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Posts Tagged ‘fall’

It took me some effort to familiarize myself with the name of the trail, but it is one of the most beautiful ones we have been on. This past weekend was absolutely wonderful. 70 and sunny for pretty much all four days – Friday through Monday. Even though we had a ton of errands related to the work that is happening this week at our home, it was too good an opportunity to pass up.

So, on Saturday we loaded the bikes and headed out to the Berkshires in Western Massachusetts. Even though we have lived in MA for eight years and I have been thinking of fitting in a trip for years, it had somehow never happened. We have made a lot of such trips happen this year. We had initially considered camping but chickened out since its a bit cold in the evenings. So, this was going to be a day trip (we didn’t make plans early enough and late reservations are hard to get in peak fall foliage season). Ashuwillticook trail is 11 miles long and runs from Cheshire to Adams. Our origin was Cheshire. Parking was very hard to find and after hanging around for a bit, one of the cars left and we grabbed that spot.  We started around 1 pm and it took us about an hour and 45 minutes to reach Adams (including about 30 minutes in various breaks). It is a very scenic trail – with ponds, rivers, mountains and the colors were pretty good. There are plenty of picnic benches along the way. They were all very clean and new. Even the trail is very well maintained. The Visitor Center in Adams was spanking new with clean restrooms and very helpful and friendly staff. We stopped there for about half hour and started our return at 3.15 pm. Some sections were a gradual hill and we were pretty tired towards the end. The last couple of miles all of us struggled. Its nice to have company in misery! We were back at the car exactly at 5 pm. Even though temperatures were in the low 50s by now and we all had our sweatshirts on, we stopped at Krispy Kones for some ice cream. Then it was a long drive back.

The colors were absolutely stunning around Mount Greylock, but it was getting dark pretty quick, so we barely enjoyed that for a few minutes. Most of the towns in the Northern Berkshires (Williamstown, North Adams) were very charming. It had been a while since we had driven in mountainous region and Rt 2 was quite a drive in those parts. I only wished we had a few more daylight hours to enjoy all that.

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It was a beautiful weekend here in the Northeast. Sunny and low 60s. Here in Central Massachusetts, the colors have turned in pockets, and I think the coming weekend will be more colorful than last. We hiked up Mt Wachusett after many months, on the usual Pine Hill trail. This is the shortest but it is pretty rocky and steep. It is about 2 miles round trip. The trail was pretty busy but still quite enjoyable. The highlight though was that SK climbed the entire mile up all by herself. She just turned three last week, so I’m pretty thrilled that she did it easily without any whining. AK did it at that age too, but he needed a lot more goading, encouragement and treats along the way. On the way back, she came on the hiking chair.

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Fine day for apple picking

Today was a glorious day here in the Northeast – sunny and 73. PK is out of town, so I was in charge of entertaining the kids. Although I’m quite used to being a single mom, it is usually only on the week days, since PK is invariably home for the weekends. Apple picking had been on my list of to-do with the kids since PK is not keen on this activity.

We left home after breakfast. The farm I had in mind is about a half hour drive from home. I had been here once for a team even from work. When we arrived there, it wasn’t very crowded yet. We first spent a few minutes looking at the animals and then we stood in line to pay and pick up the bags. There were two choices – a smaller bag which holds about 10 lbs and a bigger one for 20 lbs. I made the mistake of asking AK to pick up whichever bag he wants and he went for the bigger one. We spent the next 90 minutes strolling in the orchard, picking apples, climbing ladders, taking photos. We had a great time. We ate one each while picking. The kids enjoyed it a great deal. Filling the 20 lb bag wasn’t too hard, although initially I thought it would be, since we were only finding damaged and bruised fruit. But the further inside that we walked, we came across much better ones, so we quickly filled the bag.

By around noon, it was getting a bit too hot and crowded. I wanted to try some cider doughnuts in their shop, but the lines were just too long. I now have a ton of apples and just me and the two little ones to try and finish! No, I’m not into any cooking with apples (Indian cooking is not big on using apples, or any other fruit, for that matter). The last time I went apple picking I had the same problem. I had looked up recipes for pies and jelly, but didn’t attempt either. I will be giving away some to friends and neighbors but we will still be eating a lot of apples in the coming weeks 🙂

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Pumpkin festival

The Pumpkin Festival in Keene, NH was a unique experience. This year, it was on Oct 20th. Although it was a long drive, we enjoyed it because the fall colors were very good along the small roads which lead there and the weather was most enjoyable. The kids enjoyed the ride on a school bus from the parking area to the event. There were pumpkins of all shapes and sizes carved really beautifully. Some were such intricate work. It was our first time, so I thoroughly enjoyed. I could not take as many pictures as I wanted, just because of the huge moving crowds and for fear of losing the kids in the crowd if I take my eyes off them for too long. My favorites were ones with a witch, several with hanging bats, cats, a light house and a man and a woman dancing. At some point though, I couldn’t help but think of the sheer amount of food wasted.

Pumpkin Festival

Although, it was a pleasant evening, we didn’t stay for the fireworks since neither of the kids are fans of fireworks and we had a long drive back. We also had our usual share of frustrations which are common to such events:

  • We overshot the event parking signs and went around a long time in the hopes of finding something closer but had to finally go back to the designated parking and then ride the bus after several minutes wait.
  • The lines at the food stalls were unbelievably long for an event of that size, considering the number of vendors. Forget food, even lines for drinks like hot cider were winding endlessly. Thank God, I had packed our staple PBJs for the kids (although S doesn’t do a great job with it) and some bananas for us, we survived until we went to an empty Domino’s near the shuttle bus stop, for our ride back.
  • Pushing strollers in such huge crowds in the night, it was painful for everyone – for the parents with the strollers, the kids and the kid-free crowds. I don’t know how S sat for a good amount of time. (We had to pick her up several times, but still). It must have been claustrophobic to be so low down and be surrounded by people, not being able to see a thing.

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