Monday

Family Vacations: Adventuring in the Berkshires - Flyby Travel Update Part 2


Berkshires Family Travel Guide Black Swan Inn
Jokes on boats!

Adventuring in the Berkshires Day 2 Flyby Update

Guys, I'm doing it, I'm doing it! I'm actually going to get a second post up in real-time for this trip--assuming the spotty internet plays ball.



Last night, after going through a process I'd liken to childbirth (and I had both of mine naturally) to get our blog post published, I finally settled into bed and Patrick and I fell asleep close to 1:30 am. The kids fell asleep late as well, though not quite that late.

Today our morning and early afternoon had been mapped out for us by 1Berkshire, so we got up around 8 to give the continental breakfast down the hall a try. The boys and Patrick went ahead of me as I scrambled to get ready for the day and pack the necessary cameras/batteries.

Black Swan Inn on the Lake's continental breakfast was similar to most continental breakfasts we've seen--cereal, yogurt, bagels, pastries, coffee. Thankfully, they had some gluten-free cereals and almond milk for me--two thumbs up!

Unsurprisingly, we ended up finishing breakfast later than expected and had to push our boat reservation back 1/2 and hour, which Black Swan Inn was quick to accommodate.

Bellies and camera batteries full, we boarded the pontoon boat that would be ours for the next 2 hours to putter around on the lake. I tend to get super seasick, but I'm happy to say no breakfast was lost in the making of our boating expedition!

The boys had a blast and even got some mini lessons on how to steer from Patrick.

Berkshires Family Travel Guide Black Swan Inn
This speed demon child was super concerned about keeping things slow, can't you tell? ;)

Berkshires Family Travel Guide Black Swann Inn Pontoon Boat
Seamus really enjoyed himself, too!

Our time out on the lake with the pontoon boat went by super quick and before we knew it we were headed back to the dock to hop off and get in the car to get to our lunch date with the Director of Marketing at 1Berkshire to go over travel to the Berkshires and answer any of our questions.

We had read that the Starving Artist Cafe had a number of gluten-free and vegan options, which definitely had me excited! I love crepes and it's always fantastic when we find places that offer gluten-free, buckwheat versions.

The Bookless Building, where the Starving Artist Cafe was located, was very interesting and we were told that classes for students on the spectrum were held on the floor above the cafe. The inside of the cafe itself was light, airy and filled with beautiful artwork and handmade pieces--plenty to take in while munching on delicious crepes!

Berkshires Family Travel Guide Starving Artist Cafe
The Starving Artist Cafe is located on the historic Baird and Benton Block in downtown Lee, MA.

Berkshires Family Travel Guide Starving Artist Cafe Craperie
This was Seamus's Chocolate Addiction crepe--he loved it!

Berkshires Family Travel Guide Starving Artist Cafe Craperie
Patrick's latte--he said it was great (we're quite particular about our coffee).

Berkshires Family Travel Guide Starving Artist Cafe Craperie
This was a delicious pear and almond gluten-free crepe with homemade caramel and a dollop of ice cream--Patrick and I split this.

Berkshires Family Travel Guide Starving Artist Cafe Craperie
This was the other gluten-free crepe Patrick and I split--a spicy turkey reuben!

Berkshires Family Travel Guide Starving Artist Cafe Craperie
And last but not least, our youngest, picky kiddo chose a plain crepe filled with melted cheese. He's nibbled it a bit at lunch and finished it off right before bed!

After a leisurely lunch full of great info, which we'll be sharing in our upcoming full-length reviews, we headed out to explore some other spots.

We stopped at Patisserie Lennox and then headed to SoCo Creamery.

Unfortunately, we found Patisserie Lennox to be fairly pretentious (stuffy and visibly not too thrilled to have 2 children in the shop). Prices were on par with what we pay at high-end bakeries in Boston, but sadly we found the items we chose were heavy on the vegetable oil and light on the actual cream.

SoCo Creamery was excellent, but we were quickly told not to film the moment we entered the shop, so while the ice cream was good, we can't really share a visual of our experience with you. Sorry, guys!

From there we tried to visit two state forests, but we couldn't find the parking for one and the other had a giant pond right in the entryway, so we opted not to get out as I'm still covered in bites from our trip down to Florida. I can only use so much cortisone before it gets uneahtlhy!

We got to see some other parts of the Berkshires drive around, then realized it was time for dinner and stopped at Freddie's Place Old Fashion Soda Shoppe to pick up dinner to bring back with us to our hotel. A humble, hole-in-the-wall looking shop with a small area for eating and tall counter for ordering, the food was well-priced and tasty and the service was warm and friendly. We'd definitely recommend this for anyone in the area looking for some no-muss, no-fuss food in a hurry. While they didn't offer any specific gluten-free alternatives, they did offer several salads and were happy to create any of their sandwiches sans bread.

With our food in hand, we headed back to the Black Swan Inn and enjoyed it on our balcony overlooking the lake, watching the sun dip below the trees.

Berkshires Family Travel Guide Starving Black Swann Inn
How pretty is the view from our balcony?

Now the kids are showered and ready for bed, waiting on me to go through their bedtime routine with them alongside Patrick. I'm going to hopefully get this published and get them to bed by 9, then do some packing with Patrick and maybe watch a movie (assuming our connection is strong enough), then get to bed so we can wake up in the morning, have some breakfast and head back home.

The Berkshires have been interesting to explore. We enjoyed some good food; became better acquainted with a part of Mass that I personally haven't visited in some time and that the boys and Patrick have never stayed in and enjoyed some amazing fun in a pontoon boat! We found that this area was very much a mix of outdoorsy New England fun and quintessential Massachusetts charm. We also found that not everyone was excited to have their sophisticated adult time interrupted by the presence of young children, however, we didn't let it affect our experiences!

Overall, I think the Berkshires have a lot to offer families willing to spend a little timing prepping and searching for the right accommodations and activities to suit their families. We'll definitely talk about that a bit more in-depth in a future post, but for now I think we've given you a fairly good idea of our general experience over the last few days.

Cross your fingers for me that this publishes the first time I push the button!

A few thoughts about the Berkshires from our trip so far:
  • Good coffee can be found in Western Mass
  • Good crepes can also be found in Western Mass
  • Gluten-free options do exist in a number of restaurants in the Berkshires and those that don't offer gluten-free may be quick to offer alternatives
  • Some adults out here don't hide the fact they're not too impressed with the presence of children--to which we didn't hide the fact we weren't overly concerned with their opinions
  • We still think the North End has some of the best bakeries in Massachusetts, but Western Mass definitely upholds Massachusetts' amazing ice cream standards 
  • Good cell phone service and internet can be as rare as unicorns out here

Missed part 1 of our adventure? Check it out!

Note: Our stay at Black Swann Inn on the Lake and our lunch at Starving Artist Cafe were hosted. All opinions above are our own based on our experience.

10 comments:

  1. That's so nice they were able to accommodate you! And that food looks amazing!

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    1. Definitely! The way to our hearts is (gluten-free for me) crepes!

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  2. Looks like such an amazing time! That latte looks amazing btw!

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    Replies
    1. We had an awesome time! Hahaha yeah, we're BIG coffee fans ;)

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  3. Looks like you had a great day!

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  4. The food looks delish!

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  5. That food looks so decadent!

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    Replies
    1. It was lovely in presentation and taste!

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