The glory of New England

Personal Journeys

My favorite placeMy sister's...

November 08, 1998|By Michelle Steel | Michelle Steel,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

The glory of New England; My favorite place

My sister's wedding took place at the Swift River Inn, a 100-year-old dairy farm that remarkably had been transformed into a rustic and quaint inn in western Massachusetts. Here in Cummington, and its next-door neighbor Plainfield, the Berkshire Mountains rise up and out of the wondrous landscape.

My senses were in for a treat that weekend. The fall foliage was at its peak that first weekend of October, and the brilliant orange, yellow and red hues of the autumn trees, bunched together atop the mountains, complemented the worn and weathered farmhouses and outbuildings in the valleys below. This vivid and stark team that Mother Nature had created left me breathless.

After an eight-hour-plus drive from Baltimore with Richard, our 2 1/2 -year-old son, the first item on our agenda was to walk the kinks out of our legs and arms and necks and backs. We decided on a one-lane, deserted road leading nowhere in particular.

My husband, Jeff, toted Richard on his back, snuggled tight in his Baby Bjorn carrier, while I carried juice boxes and trail mix. No one said a word as the leaves crunched and crackled beneath our Timberlands. About 20 minutes into our journey to nowhere, we stumbled across a herd of Scottish Highlanders grazing in an open field. Richard referred to them as "the cows with fur" - a perfect description of these woolly cattle whose ancestors originated in Scotland.

We kept walking, gathering the perfect leaf or acorn along the way. And still, no one said much, as we took in all nature had to offer us. A carpet of leaves rustled beneath our feet, and a canopy of auburn and gold rose above our heads.

Then, we stopped. Just as the road began to descend and curve around the bend ahead, there stood a deserted farm building with faded and peeling paint, and next to it a tree bursting in burnt orange and fiery red.

We sat down, sipped our apple cider and sighed.

The crisp, autumn air blew Richard's bangs from his eyes. The child who had stayed awake for more than eight hours in the car was now fast asleep.

Michelle Steele lives in Baltimore.

Bermuda

Kris and Vince Paugh, Baltimore

"The nicest people you'll ever meet and the pinkest sand you'll ever see are in Bermuda. Beautiful blue skies and aqua water surrounded us as we sipped tropical drinks on our private beach. While honeymooning at the South Hampton Princess, we wanted for nothing. And nothing can compare to horseback riding on the beach, swimming with the dolphins and snorkeling in nearby coves."

Slovenia

Katie Michaelson, Annapolis

"Tucked in the Julian Alps is beautiful Lake Bohinj, in Trivlav National Park. The clear, green lake is great for swimming and canoeing, and a hike up to the towering Slap Savica waterfall was worth the effort. A picturesque onion-domed church and numerous hay racks round out the landscape."

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Pub Date: 11/08/98

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