Mount Greylock: Rise & Shine
I grew up in Pittsfield, Massachusetts; a city (big town) nestled in the heart of The Berkshire Mountains in Western Massachusetts. I could legit go on and on about this magical place...like, for days. They say that home is where the heart is, and this place lives up to that line 100%. The culture is rich, the people are interesting and the weather is never truly what you think it will be...and I love it. I always seem to discover a new way to explore The Berkshires, and here is just one of those stories. I hope it inspires you to come and explore for yourself... My husband and I were on the search for to film a beautiful east coast sunrise for a local project that we are working on. After a quick chat with my parents we decided that Mount Greylock would be the ideal place to take in the best views of a new day. Mount Greylock is the highest point in Massachusetts (3,491 feet above sea level) and the summit offers incredible views spanning 90 miles into the distance. Perfect. Lets do it. First question: what time is sunrise? The 6:12am sunrise felt awfully early as we crawled into bed at 12:02am (bravo to all of you that get up that early every day), but when the alarm went off at 4:45am, we eagerly jumped to the occasion; after all it's not to often that we are here in The Berkshires on a clear morning.
With over a dozen trails ranging from easy to difficult (including the Appalachian Trail) we COULD have hiked to the top, but...we drove. The park is open late May - late October (weather permitting) and driving the 8 mile paved path to the top of the mountain is right out of a James Taylor music video (does James Taylor even have music videos?)...talk about "Country Road". Climbing the mountain, you are surrounded by the peaceful sounds of wildlife, lush trees and plants native to New England ~ along with pockets of outlooks actually look more like a smaller scaled version of The Swiss Alps than Western Massachusetts (at least from my perspective).
We arrived to the summit around 5:45am dressed in more layers than we have had on in about 8 months (it was 42 degrees at the top). We got there just in time, so we quickly set up our camera gear and then stepped back to watch the our stunning subject creep over a thick bed of clouds while gorgeous colors painted the sky. As the sun got bigger and bigger, its warm rays started to graze our skin. Magical. A time time to reflect, be still and listen to the earth slowly and naturally wake up around us. Every time that I watch the sunrise (which clearly isn't that often) I am reminded of how therapeutic and meditative something so simple can be. Success! I'm doing this more often! (flash forward to this morning where I slept until 9am...hey, it's Saturday!)
After watching the sky change and the new day fully was underway, we looked around to see miles and miles of perfect Berkshire Mountains coming into plain view, along with the Mount Greylock War Memorial and Bascom Lodge that sit right at the summit...a perfect centerpiece to the 12,550 acre park. Bascom Lodge was built in the 1930's to provide hikers a place to rest and take shelter from the elements. Today the lodge is privately owned and still going strong. It is open seasonally while offering its guests a few private rooms and also shared bunks, a huge stone fireplace that is roaring during those cold Berkshire days and hosts weddings, workshops, festivals and events such as a full moon fireside ghost story session...and even has wifi for those that need it! Click here for a full list of details: http://www.bascomlodge.net/1002/Page.aspx We were pumped to find out that Bascom Lodge is part of Berkshire Grown and is open to the public 7 days per week. John Dudek, Bascom's Chef and Co-Owner, serves fresh, homemade breakfast, lunch and dinners all made in house from local, seasonal ingredients from surrounding farms. Breakfast starts at 8am, so we had about an hour to kill. With a now bright blue sky above us, we decided to explore one of the woodland trails that desended from the summit. All trails are marked ~ some being more challenging and some are easy which gives the hiker a nice choice, depending on the goal.
After a nice little walkabout, we walked into the lodge to the most delicious smells of morning food cooking; our appetite was up and we were ready for breaky. I ordered a vegetable omelet with home fries, a juice and tea. My husband had the scrambled eggs, bacon, toast, home fries and a coffee. It was simply delicious, inexpensive and a perfect way to fuel our bodies and cap off our lovely morning experience. My suggestion: get up early to rise and shine on Mount Greylock.