Great Barrington

A mini-break to the summit of Olympus 

The Hub and I took a mini-break to Massachusetts this past weekend, to visit an old high school friend of mine, Leisl. She lives in this cute little town in the Berkshires, called Great Barrington, where she is a masseuse and also helps run a community center for dancing children.

We left on Friday morning, during torrential downpours. Seriously – I was white-knuckling it all the way through to the middle of Massachusetts. I don’t think my car actually touched pavement until 2 hours into our trip what with the hydroplaning and the speeding. Hub, of course, didn’t care about the rain. He was all “Doo Dee Doo – driving 80 miles an hour with no visibility is not nerve wracking in the least. …Why are you hyperventilating?” I resorted to pulling up the “Soft Rock” genre on my ipod. There’s just something about Barbra and Luther and Karen and the Barry (Gibb, not White) that calms me, you know? I had “Guilty” stuck in my head all weekend. And it didn’t suck.

And we got nothing to be guilty of; our love, can climb any mountain.

Near or far, we are, and we’ll never let it end.

We are devotion.


We stopped at a Bickfords on the way down, to nosh a little lunch. I had fond memories of eating at the 24 hour Bickfords when I was in college. Well, I didn’t take into account that my tastes have, shall we say, grown up. Plus, this was the Bickfords That Time Forgot. We were the ONLY PEOPLE in the restaurant. At 12:30pm. And, there was no music playing. And, all the decor was from the 80’s, and had a half inch of dust on it. It freaked the Hub out. Plus, the food sucked. My omelet was doing the backstroke in butter flavored cooking spray. Not yummer.

We arrived at the Comfort Inn and Suites and took a little nap before meeting Leisl. We had booked a “suite”. I use the quotation marks, because for the price that we paid for this room I expected it to have a butler and two floors. Oh, no. it was a just a normal hotel room that had 2 columns in it. And a eensy couch. And an EMPTY fridge. Next time, we are booking a bed and breakfast ahead of time.

Leisl came to the “suite” and after the hugs and kisses and hellos took us to a teahouse for dinner, called Helsinki. Inside it looks like two happy lesbians decided to open a smallish restaurant in their basement. It’s bricky and fabricy and knick-knacky. It has dim lighting and cozy nooks. The food was acceptable and the company was great. They have a huge selection of teas.

Next, we got to see Leisl’s apartment. She has it rough, folks. She suffers with 15 foot ceilings, and gorgeous moldings, and tons of storage space, and huge windows, and quiet neighbors, and no one above or below her. And the rent is next to nothing. Rough, I tell you! Oh… And her office is downstairs. I had to give blood every month to afford my last apartment, and it wasn’t even near the Berkshires. Hurumph.

Saturday morning came, and we went to “Uncommon Grounds” for breakfast. It is a little vegetarian café on the outskirts of Great Barrington. I had a breakfast burrito and a large coffee (as did Leisl). Hub had a breakfast sandwich and coffee. The coffee was wonderful – almost crunchy, if you know what I mean. Superstrong and a little thick. The breakfast burrito had “soy bacon” in it. I had never had soy bacon. I thought – how bad could it be? It’s bacon, right? Wrong. Bacon should come from a pig. Soy bacon does taste a little like bacon, but only if bacon were made of sponge. Aside from that, it was satisfying food. Plus, the guy who owns the place was behind the counter, and boy works out. Good morning, hot vegetarian guy.


After breakfast we went out behind the café, and I found where I would like to build my house. Isn’t this perfect? There’s even a moat!

We walked around Great Barrington for a couple hours after the food. There’s a reason they call it Great. If you picture Mayberry in your head, but inject lots of money, you’ll be picturing Great Barrington. I looked it up, and only 7500 people live there. For about a half hour I walked around just positive that I had stumbled onto a movie set from Big Fish. Remember that movie? It was all hypercolorful and a little surreal. I loved it. Plus, everyone knew Leisl. It was all “Hi, Leisl!” and “Good morning, Leisl!” and “Who are the Mo’s, Leisl?”.


We took a nature hike Saturday afternoon. Leisl asked us if we wanted to go to Bash Bish. I’m all “No, I don’t want to bass fish. I didn’t bring my waders.” No, no – Bash Bish falls. Sure?

When I was in college I worked one summer at a camp in New York state. One weekend the other counselors and I went to a state park, and walked up a mountain through the river, climbing all these little waterfalls until getting to the top – to this unreal waterfall and swimming hole. It is one of my favorite memories. You know – the kind of memory that is all tinged yellow in your head? And feels warm? Sigh. When we got to Bash Bish, I realized that this is the same park that I had enjoyed in college. It made my belly do a little skippy dance of happy.

After walking up about a mile, you get to a set of stairs that decend to the waterfall and the little pool. I imaging that this is what the top of Olympus looks like. Its so perfect that you almost can’t take it in. See?

Still later that afternoon, Leisl worked her magical masseuse hands on my back. Thanks for the massage, Leisl. You are one of god’s chosen creatures.

That evening we went around the corner (literally) to the Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center to see the Alvin Ailey dancers. It was very …interesting.

OK, ok. I feel like a bad gay. I just don’t understand modern dance. The music was jazz. But not jazz that has a melody, you know? No Ella Fitzgerald or Sarah Vaughan. No, this jazz was all squeaks and honks and strange sax solos. And the dancers were very athletic and gifted, I’m sure. But to me, they were just doing strange movements and hops and stretches on stage. Everyone else loved it, so I just shut my mouth about it. But still. Bad gay.

That basically rounded out our trip. Sunday morning we drove home, in beautiful weather. We stopped off to see my sister’s new puppy, too. Sheesh, what a cutie! Perhaps, just perhaps, I’ll post about Cooper soon.

Love you, Leisl!


Flicker Slideshow of our Great Barrington trip

This entry was posted in My Life, Vacations and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Great Barrington

  1. Deanna says:

    Thank you so much for your pictures and a great writing. We are hoping to move there from Boston next summer and open up a unique cafe. We heard the people are really nice and very progressive. It will be a pleasure to meet your friend Leisl.
    Thank you again.

  2. Francois says:

    Go back to Uncommon Grounds in the winter to see the hot vegetarian guy in his sweater vest – very hot!!!!!!

  3. chris2fer says:

    Will do, Francois!

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