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Massachusetts' Berkshire County, commonly simply referred to The Berkshires, is a peaceful place. You come to relax, you come to enjoy life, you come to enjoy the scenery. You come to meander.
For good reasons, the region has been a long time fall destination. Located in a perfect mountainous country setting, it is one of the best location to enjoy the symphony of colors that the fall season has to offer.
Arriving at the end of the afternoon, I first checked-in at the Seasons on Main B&B in Stockbridge who would act as my base of operation for the first two days in the southern part of The Berkshires. The home is a magnificent 1862 Greek revival with five rooms, all with their private shower and bathroom.
It is difficult to imagine a place where you could feel more at home and like a king at the same time. It is not the cheapest place around, but you get what you pay for, and then some. The attention to every details from the innkeeper to make your stay unique is amazing. My bedroom, The Winter Room, was very big and furnished with a huge King size bed. A personal handwritten note and some delicious chocolate where waiting for me. Wi-fi speed, something very important for me, was very fast.
The breakfast is served every morning at 8h30 in an elegantly decorated dining room. The variety and quality of the food offered is on par with any high end restaurant. It is served in beautiful service plates.
As a B&B, they don't offer a lunch or dinner. However, they offer a wine and cheese in the evening and it is including in the cost of your accommodation; Perfect before or after you go out for dinner. Since they are located right in the middle of downtown Stockbridge, you have a good choice of great restaurants within a walking distance.
The Red Lion Inn was the first I went to. The decor is in perfect continuity with the Seasons on Main B&B. Executive Chef Brian Alberg seems to be a legend around. Many people asked me during my trip if I had the chance to meet him. I did not, but I had the chase to try his food and see for myself why he has such a reputation.
In the area, they are very proud of their local producers. Restaurants like to tell you who provided the vegetables or the meat. My main course was an Ioka Maple Cured Pork Loin served with Foggy River potato and Meat Market bacon hash. It was paired with a Cabernet Thelema 2010. At the end of the marvelous meal, as I was taking the last sip of my Scotch, I came to the conclusion that Chef Brian did not steal his reputation.
Early the next day, I jumped into my car for some meandering. I first drove south to Great Barrington where you can find great places to eat and many antique stores. From there, I loosely followed the third scenic drive suggested by the tourism bureau, covering the Southern part of the county.
The Berkshires is a great place to drive. The road bends left then right then you go up and down and right and up and down and right and then over a cute little bridge. There is a new surprise at the other side of every curves. If you have a convertible car or a motorcycle, it is the perfect place to play with your toy.
The pinnacle of this drive is, literally, the Mount Everett State Reservation. The drive up there is amazing. When you park at the end of the road, you can hike for 15 minutes to the summit and be rewarded with an amazing view of the surrounding. For a longer hike, many trails are available in the area.
I finished my day at The Meat Market, a special place that I really enjoyed. Officially, the Meat Market is a butcher shop. But is it so much more. First, it's nothing like the butcher section of your supermarket. By looking at their installation and how they work, it's more an artisan workshop than anything else. If I was living in the area, it would be where go-to place for meat. If you are just touring the area like I was, you can stop by for lunch. Of course, the menu heavily rely on meat. I had the privilege to eat some pork fresh ham roast, made on their special BBQ, with a side of cabbage from the farm cooked with house bacon, apples, cream, and garlic. Just writing about it makes be want to jump in my car and drive the 400 miles needed to get there from my place just to eat this again. To go along this amazing meal, I tried a local craft beer, the Big Elm Brewing IPA, that I really enjoyed.
Before leaving the Southern Berkshires the next morning, I stopped at the Lee Premium Outlet, just five minutes from the Seasons on main B&B. The variety of store is impressive and include some higher end ones like Hugo Boss.
CLICK HERE TO CONTINUE: The Berkshires: It's all about meandering - Part 2