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Three Berkshire Towns Listed As 'Dreamtowns' In Globe

By Andy McKeever
iBerkshires Staff

LANESBOROUGH, Mass. — The "Albany, N.Y., suburb of Lanesborough" is apparently a "dream town" to live in Massachusetts, according to The Boston Globe.

The Globe used an online tool asking users to list their priorities such as schools, movie theaters, restaurants, "hipsters" — which, from what we can tell, is dependent on the number of hybrid cars and Starbucks — crime rates, location and housing costs.

We agree that Lanesborough is pretty dreamy — beautiful lake and rollings hills, and a nice little school. Where else can you get rural living and a mall?

We're wondering, though, if The Globe writers used a map when they wrote their descriptions. Or perhaps Lanesborough really is a Capital District suburb, along with Hancock, Richmond and Williamstown. Does The Globe know something we don't?

In a way to promote its "dreamtown finder," The Globe used various levels for each category to derive 25 favorite towns. Lanesborough was listed because the town has "great schools (sic) and low housing costs" as well as having a "solid number of grocery stores." (We know of one).

And there is a low crime rate. But The Globe also warns that there are few "movie theaters." (Again, we know of one.)

Great Barrington also made the list. Great Barrington doesn't have the cachet of being an Albany suburb, but it has a lot of entertainment and "several dozen restaurants." There are also a lot of "historical items to be found in Great Barrington as the town first started out as a resort community."

Lenox also made the list because the town is "filled with wicked smart kids." (OK, they got something right.) And, if you didn't know, tourists flock to the area during the summer "including the Boston Symphony Orchestra." How exciting!

And, there were two movies filmed in Lenox.

While those three Berkshire towns were used as "dream towns," none of them apparently made a list The Globe did earlier this year of the top 10 places to in live in Massachusetts.

On that list, Savoy was the best location to live. Savoy has "one historical location and a park." Monterey was No. 2 in that last because it has "three historical locations and a couple of restaurants."

In conclusion, we don't know which town is the best in the Berkshires — let alone the state. But at least The Globe is recognizing some of our smaller towns so maybe some more people will come and see it for themselves.

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Are We There Yet?: Strawberries Abound

By Rebecca Dravis
iBerkshires Columnist

Last summer my daughter and I planted one tiny strawberry plant in our back yard. We dug out a small square space, put bricks around it so Daddy wouldn't run over it with the lawn mower, and hoped for the best.

One strawberry grew, the plant itself withered and we thought it was a lost cause. But then last week, much to our surprise, another solo strawberry had grown. One strawberry a year is not exactly what I had in mind when we planted it, but one is better than nothing, right?

If your family loves strawberries and all of the delicious ways to eat them as much as my family does, this is a good weekend for you.

If you read this before 5 p.m. Thursday, June 20, head north just above the border to the Pownal United Methodist Church, which will host its annual strawberry shortcake supper. The menu includes cold ham and roast beef, scalloped potatoes, jello salad and coleslaw, rolls, coffee, iced tea, or lemonade and homemade strawberry shortcake with real whipped cream. Tickets will be available at the door; the cost is $10 for adults, $5 for children 4 to 10 years, and free for children 3 years and younger.

On Saturday, June 22, Second Congregational Church, located on Route 43 in south Williamstown, will hold its annual Strawberry Festival. The event will feature homemade strawberry shortcake, lunch, a bake sale, a jewelry table, a plant sale, a tag sale, and a Chinese auction. My daughter and I have attended this festival in the past and I have to say the shortcakes are a sight to behold.

Right down the road at Ioka Valley Farm in Hancock, this weekend marks the annual Strawberry Pancake Weekend. From 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. both Saturday and Sunday you can enjoy their locally grown strawberry treats and the kids can enjoy Ioka's Uncle Don’s Barnyard playground free for this weekend only as a customer appreciation celebration.

If you don't like strawberries — and I have to be honest: I prefer the shortcake and whipped cream myself — you can still have a sweet weekend with your family. A lot of the libraries are kicking off their summer reading programs this weekend, and my best bet is to head to Cheshire to learn about geocaching. At 10 a.m. Saturday, June 22, Kathy Gwozdz will talk about how geocaching works and then take participants on a hunt down Depot Street.

Also on Saturday, June 22, the "Science for Kids" series at Dorothy Amos Park in Pittsfield kicks off from 10 to noon. This free event invites kids to learn about water and the environment and why keeping our parks clean is important. All ages are invited.

On Sunday, June 23, I'm going to give a quick shout-out for an event I am helping to plan as part of my "day job" working for the Girl Scouts: A Daisy Girl Scout Day for girls entering kindergarten and first grade in the fall. Two sessions will be held, 11:30 to 1 p.m. and 2 to 3:30 p.m. at the Susan B. Anthony Birthplace Museum in Adams, where girls can come learn about being a Daisy Girl Scout, complete with crafts, games and snacks. The program is free.

Also on Sunday, June 23, the Piston Poppers will hold their second annual car show at Eastover in Lenox from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Spectators cost $5; all proceeds of car entry fees will benefit HospiceCare in the Berkshires.

Spring is officially turning to summer this weekend, so stay tuned to this column for all the fun your family can have in the Berkshires this summer!

Berkshire County native Rebecca Dravis of Williamstown is a former journalist who now works for the Girl Scouts of Central and Western Massachusetts. She can be reached at rdravis@verizon.net.

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