Berkshire Botanical Gardens 85th Harvest Festival

I’ve checked out the BBG’s Harvest Festival before, but never realized it’s an event that’s been running for 85 years, strong.

One of many reasons to check out the Harvest Festival is the opportunity to see the BBG at a slightly lower cost then normal, and see even more.

The garden’s informal foyer includes a stone fountain spouting both water and fire, and was the first-place winner of the BBG’s 2017 design competition. The winners were a team of students from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville School of Landscape Architecture.

Among the many vendors was Berkshire Country Day School , which has built a flexible arts curriculum that deliberately integrates BCD’s program with fine and performing arts resources available throughout our region and community. The BBG itself offered many  activities for kids, from pumpkin-painting to the ever-popular hay jump… not to mention unicorns and flame-throwing jugglers.

The topiary garden, donated by Lucy and Nat Day, is considered one of the finest collections of topiaries in North America. Creator Matt Larkin, who happens to be the Berkshire Botanical Garden’s board chairman, is principal of Grant Larkin Designs in Richmond, Mass.

And of course, no Fall Festival is complete without gobs of delicious noms, including sweet potato fries made on-site, homemade lobster bisque, and Island Cow Ice cream — hand-made ice cream by Robert and Jane Walters, owners of the Island Cow Ice Cream Co. in Boothbay Harbor, Maine, for the past 20 years.

The Family’s First Sleep-over

Our baby girl had her first sleepover at a friend’s house this month, and in an unexpected turn of events, her Dad and I were thus afforded the opportunity to go to a “sleepover” at a friend’s house the same night.

I don’t know why I’m putting the last in quotes. That’s actually what happened.

Still, this is what occurs when you suddenly find yourself with — what I’m told — are called, “new friends.” With guest rooms.

Friends with kitsch.

Friends with amazing wool sheets and black-out shades I wanted to pull out of their fixtures and steal (the blinds not the friends).Friends with style…

…who live near cows — and rainbows.

Friends with senses of humor…

…and other friends who tucker out your kid at their house while you’re reveling in all of the above.

24-hours in New Hampshire with a Cold

It’s rare, of late, that I go anywhere without at least one member of my immediate fam in tow. This is not a complaint so much as a reality.

That said, I took off for a 24-hour solo stint to New Hampshire this month to check out the University of New Hampshire’s production of If/Then, much to my glee. Again, reality dictated my fate: this is an adult-only show that young-un cannot attend, and her Dad stayed at home with her, because parenting. And laws.

But this all lead to an opportunity to blog travel again, with a bent toward solo-chick! So let’s go:

Never underestimate a Motel 6 when it comes to a quick, solo trip. Not only will they leave the light on for you, the turquoise, IKEA-esque decor is just right for when you just want to sleep, already. Wait, I just got here. Why am I sleepy? Crap. I think I’m getting sick.

Great lighting, too. But those under-eye circles…

I had dinner at the Tuscan Market with my sister and BiL — all three of us went with the prosciutto, mozzarella, fig jam sandwich. Amazing, even throughout the sniffles.

The UNH campus is super cool! Love this lighthouse of concert flyers. Also my eyes are watering and I can’t feel my nose.

My baby niece in poster form! I’m so proud. I’m breathing through my mouth at this point, but so damn proud.

The theatahhh…ah…ahHHHHCHOO

Again, props to Motel 6 … it was unnervingly quiet all night for an economy stay in a college town. My extended Ragusenson family also lives in New Hampshire, so we met for brekkies! I almost tasted my Benedict!

My niece… in past posts on this blog, she’s been referred to as “DQ” (Drama Queen). Her reign continues… with an honored performance as Elizabeth in If/Then.

I drove home to the dulcet tones of Angry Mancave…

…did I mention I saw my sister?

Truckin’ at Wahconah Park

With a Memorial Day forecast that left a lot to be desired, we didn’t have particularly high hopes for our outdoor-itinerary this weekend. But the clouds parted around lunchtime on Saturday, so we jetted down to historic Wahconah Park in Pittsfield, Mass. for their First Annual Food Truck Feastival and gathered some tastes, sights, and sounds to share.

There were a few familiar trucks on the grounds, but also some new trucks and a great breadth of choices, from Asian to Mexican to American and back again. Several musical acts were scheduled throughout the day — enough that we heard three different acts in a two-hour period — and plenty of arts, crafts, clothing, and vendors of other sundries that I think add to a food-truck fest as long as they don’t overtake the food.

I also really love this park. We’ve attended games and other events here before and it’s a family-friendly destination with a chill vibe and a lot of cool things to see and do, no matter what the occasion. It’s one of the last ballparks in the U.S with a wooden grandstand, more than 200 “Pittsfield Players” have gone on to play in the Major Leagues, and it’s surrounded by decidedly historic looking signage, service buildings, and snack stands.

On to the food, though: because she had a “big girl” breakfast and lunch, Juli was able to start off with a super-fancy French vanilla sundae from the Krispy Cones soft-serve truck.

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Kid ate just about the whole thing, then went on to share Ben’s hand-cut fries and pulled-pork sandwich from The Chuck Wagon.

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I went off in search of something new while they were noshing, and ordered some fried beef gyota from the aptly named Nom Nom Hut, and a local brew (“brown“) from Bright Ideas Brewing.

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Let me know if you hear of any food truck fests in New England this summer that we might want to hit up!