Traveling is in my blood, so it’s been a strange experience to be grounded for more than a year. Well, I haven’t been totally grounded. I saw my family in September, and Allen and I have done a few local one-night stays. Last month, we headed a couple of hours west to spend the night in the Berkshires.

I’ve been to the Berkshires multiple times, mainly to attend concerts at Tanglewood. It is a lovely area, with beautiful scenery, quaint towns, and interesting arts and cultural institutions. We only had about 24 hours to spend in the area, but we managed to go to two places that I’d never been.

Finding a brewery or winery that was open [due to COVID] was a bit of a challenge, but we found Hilltop Orchards. It makes awesome cider and wine. The staff member working that day, who was the owner’s wife/business partner, was very welcoming. She gave us an overview of their cider and wine, and invited us to sit in an area with couches, tables, and a warm fire. We bought a few ciders to try, and she also gave us some tastes on the house.

All of the ciders were really interesting. We liked a particularly dry one the best. We had to buy apple cider donuts in order to have food with our drink, but I will gladly buy apple cider donuts anytime and anywhere. We didn’t try any of the wine, but we wanted to buy a bottle for the road. I noticed that the title of one of them included the name of a lake near my hometown in New York. I mentioned it as we checked out, and wouldn’t you know, some of her family lives there, including her mother. Yep, it’s a small world.

Being in nature is one of the safest things to do in COVID times, so we went to Pleasant Valley Wildlife Sanctuary, which is run by Mass Audubon. We were shocked to see a lot of snow on the ground, as we didn’t have any in Boston. Even though it was really nice there, we only spent about 30 minutes walking around. Most of the paths we tried to venture down had icy and snowy patches on them, and we didn’t have appropriate footwear. We’ll return when the weather is warmer…