Saturday, June 3, 2017


Hampered by colds and tons of family stuff, we still managed to escape a bit.  Skimming might be of interest to some. 

May/June 2017

I bought a Living Social coupon back while we were in Florida last winter.
It cost $170 for two nights at the 1896 House.  Values included were two breakfasts which we were lucky to be cooked by private chef.  That is usually reserved for the high priced rooms, but occupancy was low.  I had eggs both days to stay on the diet.  Elizabeth had French toast the first day.  Figure $20 value.
In our room was placed a bottle of wine which we could bring to dinner with us.
Value $26 =  It was good.  Canon Road.  California  Cabernet sauvignon  2015
On the market it might sell for closer to $10, but it was the cheapest bottle available in the restaurant, and so had we not brought it, we would have paid for one since all glasses were about $10.

The restaurant coupon was for worth about $20
So we figured we got about $76 in free add ons.  That makes this grand place just about $50 a night total.
The room was much like the old style motel, only upscale.  Our section, Pondside, had decorative wall paper and a fine, fancy look.  Window treatments shut out light if we wanted a nap.  Everything was very clean and well repaired.  Turner Classic Movies was on the television.  The shower had a small tub below it.  The beds were comfortable and we got extra pillows.  Along with a heating thermostat was an air conditioner and a dehumidifier. 
The electricity was a bit sparse, but we managed.  Next trip I need to bring my adapter because the computer was three pronged and the wall receptable only two.  I borrowed the dehumidifier adapter and switched it out.
Shampoo and soap were a bit down scale, but okay. 
Behind us was a small pond and some white ducks.

And an old coach was on display.

We thought with all that was going on in the family just now and these horrendous colds, we would lose our chance to go, but all we needed to do was to push it ahead a day and shorten our schedules a bit and we were fine.
We started about nine in the morning and wandered to Williamstown.  We stopped first for coffee at the 5 corners coffee spot

and had some coffee and half a chocolate chip cookie while we looked over the map.

Their hazelnut coffee was really good.  It was Mountain Grown brand.  They also had cinnamon.  It was much better than the coffee with our breakfasts, and we went back the morning we left for early coffee before breakfast.  We could sit on a very pleasant sunporch and have a taste of a cookie, or a fresh baked scone.  I just had one small bit.  Yum.
Coffee cost just $1.75 and then 80 cents for a refill.
This spot had one of the most interesting rest room distinctions I have seen.  Important here was to let patrons know where the baby changing table was located.

I had not really understood how close Williamstown was to home.  I suppose we tend to go first to Guido's in Pittsfield when we do a day trip, so the ride is longer.
We stopped at the 1896 House, but we could not check in as early as eleven.  So, we went for lunch at the Indian restaurant downtown and then  on to the Clark Museum. 
It was an inexpensive small Indian buffet with some very tasty foods.  The proprietor told me which selections had added sugar.  It still left some fine tastes.  I can eat Indian at the buffets because I get to choose my food, but to go for a meal is difficult because it is mostly bread and rice and sugary dessert.
These colds have been sapping our energy, so we had a short visit at the Clark.
The special exhibit features some fine Dutch paintings and I enjoyed them a great deal.  Most were a bit dark.  Perhaps they will be restored sometime.

 This one was an exception.  It was very bright and still colorful.

This was so much like the Saint Jerome paintings.  It was a hermit doing pretty much what Jerome did. 

Hermit Praying in the Wilderness  1707  
Wilhelm Van Mieris  1662-1747

There was a earlier painting of the Goya I had seen in Madrid.  It was not done well, but rough.  Still it was a thrill to find it and make the connection.

 Then this Goya was there as well.  Not perhaps the best of his portraits, but another to add to my experience.

 Other paintings that struck my fancy:

Our colds kept our visit short, but here are some of our favorites

This is absolutely one of my favorites.  I spent a good bit of time sitting and studying the details.  If I had any room on my walls, I'd buy a print.  I like the depiction of the three stages of women and their separate reaction to the music.

