by Christine Liu - 156 Reviews - 111 List
The bucolic Berkshire mountains (just 2 hours and 30 minutes away from Boston) can easily dissolve any residual urban ills, but just like in the city, it's all about who and what you know. In an efficient spirit perfect for cityslickers, here's a blitz itinerary that packs a serious punch into a compact day trip. From gallivanting on an organic farm to licking ice cream at a local creamery, you'll be unwinding with nature--stat.
(Photo: Moon in the Pond Farm by Darcy Hofmann)
Updated: August 25, 2009
Berkshire Mountain Distillers, the first micro-distillery in the Berkshires since Prohibition, has become something of an artisanal darling in the spirits world. With good reason, too: The distillery's hand-crafted line--which includes vodka, rum and two boutique varieties of gin--are produced ain a retrofitted white-sided barn, using the prized mountain water and locally sourced ingredients. Pick up a bottle at local grocer Guido's and give it a whirl; one taste of the stellar sauce should make you forgive all previous gin-cidents.
One taste of this dreamy creamy stuff is enough to make all other ice cream vanish into sheer memory. The secret lies in the base of fresh, insanely flavorful local Berkshire milk and cream, and owner Danny Mazursky's small batch-crafted operation ensures each scoop served is attuned for texture, flavor and consistency. At the factory, all mixing is visible through a glass panel into the production room (ogle away!), and the flavors--sweet dream, dirty chocolate, rum raisin--incorporate as many local ingredients as possible.
If you're curious as to how an "old-fashioned" farm operates (as opposed to the industrial agri-factories that supply most of America's foodstuffs), arrange an enlightening walking tour with Dominic Palumbo. The independent farmer and sustainability vigilante runs an inspiring organic operation, producing vegetables, fowl, meat and dairy in the most natural way he can engineer. While learning why living local matters, you'll be charmed by heritage chickens, complacent pigs, tail-twitching ducks and other creatures happily chewing their proverbial cud along the trail.
It's a calm, comfortable pleasure to take part in a traditional American meal--classic salads, house-smoked barbecue, grilled meatloaf, cheese nachos--in which almost every ingredient is painstakingly sourced from local and sustainable farms. The lush setting and family-friendly environment make downing housemade bacon and local hardwood-smoked pulled chicken easy on the belly; the proprietor Lester Blumenthal's commitment to the community is easy on the conscience. Live music and summer pig roasts invite diners to let their hair down as one.