Hosted/Coordinated by 1Bershire
Adventuring in the Berkshires Day 1 Flyby UpdateAlright guys, my headphones are in, Mozart is playing on Spottify and the boys and Patrick are somewhat settled, so let me try to get an update up before I'm pulled away!
Another week, another adventure. :)
This beautiful Sunday night finds us in the picturesque, mountainous region referred to as "the Berkshires" in Massachusetts. We checked into our hotel, The Black Swan Inn on the Lake, about 2 hours ago, which was realistically the amount of time it took for all of us to make a beeline for the bathroom, take room pics, take a room video, settle the boys, power-up my laptop and settle in at this lovely hotel desk to get a somewhat organized (and hopefully brief) update down. Yes, traveling for us is a process, but it's worth it!
On a side note, I'm really trying to get our quick updates published on the blog as close to real-time as possible while we're away and I know I still owe you a part 3 for our recent Florida trip, but hold tight--it's coming along with full-length reviews and tips from our trip!
Anyway, after 5 days of being home (which included starting a new homeschool year, sprinting through piles of work, unpacking and repacking) we set out for our next adventure with the boys.
Earlier today we piled into the car, dropped Shadow off with one of his favorite sitters and headed west! The Berkshires, as it's referred to in Mass, is a mountainous region in the western most portion of Massachusetts. While our home state isn't a huge state, it does take several hours to get from tip to tip, so it's not often that one makes that trip without a purpose! In fact, it's been many, many years since Patrick or I have been in this region and I don't believe the boys have ever been out here to explore.
Our Berkshires adventure, which was coordinated by the lovely people at 1Berkshire for organizing our trip, began with a stop at Jiminy Peak Mountain Resort's Mountain Adventure Park. The largest ski and snowboard mountain in Southern New England, Jiminy Peak transforms into a summer/fall playground while there are still leaves on the trees. We had 2 solid hours of fun doing some pretty exciting things! We'll be sharing a full video a bit later from our time, but we're excited to share some details with you now. Head to their website to view dates/hours/rates.
- Very clean and well-kept
- Fun rides for kids and adults
- Beautiful mountaintop view
- Gorgeous scenery around rides
- Friendly staff
- If you plan to spend a full day there, consider purchasing tickets to both sides of the park as you may find one park is more of a 3-4 hour trip realistically (we only experienced the Mountain Adventure Park, but Aerial Adventure Park looked fun)
- If you have an older child he/she may be large enough to go on many rides unaccompanied (Seamus was at 10 years old)
- Either pack a cooler with food or budget for park-priced food
- Bring bug spray during warmer months
The boys put on cirque du soleil-worthy performances filled with jumps and flips on the Euro Bungy Trampolines.
|You just never know with this little guy whether he'll be down to try new sensory things, but he was DOWN for this!|
|Seamus, our resident gymnast, performed his perfect little somersaults until I was dizzy watching. ;)|
We enjoyed a little Mountain Coaster action...
|Don't be fooled, this speed-demon is leaping off so he can go on a THIRD time!|
|This guy insisted on going alone so he could go at top speed--too funny!|
We took several lifts up the mountain (dare I say, it made me miss ski season and snow!).
|Patrick and Seamus rode ahead of Liam and I on the smaller lift up to the top of the Alpine Slide. We'll share more about that in our full review!|
We took the Berkshire Express, a high-speed 6-person lift, to the summit and took in the amazing view with our two goofs just as the sun was beginning to get a little low.
This also gave Patrick and I a moment to reflect on the solemness of today's date.
|Half-mast in remembrance of 9/11--a wonderful reminder.|
Jiminy Peak shut down Mountain Adventure Park at 5, so we hopped the Berkshire Express back down the mountain (if you've never taken a ski lift DOWN a mountain give it a go for fun ... if you dare!), caught several of the plentiful Pokemon hanging around near the base of the mountain and drove to J. Allen's Clubhouse Grille in Pittsfield for dinner. J. Allen's offered American fare, a large beer selection (we didn't partake in it since we aren't big drinkers) and even featured some gluten-free alternatives for wraps and buns--extra brownie points in our book!
|J. Allen's had a sports bar & grille vibe, but despite not looking like the most family-focused restaurant, our food was actually really great and the service was super friendly and attentive!|
|Patrick had a burger, the name of which fails me, that was smothered in a delicious sauce and fried onions.|
|I got the same, sans the bun. While they did offer gluten-free rolls, I am not a fan of bread in general and often prefer to eat my burgers without them.|
|Seamus got a hot dog kid's meal, which reminded me of a cute cafeteria-style dinner! He loved the tray.|
After dinner, we headed to Black Swan Inn on the Lake, which is where today ends for us. The kids are snuggled into bed (Liam settling down to sleep, Seamus struggling to quiet his body down after a busy day) and Patrick and I are sitting at my laptop struggling to upload pictures and publish this post. We've pulled out all the tricks--bluetooth, USB cords galore, beaming from one device to another. We're determined to get this up today, so if you're seeing this we've somehow prevailed!
Or we've gotten desperate and driven to a Starbucks 20 minutes away the next day to finish and publish this. Time will tell! (Update: we were able to publish this post from the hotel just before midnight!)
Tomorrow we have some fun things planned, so make sure to check back soon. If the internet cooperates, I just may get a second update published tomorrow night! If not, perhaps by Tuesday night when we return home and I am able to upload in the glory of our wonderfully fast home network.
Until then, send quick-uploading vibes our way and blow your routers a kiss to let them know how much you appreciate them!
A few thoughts about the Berkshires from our trip so far:
- Although we're originally from Mass, it's surprising how far from "home" we feel (not in a bad way, though)
- Phone connectivity is either jaw-droppingly good or bad (something we often see in mountainous areas and that only affects us be we need to upload to our blog and social media as travel bloggers)
- Pittsfield is a really lovely looking city
- Scenery along the highways/major roads is beautiful here, like much of Massachusetts (at least in our opinions, which may be bias)
- Black Swan Inn on the Lake is, as one would expect, right on a lake, which we are fortunate enough to overlook from our room
- Starbucks are rare in the Berkshires (while not our favorite, it's generally a reliable mediocre alternative to our beloved favorites when on the road and out of reach of "the good stuff", which we'll be searching for tomorrow)
- The temperature difference between here and home is shocking given it's only 3 hours away (much cooler here)
- Fall foliage has only begun to turn, but it's turning here a bit more than it was at home
- Sometimes you forget how much variety your home state has to offer until you visit it as a "tourist"
- We most often coordinate our own travel, so having someone else do it has been both an exciting and nerve-wracking experience, but so far so good! Thanks again, 1Berkshire. ;)
- There are lots of Pokemon in the Berkshires and quite a few right around our hotel
For those curious about what we did next, part 2 is now live!
Note: Stays, experiences and meals mentioned above were hosted by Jiminy Peak Mountain Resort, J. Allen's Clubhouse Grill & Black Swan Inn on the Lake. All opinions are our own based on our experiences.