"Nothing will work unless you do." ― Maya Angelou
Just when I thought summer might be ending, here comes a heat wave! I hope you're keeping cool and had a happy Labor Day weekend! I spent mine relaxing in the Taconic, Berkshire, and Green Mountains for my annual summer pilgrimmage. This corner of the country (where New York, Massachusetts, and Vermont meet) is my paradise - full of world-class visual and performing arts, jaw-dropping mountain vistas, fun hiking trails, swimming holes, and friendly folks who've come to know me over the last 20 years I've headed up there for my blissful meanderings. The place where I stay near Bennington in Vermont is a special secret hideaway few people know about. As soon as I pick up my rental car at the Albany train station and drive off, the whole way there it feels like I'm heading home. Each year it becomes easier and more natural to see myself having a place there... one day.
My trips to the Berkshires aren't complete until I explore what's on at my favorite museum and the country's largest contemporary art museum, MassMoCA in North Adams, MA - where you can see I was matching with my blue dress! I also returned to The Clark in Williamstown, MA because of their terrific Munch exhibit, and as I rested afterwards outside bedside the pretty reflecting pools, soaking in its buculic campus, friends from Brooklyn walked by! You still have time to catch The Munch exhibit too; it's on until October 15, so if you head to the Berkshires for leaf-peeping this fall, you might want to stop by. Leave yourself extra time to explore all the nature trails behind The Clark too!
I found two great new places to hike, beginning with a meditative walk around the secluded, picturesque Shaver Pond at Grafton Lakes State Park in Grafton, NY between the Hudson Valley and Taconic Mountains. I also enjoyed walking a mountain ridge along the shaded Taconic Crest Trail for a while. The full trail is over 30 miles long, crossing in and out of NY, MA, and VT in the Taconic Ridge State Forest.
And no Labor Day weekend in Vermont would be complete without experiencing Bennington's yummy garlic festival - my favorite farmer's market! I love sampling the creative ways its vendors use garlic and other herbs in their products and brought home some unique finds like black garlic balsamic, smoked maple garlic hot sauce, and maple seasoned dried squash. I even got schooled on the health benefits of elderberry and bought a tincture to try it out. There were so many distilleries represented this year too, and I tasted some creative and deliciously infused gins (my spirit of choice).
Check out Nine Muses Travel's Instagram to see photos of all these adventures plus truly off-the-beaten-track spots: the Bennington Fish Hatchery and the Grafton Peace Pagoda. I hope you enjoy the Instagram picture tour of my Happy Place! Do you have a region that you revisit each year as your own personal retreat that fills you with joy? I'd love to hear about it... or help you find one! ;)
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