On Saturday I spent the morning in Pittsfield. That’s because M was taking the SAT there. Convenient, right? No, not really. She has been delightfully self-directed when it comes to the whole college application process, and she had it in her head that she wanted to take the August SAT. And then we got her score back from a previous test, and it was a pretty good score. Like, it’s not eye-poppingly-awesome, but it won’t drag her down when put beside her stellar GPA and full slate of activities and (one hopes) gushing recommendations. Taking yet another SAT seemed a bit unnecessary to me. “Are you sure that you want to bother?” I asked. “If you’re going to the trouble of taking it again, you should study to make it worth it.” Then we sort of dropped it. And then suddenly it was the last day to register, and she still wanted to register, and she had even studied, and that’s when it became clear that not only wasn’t there a test center at her school; there wasn’t a test center anywhere nearby. Sigh. She signed up anyway. And in theory she could have driven herself, but we decided that it would be less stressful if I gave her a ride. So after dropping her off at 7:45 am, I went looking for something to do with myself until noon.
First order of business: breakfast. Well, actually, a bathroom and breakfast. I followed Yelp and headed over to Dottie’s Coffee Lounge, where a small crowd of people were already congregating in anticipation of an 8 am opening.
This place was friendly and yummy. I had a cheddar scallion biscuit sandwich with scrambled egg, cheese, and bacon. Plus some sauteed spinach, because, hey, they offered. Even though business was brisk, there was plenty of space, which allowed me to linger slightly too long over a magazine I’d brought while I waited for the rest of the town to come to life.
Saturday was a gorgeous day, so it was perfect for a little walk over to the Downtown Pittsfield Farmers Market. It was small but pleasant, and I was impressed that it’s run by teenagers through Roots Rising. Go, kids.
Of course, I still had plenty of time on my hands, so I decided to head to Hancock Shaker Village. Here’s the garden and, in the distance, the Round Stone Barn where they’d milk the cows.
First of all, I’m a sucker for history stuff. And yet, and this is totally embarrassing, I’ve never visited our local Shaker Heritage Society. I must be crazy. I found Hancock Shaker Village super, super interesting, so I am definitely reporting to my friendly neighborhood Shaker site soon. I will pick a beautiful day, though, because one of the treats of visiting an historic site like this is that you get plenty of outdoor time mixed in with your museum time.
My favorite building was the huge Brick Dwelling, where men and women slept and ate.
It was packed with interesting stuff, including a set of dumb waiters that each could have fit Harriet the Spy two or three times over.
They also had a hands-on room for kids, with furniture and clothing that kids could use for pretend play.
Also very interesting: in one area they’d re-created what the original paint had looked like, and apparently the Shakers weren’t afraid of bold color schemes.
They also had a huge Discovery Barn with tons of hands-on activities for kids. When the girls were younger, we could have spent hours there.
Meanwhile there was plenty of other stuff going on, with farm animals somewhere (I only caught up with some wandering chickens) as well as interpreters doing blacksmith work and crafting boxes and explaining how the cows were maneuvered through milking. I absolutely ran out of time (had to retrieve M after the test, remember?) before I ran out of things to explore. I didn’t even make it across the street!
M and I reconnected, and of course she was starving after her mental exertions, so we headed to The Marketplace Cafe for some tasty sandwiches. I thought I took a picture of my Oooh Mexico sandwich, but apparently I did not. Now that I look at the menu again, I’m filled with regret that I didn’t notice that we could choose to order any sandwich “The Breadless Wonder” style, ditching the bread and throwing the insides onto mixed greens. That’s such an excellent option. As I was eating the sandwich I was saying to M that between breakfast and lunch out I’d had about 3 or 4 days’ worth of bread products in the space of a few hours.
After carbo loading, we schlepped back home, where I was thoroughly exhausted from waking up early, driving, and Learning Stuff. M, on the other hand, was just getting started. She had her soccer team’s beginning-of-the-season bonding sleepover. This event always involves the same afternoon activity (they’re huge on traditions with NGS), which is a team scavenger hunt in which small mixed grade groups compete against each other, and each team dresses up to coordinate thematically (last year M’s group dressed as traffic cones; this year they were scuba divers), and then they drive all over town accomplishing a series of ridiculous tasks and generally making spectacles of themselves before they settle down for the actual sleepover part. That’s a super jam-packed 24 hours for M, and she recovered by sleeping the next night for over 11 hours.