A Most Wonderful Hug from Yo-Yo Ma in Lenox MA

Lenox MA

I was at Bistro Zinc in Lenox MA for lunch today when cellist extraordinaire Yo-Yo Ma came in with Boston Symphony Orchestra Director Mark Volpe. I never ever approach someone famous, respecting their privacy, BUT this time I just had to.

I proceeded to tell Yo-Yo Ma my story. When I started to lose my hearing, it was only natural that I no longer could hear music. For more than 10 years I didn’t hear music, but I went to Tanglewood concerts anyway, hoping to feel the music.

And then I got my first cochlear implant in 2000 and went to Tanglewood to give it a try with music. The very first musician I heard in more than 10 years was Yo-Yo Ma. He has had a special place in my heart ever since.

As I told him the story, he had tears in his eyes. And when I finished, he gave me a big hug. He is a very special person to me… and to millions of others.

Posted in Concerts, Lenox MA, Tanglewood | Tagged , , , , , , | Comments Off on A Most Wonderful Hug from Yo-Yo Ma in Lenox MA

We’ve Got THE Winner!

The 2nd Annual Berkshire British Motor Car Festival was an overwhelming success this weekend! Thousands of residents and guests ogled the brilliantly polished British cars, old and new, Mini-Cooper to Rolls Royce, lining Lenox, MA’s main streets near our Berkshires bed and breakfast.

“Gee, that looks like the car I had in college,” was heard over and over again, especially when spying a Triumph or MG. The festival evoked many old memories and created new ones.

Saturday’s competition yielded many “best in class” winners as well as the coveted “Best in Show,” awarded to Birchwood Inn guest Dave Hutchinson and his red 1961 Triumph Italia 2000 Coupe.

The Italia 2000, also called the TR3, was manufactured between 1959 and 1962, combining Italian artistry and British craftsmanship. Due to the car’s expensive price tag of $5,000!!!, only 329 were produced and a handful of 30 or so were sold in the US. Dave has babied his TR3 for more than 30 years. It’s a real beauty!

Congratulations to the festival’s organizers, the participants, the many car fans, and of course, the grand prize winner Dave Hutchinson!

Berkshires Bed and Breakfast

"Best in Show" winner Dave Hutchinson, his wife Charlene, and his 1961 Italian 2000 Coupe.


Posted in Events, Lenox MA, The Berkshires | Tagged , , | Comments Off on We’ve Got THE Winner!

Chilling Out at our Berkshires Bed and Breakfast

Berkshires bed and breakfast

Chilled soups soothe on the hottest days of summer.

At our Berkshires bed and breakfast, we serve a fruit course to begin our award-winning breakfasts. One of the joys of the season is Honeydew Gazpacho, borrowed from my friend Lynnette Scofield at The William Henry Miller Inn in Ithaca, NY. Hot outside? This chilled soup is so cool!

One ripe honeydew
1/4-1/2 cup sugar
The juice and zest of two limes
Small cubes of watermelon and/or cantaloupe
Lemon croutons (we toast cubes from our Lemon Yogurt Bread)
More lemon zest

In a food processor, blend the honeydew, sugar, lime juice and zest. Pour this mixture into a blender to completely puree the fruit. Chill overnight.
We serve the “Gazpacho” in martini glasses, added the small melon cubes, croutons, and the extra lime zest.
If you are lucky, you’ll have some soup leftover. Add tequila and voila, Honeydew Margarita!

For more chilled fruit soup recipes, check out our Eight Broads
in the Kitchen blog

Posted in Food, Recipes | Tagged , , , , | Comments Off on Chilling Out at our Berkshires Bed and Breakfast

The Start of a Beautiful Friendship

Berkshires bed and breakfast

Quinn and Charley are becoming good friends.

Thank you everyone for asking how I am enjoying retirement, how Charley is doing, and how we are getting along. At the risk of sounding like Sally Field, I just have to say, “You love me! You really love me!”

At first I thought retirement was overrated. So boring. Charley would go out with Ellen, and I would sit on my bed in the kitchen and wait for them to return. But now friends come and take me for long walks in Kennedy Park near our Berkshires B&B, and I am going out with Ellen for walks, rides in the car, and visits to my friends at Glad Rags and the post office.

Charley is great and enthusiastic about hearing sounds and alerting Ellen. And Charley doesn’t need a trapeze to fly through the air! He loves to fling his toys and then run and catch them, except when he flings the toys a little over exuberantly and they land in the sink.

