Autumn in the Berkshires

“Every leaf speaks bliss to me, fluttering from the autumn tree.” Emily Bronte

Autumn in the Berkhsires

Beautiful scenes like this are everywhere now. We are having a beautiful spell of amazingly  sunny days and crisp, clear moonlight nights.  Since my last post we have been enjoying every single bit of the late summer and  the early autumn season.  We started with our yearly end of the summer vacation.

New England Cottage

Doesn’t this house look familiar? We just can’t seem to get away from our house ~ even on vacation we run into a close relative of our cottage! Is this house a copy of ours, or is ours a copy of it?

Our Julia is back at school, and we are empty nesters again.  We took up ballroom dancing, had a couple of mini little getaways, and have had one of the busiest Foliage Seasons in our sixteen years as B&B owners.   It seems we fell into our perfect professions.  With Jeff working hard at his business as a carpenter, he still manages to be my right hand business partner.  We have grown our little Crabtree Cottage into a thriving full time business.  We open our home to travelers from around the world.   We marvel at the fact that as a small, three room B&B , we manage to attract such a diverse group of travelers.  Of course, our Berkshire landscape, and cultural attractions, bring an abundance of people for get-aways and vacations.  We have had people from every continent , and all walks of life.  Some of our guests have been here since we first opened. A couple of weeks ago we had  former guests stop by to reconnect with us.   Their son bought a house in the Berkshires so they no longer stay with us.  They remember when Julia was just six years old.  Last year, when they were at a restaurant where Julia was working, she immediately recognized them, and reintroduced herself to them. They were touched. You see in this personal little business, we form special friendships with our repeat guests, and we follow each others stories and lives.  It is more often than not, a very close relationship.

Our very first couple was referred to us from an old family friend, my mother’s  very best friend Marge.    They had frequented her B&B, Prospect Hill,  for years,  and she had just closed.  We had just finished our renovation in the room they rented.  The plumber left, literally 10 minutes before they arrived!  At breakfast the next morning they kindly told us about the tub not  draining.  Well, after a visit from the plumber, it was determined that a  new roof  shingle had lodged itself into the vent.   All of these years later,  we affectionately remember this dear couple who came to visit us numerous times before they passed.  The sweetness to this sad loss is that their niece is one of our repeat guests.

Baking scones

When we first began our B&B what I was most afraid of was making breakfast for our guests.  I loved to cook and entertain but doing it for paying guests was intimidating.  Baking was not my strength,  and I was completely anxious about it.  As the years passed, breakfast has become one of my very favorite parts of the day. I know some of the secrets now.  One of them is that baking can be art and science! Now that is more my style. I have made mistakes, and I have learned to be adventurous too.  There are a few tricks to a good crust, popovers that pop and creating dough that works.  Home baking is actually fun.  I learned that being a home baker is all that is expected of me and people are thrilled with scones, popovers, and muffins right out of the oven,    My skills are no where close to Rachel at Chez Nous  , or Anita at Cakewalk Bakery ,  but with the help of good cookbooks I have learned some important  tricks of the trade.  I have learned that it is a myth that you can’t be a good cook and a good baker at the same time.

home baking

This was one early morning preparing for the weekend.  The peanut butter cookie recipe  called for baking soda, but by mistake I used baking powder.  The scones and cornbread both called for baking powder and I was distracted or something ~ I didn’t realize I had made a mistake. These cookies were melt in your mouth delicious.  The next time I went to bake them I realized what I had done,  but I still used  the baking powder instead of the baking soda. Why mess with perfection!  I know how to substitute and even how to veganize some recipes.   # barefoot contessa scones , #susan branch Iowa Cornbread, #Chloe Coscarelli cookies.

One recent glorious Autumn day we went to MASS MoCA! It is about an hour from our house.  The ride was scenic and stunning. Even when we are busy with guests it is important to us to experience all that the Berkshires have to offer.  All summer our guests were talking about the “Phoenix” exhibit at Mass MoCA.  We finally got to see it before it was removed.

Modern Art in North Adams.

You can imagine how much Jeff loved this.  Recycled construction parts beyond measure, and beyond belief, went into this huge exhibit.  My cousins were here from Arizona and playing tourist with them is one of our very favorite activites.

Another perfectly autumnal day we went for a drive through Tyringham  Just about 5 miles from our house.  We started the tour on Jerusalem Road (# fernside)  and stopped at this beautiful site to snap a few pictures of the valley and views.

My cousins and my aunt hadn’t experienced a New England Autumn in years .  We wanted to show them an enhanced display of a quintessential New England Farming Town.  Not one store there!  Our next stop was Ashintully Gardens .

 

Tonight there is a threat of frost.  As we prepare to put the gardens to bed we have been cozying up a bit inside.  Placing the comforters on the beds.  Lighting the fireplace is also one of our favorite things about fall.  We are taking in every last minute of the garden and what is left.  Our four season lifestyle has many traditions.  Here a few of my very favorites…

Tomorrow all of this will be in the cellar for the winter or tossed into the compost. Now,  the inside nesting has begun!

 

 

This is a great time of year to explore the Berkshires.  Many cultural venues are still in operation throughout the county.  We would love to welcome you to our Cozy Cottage.

Thank you for coming by my blog today.

 

 

This article was written by Janis

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