painters who open up their studios and galleries.

Be sure to stop at:

3. Lulu’s Pantry – the most amazing kitchen utensils, tools, items and unique, organic food delicacies.

4. Helmut’s Strudel! True story: one time we bought one, and Moose ate the whole thing before I could even get to it. Yum!

5. Also stop in the Olde Town Trading Post. They have an old-time self-playing band. It’s only a quarter and so fun!

The movie “The Proposal” was filmed in Rockport – which was set to be portrayed as Sitka Alaska.

Can you tell the mountains were put in digitally? Hah!! Isn’t that funny!

They just put up some new signs and added hunting/furs around town (because those = Alaska?) and Sitka it became!

Don’t forget to visit Bear Skin Neck the next time you’re on the North Shore of Boston. : )

Weekend Trip: Nantucket

 

To celebrate one month of marital bliss, Moose and I took a weekend trip to Nantucket. We grabbed our Sperry’s and hopped on the ferry over to Nantucket Island.

We stayed at the Jared Coffin House which is right in the village.

Must See Spots on Nantucket:

  • Murray’s Toggery Shop – This old school store is home of the famous Nantucket Reds.
  • The village of Sconset – This tiny village is our favorite spot on the island. A long morning walk among the tiny vine covered cottages is one of the most restful things on the planet!! Be sure to notice all the adorable signs with the cottage names.

  • Sankaty Head Lighthouse – Look to your right and you can see Spain! (Okay, maybe not. But it’s there.) The lighthouse was built in 1850 and is still functioning.
  • Nantucket Ice Cream Shop – While I was disappointed they discontinued my favorite flavor of Snickerdoodle, the Toll House cookie sandwich was an A+.
  • The Brotherhood of Thieves – You must eat here! We went on Saturday night with friends… and we went again on Sunday for lunch – yes, it was that good. Get the calamari. Yumm, I’m about to swim over just thinking about it.

 

We rented a motor scooter for the weekend from Nantucket Bike Shop, since most people don’t bring their cars over to the island. Since the island is only 30 miles wide, it was an excellent source of transportation!