Somewhere I have seen all of these in an exhibit.  I hate that I remember so little.

The eyes in this Gainborough are memorable

Here is a fine link to survey what is in the permanent collection at the Clark.

We joined for $150 this year.  It is $20 a pop to enter.
Membership gives us each the ability to bring two guests.
It will also give us some discounts.
In addition it has a reciprocal agreement with about 300 museums including both the Albany Institute of History and Art and the Appleton in Ocala that we visit in wintertime.
What I like best is that I can go for just a short visit.  I can't absorb or remember an experience when I go for too long a period
I also enjoyed a young girl who was to be married in the religious section.  I have seen it before, but don't have the title handy.

We moved into our room, choosing one across the street on the Pondview side in order to avoid the traffic to the restaurant and insure a quiet stay.
We unpacked and took a long nap.  That refreshed us for the rest of the day.

We decided against two plays in the area, both one man shows.
Instead we went to the little nonprofit art theater

We saw the new movie Lovers

Some have not liked it much, but we thought it was great, and well outside the cliché movies on affairs and marriage.  We have been talking about it ever since.

Afterward we went back to the 1896 restaurant.   We ate at tables in the back.

We shared a fine Portobello mushroom salad.  Elizabeth had a martini lobster salad.  I ate a wonderful duck entre with garlic spinach and mixed vegetables.  They gave me more garlic spinach as a substitute for rice.
It is one of the finest duck dinners I can remember eating.  Very lean.  I'll certainly drive to have that meal again.

this was not our table, but looked pretty cool.


Wednesday we spent at Mass Moca which is not a religious coffee but an art museum.
As it is all very modern art, I have been rather unpleased with my previous visits and really went just to humor Elizabeth.
However, this one was great fun.
We managed to spend the day there, breaking for a fine Cobb Salad lunch to refresh our cold accosted senses.
We spent most of our time in the new building, Building 6.  Here we enjoyed
Laurie Anderson
She had a room full of charcoal drawings that were fascinating.  And for the first time we experienced a visual reality head set and saw what she had created there.  Elizabeth could not really see it, but I could and was amazed.  I could interact with floating bits of things, hear their stories and toss them far away, using my own hands that created chalk outlines of hands that worked in the virtual reality.  At the end my hand were the front legs and hooves of horses and I could gallop.

Here were two interesting found art works:


Nick Cave had an amazing display of hanging and twirling relectors.  In some way it was a Black statement, but I could really not get that.

This seemed the silliest of what we experienced, but at least I know what to do with my worn out sneakers.

Perhaps the most absurd was this one.  I can't help but believe that the artist is laughing at us for taking this seriously.

We had a fine Cobb Salad lunch at the cafeteria.  They let Elizabeth bring in some expresso from the nearby coffee place.

The background music was just great.  Even Billie Holiday was represented.

While there we admired these rock paintings by a local.

They reminded us of our painting of our rock wall by Susanne.

Afterward we napped as best we could, but some workman with an oversized hand drill spoiled the best of it.

Supper, however, was delightful.  I had the same meal as yesterday.  Green beans instead of mixed squash.  We brought our own wine.  The duck was better than yesterday, sweet and crispy. 


In the evening we watched an old William Haines movie on Turner Classic Movies.  It was very funny.  Just a Gigolo

Contrary to the note in Wikipedia, the song "Just a Gigolo" was not in this movie.

Haines was gay and living openly and honestly with his partner.  He was asked to present a different image, even to get married, but he refused.  He lived fifty years with his partner, but could not get acting jobs, so he did interior decorating for many of the great Hollywood stars.

Joan Crawford was a good friend and helped promote his business.


Sleeping was still difficult with these terrible colds.  We did better on our last night, but still wake up thick with flem.
In the morning we just decided to call it a trip and head back early.  We stopped in Pittsfield at Guido's and bought a few good things.  Then we went home and took a nap.
We've been napping ever since.

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