When it starts to heat up down in the Valley, as it does at the end of June, that means it's time to head for the hills. The Berkshires, that is.
Jake and I made a Sunday trip to Great Barrington and my favorite summer spot, Umpachene Falls. I love the Pioneer Valley, but whenever I head a little further west, I dream of my own little getaway tucked under Mount Greylock or along the Housatonic. The air is fresher out there, the greens deeper, and the woods thicker.
Umpachene Falls in New Marlborough is what I've long claimed to be my "secret swimming hole", but it is hardly mine and hardly secret. It is quiet though, only very busy on the most oppressive days of deep August. Cascading tiers of smooth (but impossibly not slippery) rocks empty crystal waters into a natural pool, just deep enough to submerge and cool down in. A dome of pine trees towering above make it feel private; a summer oasis.
After a swim that was not nearly as cold as we thought it might be in mere June sunshine, we went into Great Barrington for lunch and strolling. I don't visit Great Barrington nearly enough. We enjoyed pressed sandwiches at Rubiner's Cheesemongers (He a tuna melt and I a comtè and ham) and then of course stopped for ice cream at SoCo Creamery (a scoop of blueberry-honey-lavender, a scoop of ginger). We wandered in and out of shops carefully considering blankets and walnut tables and local framed art, but I only bought a lovely yellow stoneware cookie jar from Farm & Home.
We headed back East and watched the temperature rise again, and took a too-warm afternoon nap before dinner. It feels like summer alright.