In addition to merchandise and art at Birdsong, Brindel also has a selection of guitars from his collection.
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — After losing everything in a hurricane, partners Christian Brindel and Juliet Jones have made North Adams their home — and a place to start over.
They've poured their hopes into Birdsong Gallery on Eagle Street, a place they envision as a hub for artists, crafters, and musicians as well as another option for local shoppers.
"We were shooting from the hip and we had no idea what to expect but North Adams has a such a good vibe," Jones said. "We wanted this to be a feel-good place and it is welcoming and comfortable. There is something for everybody here."
The two originally ran a yacht maintenance company in the Florida Keys but when Hurricane Irma made its way across the state last year, they like others were forced to evacuate.
"It is a mix of tragedy and intuitiveness," she said. "We were hit by Hurricane Irma last year, so our businesses were both destroyed, and our home was in tough shape, so we needed to do a reset."
Jones said the two bunkered down in Ashville, N.C., and after they heard reports that their community was under 11 feet of water, they decided to change course.
"We were just sort of hanging out on the side of this mountain and we shot darts at a map," Jones said. "I hit Stockbridge, so we came up to check it out."
The two immediately fell in love with the area but came upon the realization that Stockbridge was not the best fit.
"Stockbridge is beautiful, but it is like buying property in the Keys. It is not your average person's definition of affordable, so we puttered our way up here," she said. "We sort of were smitten by this city and just fell in love with it. The people were welcoming and Mass MoCA is such an interesting fixture. It just had a great feeling."
Brindel said they purchased a house and as he was exploring the city came upon historic Eagle Street, which he thought would be a perfect place for a shop.
"It was a challenge because we didn't have a clue when we first got here but we just started meeting people," he said. "This summer this street it was just so lively."
Jones said the store started out as mostly a hub to sell art and the two connected with local artists and artisans.
"It is a lot of fair-trade stuff and most of the art on the wall is by local artists," Jones said. "We want to work with them as much as possible … it sort of morphed into women's fashion and accessories, too. There are fun little bits everywhere."
Brindel, a musician and performer, has his own section in the store that he refers to as "guitar heaven."
"It's all vintage Gibsons, Martins, and Guilds but I still have stuff that is affordable," he said. "For the most part, it is my collection."
Brindel pointed to a guitar he purchased almost 20 years ago that he believes Stephen Stills gave to David Crosby.
"There is no provenance on it and this is all story but from a very reputable luthier in Fort Lauderdale who worked with these guys all through the '70s," he said. "He was the shop you wanted to buy a guitar from when you were recording."
Brindel said they also have local musicians who come in and give lessons. Currently, people can sign up for beginning or intermediate guitar lessons as well as piano or banjo lessons.
Lessons can be scheduled in person or by calling 413-663-0840.
Jones added that sometimes musicians just pop in to sit and play.
"There are a good group of musicians that kind of puddle in," she said. "They go back, hang out, pick up a guitar and play for a while."
Brindel said he is excited to see the store change and grow but hopes it will continue to act as a place for local musicians and artists.
He added that he hopes Birdsong Gallery can also lend a hand in the efforts to revitalize Eagle Street.
"I think anywhere we have ever been we have definitely been part of the community," he said. "This is definitely something different and we saw a need for something like this."
iBerkshires.com welcomes critical, respectful dialogue; please keep comments focused on the issues and not on personalities. Profanity, obscenity, racist language and harassment are not allowed. iBerkshires reserves the right to ban commenters or remove commenting on any article at any time. Concerns may be sent to email@example.com.
iBerkshires.com welcomes critical, respectful dialogue. Name-calling, personal attacks, libel, slander or foul language is not allowed. All comments are reviewed before posting and will be deleted or edited as necessary.
Estate Plans Can Help You Answer Questions About the Future
Submitted by Edward Jones
The word "estate" conjures images of great wealth, which may be one of the reasons so many people don't develop estate plans. After all, they're not rich, so why make the effort? In reality, though, if you have a family, you can probably benefit from estate planning, whatever your asset level. And you may well find that a comprehensive estate plan can help you answer some questions you may find unsettling – or even worrisome.
Here are a few of these questions:
* What will happen to my children? With luck, you (and your co-parent, if you have one) will be alive and well at least until your children reach the age of majority (either 18 or 21, depending on where you live). Nonetheless, you don't want to take any chances, so, as part of your estate plans, you may want to name a guardian to take care of your children if you are not around. You also might want to name a conservator – sometimes called a "guardian of the estate" – to manage any assets your minor children might inherit.
* Will there be a fight over my assets? Without a solid estate plan in place, your assets could be subject to the time-consuming, expensive – and very public – probate process. During probate, your relatives and creditors can gain access to your records, and possibly even challenge your will. But with proper planning, you can maintain your privacy. As one possible element of an estate plan, a living trust allows your property to avoid probate and pass quickly to the beneficiaries you have named.
The library trustees plan to compile a building maintenance list to review with the city administration.
New Library Director Sarah Sanfilippo told the trustees Wednesday that she recently met with city officials to go over some of the maintenance issues that have been relayed to her over her... click for more
Two more have joined the City Council race and now 19 will vie for the nine seats.
As of Thursday afternoon sitting city councillor Paul J. Hopkins has taken out papers along with former councilor and former mayoral candidate Robert J. Moultan, Jr. click for more
The center was acquired from David Moresi of Moresi & Associates, with whom BFAIR had been working for several years while the agency managed the customer service portion of the business. click for more