This morning, we flew out of Gulfport for beautiful Massachusetts.
Let me explain something here.
Since I was old enough to appreciate autumn, I’ve been completely in love with the idea of New England. For reference, see my pinterest album on the topic. I think seeing the hokey Disney Halloween movies always set in the idyllic neighborhoods with saltbox cottages and maple leaves swirling put this fantasy in my head that I’ve never been able to get over.
I’ve never had any interest in vacationing on tropical shores. I don’t want to ski. I don’t want to go on a safari. I don’t want to see Asia. What I have ALWAYS wanted to do is see New England in the fall, to feel its history all around me, in the chill in the air. So back in June I began to search out the greatest classic American small towns in New England, and here we are.
Stop #1: The Red Lion Inn, Stockbridge, Mass.
This was Norman Rockwell’s tee-tiny adopted hometown (an honest-to-goodness village) which he often painted, located in the picturesque Berkshire mountains. It is home to one of the greatest inns in the area, built in 1773. Since November has arrived, we had a Thanksgiving-style dinner in the Red Lion tavern.
The tavern is dark, haunting and cozily lit by lanternlight. It felt like George Washington might have been seated at the next table. 5 presidents have stayed here in the inn, along with John Wayne, Nathaniel Hawthorne and Bob Dylan among others. After dinner, they served us hot apple cider with orange slices to go and we took a very brisk walk around the square to see the town. It was completely dead at 9 pm. This is no tourist town, and that’s exactly how I like it.
Every year, the inn puts the two largest prize-winning local pumpkins on display at the entrance. This whopper is 1,297 lbs.