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Archive for February, 2014

Places to Eat near Windsor

Posted on: February 13th, 2014 by Erin Weir No Comments

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Windsor is a fairly quiet town located in the heart of the Berkshires. While restaurants within the town’s boundaries may be few the number located within a short drive are many.  You’ll find anything you’re looking for whether if be fine dining, hole in the wall, casual upscale, or something in between.  You’ll also find a wide range of cuisines, including Malaysian, Latin, French, American, and much more.

Flavours Restaurant – Located in Pittsfield, this restaurant serves flavors all five continents, with a strong emphasis on Malaysian and South East Asian cuisine.  You’ll find an extensive menu offering American favorites, Asian cuisine, and much more.  They also offer a full service bar!  Malaysian food takes its root in cultural diversity, drawing inspiration from Indian, Malay, Eurasian, Chinese, and other cuisines.  At Flavours this cultural diversity is truly taken to heart, providing guests with a unique, unforgettably delicious meal.

Firehouse Cafe – This casual, funky cafe offers a fun dining experience, serving eclectic, contemporary American cuisine.  Tossed salads, housemade soups, omelets all day,  freshly grilled sandwiches, and inventive entrees like mushroom and sausage lasagna, and stuffed chicken burrito.

Public eat+drink – Strongly highlighting fresh, flavorful, in house preparation, Public serves contemporary American cuisine.  Featuring 11 taps, the bar has a frequently rotating list of craft beers, as well as en extensive list of bottles, alongside their impeccable list of wine, and carefully constructed cocktails.  Enjoy subtle twists on American favorites, like chicken fingers made with tempura, jalapeno corn chowder, and buffalo chicken fritters.

Mezze Bistro and Bar – If you’re looking for real Berkshire experience, this is the place to go. Serving contemporary American cuisine and focusing on a farm to table approach, Mezze uses fresh, seasonal ingredients including breads, cheese and meats.  Their menus are inspired by the seasons and the produce that is locally available.  Menus are paired with small batch microbrews from local breweries, spirits from local distilleries, and small production wines.

La Fogata – Featuring Colombian and Latin food, La Fogata has an extensive menu that includes all things familiar and exotic.  Though the exterior is unassuming the atmosphere is welcoming, and the chef and owner takes great care to make sure all his guests are happy.  Enjoy delicious, authentic, homemade Colobian food, along with a great variety of freshly made fruit juices.  Whether you’re just going for some chicken and rice or want something more adventurous like beef tongue, a favorite in many Latin countries, you won’t be disappointed here.  Their full site isn’t currently available, but you can view a menu here.

 

For more places to eat new Windsor, check out our post on Lenox, MA here.

 

Places to Stay in Windsor

Posted on: February 12th, 2014 by Erin Weir No Comments

mohawktrailWindsor and the surrounding area offer lots of unique lodging opportunities.  Log cabins secluded in the woods, private vacation rentals, an art museum, and boutique hotels are all available!

Mohawk Trail State Forest – Enjoy camping? Mohawk Trail State Forests keeps some of its log cabins open year round! Enjoy winter camping in the forest, surrounded by nature! Sleep with the pleasant sounds of the forest all around you, then head out and explore Mohawk Trail’s streams, rivers, and forests by day! Cabins are equipped with electricity and are heated with a wood stove.

The Porches Inn – Located in North Adams, The Porches Inn was heavily influenced by Mass Museum of Contemporary Art, taking on a “granny chic” approach to its decor and furnishings. Painstakingly renovated, this inn is set inside a block of Victorian row houses.  Lodgings are a unique mix of bold, bright colors and retro fun, while still feeling inviting and relaxing.  Take advantage of their great amenities, including daily breakfast!

Berkshire House –  If you’re really looking to get away from it all, this is the place to do it.  This luxury home is the only house located on 10,000 acres of forest in Hawley State Forest.  Your cell phone won’t get service out here, but don’t worry! There’s internet, and a house phone.  Enjoy complimentary Netflix and Amazon on Demand on the flat screen TV, or relax by the fireplace and really kick back  and enjoy life without the distractions of cell phones and internet. House is equipped with laundry, smoker and BBQ, and all of Hawley State Forest at your doorstep! 3 bed, 2 bath.

Berkshire Gorge House – Built in 1910, and sitting on 15 acres of private forestland, this is a beautiful, secluded place to stay.  Recently remodeled, allowing guests to stay in ultimate comfort.  Make use of the newly updated gas range, refrigerator, and dishwasher in the the kitchen, and new washer/dryer.  Also enjoy internet and Dish TV.

