Sunday, August 31, 2008

a week in the woods

We spent last week in the Berkshires in Western Massachusetts. It is beautiful country: forested hills, farms and quaint towns. We did a lot of hiking over the week and our last hike was to the top of Lenox Mountain, the first mountain that Jove has climbed. The woods were full of interesting critters, many, many mushrooms and a lot of moss: we found a pond filled with tadpoles on their way to becoming frogs (a few legs here and there), we saw trees gnawed by beavers, lots of dragonflies by rivers and streams and Jup spotted a plant I had never seen before called Indian Pipes which is completely white and lives on a fungus that sucks the sap from tree roots.

This area was as picturesque and inspring as I had imagined New England would be growing up. It makes me want a cabin in the woods with a stream and maybe some berry patches and a small orchard. Like Thoreau, but maybe with some electricity and indoor plumbing.

We explored the area and took the kids on a scenic railroad and to an outdoor amusement park at a ski resort. We also drove to Amherst to the Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art. I loved this place- it managed to make an art museum appealing and interactive for kids, for the big kids, too.

It was a super relaxing week. The place we stayed was fully equipped, making meals and laundry easy. There was a winding lagoon with forested islands right outside our kitchen, so our time spent just relaxing at our place was beautiful and allowed the kids to explore. We also got to swim in the pool quite a bit.

Jup has become a hiking aficionado and plans to start backpacking this fall before it gets cold. Luckily, there are so many mountainous landscapes within an hour or too of where we live.