Escape to the Berkshires

Want me to clue you in on a little secret?

The best time to visit the Berkshires are after the tourists have gone. After the last summer concerts at Tanglewood… Once the last of the crimson-gold leaves have fallen… Smack-dab in between Halloween and Thanksgiving.

Our little Tolkien-esque escape for the weekend

We made our way north to the beautiful Santarella for a two-night stay in what I would describe as paradise. We stayed in the Silo Suite, a romantic and formerly grain silo, brought back to life by the amazing care-takers who painstakingly remastered with a new foundation, electricity, and plumbing 10 years ago. Now it stands as a Tolkien-esque romantic getaway.

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The beautiful grounds of Santarella.

So, if you travel to the Berkshires (which, you all must!) please do yourselves a favor and stay at one of the three unique dwellings at Santarella. You’ll thank me later ๐Ÿ™‚

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Hanging out with the locals on a Saturday afternoon hike

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Santarella Grounds from the Street (you can stay in the 1790’s red farmhouse too!)

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View overlooking Tyringham Valley

Day Two: Sunsets, Escapes, Detergent

Hello again! Thought I’d break my 21-day gratitude spree? Well it’s cutting it a little close, but after the busy day I’ve had, you’d understand!

Today I am grateful for many, many things of which three stand out the most: Sunsets, Escapes, and good ol’ Detergent.

First things first: Sunsets

Sunset tonight

Look at this beauty. This breezy and refreshingly mild evening was spent atop a roof in my lovely hometown of Williamsburg, Brooklyn. The sunset slowly made its way across the NYC skyline while I enjoyed the company of friends while savoring chilled avocado soup topped with shrimp & salsa (commence drooling). The soft bluish blanket of cloud and warm orange and pink hues of the sun intersected perfectly…. As if the approaching night sky softly embraced the sleepy sun. No single sunset is the same, as is each day we live on Earth. Make it count.

I am grateful for Sunsets.

1700's Farmhouse, Berkshires

The thought ofย  Escape comes to my mind as well this evening to add to the many things and ideas I am grateful for. I still reflect on the indescribably peaceful couple of days spent in the Berkshires with family. It was truly a time where I Escaped my superficial worries, fears, and stresses. Each day was a pure expression of living in the moment. From stopping on the road to explore a less-traveled winding dirt path that led to an immaculate 1700’s farm house, to sitting quietly on the front porch or the meadow – each moment was spent absorbing the essence of Life, which is (as I am slowly getting the hang of!) being present in each moment. I am grateful to have had the beautiful experience to Escape to the North, but am even more grateful to be honing in on the ability to create that “Escape” state of mind wherever I journey.

I am grateful for Escapes.

On a less introspective note, I am SO SO SO SO grateful for Detergent. Today I spent 10 hours in the field sampling groundwater and measuring levels of oil (No. 6 fuel oil product to be fancy) at an undisclosed location in New York. I donned my Tyveks as to avoid any destruction to my favorite new pair of hiking/summer cargo/ work pants, but somehow the nasty molasses-like-evil-goo-from-Fern Gully still managed to seep onto my clothes! I reluctantly surrendered to the petroleum powers that be and sadly accepted the new stains on my favorite work pants.

Upon returning home, I raced to my room, and couldn’t get my sweaty, oily, bug spray-ee clothes into the wash! And lo and behold….. The pants came out SPOTLESS! This goes to show that with a little luck, good detergent, and good timing, you can get No. 6 Fuel Oil off of your favorite pants (helps that they were cotton too, no?)!

I am grateful for Detergent.

Day 1: Family, Hope, Forgiveness

Whoever coined, “Family is Forever” couldn’t have been more right. The very first thing that comes to mind on this initial day of my Gratitude-Spree is just that. I am so unbelievably grateful for my family: whether related by blood, marriage, or just down-right love for one another, you know who you are.Bouquet

To my intelligent, creative, stunning younger sister: you are so brave, strong, and bring such a brilliant light to my life and all others who are touched by your warm rays of sunshine.

To my charismatic, hilarious, and savvy older brother: I look up to you in more ways than you can imagine, and am so proud of your strength and wisdom expressed during the many trials of life.

To my loving, talented, and cheery older sister: I only hope one day to be as incredible a mother as you are to Tuck, and may you continue to spread your boundless joy to others through your many talents.

To my mom, my best friend, sometimes my momentary enemy, but always a shoulder to lean on: thank you for granting me the gift of grace and compassion, so I may be a better citizen of the world.

To my step-mom, my comfort, my dear friend, and resource for wisdom: thank you for bringing so much joy and bliss back into our family, and especially my dad’s life these past years. You are a true gift.

To my beloved dad, my best man, my hero, my ever-friend: thank you for inspiring me to pursue my dreams, live a full and happy life, leave my worries and sorrows behind, and to take each day as a blessing and gift. You are deeply missed, and a forever-father.

To my Tom: my voice of reason, my rock, my soul. You make each day a thousand suns brighter.

To my friends – each a brilliant star in the universe, you all bring so much love, happiness, and light into my life.

I am grateful for Family.

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And with Family, we learn to Hope, and we learn to Forgive.

Hope is what keeps us going at the end of a stressful day of work, where we often feel lost, confused, and frustrated about making some “big man” rich, while we’re just doing it to get by. Hope is what we cling to when we feel like we’ve lost everything. Hope is that comfort we feel when we stare fear right in the face and tell it to “back off!” …. it’s all going to be ok.

Hope is what I am grateful for today. Because even if this wasn’t my best day, I can Hope and I can know that today was MY day. Tomorrow is MY day too ๐Ÿ™‚

I am grateful for Hope.

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Forgiveness is often hard to come by easy, but a necessary ingredient to a happy life. Forgiveness is about letting go, finding peace within yourself, and ultimately about Love. True, unconditional Love is the key to receiving and granting Forgiveness. Deflate your ego. Abandon your Pride. Forgive, and be Forgiven.

I am grateful for Forgiveness.

Gratitude is…

This past weekend was spent amongst the trees, rolling hills, and endless sunsets of the Berkshires. Hidden away from the rest of the world, this sacred place really brought me back to my roots as a country-loving lady. It was a weekend of pure, unaffected joy and healing. One that I am sure to never forget.

 

Swing, Sit, Be.

While relaxing on the shaded porch in a wicker chair of an 1800’s farmhouse, watching the hummingbirds buzz and zip by, I was confronted with a “21-day challenge” to list three individual things each day that I am grateful for.

This really got me thinking – there’s SO much in this experience to be grateful for! How on earth could this be a challenge?

So here goes: over the course of the next twenty-one beautiful days, I will share with you (in no particular order) three things I am grateful for. I have no pre-determined list or idea where this will take me, but I know it’s something I need to do.

I’m calling it my “21-day gratitude spree”.

What are you grateful for?