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Saturday, October 22, 2016


We visited Arrowhead, Hermann Melville's home in Pitssfield, this week, enjoying the fall foliage and the wonderful tour of this historic author.  Meville named this place Arrowhead due to the many arrowheads he found when he plowed his fields.

Melville's study was in the corner room over the porch. He built the porch and later wrote a short story about it, "The Piazza." The house was built in 1780. Herman bought it in 1850 and lived here for 12 years, though the house remained in the family until 1927.

The trees on this property are beautiful. Again, Melville's study is the room on the left corner, second floor. 

Melville wrote Moby Dick here on a table like this. The actual table is in the Melville Room in the Pittsfield Athenaeum, which we also visited. (lots of Melville archival material and books). He purposely arranged his chair and desk so he could gaze out onto Mount Greylock, highest peak in Massachusetts and featured in the wizardry story in J.R. Rowling's latest book.

The view of Mt. Greylock. Unfortunately a hazy day when we visited this week. 

A close-up of the window with the view to Mt. Greylock -- again, too hazy of a day to catch the mountain in the distance.

The chimney bears painted inscriptions from 1868 of text from Melville's story "I and my Chimney." written about Arrowhead.

Meilville's barn. Melville's writings, especially Moby DIck, never achieved much commercial success in his time. He gave up writing and worked in a customs house for most of his working life. A real shame, though a familiar pattern for many creative people. 

Spectacular trees. We saw photos of these trees from Melville's days there and they were tiny: 10-15 feet. Most of the area then was relatively deforested.

Sunday, October 16, 2016

RRR Brooks Trail

RRR Brooks Trail head sign off Bee Hill Road
The RRR Brooks trail is a nice 2.5 mile hike through the Hopkins Memorial Forest, a 2,600 acre reserve in Williamstown, Massachusetts.  It is accessible from either the parking lot at the top of the Petersburgh Pass (see Hike to the Snow Hole, which uses this same lot), or use the access point on Bee Hill Road -- driving from Route 7 in Williamstown, turn off onto Bee Hill Road and proceed a short ways; cross the wooden bridge for Flora Glen Brook and the trail head sign will be on your right (approximately 1.3 miles from Route 7).  We used two cars, starting at the Bee Hill Road trail head and finishing at the parking lot atop the Pass.  By combining the RRR Brooks trail with the Sara Tenney Trail, you can use one car though the total hike then approaches 5 miles.

Click here for a trail map.  See also Trail Mix: Hopkins Forest Tour.  You also have the option of taking the Fitch Trail to where it intersects with the RRR Brooks trails (See Fitch Trail Hike)

RRR Brooks Trail head is on Bee Hill Road near this classic bridge

Petersburgh Pass from the RRR Brooks Trail (Video)

Other Hikes
Fitch Trail Hike
Grafton Lakes State Park Hiking Trails
Grafton Lakes State Park Trails

Sunday, October 9, 2016

Oldcastle Theatre Company in Bennington

Oldcastle Theatre - 331 Main St. Bennington, VT
Last night we attended the premier performance of Arthur Miller's The Ride Down Mount Morgan at Oldcastle Theatre Company in beautiful downtown Bennington.  After enjoying Shakespeare's The Lion in Winter last year, we knew, minimally, we would be attending a performance a year.  The Ride Down Mount Morgan did not disappoint.  Nigel Gore as Lyman was simply outstanding and the supporting cast admirable as well.  This show runs through October 23rd.  Click here to order tickets online and pick them up at the window to enjoy live professional theatre in an intimate setting with very comfortable seating.  Click here for an article in the Vermont Guide on the production.

Theatres around world are celebrating Arthur Miller's 100th birthday.  Oldcastle Theatre Company can be proud of the terrific production of The Ride Down Mount Morgan.

The Oldcastle Theatre Company cast discuss their roles in The Ride Down Mount Morgan

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

The Clark's Walking Trails

The Clark in Williamstown, Massachusetts is first and foremost a world class art museum.  However, especially for those of us within driving distance, its 140-acre campus also provides wonderful grounds with walking trails that provide spectacular views of Williamstown and the Green Mountains of Vermont -- particularly attractive at this time of the year.  Click here for their trail map.

Other Hikes
RRR Brooks TrailSnow Hole
SVC Trails

See also

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Robert Frost Stone House and Museum and Trail

I visited the Robert Frost Stone House and Museum in Shaftsbury, Vermont (121 VT-7A) just north of North Bennington.  The grounds are beautiful and it's fun to walk around and imagine the revered poet living there and tending to his orchards.  He lived there from 1920 to 1928 and penned his famous Stopping by the Woods on a Snowy Evening there on a hot June day in 1922.

However, I'll be honest and say, unless you're a real Robert Frost or history buff, you might want to save the cost of admission to the house.  There isn't all that much inside other than placards to be read.  I was annoyed that photos aren't permitted inside the house, which is a bit weird.  Instead, you might want to just take a stroll around the outside and, if you're a walker, take the short hike along The Robert Frost Trail (click here for trail guide).

My visit did inspire me to purchase the American Library edition of Robert Frost: Collected Prose, Poems and Plays and Robert Frost: A Life.  Frost is highly regarded for his depictions of rural life and command of colloquial speech.

Robert Frost's grave in nearby Old Bennington Cemetery

Other Hikes
RRR Brooks TrailSnow Hole
SVC Trails

See also