I recently returned from a week in the Berkshires, and while everything is unpacked, I still can’t get over the difference 100 miles can make. All it took was three hours and five gallons of gas to feel like I was living on another planet. And no, I’m not talking about the beautiful mountains, friendly people, rolling farmland, and fresh air – of which there was plenty. I’m talking about more important things. Eye-opening things. Things like…
House numbers in the 20,000’s! Seriously. We were driving on Route 2 and the mailboxes had numbers on them that looked like advertisements for the latest MegaBucks jackpot. I’ve seen addresses in the low thousands before, but 24,771 just seems ridiculous.
Towns with no cell service! I don’t own a phone, so I never would have noticed, but I overheard a man in what was formerly Alice’s Restaurant (more on that later) ask the waitress if people always had trouble getting a signal in there, or if it was just him. She matter of factly told him there was NO cell phone service. Period. He looked at her like she was speaking another language, and said, “So I have to go outside?” And she said, “No. There’s no signal in the entire town!”
Stores and restaurants with no names! We drove by several establishments with no discernible signs or names. They were clearly open for business, and customers were going in and out of them, but from the road you could not tell if it was a hardware store, luncheonette, or pharmacy. And then you walk in and find it's all three. On a related note, there were several places that proclaimed their unusual combos, such as the Laundromat AND car wash, book store AND bait shop, and antiques AND farm fresh egg stand that we passed.
Stockbridge does not celebrate its claim to fame! I’m a big Arlo Guthrie fan, so when I saw we were near the home of Officer Obie and the place that was “just a half a mile from the railroad track” that lent its name to his song, “Alice’s Restaurant” I just had to stop. But while it was a very cute little town, there was nothing to commemorate its place in music history. We went to the police officer station and found only tributes to Norman Rockwell. We walked Main Street and found more tributes to Norman Rockwell. We ate at Theresa’s Stockbridge Café, which was once Alice’s Restaurant, and did have some Arlo pics on the wall (and thankfully no Rockwells!) But they didn’t offer a Thanksgiving feast that could not be beat, or even so much as a turkey sandwich on the menu. Whatever happened to getting anything you want?
But other than that, I did get everything that I wanted out of our little trip. Time with the family. Time away from the cat. We fed goats, explored Howe’s Cavern, danced to a Dead band under a bridge in Troy, and enjoyed many locally brewed beers. I know in some of our larger states it can be a hundred miles between gas stations, but around here, those same hundred miles can bring you to a whole new world. A world where a town not only openly rejects “fame” in favor of respect, but is also free from the sounds of cell phones! A world where a good name matters less than a good reputation. A world where books and worms live happily together – which now that I think of it, actually makes sense.
But I still don’t see the point in those high house numbers! They're just stupid.