Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Berkshire Bliss

One of my dear friends got married in the Berkshire Mountains in western Massachusetts on August 19th. This is one of the girls from my Memorial Day Weekend trips, and all of us made it to the weekend’s events, including Ian and me who set five alarm clocks before our 6:30am flight and didn’t even sleep through the first one, and C, who came with beautiful 2-week-old Avery. Yes, that’s not a typo. Even L and S made it, although Continental did everything in their power to keep that from happening. It’s a long, bitter story, but the upshot is, or rather upshots are: 1) don’t fly into Newark, but 2) really, really don’t fly Continental. We were on Delta, on the other hand, and had a lovely time—flight attendants were friendly, we got food and movies even in steerage, people went out of their ways to fix our seat assignments, which disappeared without exception before each of our four legs of flight. It turns out that at least some of my phobia of flying has to do with my feeling of being a target. And a flight from Seattle to Cincinnati didn’t seem all that threatening to me, and the 50-passenger Comair flights from Cincinnati to Albany seemed entirely safe. Until this Sunday morning, that is.

But I digress.

Anyone who’s traveled in the Berkshires in the summer (or, probably, any time of year), knows that it’s expensive. It’s also aggressively quaint, full of ancient tree-covered hills and winding roads connecting 300-year-old towns nestled all snug in river valleys and curves of topography. It’s the home of Tanglewood, where the Boston Symphony Orchestra spends its summers. James Taylor lives in Lenox, one of the larger villages. It’s also the vacation destination of every upper middle class family in New York and Boston that doesn’t go to the Hamptons or the Cape. A motel room runs at least $170/night.

To save money, and also because we like each other, we Memorial Weekend girls and our various partners and/or gay husbands rented a house instead. This was a much better deal for the 10-12 of us, at $1800 for the entire week, except that weeks invariably run Sat-Sat in vacationland and many of us were arriving on a Thursday. I found a property that had both the main house, however, and a small cottage as well, and the owner agreed to let us have the small cottage for Thursday and Friday nights—we’d basically be camping—and the large house until we left town (which was two nights before the end of our week, so she got a good deal, too). What I will say about the cottage is that it was definitely rustic . . . and that if Continental had actually gotten L&S to Albany Thursday night as they were supposed to, instead of closing the jetway door in the girls’ faces as they approached from their other Continental flight (this is literally true), it would’ve been a tight squeeze.

I had a moment of confusion at 5:15 Friday morning when I heard, from the sleeping loft Ian and I were sharing, CNN radio start up very loudly directly down from me, where B was sleeping on one of the couches. “I know B’s a lawyer,” I thought with irritable sleep-muddled logic, “but does he have to listen to the news right now?” I eventually figured out that he must still have his earplugs in and be sleeping through the preset alarm, and I stumbled down the ladder, almost pitching head-first onto the pine floor, to turn it off myself. “Goddammit!” B gasped out as I approached, and flailed for the off switch. A couple hours later, Ian and I woke up for good and slipped out of the house to celebrate our own 5th anniversary with breakfast alone before the weekend’s events swept us up.

The wedding was one of those awesome affairs including nail appointments, a casual rehearsal dinner, short but lovely ceremony followed by a cocktail reception (full bar!) and then dinner (all vegetarian and really tasty, particularly the squash blossoms filled with white bean paste) and dancing and a multi-tiered cupcake “cake”, then a brunch and badminton tournament the next morning at a family farmhouse—so all the guests really had time to get to know each other/get reacquainted. And in our down time, once we moved into the large house and had space to lounge, we ate cheese and crackers and fresh fruits and vegetables and crepes (S brought two crepe pans and a chef’s knife in her luggage . . . TSA obviously checked her bags) and drank beer and wine, and talked endlessly with each other, and talked endlessly with shockingly verbal Paige, now the almost-three-year-old big sister, and watched Avery learning how to observe (“This person’s face is different from that person’s face,” her eyes seemed to say, staring from me to L and back again), and practicing her proto-smile.

And then a last meal with the blissful newlyweds (who received a lot of cast-iron cookware, considering their Brooklyn walk-up).

And then home, to start our own sixth year of (still blissful) marriage.

1 comment:

ACB said...

Sounds like a pretty wonderful way to celebrate your own beautiful marriage (the date of which I can never remember... email it to me? I think I'll start a Google Calendar for bdays and anniversaries...)

Love you!