He loves to play ball. I go out to watch him, but when I’ve had enough, I take the ball away from Charley and hide it. How else is the little terror has to learn who is numero uno at our Berkshires bed and breakfast?

He loves people and trips with Ellen. She reports that he is really very well-behaved in public. We just have to work on extending this to the private sector.

I have discovered that not only is Charley Ellen’s hearing dog but he’s mine, too! When Charley hears the stove time, the alarm clock, etc., he flings himself at Ellen (I just used to tap her lightly on the arm), takes her to the sound and gets a treat. Now I follow him and I get treats, too! This just may work out.

PS – How do you like Charley’s “natural” new hair styling?

Posted in Charley, Hearing Ear Dog, Quinn | Tagged , , , | Comments Off on The Start of a Beautiful Friendship

The British Are Coming… Again!

Lenox, MA Inn

Last year's British Motorcar Festival winner and his 1959 Lotus.

Last year’s British Motorcar Festival near our Lenox, MA inn was such an enormously successful event that it calls for an encore! This year’s Berkshire British Motorcar Festival hits the road June 15-17, 2012, in downtown historic Lenox and at Shakespeare & Co. just a couple of blocks from the center of town.

And you don’t have to have a British Motorcar to participate in the weekend events!


  • Fun Rally, a 30-minute self-guided rally, back (but paved!) roads driving tour of the scenic Berkshire hills.
  • Registrants’ Reception, 4-6 pm, for registrants, car owners and vendors on Shakespeare & Co.’s grounds.
  • At 6:15 pm, the British Motorcar owners with festival credentials form a procession to downtown Lenox. This is my favorite event of the weekend with the cars all lined up on the village streets. No drooling on the cars permitted! Also you can enjoy the live British Tribute Band, and savor food and drink along the way.


  • The Concours d’Elegance, the judged competition.


  • And it’s not over yet! Sunday features a 60-minute scenic driving tour, led by a 1947 Bentley, starting at 8:30 am. Be still my heart!
  • British-themed Tailgate Picnic Competition.
  • British Car Corral so get your checkbooks out as this is an opportunity to buy or sell a British motorcar or motorcycle.

Throughout the weekend British companies and vendors will be selling all things British at the British Market Place & Auto Jumble.

Come and have a great weekend during your stay at our Lenox, MA Inn!



Posted in Berkshires, Events, Festivals | Tagged , , , | Comments Off on The British Are Coming… Again!

Berkshire International Film Festival 2012 Showcases 70+ Independent Films

Berkshires Bed and Breakfast

The Berkshire International Film Festival (BIFF) continues to grow in popularity and in the number of films screened.
The 7th annual season is a celebration of the latest in independent feature, documentary, short, and family films. This year’s festival, with more than 70 films, runs from May 31 to June 3 in Great Barrington and Pittsfield.
The festival opens with the screening of the full-length documentary “Ethel” and will be presented by members of the Kennedy family, who will providing a special question and answer session.
Other festival highlights include the exclusive screening of “Marina Abramovic: The Artist Is Present,” with the producers and director present; and “Gregory Crewdson: Brief Encounters,” presented by the film’s director and the iconic local artist himself. Enjoy a romantic getaway and a good film during your stay at our Berkshires Bed and Breakfast!


Posted in Berkshires, Events, The Berkshires | Tagged , , , , , | Comments Off on Berkshire International Film Festival 2012 Showcases 70+ Independent Films

Eight Broads in the Kitchen

Nothing brings people together at our Berkshires B&B like food! Have I ever told you about the Eight Broads? If not, I have been remiss. Very much so.
Several years ago, eight innkeepers from across the US who share a passion for food – creating and eating – got together and created a food blog. They call themselves Eight Broads in the Kitchen – I am a Broad ex officio – and they put their best recipes, hints, and cooking/baking insights on this now very popular blog, www.eightbroadsinthekitchen.com.
In addition to the food blog, the Broads give food workshops at innkeeping conferences and write a food column for the International innkeepers’ magazine. A cookbook, of course, is in progress.
Despite their divergent backgrounds and personalities and the miles that separate them, over time the Broads have found that not only do they share this love for food but even more importantly they share a solid friendship. They form a support group for each other, sharing the ups and downs of life as well as innkeeping and even guests. No matter what life throws them, they offer Broad shoulders to each other. And they share a lot of laughs.
And they’ll share them with you at our Berkshires Inn!

Berkshires B&B Eight Broads

It's food, fun, and friendship for the Eight Broads in the Kitchen!

