Friday, August 14, 2009

Berkshire Getaway

The Berkshires in western Massachusetts have long been an enclave of artists, philosophers, and writers. Rich people followed them over the years in order to be associated with them. I did it myself this week.

It's charming. It's quaint. And most of all, it's very quiet. I can't stand the constant sound of muzak, piped in crapola, airport television, TV and radio everywhere. Lenox, Stockbridge/Pittsfield/Williamstown offer a refuge. People use words bigger than futon. You can be sitting on a bench outside and listen to people arguing about existentialism. We were having a drink outside and as we sat there, some deep-voiced man across the street yelled out, "STELLA!" Tennessee Williams's famous play had just opened and so it was quite humorous to hear it on the street miles from the event. One would be hard pressed to compete successfully in Scrabble.
It is that thrilling.

You can tour The Mount, former home of Edith Wharton, and pretend you are Edith.
I love the respectful way the staff refers to her as Mrs. Wharton.

And well they should. She was the first woman to win a Pulitzer Prize for fiction.

We had a divine lunch in a cardboard box. We sat on the terrace. Again, I pretended I was Edith. Her gardens are truly magnificent and possibly look better today than they did when she was here.

Yes, dahling, I'll have lemon in my tea. Would you be so kind?

Being here makes one have better manners entirely. The wooded areas are beautiful and mystical and dark. You really think you are going to see a hobbit, which I know is mixing my authors up. The only thing I quibble with Edith over is her long and lasting friendship with Henry James. I can't read HJ. But perhaps they had a great time together. Perhaps the two dignified authors sat and giggled just where I sat. I like thinking of that.

I'm thinking of a book, Henry, about a woman with an unhappy marriage. What is your opinion?

Ventfort Hall in Lenox is being restored and so quite lovely in some places and a total wreck in others.
I did not know that it was used for the exterior shots in Cider House Rules. Golly gosh, I'm standing in the orphanage! I must watch that movie again.

The real reason to go to the Berkshires is the theatre (and Tanglewood, of course, but I still haven't gotten there). We saw two productions this time, the above-mentioned Streetcar Named Desire which was quite good and Quartermaine's Terms which was less so.
It is hard to put up a comedy. It is hard to make people laugh. And you will never ever succeed with everyone. This is especially true if there is something dark underneath. Even so, I'm afraid the audience voted with their feet on this one. Many left at intermission.
I loved being there. More later.



At 6:31 AM , Blogger Kay said...

Sounds divine! Edith Wharton! Fantastic - keep enjoying! Looking forward to reading more reports.

At 7:58 AM , Blogger Becky Motew said...

Thanks, Kay. My gosh, your pic is beautiful!


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