The Country Inn at Jiminy Peak – Located at the base of Jiminy Peak Mountain Resort, The Country Inn is the perfect place to stay if you plan to spend lots of time on the mountain.  Enjoy easy access to the ski resort, as well as to everything at the base of the mountain.  Each suite has a master bedroom with king sized bed, a living room with queen sized sleeper sofa, flat screen TV, and fully equipped kitchenette.  Enjoy the heated pool after a long day of skiing, spend some time in the whirlpool, or get a massage at the spa.

Orchards Hotel – This luxurious boutique hotel is the recipient of the AAA Four Diamond Award as well as the Wedding Wire Bride’s Choice Award.  It is undoubtedly one of the Berkshire’s premier hotels.  Warm yourself by the crackling fire in living room, surrounded by English style furnishings, and beautiful antique artwork.  Spacious rooms are luxuriously afforded with marble accented bathrooms, and sumptuous comfortors that may make you loath to leave your room.  But Jiminy Peak, Notchwood, and the Berkshire’s many other cross country ski attractions are just at your doorstep!

Bascom Lodge – Sitting atop Mount Greylock is the beautiful rustic wood and stone lodge that is Bascom Lodge.  Built in the 1930’s, the lodge was established by the Civilian Conservation Corps to provide a place to stay for outdoorsmen and nature enthusiasts.  The interior features beautifully hand cut oak beams, and stone fireplaces that set the tone perfectly for a winter vacation.

Things to Do in Windsor

Posted on: February 11th, 2014 by Erin Weir No Comments

Skijor_worldsWindsor is located near Notchview, which offers some of the best Nordic Skiing in the country!  With over 3,000 acres of land, it’s the perfect place for those who enjoy winter sports.  Enjoy a brisk run on some of their 17km cross country trails! Enjoy eight km of skate skiing!

Explore the backcountry as you go off track! Follow ski trails with your snowshoes or walk along some of the trails dedicated to the sport!  Did you bring your dogs? Check out their groomed skijoring trails! There are endless ways to explore Notchview! And whether you’re a beginning for a professional you’ll find terrain that suits your needs.

If you grow tired of Notchview’s trails Savoy Mountain State Forest is another great place to get in some cross country skiing.  Hunting is also permitted, with restrictions.  Other places to visit for cross country skiing are the Windsor State Forest and the Mohawk Trail State Forest.  You won’t just find fun cross country skiing trails, but also beautiful views of forests, waterfalls, and wildlife!

If downhill skiing or snowboarding are more your style, head out to Jiminy Peak Mountain Resort, where you can explore 45 trails and 3 terrain parks covering 170 acres.  21 of their trails are lit for night skiing.

Sick of the cold? Head to nearby South Deerfield and check out Magic Wings.   The Butterfly Conservatory and Gardens will help you completely forget about the cold! Butterflies require warmer temperatures to thrive, so you’ll step in to the conservatory and forget all about the snow outside as 4,000 butterflies from all over the world fly around you.  “Flight attendants” will help you identify various species as they land nearby – or on you – and will help you check you don’t pick up a hitchhiker on your way out.

Also check out our post on things to do in Lenox! It includes exploring Gilded Age history, lots of art history, and a trip to the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art.

Notchview and Windsor, Mass

Posted on: February 10th, 2014 by Erin Weir No Comments

800px-NotchviewWindsor is a small town in Massachusetts known best for being the home of Notchview, a premier location for Nordic skiing, cross country skiing, and skijoring.  If you’re looking for a great place to experience any of these sports, this is the place to go!

The town was established in 1767, and named for Windsor, CT where most of its settlers emigrated from.  The town was originally named “Gageborough” for British General Thomas Gage.  However, after the Revolutionary War the name was changed.

Windsor was primarily a farming community, though the regions rocky soil and short growing season made it difficult for farming.  Eventually many of these properties were bought up to Lt. Col. Arthur D Budd, who merged them into a 3,000 acre farm which he named Notch View Farm.  In 1965 he gave the property to the Trustees of Reservations, who then created Notchview as we know it.

