After the Clark, we travelled south to Lenox where our hotel awaited us. A Days Inn on a hillside, it was nothing special except for the desk clerk, a young woman named Allison. She directed two tired and hungry travelers to a local restaurant and gave us a coupon for 15% off our meal. After a tex-mex meal that couldn’t be beat, we brought her back a strawberry lemonade and many thanks.
We had spotted a small sign for the wildlife sanctuary on the way to the restaurant and decided to check it out in the morning before heading for the botanical garden. Good move on our part! It doesn’t look like much when you first arrive – a small wood-sided building for checking in and buying souvenirs or snacks and a path leading off into the trees. First impressions are deceiving, though. The Pleasant Valley Wildlife Sanctuary is comprised of over 1300 acres, including several ponds and trails throughout.
The diversity of the plant life was amazing. I consider myself fairly well schooled in identifying wild plants and I saw some things that I had only seen in guide books. Blue cohosh (Caulophyllum thalictroides), used in natural medicine to induce or aid in labor, was a welcome check on my plant life list. We also saw white bane berry (Actaea pachypoda), wintergreen (Gaultheria procumbens) and sharp-leafed hepatica (Hepatica acutiloba).
|Sweet Autumn Clematis|
The wildlife was a bit spotty, mostly because there was a group of kids from the summer camp raising a ruckus. We did spot some beautiful cedar waxwings eating honeysuckle berries and more dragonflies than we could count.
We came very close to remaining there all day and probably would have if our stomachs hadn’t made certain demands. So off we went, further south, to the town of Stockbridge and the Main Street Café. Their Cajun Chicken Sandwich should be on your Bucket List, along with the potato salad. They serve tea in a big, honking mug, too, not those silly little tea cups you have to refill five times to get a drink. When they found out how much Brian loves his coffee, they threatened to give him a soup bowl for a coffee mug.
The last stop on our epic journey was to the Berkshire Botanical Garden, located just outside of Stockbridge on route 102. Not to be confused with two other roads which branch out from Stockbridge, which we took first. Eventually, we found the correct road and arrived at the Place.
|Brian at Berkshire Botanical Garden|
|Cardinal Flower (Lobelia cardinalis)|
|Purple Pineapple Lily (Eucomis comosa)|
|White Pineapple Lily (Eucomis comosa)|
They also had a lovely hedge of hydrangea ‘Little Lamb’. The plants at the Garden were only about 4 feet tall and loaded with flowers.
|Hydrangea 'Little Lamb'|
That’s not even mentioning the hosta garden, daylily walk, the edible gardens, the kids’ garden and the new rose garden. I could go on for quite a while about the neat stuff to see at the BBG, but your best bet is to go yourself and enjoy it! Here are some more pictures to tempt you.
It only took us about an hour to get home. We picked up Gracie, the house monster, from the vet where we boarded her. Apparently she had a great time while we were gone. She played with every dog and person in the joint and got a (much needed) bath.
|Gracie, the House Monster|
Overall, a great vacation!