• Apple Picking
  • Hiking
  • Ukeleles by Snowshoe Ukulele
(Byline: Kevin)
I had a chance to visit the beautiful rolling hills of Western Massachusetts, and more
importantly, my oldest daughter Emily. I flew into Albany and drove to the Berkshires.
Driving Rt 7 was like driving a well known road. Having lived most of my life in Western
New England, these rural highways feel like that to me.
Emily had a day off and we went hiking in the morning just the two of us. The hike was a
short out-and-back to a small waterfall and the weather was damp with a little rain
falling. In Colorado there is very little humidity, and it was hot, dry summer there. It was

a nice change to hike in the damp, green woods.

Emily walking in the Cascades
Emily’s boyfriend Chris joined us in the afternoon and we went to an apple orchard and
picked half a bushel of Cortland, Honeycrisp, Empire and Macoun apples. Coloradans
do not like to hear it, but the apples in Colorado are, at best, okay. Apples in
Massachusetts are phenomenal, and there is nothing like a ripe, fresh-off-the-tree
apple. I would have thought perhaps it was a case of “absence makes the heart grow
fonder” but Emily also thought they were phenomenal. I wish I could have brought

home a bushel to make applesauce and pie at home.

The apples we did not eat off the trees
The apple orchard
We had some very good barbecue from A-Ok Barbecue. They haven’t been open long
but Emily and Chris are regulars already, and if I lived closer I would be too.
Saturday we drove up Mount Greylock, which is really gorgeous, but the clouds were
low. Then we had a chance to go to the gallery where Emily works, and I got to meet
her boss and gallery owner, XTina Parks. Of “ROAM.” The photos, and the gallery are
absolutely stunning. The gallery is part of the MassMOCA gallery complex, and after
that we went on to some other galleries. I was actually part of a “Living Art” exhibit…it is
ice, with a hole so the participant can jump into icy water. A polar plunge in the gallery.
No, I am not kidding and yes, it is in a gallery space with lighting and a glass for gallery

attendees to watch. It was fun. And cold.

View from Mount Greylock
Chris and Emily in front of an exhibit at MassMOCA
After a dinner at Pho Saigon, in Springfield, with Emily, Chris and Chris’s parents,  I
headed to Chicopee to hang out with my friend Steve, of Snowshoe Ukelele. His ukes

are handcrafted, custom built and have the best sound of any Ukelele I’ve heard.

Emily’s handcrafted Snowshoe Ukulele
Sunday I visited with my Aunt and Uncle and saw my cousin and then had a chance to
see a close family friend. I also picked up an increasingly bad case of hay fever. That
was awesome and made for a delightful flight home.
Seeing good friends was a great bonus, but Emily was the highlight of the trip.
Next weekend: camping in the Pike National Forest as they close out the season