 

Notchview has become primarily a Nordic Skiing center, boasting 25 kilometers of groomed trails for skiing and skating.  Snowshoeing is permitted on the property, with nearly 4 km of trails dedicated to the sport.  It also has several trails dedicated to Skijoring and cross country skiing.  It is home to the Bill Koch Youth Ski League, and hosted the Bill Koch League Festival in 2001, 2005, and in 2009.  In summer and autumn it is a great location for hiking and bird watching, though it remains primarily a winter destination.

Windsor is located at the junction of MA Route 9 and Route 8A.   The closest regional airport is Pittsfield Municipal Airport, or the town is roughly the same distance from Albany International and Bradly International Airports.

Places to Stay in Saranac Lake

Posted on: February 6th, 2014 by Erin Weir No Comments

800px-Upper_Saranac_Lake,_looking_south_near_Eagle_IslandSaranac Lake and the Adirondacks in general are well versed in luxury resorts and hotels, having a long history as a vacation destination.  Stay in historic hotels, quaint bed and breakfasts that cater to your every need, or remote cottages that allow you all the privacy you could want.

Patriot House Bed and Breakfast –  An historic “cure cottage” built in 1920, Patriot House is located in a quiet neighborhood central to everything in Saranac Lake.  Enjoy private baths, beautiful views, and warming yourself by the fireplace after a day exploring the Adirondacks.  Begin each day with a hearty Adirondack breakfast!

Hotel Saranac – A Saranac Lake landmark since 1927, Hotel Saranac is experiencing ongoing renovation to restore to its former glory.  Experience the splendor of the 1920s and the luxury of old school resorts.

Sunday Pond Bed and Breakfast – Winter is the perfect time to stay at Sunday Pond! This beautiful, rustic bed and breakfast is located just outside of Saranac Lake, allowing you to leave the village behind without having to be too far away.  Begin each day with a hearty breakfast served by the fire and end each night with a delicious dinner served by your hosts! Warm yourself by the fireplace in the family room.  Enjoy snowshoeing and cross country skiing right from your doorstep!

Prescott House – Built in 1905, Prescott House is ideally situated for beautiful views and easy access to downtown, and  all of Saranac Lake’s great attractions. Extensively restored, the interior features antique furniture, as well as many modern accommodations.  Make use of the community kitchen, the reaction area with pool table and ping pong table, and the formal lounge!

Camp Saranac  – Stay right on Lake Flower at this beautiful vacation rental.  Enjoy stunning views from every window, a large deck, outdoor fireplace, and full kitchen! You couldn’t find a better location! It’s a very easy walking distance to downtown Saranac Lake, yet extremely private.  Sleeps 6 comfortably with 3 bedrooms and 2 baths.

For more places to stay in Saranac Lake check out our previous post here.  Also be sure to check out the places our clients recommend!

Places to Eat in Saranac Lake

Posted on: February 5th, 2014 by Erin Weir No Comments

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Saranac Lake has lots of great places to eat! Most are casual, homey places that offer traditional fare, but you will also find fine dining and great late night spots.


Downhill Grill
 – Traditional American done right! Build your own burger or choose from some of their great sandwiches or entrees including pasta and fish and chips! Also choose from their Mexican style menu which includes burritos, chimichangas, and enchiladas.  They have a great selection of beers on tap, and a fun atmosphere that’s perfect for the whole family.  Check out their menu here.

Belvedere Restaurant – An Adirondack favorite for more than 40 years, Belvedere is a great mom-and-pop restaurant offering delicious American and Italian food.  Try homemade sausage, lemon pepper haddock, french onion soup, and veal.  With an outstanding menu, exceptional service, and a delightful, homey atmosphere, dining at Belvedere is an unbeatable experience.

Borracho Taco – Tex Mex at it’s best! Nachos, tacos, burritos, taco salads, enchiladas, and everything you could imagine, all served quickly.  Staff are welcoming and attentive, and atmosphere is fun and welcoming.  Try their house made hot sauces and house simmered meats!  Open till 4AM on Fridays and Saturdays!

Owl’s Nest Pizza Parlor -This pizza parlor has it all!  Pizza, salads, wraps, pastas, hot and cold subs, and even Mexican food!  They offer the best pizza in town and a menu so vast that even the pickiest eater will find something to enjoy.  Eat in or take out!

The Point – Using food from local farms or specialty products flown from abroad, The Point carefully and expertly crafts each menu for their guests.  Enjoy dining in the pub, the great hall, or elsewhere on the property.  Dinners may include roasted sea bass over tomato-basil coulis, Bouillabaise, or roasted lamb.  Each meal is paired perfectly with fine wines from their private cellars.

