My tradition with The Red Lion Inn in Stockbridge, Massachusetts, has now begun its 21st year. Cathy and I first experienced the Inn for Valentine’s Day in 1996, continued coming and had a grand time for four days during the Millennium Celebration. It took a year after we lost her before I could return, and now do so as many times as I can each year, including simply stopping on the way driving home from elsewhere for a sit on the porch or dinner.
And, as I have been doing, I am here for my Birthday. I left Sunday morning and picked up the Mohawk Trail in Greenfield. First stop, enjoyable as always, was Shelburne Falls. Visited in the book shop, had lunch, and continued west on the trail. It has been awhile, and usually I am heading east and not west, and seldom with the leaves off — a whole new experience – I love this route. And, as you may know, my favorite sign is just west of Charlemont.
The sign sits at the entrance to a great roadside area along the Deerfield River – reminder to self – picnic here in BB1 and BB2. I like to take images of informative signs to refresh my memory and share – so if you wish, click on these to read more about the area and Mohawk Trail.
Sometimes when you are Shunpiking you get a tad off course. I was saddened to see that most of the snow in FLORIDA was almost gone.
And once through the forest, and around the hairpin curve you slide into former industrial North Adams. Before leaving home I realized that I never had explored north of Route 2 and the Hoosic River. I studied, realized that was where the mill workers lived, and location of PORCHES.
An update – 10AM Monday, as I am writing this in the lobby. Snow supposed to be so bad, I am going to head home today (a day early), instead of being stuck until Wednesday or Thursday — I will be back, but now back to writing this post.
PORCHES is owned by the Fitzpatrick family that owns the Red Lion Inn. With the establishment of MASS MoCA they purchased a row of abandoned, boarded up mill worker tenements and created unique lodging. I knew of it, but never saw it, until now. The row buildings have a u-shape allowing for porches and railings for hanging laundry to dry. In the renovation, skylights were installed to enclose those spaces between buildings. Hard to explain, stop and see, hopefully tempted by this gallery of images (which you can click on to see larger).
And, above the mantel in a sitting room.
And, below are some period (and one new) travel booklets I have of the Mohawk Trail which was first completed in 1914 as probably the first scenic road built for that purpose in the US. I have decided that many of this year’s early explorations in BB1 and BB2 will cover all the historic “nooks and crannies” and maybe I will start searching for some unique collectibles of the road as I saw at The Porches on display. “On the list” to publish here for you is RAY’S RECOMMENDED ROUTES and ROADS – watch for it.
I then headed down Route 8 to Adams. I wanted to collect lots of travel information at the Visitor Center there for this summer’s explorations while staying atop Mount Greylock, but the center was closed. Oh well, probably have more in my archives than they have anyway. Picked up Route 9 to Pittsfield, then my favorite Route US 7, and into Stockbridge, and The Red Lion Inn.
Not sure if I have ever showed you “my room” before, complete with flowered Victorian wall-paper (inside joke).
and, looking back from the window – the Rockwell print on the wall is signed, of course. Rockwell lived across the street, and when the Rockwell Museum was built his studio was moved past my window to the new location.
Having made the decision to cut my stay short, I enjoyed the lobby until about 11:30, went upstairs to pack, and checked out shortly before noon. Actually, all I was going to do on Monday was retrace some of my favorite routes south and west of Stockbridge – but I will be back.
I did have a return trip plan to look at the fences around the Colonial homes in Old Deerfield (remember what I told you on my last post while at Fort Griswold?). So onto the Mass Pike (toll booths gone, simply transponder reading gantries spanning the road at intervals), north on I-91, exit onto US 5 (the old route) and then loop into Old Deerfield. Now, whenever possible I take in lunch at The Deerfield Inn.
I had the dining room to myself, and had and loved the soup of the day – Smokey Tomato Soup, and Pulled Pork special.
And, then it was home shortly before 4PM – a day early, but safe and sound.
Now on Tuesday it is hard to see across the Common with the snow falling and blowing. I just finished my first sweep of the drive. I find it easier and faster to do multiple snow blowings of 6 or less inches rather that deal with 12 or more. Inside now to finish this up, but I also just finished a brand new page on THE ORIGINAL HISTORIC INNS OF NEW ENGLAND, and I highly recommend you click on the link above to view the page and plan your visits accordingly as you will not be disappointed.