Saturday, October 16, 2010

Habits are Hard to Break

Normally, this would have been the weekend when I would spend a day visiting my favorite spots in Litchfield County to marvel at the autumn colors and confirm once again that the foliage in Connecticut is every bit as spectacular as that in Vermont.

For years, it’s been pretty much the same route, starting at Hopkins Vineyard in New Preston for a wine tasting and the purchase of a bottle of Sachem’s Picnic to enjoy later in the day. In my book I talk about the setting being straight out of a country journal, but the most dramatic view here is the foliage across Lake Waramaug. Next, we visit Kent Falls State Park in Kent, climbing the stairs to the top of the falls which plunge 70 feet in a dramatic cascade. then heading to Cornwall Covered Bridge, just seven miles north in West Cornwall. Here we drive through the narrow 173-foot long bridge, which has been in continuous service since 1864, park the car on the other side, and walk through the bridge and back again, peeking out the window openings on each side for postcard views of the Housatonic River.

The rest of our day varies somewhat depending on how early we started out. Sometimes we poke around the Towns of Kent or West Cornwall, other times we take a drive to the top of the 1,683-foot Mohawk state Forest in Cornwall, just under 4 miles. The view is an awe-inspiring panorama of Mount Greylock to the north, Heublein Tower and Avon Mountain to the East, and the Catskills to the West.

Picnicking is spectacular at any one of these places, or what's fun is a progressive picnic, snacks at the first stop, soup or salad at the second, and so forth.

Anyway, as I said, this is the fall foliage trip I usually plan for the middle weekend in October, but which is not going to work out this year. So, I am doubly glad that last weekend I happened to find myself in the Berkshires with a friend who suggested we drive to Bash Bish Falls located in the extreme southwest corner of Massachusetts at Mount Washington State forest.

We followed signs from route 41 in Egremont, arriving at the upper parking lot and proceeded to walk down a rather steep hill which promised to be even steeper further on. Thankfully, after just a few feet we met someone coming the other way who said he knew of an easier access, which turned out to be a lower parking lot, less than a mile or so further on, actually just across the line in New York. What a difference ~ an easy walk where we could actually enjoy the scenery rather than struggle down a steep hill covered with wet leaves.

What really excited me however, were the falls, the fastest flowing I have seen in several years thanks to the rainfall during the past few weeks. This is Massachusetts’ highest single-drop waterfall with water cascading through a series of gorges and forest before dropping about 60 feet into a pool below. They are known as twin falls because of the boulders that are in the middle separating the cascades.

Now I'm thinking it's probably a good thing to change direction every now and then. Who knows, one of these years I just might decide to revisit Vermont in October. It's been a long time!