Posted in Food, Recipes | Tagged , , | Comments Off on Eight Broads in the Kitchen

New Kid on the Block at our B&B in Berkshires

lenox ma bed and breakfast charley

New Kid on the Block!

Quinn of our B&B in Berkshires says, “I would like to introduce my new brother C. Charley PAII. Charley, Ellen’s new hearing dog, is a Bichon mix and a bundle of energy. He makes me dizzy with his antics!”

“Charley has arrived on the heels of our sad loss of Piper, whose kidneys failed at 14 1/2, and Charley is working hard to soften the blow.”

“Charley is a shelter dog found on the street in a greatly neglected condition. But Brian, NEADS (National Association for Assistive Dog Training Services) trainer par excellence, had faith in this little ball of fluff. Soon Charley was in the MA prison program, where professional trainers like Brian work with minimum security prisoners to train service dogs. A warm and welcoming couple took Charley home on weekends to give him different experiences. Charley then went to NEADS training center to be trained for Ellen, just as I was 13 years ago.”

“Ellen and Charley have just returned to our inn in Berkshires from 7 days of intense training. Charley nails the sounds he alerts Ellen to — stove timer, alarm clock, door bell, smoke detector — perfectly and with such enthusiasm he nearly knocks Ellen over. He is not so great yet at obedience, but then he is a shelter dog and one who learned how to survive when he was on the street. They both bonded at first sight.”

“All is okay as Charley and I learn to live with each other, as long as he realizes that I am Alpha Dog and doesn’t try to play with Mrs. Hedgehog.”

Charley is settling in well at our Lenox MA Bed and Breakfast as he makes the transition from “inmate” to “innmates.”



Posted in Charley, Quinn | Tagged , , , , | Comments Off on New Kid on the Block at our B&B in Berkshires

Meet the New Family Member at our Berkshires Inn

Quinn says: It’s just about official — I retire as Ellen’s hearing dog in April! I will miss going everywhere with Ellen, and I will miss the traveling and seeing my far flung friends, but I get to sleep in. I won’t be disturbed in the middle of one of my naps to accompany Ellen to the supermarket, to the post office, to lunch. I will finally and officially be a Birchwood Inn pet.

So meet Curly (we are already referring to him as Charley)! Curly/Charley, Ellen’s new hearing dog, is an 18-pound Bichon mix, and my trainer Brian reports that Curly/Charley will be an excellent hearing dog. Ellen will go to NEADS in April for a week of training with Curly/Charley, and then he will come home to our Berkshires inn.

Since Curly/Charlie is white, I’d better not teach him to roll in the dirt as I love to do when Ellen’s not looking!

Berkshires Inn

Hi! I'm Curly aka Charley!

Posted in Charley, Hearing Ear Dog, Quinn | Tagged , , , , | Comments Off on Meet the New Family Member at our Berkshires Inn

It Takes A Community

Quinn says: The innkeeping community is a most caring one.

You may recall that although I’m as fit as a puppy, at age 12 1/2, I am losing my hearing. For a hearing service dog, this is like Beethoven losing his hearing. And so I am looking forward to retiring.

But in the meantime, NEADS, the organization that trains service dogs for the deaf, requests that we raise $9,500 (it costs $25,000 to raise and train each dog).

When Ellen and I arrived at the annual innkeeping conference in Little Rock in January, innkeepers, vendors and guests had raised about half of our goal. We never anticipated meeting and surpassing our goal so quickly. Innkeepers and vendors at the conference stuffed checks and cash in our pockets, including several checks for $1,000!

Berkshires Bed and Breakfast

Ellen and Quinn at the Innkeeping Conference

On the last morning of the conference, an innkeeper we had never met asked how much more was needed to hit the $9,500 target. $250.00? No sooner said than done, and we had a check for $250.00!

Since then more innkeepers, vendors, and guests have added contributions, putting us over $10,000. And we still have a raffle for a deluxe weekend for two at our Berkshires Bed and Breakfast.

This whole experience has been both exhilarating and humbling. It’s so incredible to realize that we have so many caring friends.

Innkeepers, vendors, and guests: Thank you for your generosity and caring.

So when does the new dog arrive? Anytime between now and Labor Day. We have no idea what breed the new dog is going to be, but you’ll be the first to know.


PS Re: Occupy Westminster, Goldens have moved up to fourth place from fifth as the most popular dogs in the US. We’ve got a lot going for us!



Posted in Hearing Ear Dog, Quinn | Tagged , , , , | Comments Off on It Takes A Community