I don’t spend all that much time in the Berkshires at weekends, but thousands of other people do. I’m here this weekend and it’s turning out wonderfully–not only perfect weather, but a succession of the small delights that make this, now that I think about it, rather a nice place to build a global media business, weird as that seems to people. (I had a call a few days ago from the U.S. Commercial Service, who had been asked by someone based in Beijing to set up a meeting when she visited Massachusetts. They clearly could not make out what was going on, why a Great Barrington publisher would be of interest to someone from China. They also, clearly, had not thought to use the Internet to find out.)
Last night, my son Tom and I walked down the hill to the opera. Yes, there is a Berkshire Opera Company that brings real opera singers to our little town–and somehow they manage a 30-piece orchestra, too. Tom had been given tickets to the opening night’s performance,“Women on the Verge,” a perfect event for someone like me who can take opera only in small doses. It was a kind of sampler, arias and duets from a variety of operas, in French, German, Italian, and even English, with a little commentary by the conductor and chocolates served on stage afterward.
Today began, as summer Saturdays do, with croissants and coffee outside on the deck. The Berkshires is replete with food establishments of all kinds, but my favorite may well be French rather than English or Chinese. Bizalion is a small cafe and grocers with charming owners from Provence and an astonishingly good range of food–from baked goods to olive oil and charcuterie.
Later I went to the Green & Healthy Living Expo to sign copies of the Armchair Environmentalist and, most importantly, to get a look at what was happening at an event like this–I was curious about the vendors and the visitors, and it was a beautiful day to be at Butternut Basin, a small ski resort just outside of town.
In between these outings I’ve been doing China work, so it was nice to talk about some local businesses China connections this evening at a party in Pittsfield, where I also met a woman who works in bilingual publishing in New York. I’ve had a chance to speak French and Spanish, and to listen to opera in German and Italian. All languages I know a little. What I really need is opportunities to practise a little Chinese! But from what I’m hearing, that may soon be possible in the Berkshires, too.