Last weekend, Aviva and I finally got to get away for the weekend with two of our favorite people, Jen and Volkan, and their wonderful dog Maddie. The five of us spent the weekend ensconced in a very cute rented cottage in the Berkshires, cooking, gabbing, snowshoeing, watching Seinfeld (no cable but 5 seasons of Seinfeld on DVD) and generally relaxing ... it was a great time.
We all arrived on Friday evening, Aviva and I getting there around 6 and Jan, Volkan and Maddie arriving around 9. Aviva and I made vegetarian Bim Bim Bop (Korean Rice Bowl) for dinner, and when Jen and Volkan arrived we made Shabbat, ate and afterwards we destroyed the cookies they brought up.
Saturday we got up, made an eggy stir fry and headed off to Benedict Lake in Beartown State Forest to go snowshoeing. Except for the fact that it took us about 45 minutes to find the lake (an example of our impatience, as if we had just kept driving about 2 minutes more we would have found the correct turn), it was perfect. The lake itself was completely frozen over, and the surround deep forest was blanketed in dusty white, and gave a feeling of comfortable isolation and closeness to something wild. It was really breathtaking, and the trails around it, including a section of the AT apparently known as "the Ledges", were equally so. There were other people there, no many but we did run into another couple with a dog and some other snowshoers on the AT, but generally it was quiet and peaceful ... well, when Maddie was not running around going nuts. I think she had a blast, and we certainly had a fabulous time playing with her - as you can see on the right, she loves sticks, the bigger the better. After our expedition, we returned to the cottage and Jen made a veggie matzah ball soup for lunch while the rest of us lounged and watched Seinfeld. Lunch was delicious, and after a bit more lounging we went snowshoing around the property, returning at around 6 and heading out to dinner at the Castle street cafe in Great Barrington.
Dinner was pretty good, I think that my duck in black currant sauce with grilled fruit was the best, but it was mine so I am slightly biased. The meal was excellent (desert was a bit lacking, the chocolate mousse was very grainy) and a lot of fun, and after a very short walk around town (as it was quite cold and nothing was open), we headed back to the cottage and all fell asleep (or mostly asleep) watching a quite boring movie called Brideshead Revisited.
Sunday we had to be out by 10, which surprisingly, was not difficult. After a short trip into town to buy some organic beef at the Berkshire co-op (awesome store), a coffee for Volkan and an orchid for Jen, left the Berkshires and headed home, by way of Bash Bish falls, which is where Aviva and I had our first kiss (I strangely do not mention it in the original post, but I think I might have been afraid to jinx things ... it worked out and I am not complaining). Bash bish did not disappoint, just as beautiful as always - frozen waterfalls, if you have never seen one, tend to be absolutely spectacular - and Aviva, Jen, Volkan and Maddie all humored me while I spent a good hour taking pictures of the scenery and of us, and just kind of lapping up the beauty.
And then we were back to the cars and done, heading home. It was too quick, barely felt like we had any time there, but at the same time it was very relaxing and felt like we were away much longer than 2 days. Also, it was a blast to hang out with Jen, Volkan and Maddie, something we will hopefully get to repeat in the no to distant future :)