Rural Intelligence: The Online Magazine for Eastern New York, Western Connecticut and the Southern Berkshires
Tuesday, December 01, 2015
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Links to stories concerning our region in other media:

The New York Times
What Nancy Fuller Ginsberg Loves

The “Farmhouse Rules” TV host shows off her Hudson, N.Y. home.

Yankee Magazine
A Visit to Pittsfield, Massachusetts

Reporter Heather Marcus finds a lot to love—and photograph—at Hancock Shaker Village and Hotel On North.

The New York Times
Ruth Reichl Recharges in the Kitchen

The RI-area resident and former editor of the defunct Gourmet magazine is set to publish her first solo cookbook since 1971.

The Boston Globe
Ella Baff, looking back on a legacy at Jacob’s Pillow

The executive and artistic director looks back at her 17 years at the helm of the Becket, Mass. dance festival.

Architectural Digest
A Stylish New Hotel Opens in the Berkshires

The new Hotel on North in Pittsfield, Mass. mixes the local with the historical.

The New York Times
Karen Allen at Home in the Berkshires

The actress-turned-director invites RI’s co-founder, Dan Shaw, into her Monterey, Mass. home.

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Kent Chamber of Commerce



Homemade For The Holidays: Local Shopping, RI Style

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You’ve heard of Small Business Saturday, which falls on November 28 this year, but buying locally has become second nature in a region so ripe with talented farmers and artisans. Around this time of year, abundant local fairs, markets and showcases are making it even easier to support creative community entrepreneurs while you shop for everything you need to make your holidays bright. To streamline your shopping expeditions, we’ve compiled a guide to some of the many holiday maker festivals so you can plan ahead. Here’s where to find the perfect gift for everyone on your list.

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The Curtain Rises On A New Vision For The Ancram Opera House

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You’re invited to an open house on Saturday, Nov. 28, at the new/old Ancram Opera House, which will soon be open for business once again. Thanks to the more-than-able pair of directors/actors/teachers Paul Ricciardi and Jeff Mousseau, the nearly century-old institution will soon offer world-class performances, events and classes. RI’s Jamie Larson explores the unassuming former grange hall in the rural middle of our region. The new helmsmens' theatrical connections leave us assured that they will transform the little building (with surprising acoustics and pastoral ambiance) into a destination for all.

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Give your New Year's Eve duds a test run on Friday, Dec. 11, when the Vanderbilt Mansion in Hyde Park celebrates its 75th with a diamond anniversary champagne reception. “Diamond” decorations, glasses of bubbly, hors d’oeuvres, and a first-time-ever peek into the former owners’ enormous closets is all on the agenda.

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We attended a much-anticipated event when The Triplex Cinema blew out the candles on 20 years of great film in South County. Berkshire Museum's 2015 Festival of Trees honored the new and old West, and Kaatsbaan International Dance Center threw a 25th anniversary gala with help from some famous friends and dancers.

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This week we offer listings for people who prefer being surrounded by nature over neighbors. None have fewer than 100 acres, and there’s even one with an astounding 1,000. The homes on this kind of land are just as grand. Here’s room to spread out, build on and create your own kingdom in the Rural Intelligence region.

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If you have a fireplace (or if you don't, a regular old oven will do), we’ve got a seasonally appropriate recipe for you to try. RI editor Lisa Green’s husband has been itching to use their fireplace to make the famous “chestnuts roasting on an open fire.” Lisa agrees to play along, but only if she can add a sweetly flavored potion to her portion, and finds one that works.

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We love the holiday farmers markets, but there are more ways to get ready for your upcoming feasts without resorting to the big box stores. Our neighborhood farm stores are offering a wide range of condiments, ingredients and prepared foods. We point out some of the farms, bakeries and other purveyors stocking up for the holidays so you can, too.

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The ceramic artist, who has her own studio in Spencertown, N.Y., is originally from Wisconsin but lived in Chicago and New York before moving to the Berkshires. At this time of year, Davis is busy bringing her dinnerware and distinctive giftware (we love the yoga-inspired mini trays) to pop-up holiday shops, such as Farm + Flea in Hudson.

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Instant Intelligence

For even more information about upcoming events, check out our Dining, Music & Dance, Visual Arts, Shopping, Books, Theater, Movies, Kids, and Save the Date sections. Please submit your own event to

December 3—5, Great Barrington McTeigue & McClelland Diamond & Estate Buying Event: a Graduate Gemologist will evaluate diamonds & fine jewelry you’d like to sell, at no charge or obligation. Immediate payment for all items purchased. An appointment is encouraged. Call 800-956-2826 or email

December 4, Williamstown Clark Art Kick off Holiday Walk Weekend with dinner and a concert. Jonathan Dely leads a jazz ensemble performing holiday favorites. Stay to enjoy a seasonal, three-course supper by Dan Hardy and another spin on the dance floor. 6:30 p.m.

