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Happy Saturday! I was recently contacted by the Tanglewood office of the Boston Symphony Orchestra regarding their upcoming Tanglewood Food and Wine Classic. Unfortunately, I’m not able to attend, but I thought it sounded like the perfect little day or overnight trip from Boston. If you think you would love a day of food, wine, and music in the Berkshires (who wouldn’t?!) please see below or visit the BSO website for more information.

view from Tanglewood

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The Tanglewood Wine and Food Classic features wines from around the world, regional chefs, and locally sourced foods, all to be savored in an incomparable setting on the Tanglewood grounds, August 7-10. Thursday, August 7, will feature a Berkshire Night Dinner, highlighted by local food prepared by Chef Nicholas Moulton who is responsible for the seasonal menue Mezze Bistro + in Williamstown, MA. Also on Thursday is Treats: Chocolate Springs and Sandeman Port Seminar and Tasting an event with a discussion led by Josh Needleman, owner of the famous Chocolate Springs in Lenox.

An Elyse Wine Dinner will take place at Seranak on Friday, August 8 with selections from the Elyse Winery presented by owner/winemaker Ray Coursen, exquisite food prepared by Ian Just, the Chef/Owner of Les Zygomates, Sorriso, and Society on High, and cheese selections from Maître Fromager and Author Max McCalman.

At another Friday event, Great Meats and Great Grapes, Jeremy Stanton, owner of The Meat Market in Great Barrington will pair wine and locally raised meats. Distinguished wine historian Nina Wemyss and local wine merchant Jim Nejaime will lead a tasting event entitled Wine’s History and Rich Relationship with the Arts on Saturday, August 9. Saturday also presents the Grand Tasting of the Tanglewood Wine and Food Classic from noon to 3 p.m., with acclaimed Chefs Andrew Bonner, Dean Corbett, and David Becker among the featured guests. Rosé et Pétanque, a tasting of summer wines, will take place this day highlighted by a tasting of the elegant Whispering Angel from Château D’Esclans.

On Sunday, August 10, Midday with Max McCalman, is a seminar on artisanal cheese and an exploration of pairing wines. Additionally, The Wonders of Riedel With Miner Wines and Lindt Chocolate will explore how glassware enhances flavor. The Tanglewood Wine and Food classic closes on Sunday with Bliss at Blantyre, an auction dinner with Blantyre’s Chef Arnaud Cotar and Chef Daniel Bruce of Meritage, Boston Harbor Hotel. The event features an auction of rare wines from private collections, select large format bottles, and luxury lifestyle packages. For a complete event list please visit: http://www.tanglewoodwineandfoodclassic.com/.

Widely known as one of the world’s most beloved music festivals and the famed summer home of the Boston Symphony Orchestra, Tanglewood is situated in the beautiful Berkshire Hills of western Massachusetts. Tickets for the 2014 Tanglewood season are on sale at 888-266-1200 and www.tanglewood.org, where visitors can also find the complete 2014 concert schedule and details on a variety of special discount ticket and educational programs.

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Tags: Berkshires, events, Food, food and wine classic, food and wine events, Massachusetts travel, Tanglewood, wine

Throughout the summer, we’ve gone back and forth on travel and where to go on the few days off that we have. We want to visit so many places in New England – Block Island, Portland, Ogunquit, and Martha’s Vineyard – and we want to visit the North Fork of Long Island again. At the end of the day, since we do have a Sonoma and Napa trip coming up, we decided to do lots of little staycations in the Boston area. Boston is so beautiful in the summer, and there’s SO much to do in and around the city and within less than an hour’s drive. My family visited recently, and we packed a long weekend full of fun activities. If you are visiting Boston and need some ideas for Boston area day trips, I hope you’ll consider the below!

Assembly Row

Assembly Row – This new outlet shopping area is so much more than a place to pick up new clothes. It’s an ever-growing complex of shops and restaurants, with an arts market, a music series, movie series, and more. We visited Assembly Row to check out Legoland Discovery Center, which is a hit with kids and adults. Unfortunately, adults can’t visit without kids, except for during special nights, so grab a niece or nephew or friend’s kid if you don’t have one of your own! It’s a pricy attraction, but it is a bright, colorful, interactive spot. The area along the river next to Assembly Row is surprisingly peaceful, considering how busy the outlet area is, and it makes for a nice long walk or spot to enjoy a coffee or ice cream from the outlets’ many food establishments.

