Remember my favorite vacation pastime? Looks like we’ve found another 3 favorite B’s to go with that Thanksgiving set of 3 B’s. And that is: Beach Boys. Berkshires. Becky. This weekend, I had the honor of going on a trip to Tanglewood, the summer home of the Boston Symphony Orchestra (BSO) whose year-round home is a block from my apartment. I’ve always wanted to go to the Symphony, and it’s definitely on my Boston bucket list, but this was the energetic summer version in the middle of the mountains that every Bostonian needs as an escape from the city. Thanks to the generosity of my scholarship, I was able to go out to the Berkshires for a day and bring a friend, so Becky came along!
And that’s where we got tangled in a wood. Only a 2 hour bus ride led us to the great outdoors, all woodsy as expected, and very close to Williams College where I would’ve seen Neena if she wasn’t frequenting Switzerland right about now. Sidenote: she complained that I was so close to her this time, but technically she’s in Switzerland, so there’s no complaining allowed. Becky and I talked on the entire bus ride there (and back) because we already spend too much time together, so what’s 4 more hours?
Once we got past the parking nightmare that was driving through Lee and into Lenox, small town New England, we wandered out into one of the most beautiful summer days that could possibly exist even before the summer solstice. Armed with a printed sheet, supersized mason jars, and sunscreen, we picked a nice sunny spot on the lawn. The magic of Tanglewood is that the acoustics are so amazing that you can hear music clearly from any corner of the venue. You don’t have to be in the shady VIP area (unless you’re in the shady VIP kinda mood) to just enjoy the music.
After picking a spot, Becky and I decided to wander through the wood to catch the most stunning view of the Berkshires over a lake in the middle of nowhere. Considering my view has been of my neighbor’s fire escape, I’m greatly envious of the people who get to live here year round. Better yet, we found an area of gardens dedicated to benefactors of the BSO and of conductors past that are built around a sundial. To one corner, there was a whisper bench, to another a trellis-lined dining space. Some tree caves (is that the official term? I don’t go outdoors often, so this is new to me) and chipmunks were our primary discoveries. We’d fallen through the rabbit hole and wandered into a Massachusetts wonderland.
Our background music was none other than a concert of the Beach Boys, with two of the original members (!), and an ensemble playing all the songs from Pet Sounds. I hear that if you haven’t listened to Pet Sounds, you haven’t really been musically educated, according to Paul McCartney. Becky and I danced along, feasted even, out in the mountains listening to the Beach Boys and agree that the only place more perfect for this day would’ve been a beach. But for now the mountains will do.
During the encore, we waited and waited and waited for them to play “Surfin’ USA” so naturally the second that they did we both completely lit up and started grooving. I mean, what else do you do to a live performance by the Beach Boys? You “tell the teacher we’re surfin’ USA,” that’s what you do.
Traveling to the Berkshires even for a day meant getting outside the city for a quick trip, hitting a reset button, and coming back to Boston a little more energized. I always say that Boston is an awfully difficult city to be in without a purpose, and even though I’m researching and reading on the regular, it feels purpose-less compared to semesters filled with classes in the most educated city in the world. A breath of fresh air, up high in the mountains, and a little summer breeze might just be all you need to recharge and get back to work a little happier this Monday.