December 4, Poughkeepsie Celebration of Lights The parade begins at 6:30 pm on Main & Garden Streets. Enjoy live music, a visit from Santa & Mrs. Claus, Christmas tree lightings, fireworks & a screening of Miracle on 34th Street at the Bardavon at 8 p.m.

December 4—6, Williamstown Holiday Walk Live music, craft-making, ice-carving demo, sleigh rides, “A Christmas Carol” reading and, of course, the Reindog Parade. See website for all events and times.

December 4—6, Stockbridge Stockbridge Main Street at Christmas Events include a luminaria caroling walk, live choral performances, historic house tours, children’s story time, and the beloved real-life recreation of the famous Norman Rockwell painting.

December 4—6, Kinderhook Vanderpoel House of History Gallery of Wreaths exhibition and silent auction to benefit the Columbia County Historical Society’s public programs. Place all bids before 4 p.m. on Sunday.

December 5, Rhinebeck Sinterklaas Festival Enjoy kids’ workshops, dance, theater and music throughout the village all day. The Children’s Starlight Parade begins at 6 p.m. & features two-story-tall, animated puppets carried by hundreds of volunteers.

December 5, Chatham WinterFest Enjoy horse-drawn carriage rides down Main Street and visit the many shops for special holiday offerings. 10 a.m.-4 p.m.

December 5, Rhinbeck Wilderstein Yuletide Tea: a festive holiday event featuring a variety of tea, finger sandwiches, homemade cakes and cookies. Tour of the mansion included in cost.Reservations are necessary, as limited seating fills up quickly. 1 p.m.

December 5, Hudson Winter Walk Warren Street is transformed into a festive boulevard with twinkling lights, decorated shops, Mr. & Mrs. Santa Claus, live reindeer, a petting zoo, a horse-drawn wagon, live music and other performers, fireworks & much more. 5-8 p.m.

December 5 & 6, Spencertown Spencertown Academy Handmade Holiday Pop-up Shop: a curated sale featuring cards, ceramics, jewelry, quilts, cutting boards, knitwear, puppets, glass, paper crafts & edibles made by Columbia, Ulster & Berkshire County residents. 10 a.m. - 4 p.m.

December 6, Lenox Ventfort Hall A Very Special Holiday Tea: celebrate the publication of Tea at the Mansion: Recipes from Ventfort Hall Mansion and Gilded Age Museum with sweet and savory selections from the cookbook, and live music from pianist Karen Tchougourian. 3 p.m.

December 7, Great Barrington Railroad Street Youth Project The annual Culinary Arts Apprenticeship Dinner will feature wine, hors d’oeuvres and a 5-course tasting menu prepared by the students and their professional chef mentors. Crissey Farm, 5:30 p.m.

December 10, Norfolk Norfolk Night A holiday celebration featuring live caroling, photo opps, Christmas trees and wreaths for sale, late-night shopping and restaurant specials.

December 10, Hudson Time & Space Limited Qu’est qui ce passe (What’s going on): A Video Art Show. A night of screenings and installations featuring the work of international artists Zia Anger, Maria Gysi, Nathan Corbin, Luc Gut, Lena-Maria Thüring and Miles Pflanz. 6 p.m.

December 11, Kinderhook Candlelight Night Enjoy live music, food, artisan goods, horse-drawn wagon rides, holiday photo opps, decorating contest, live animals, Santa Claus and more. Village Square, 5:30-8:30 p.m.

December 11, West Stockbridge Six Depot Cafe Nejaime’s Lenox Wine Cellars presents a Spanish wine seminar with Mike Smith of Ole Wine Imports. Twelve wines will be paired with cheeses and charcuterie. 5:30 p.m.

December 12, New Lebanon Mountain Road School Holiday Fair with local vendors and artisans, arts and crafts for all ages, and food and drink. Free and open to the public. 11 a.m. - 4 p.m.

December 12, Great Barrington McTeigue & McClelland Annual Holiday Open House at the stunning new showroom (corner of Routes. 23 and 7). Enjoy some holiday cheer while viewing the latest collections. 2-7 p.m.

December 12, New Milford harts gallery Chef Joel Viehland will prepare food and wine tastings, and offer a preview of his new project, as a benefit for the harts gallery’s children’s art program. 5-8 p.m.

December 12, Valatie WinterWalk & Parade The evening kicks off with Santa Claus leading the parade. Enjoy sales at local stores, holiday treats, artisans and raffles, as well as live music, dancers and entertainment until 9 p.m.

For even more information about upcoming events, check out our:
Dining Intelligence (Listings of Food and Drink Events & Restaurant Features)
Music & Dance Listings
Visual Arts Listings
Local Shopping Listings
Books Listings
Theater Listings
Local Movies Listings
Kids Calendar Listings
Save the Date Listings
Please submit your own event to