Friday, May 22, 2015

Pride of the Berkshires....

Did you think I was kidding about the doughnuts yesterday?

Yummy stuff served up by the smiling face of this gal who proudly told me the doughnuts were made fresh daily at their main shop in Great Barrington.

But enough about breakfast, lunch, and dinner here in the Berkshires.  Let's get on with the adventures.

Yesterday we discovered how seasonal the Berkshires are.   Memorial Day is when things start hopping around here.  From the opinions of many local shopkeepers  (nearly all of which included the word "mobbed"), I'm glad I missed that, even if many of the things that might be on the average tourist's to-do list are closed.  I'm happier to get some of the local flavor of a place (including doughnuts) instead of the full-on tourist version.  So, let's start with Truc's Orient Express in Stockbridge.

It was just an interesting place we happened to pass on the road.  A restaurant with a shop in front, evidenced by Asian statuary and ornaments lining the stairs and deck.  As we pulled into the parking lot, we spied the sign that said "Closed".  Sigh. 

We were about to leave when a woman named Trai came out to invite us in.  She opened two rooms, a tent, a loft in the restaurant, welcoming us to check out her wares with pride, not a hint of pressure or avarice.  She spoke of her home land, her trips to Vietnam, the beauty of the country.  She spoke of her crafts, the silks, the jewelry, and her hand in making some of the items in her shop. 

This is Trai.  She has owned this restaurant/Asian gift shop for 36 years.  If she looks as if she is beaming with pride in this photo, she is, and she should be.  The shop is colorful, crowded with lovely things, and all personally arranged by this ambitious and friendly woman. 

Of course, since it was off season, she wasn't open for lunch, but if she takes as much pride in her food as she does in her store, I'm in for a treat when I return.

After this little detour, we visited Hoffman Pottery.  The clay faces in the garden hinted at the artist's sense of whimsy and color.

And the interior did not disappoint.  The room overflowed with colorful, multi-colored coiled pieces, sgraffito mugs, gleaming underglazes. 

Elaine Hoffman was getting ready for the season, full of pride as she dusted off her wares.  Just look at her beaming face.

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