 

Davis Family Farm

Davis Family Farm

 

Davis Family Farm

Davis Family Farmland – This is another one for the kids, but as an adult, I have to say I am a huge fan. The farm is full of baby animals that guests can play with, feed, and brush. Pony rides are available, along with a play area with fake storefronts, a “fishing” area, and an entire spray park. Our nieces and nephews love Davis Family Farmland, and at just about an hour’s drive from Boston, it is really a great way to spend a Boston staycation.

Boston Harbor Cruises Whale Watch

whale watching in Boston

Whale watching out of Boston Harbor with Boston Harbor Cruises – While my family was visiting, I decided last minute to take an additional day off to go whale watching out of Boston with them. It was one of the best decisions I have ever made. The weather was perfect, and we saw over 15 whales, who kept dancing and jumping around for us. Seeing my niece and nephew light up with each whale sighting was magical. Whale watching is something all ages can enjoy; it is an awesome way to be out on the water and experience the wonder of the nature that surrounds us.

Hull Harbor Illumination

 

Hull, Mass

Hull Harbor Illumination and Hull in general – Hull is a beautiful little coastal town with some fun restaurants, beautiful, clean beaches, and friendly people. It’s an easy spot to fit in your beach time without sitting in Cape traffic. Hingham is a great stop along the way where you can find some fancier restaurants like Tosca for a post-beach date. We love spending time in Hull and Hingham, and if you love the coast and don’t feel like traveling far, these towns make a great day trip from Boston.

And while I am on the topic of Boston travel, I will give a quick shout out to the beautiful hotel I work at! The Royal Sonesta Boston has some great packages, including a Summer Fest package which features free yoga, boat rides, and bikes. If you need a hotel in Boston or Cambridge, check it out!

We love to travel near and far, and we have definitely enjoyed the above trips over the past few weeks!

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Tags: Boston area, Boston staycation, family travel, Massachusetts, Massachusetts travel, things to do in Boston, Travel, travel blog, travel ideas, Travel Tuesday, vacation

The Pioneer Valley in Western Massachusetts is a place I lived for four years, and going back is always a little like going home. While we live in the city, I long to live out in the country (preferably near a coast, ahem, Sonoma). Weekends away in the country are so incredibly rejuvenating, and on our 4th of July trip to the Berkshires, we spent some time in Southampton and Northampton, Massachusetts.

While on a wine trail event a couple of years ago, I tasted wine from Black Birch Vineyards, fell in love with the wine, and have been thinking about it ever since. Luckily we had plenty of time for a slow ride back from Lenox, and we found ourselves gazing out at the Pioneer Valley countryside with glasses of wine in hand, wanting to spend the day there.

Southampton, Mass

Black Birch Vineyards is a small winery and tasting room, surrounded by rolling green hills, vineyards, and horses. The countryside around the vineyard is jaw-dropping, and the wines at Black Birch are as well.

Southampton, Massachusetts

Before and after our wine tasting, we stretched our legs and soaked up the sun by wandering around the area.

Black Birch Vineyard

Black Birch Vineyard

Once we decided to go inside the tasting room, we went straight for wines by the glass, which we took outside and enjoyed on the Adirondack chairs and while checking out the vines. Sipping wine in Adirondack chairs is becoming quite the habit of ours.

Traminette

I came to Black Birch Vineyards for their Cabernet Franc; it’s a favorite grape of mine, and it grows well in places like Long Island and areas of Massachusetts. The Cab Franc at Black Birch has the perfect amount of peppery spice and earthy funk, dried leaves, and a hint of dark berries. It is a beautiful wine.

A new favorite we discovered was the Traminette, a grape that I don’t think I have had before. I am simply in love with this wine. It’s full of rich honey notes but also has nice orange and pineapple notes, the perfect amount of acidity, and a weight that makes you want to swish it around in your mouth. It’s a great summer wine because of the acidity, but the richness means it would lend itself to going well with fall dishes.

Black Birch Vineyard

Black Birch Vineyard

Our visit to Black Birch Vineyards was pure bliss and another reminder that Massachusetts can make great wine. If you’re in the Western part of the state, I definitely recommend a visit!

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Tags: Massachusetts, Massachusetts travel, Massachusetts wine, tasting room series, vineyards, wine, wine bars, wine tasting, winery

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