Writing on the Flip

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Writers have come a long way in terms of where their words can be seen. Once relegated to the printed page, now we’re writing for virtual places all the time.

That’s what made a recent — and very tactile — writing assignment so unusual and fun. I was charged with writing a few highlights regarding the Berkshire town of Lenox, which were then placed on the literal flip side of some photo placards.

The placards are just one part of the newly redesigned Lenox Visitors Center, meant to offer information and inspiration to residents, tourists, and business people alike.

A handful of writers contributed to the project; below are a few of the snippets I was able to sneak through.

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Placard Photos by Ed Acker.

11 of the Best Foodstagrammers in the Berkshires

I think most people are past the ‘Why would I want to see what you had for dinner?’ criticism of social media by now … right?

Even if that phrase is still relevant in some circles, it never made much sense to me. I, personally, would love to see what you had for dinner — or breakfast, lunch, midnight-snack, whatevs.

To that end, I follow a lot of ‘Foodstagrammers’ — culinary content creators who aren’t just posting pictures of plates but also recipes, ingredients, reviews of new eateries, dispatches from farmers’ markets, and more. In order to serve a manageable portion, I’ve listed 11 of my favorite Foodstagrammers who hail from my own backyard, in the Berkshires. It doesn’t hurt that food is one of our things up here in The 413.

So, let’s start with dessert …

SoCo Creamery

(Great Barrington)

SoCo stages professional food photo-shoots featuring their homemade ice cream and gelato, but doesn’t shy away from crowd-pleasing, recurring content like Throwback Thursday or Wisdom Wednesday.

 

MedicMeals 

(Lenox)

Two medics bring the fire to the EMT kitchen, and the results are amazing. They have particular talents in the Benedict bay, and a fun collection of coffee mugs.

View this post on Instagram

Irish eggs Benedict #DontBeASaltyBitch

A post shared by MedicMeals (@medicmeals) on

 

Chocolate Springs 

(Lenox)

Regularly updated images of the latest creations by chocolatier Joshua Needleman and his team, including candies, cakes, and specialty coffees.

 

James Massey

(Great Barrington)

Chef Massey shares his own creations, but always promotes his fellow Berkshire foodies on the side. The result is a great place to find somewhere to go on a Friday night for the eats, even if it’s your own kitchen.

 

Chez Nous Bistro

(Lee)

A savory stream of photos from the kitchen and other nooks of the restaurant, manned  — or should I say, womanned — by Chef and co-owner Rachel Portnoy. Chez Nous is also great about using the link space in their profile to promote upcoming events.

View this post on Instagram

Crabcake oouhouhouhou

A post shared by Rachel (@cheznousbistro) on

 

The Marketplace 

(Pittsfield, Sheffield, Great Barrington)

The Marketplace team – which operates not just the Instagram stream linked above, but this one, too – has a knack for showcasing their artful cups of coffee, mouth-watering sandwiches, and catering options. Their accounts are as much digital specials boards as they are pure, straight-up food porn.

 

Alchemy413

(Pittsfield)

The Alchemy Initiative’s mission is to use “food as the foundation for creative community building,” so it stands to reason that their Instagram stream would be rich with incredible, edible images. Alchemy is also a constant presence at local farmers’ markets, sharing some of the harvests of the month and where to find them.

 

Brian Alberg

(Stockbridge)

A glimpse into the life of a chef: plated dinners, kitchen candids, ingredient spotlights, and plenty of photos of friends and family make for a balanced diet of content from Chef Brian Alberg, Executive Chef/ Vice President of Culinary Development for Main Street Hospitality and The Red Lion Inn.

 

Robin’s Candy

(Great Barrington)

The go-to stream for dizzyingly colorful displays of vintage, international, and hard-to-find candy items.

 

Rubiner’s

(Great Barrington)

Get your cheese on with Rubiner’s savory snaps… frequent photos and information about the finest fromage and other culinary joys.

https://www.instagram.com/p/BM7Dl62gatf/

 

Mountains of Sugar

(Lenox)

Delectable pastries and plenty of process shots from Kimberly Watson, Pastry Chef at Blantyre Resort & Spa.

https://www.instagram.com/p/BQ8Eg77BxBL/

One last thing … my list is woefully low on North Berkshire County establishments. Share your favorites from that corner of the world in the comments – let’s make this list a baker’s dozen!

Political Punch

drink-19202_1280I’ve been working with the comedy troupe The Capitol Steps this summer, creating some fun promotional and content pieces with them and the team hosting their summer residence, at Cranwell Spa & Golf Resort’s new Harvest Barn stage. Recently I teamed up with a local bartender to concoct two summer sangrias — one sweet and one with a little spice — to celebrate the ‘Steps and their satire domination in the Berkshires.

Check out the recipes below, and share your own versions using the hashtag #CapitolCocktails!

Red, Sweet, and Blue

A sweet tea and berry-based sangria. Serves 12.

55 oz. sweet tea

750 ml Sweet red wine (recommended: Bota Box Redvolution)

2 cups mixed-berry juice

2 lbs. strawberries, blackberries, blueberries, and raspberries — hulled and sliced

 

Baby, You’re a Firework

A whiskey- and wine-based sangria with a little spark. Serves four.

1 Granny Smith apple, chopped

1/3 cup Fireball Whiskey – soak the chopped apple in the whiskey, preferably over night

3/4 cup apple juice

1 orange, sliced

1 blood orange, sliced

1 cup red wine (recommended: Malbec)

Cranwell Spa & Golf Resort is offering a chance to laugh off some election-year stress throughout the summer, hosting the award-winning musical satire group The Capitol Steps for a limited run of performances, from July 1 to Sept. 2. The troupe will be the first to perform on Cranwell’s new Harvest Barn stage, a 220-seat venue.

The Capitol Steps began as a group of congressional staffers who set out to satirize the very people who employed them. Now in its 35th year, the show has since evolved to feature 26 actors and five pianists, who stage shows across the United States.

This year’s show is largely based on songs from The Capitol Steps’ current album What To Expect When You’re Electing, featuring tunes that give a comedic nod to some of our most pressing political issues: “Ain’t No Pipeline, Now It’s Gone,” “Hello, Is it Mitt You’re Looking For?” and “We Warm the World” among them.

The Capitol Steps’ 90-minute show will be performed nightly, excluding Tuesdays, at 8 p.m. Cranwell Spa & Golf Resort offers pre-show dining from 4:30 to 6:30 at its Wine Spectator Award-winning restaurant in the Gilded Age Mansion, as well as casual fare at Sloane’s Restaurant and Bar. Show tickets and an optional dinner may be reserved directly by calling (413) 881-1636, or online at cranwell.com. For more information on Capitol Steps, visit capsteps.com.

Recipes developed by Mitchell Keil

The Read My Writin’ Round-up

I’ve been able to write a lot about where I live, recently – in the Berkshires of Massachusetts – so this shameless round-up of my own work is pulled together with a Berkshire County theme.

First, the latest; I wrote a ‘Parents-Eye Review’ for Berkshire Family Focus, upon the opening of the new Berkshire Carousel. Juli was my intern on this project.

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Next, on to the world of corporate spa retreats…an actual thing, apparently, and growing in popularity. I used two world-class resorts in the Berkshires to illustrate the trend of spa retreats as part of workplace health and wellness packages.

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Finally, a look at the entire region from the point-of-view of the visitor’s bureau and the owner/managers of some attractions in the area, including outdoor recreation spots as well as theater venues (two of the biggies in these parts).

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