 

For more places to eat in Saranac Lake check out our previous post here.  Also be sure to check out the places our clients recommend!

Things to Do in Saranac Lake

Posted on: February 4th, 2014 by Erin Weir No Comments

IceCastle

Winter is a great time to visit Saranac Lake.  The Adirondacks are absolutely beautiful blanketed in snow, and the weather opens up all kinds of opportunities for outdoor recreation.

Winter also brings the Saranac Lake Winter Carnival! From January 31st to February 9th enjoy all kinds of great family friendly activities in Saranac Lake! Beginning as a one day festival in 1897, this festival has grown over the years into a fantastic 10 day festival featuring sporting events, book sales, yard sales, high teas, traditional carnival games, movie screenings, live music, and so much more!  Come experience this Saranac Lake tradition.

Mt. Pisgah Ski Center  is a great place for downhill skiing or riding, offering 30 acres of trails.  They also have 3.5 acres of snowshoe trials, 3.5 km of cross country trails, and great slopes for tubing.  And of course, they’re the best spot for night skiing!

Cross country skiing is a great activity to try in Saranac Lake! Dewey Mountain Recreation Center has over 13 km of groomed trails, night skiing, and a winter racing series! It’s also where Billy Demong, 2010 Olympic gold medalist, learned to ski!  Other great options for cross country skiing are Paul Smith’s College VIC, and the Tupper Lake Ski Trails.

Saranac Lake is also an excellent place to go snowshoeing.  There are plenty of trails to follow in the area, including the scenic walk around Moody Pond. Walk through the Pines and then walk the beautiful 4 mile loop around the lake!

Ice Fishing is another activity that Saranac Lake offers.  Fishing at Rollins Pond will yield smelt, lake trout, pumpkinseed, and northern pike.  The pond is small and narrow so tends to freeze early.  It’s most easily reached by snowmobile or snowshoeing.  Lake Colby is another great location for ice fishing, and more easily accessed than Rollins Pond.   The lake has brown trout, rainbow trout, largemouth bass, yellow perch, smallmouth bass, rock bass, brown bullhead, pumpkinseed, and landlocked salmon.

Visit the Wild Center in Tupper Lake to learn all about the natural history of the Adirondacks.  Learn about local wildlife, local flora, and how humans and the natural world can thrive together.

For more things to do in Saranac Lake check out our previous post here.

Winter Fun in Saranac Lake

Posted on: February 3rd, 2014 by Erin Weir No Comments

 

Saranac_Lake_-_Lake_FlowerSaranac Lake is one of the Adirondacks’ hidden treasures. Though larger than Lake Placid it is not visited by tourists as often, though it has just as much to see and do.  In winter it is a gorgeous lakeside village with beautiful views, and it’s the perfect base for any activities you might want to do in the Tri-Lakes area.

The village of Saranac Lake actually sits on Lake Flower, near the center of the Adirondack Park.  It is surrounded by hundreds of acres of wooded area and many other lakes, including three bearing the name of Saranac Lake.

Saranac Lake was first settled in the 1820s as a logging community.  In the late 1840s William F. Martin chose it as a location for one of the first hotels in the Adirondacks.  It became a popular place to stay not only among woodsmen and huntsmen but also among socialites.  Soon the Adirondacks became a popular holiday destination.

In 1876, Dr. Edward Livingston Trudeau came to Saranac Lake to treat his tuberculosis.  He returned in 1884 to establish a center to treat tuberculosis for others.  The Adirondack Cottage Sanitarium became very popular and soon “cure cottages” took over the village with many people coming from all over the world to take in Saranac Lake’s clean, fresh air to cure their malady.

Cure cottages became so widespread in Saranac Lake that they would widely shape the village’s history.  There was a post office established specifically for patients’ mail.  Patients continued to come to Saranac Lake to cure TB well into the 1950s.

 

Today, Saranac Lake is a gorgeous place to visit.  Much of the original architecture has been restored or preserved, with many of the cure cottages having been converted to private homes.

In winter Saranac Lake is especially gorgeous, blanketed in snow and surrounded by glistening peaks and snow topped trees.  Snowshoeing, ice skating,  and ice fishing are just a few of the activities that are on offer!

Getting to the village is a piece of cake! Commercial flights are available to Albany, Burlington, and Lake Clear.  It’s also possible to charter flights to Lake Placid and Adirondack Regional Airport.

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