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> Annals > 2007 > Massachusetts
by ZweiBieren July: Massachusetts Yachtsman taking his vessel out for a spin

After a week of wishing, wheedling, and waiting lists, RCI finally booked us into the Oak 'n Spruce resort in South Lee, Massachusetts. We rejected the last week of July; good thing too, because Lindsay came that week! We wanted an ocean or lake, but RCI had no such resort in the entire eastern half of the United States.

We were fortunate to be able to combine the trip with a visit to Sarah, whom we had met on our trip to South America. She lives in Rockport overlooking the Atlantic.

  East: Delaware Water Gap, Rockport, Gloucster
  West: Monterey, Tanglewood, Naumkaeg, The Mount
  Flowers (since I learned how to take close-ups)
  Other, lesser pictures

Thursday, July 12, 2007

We drove without incident to Milford, PA where we overnighted at the Laurel Villa Country Inn. They do have a view of the Delaware River. But only if you cross the road and peek down between the right pair of trees. The place is over a hundred years old, but still going strong under modern ownership. We enjoyed our stay immensely.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Despite it being Friday the 13th, we had a glorious drive to Rockport Mass, up through Connecticut. We arrived late afternoon. Sarah slaked our thrists in her beautiful ocean-view garden and then we visited downtown Rockport. Smack in the middle of the harbor is the fishing shack the artists call "Motif #1." Everyone in class paints it first. (Although, he said, cocking an eyebrow, it seems to be in need of a coat of paint.) Nearby is Bearskin Neck, a tourist dollar extraction extravaganza consisting of multiple small shops.

Saturday, July 14

We started our morning at Halibut Point State Park*--the home of the old Babson quarry. Tthe old quarry tower seemed so picturesque that I decided to call it Motif #2. After that, Sarah had a small errand at Cynthia Curtiss Pottery and we dropped by the nearby paper house. (I recommend the interview about the paper house.)   The paper house is made from old newspapers tightly rolled and stocked with furniture of the same construction. For an amazing, delicate site, the entry fee was surprisingly modest. (The interview says $$1.50, but there were no signs or collectors.) I did leave payment for one of their brochures and then donated same back to them. At the pottery we met an artist who constructs nothing. Her job is to take a bowl the proprieter has crafted and embellish it by carving bits away. Apparently they are quite successful at getting exposure and sales.

In the afternoon, we returned to Bearskin Neck for a sail on the Appledore III. Complete with cannon firing. A pleasant afternoon. Sadly the haze was just enough to render most of my shots dingy. (I got a dingy dinghy.) For dinner we went to the Greenery. Great food and great view. At one point, Sarah insisted I get up and shoot the harbor for its color. She was right.

*Thanks to Your RV Lifestyle for a hint that this link was failing.

Sunday, July 15

From Rockport to Berkshires. Our first stop was to visit Glouchester, which I had imagined was South of Boston. It is not. We tried to lunch at the original Crow's Nest, the bar featured in "The Perfect Storm." However, it was and remains simply a local bar and its smoky interior dissuaded us. We went along to the small fish house next door. But it has closed and moved across the street to an enormous building. A wedding palace like that for Kara's wedding. We had a pleasant lunch which I topped off by trying to get pictures of the gulls flying over. No such luck.

Finally arrived at Oak 'n Spruce late afternoon (pictures). Checkin line fairly long, but not terrible. We ransacked Price Chopper for provisions and S made a great supper.

Monday, July 16

The staff of Oak 'n Spruce started right in Monday morning on those of us who had booked through RCI. We were invited to coffee and donuts. Each table had a sheet with the digit "5" printed large all over. Then the "concierge" harrangued us about how they had to get "fives." I was unclear whether they were bullying us or pusillanimously pleading. What they wanted was good evaluations from us in our reports to RCI. I suspected that they had had some difficulty. Mostly, however, the resort was fine. Well fitted out rooms, but no jacuzzi.

Afternoon. Visit Naumkaeg, the summer cottage of Joseph Hodges Choate and his family and his servants. "Cottage" is not quite accurate since it has over fifteen rooms on two floors. The kitchen is in the basement. An artist was painting the Blue Steps in the lower garden. I shot her. She suggested a visit to Edith Wharton's estate, "Your wife will think you're a hero." But S didn't. She took the car to go shopping. I sulked.

Tuesday, July 17

In the morning we walked a Spruce 'n Oak trail to a "waterfall." Mostly just a pile of rocks blocking a creek. Man-made. Nice quiet trail, as long as the construction at the resort wasn't pounding piles. But they were.

Wednesday, July 18

S went off to Kripalu for yoga and "health." I hung around the rooms trying to get stuff done on this website, but watchng television.

Thursday, July 19

Drove to Great Barrington to shop. As a child I had visited Great Barrington about once a summer from our cottage in Monterey. Today it is quite modern. The old five and dime I remember is long gone.

Friday, July 20

We finally got to The Mount, Edith Wharton's little hideaway. Apparently built with the proceeds from her books. Her husband was a rich playboy, but eventually went crazy. Gorgeous flowers in the garden. No pictures allowed in the house, which is ridiculous since all the furnishings are modern. One exhibit had a glass of what looked like wine. I thought it might be plastic, but if you peaked over the top you could see the mold growing in it. Yup, real wine. After I mentioned it, however, the wine vanished, so you won't see it when you visit.

Later we visited the Berkshire Botanical Gardens in Stockbridge. I had a wonderful time photographing lots of amazing flowers. We even found some of the exotic Amazonian flowers we had seen in Ecuador.

Saturday, July 21

Tanglewood rehearsal this morning. S sat under the "shed," which holds 500 in relative discomfort. I opted instead for our lawn chairs out on the lawn. Glorious day. And great music. The music is amplified for everybody. So it goes through electronics. So it is little better than listening to a recording. Nice lawn though.

Sunday, July 22

Drove home in one swell foop. There is a little cutoff just south of Great Barington which takes you over to NewYork, where it is a straight shot to Pittsburgh. It being Sunday, we had no traffic through the construction zones on the way home. A cop did pull in behind me at one point. Okay, I thought, here's a thirty-five mph section and I'll just drive exactly that. Probably drive the cop crazy. Boom. On come his lights and siren. Pulled me over. Turns out both my brakelights were out. If I'd not slowed down he'd not have seen them and not pulled me over. Just as well, though, brakelights are a good thing to fix. And he gave me only a warning anyway.
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