Rural Intelligence: The Online Magazine for Eastern New York, Western Connecticut and the Southern Berkshires
Wednesday, November 25, 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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Rural Intelligence

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Kent Chamber of Commerce

Home-Grown Holidays: Your Food Shopping List Starts Here

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Like most people, our minds are frequently on eating, and never more so than during the winter months — we’ve got to keep up our energy! Thankfully, as RI’s Katherine Abbott found out, local farm-grown food isn’t just a warm-weather phenomenon. Our neighborhood farm stores are offering a widening range of condiments, ingredients and prepared foods year round. She’s collected some of the best fresh veggies, local meats, cheeses, sweets and other goodies our region has to offer. These items are perfect to either give or, more likely, to keep for yourself and serve at your own holiday table.

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Rodgers Book Barn: A Book Lover's Oasis In The Woods

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Despite the intrusion of the internet on book sales, the Rural Intelligence region is lucky: with few big box bookstores in the area, independent shops have been able to thrive. One of them is Rodgers Book Barn, tucked away in the woods of Hillsdale, New York,. It’s filled to the rafters (a former hay barn) with 50,000 books carefully chosen by the owner, Maureen Rodgers, who’s curated the hobbit-like shop for 40 years. With nooks and crannies in which to spend time with your selections, a blazing wood stove, and — most importantly — merchandise in great condition and even better prices — Rodgers Book Barn is worth finding, even if it means you might get lost in the stacks.

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When you’re hungry and living in a no-delivery-service zone, you have to make the best of what’s in your pantry. Jacque Schiller rustled up a soup made with ingredients most kitchens will have on hand. Broth, garlic bulbs, eggs and bread — see, you have all that, don’t you? — are transformed into a fragrant, satisfying soup. (Added benefit: The garlic might ward away the evils of a cold.)

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This week we celebrated two anniversaries and a much-anticipated annual event when The Triplex Cinema blew out the candles for 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 primo dancers.

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No doubt about it: these Italianate properties, suggesting the romantic villas of Renaissance Italy, are architectural jewels and a vestige of the way homes were built in the Victorian era. The listings this week feature houses that have been beautifully updated, but retain the nearly flat roofs, grand staircases and even a vintage gazebo of the past. It’s love, Italianate-style.

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PlaceInvaders, a NYC-based team of pop-up dinner party planners will be in Great Barrington on Dec. 4-6 for a weekend of five secret dining experiences. They won’t say where just yet, but based on their past events, it’ll be someplace fabulous. Each meal (brunch as well as dinner) is capped at 24 guests, so get your tickets early.

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Own a mansion for a day, or just pamper yourself as if you did, at Blantyre in Lenox, Mass. The elegant estate’s new general manager, Christopher Brooks, invites locals to sip afternoon tea, enjoy lunch or dinner, and take advantage of Sunday brunch featuring “Gilded Age cocktails.” Wine tastings and one-night stays also are available.

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The artist, who lives in North Adams, Mass., has received worldwide attention for her intricate practice of quilling, in which she creates exquisite work using bits of rolled paper. The first astounding body of work focused on medical imagery, which led to her being asked to discuss her practice at the TEDMED conference in Washington, D.C.

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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

November 25, Great Barrington Mahaiwe Join Arlo Guthrie for a special screening of Alice’s Restaurant, with an on-stage interview moderated by WAMC’s Alan Chartock before the film, and followed by an audience Q & A. 7 p.m.

November 27, Massachusetts Trustees of Reservations In support of REI’s Black Friday #OptOutside campaign, The Trustees will waive entry & parking fees at several popular properties, including Monument Mountain in Great Barrington.

November 27, Millbrook J.McLaughlin Karen Klopp, founder of, and illustrator Lara Glaister will sign copies of their new book, Packing for Travel. 15% of sales at the event will be donated to the Dutchess Land Conservancy. 5-7 p.m.

November 27 & 28, Claverack Traditions Linens Factory Outlet Thanksgiving Traditions Sale: save on linen napkins, cotton sheet sets, stonewashed coverlets, terry towels and much more. 9 a.m. - 4 p.m.

November 27 & 28, Pine Plains Le Shopping @ Stissing House Local artists & artisans present new creations. The preview benefit Fri. from 5-8 p.m. supports the Pine Plains Pantry & the Parade of Lights. The event continues on Sat. from 11 a.m. - 7 p.m.

November 27 & 28, Kent Champagne Stroll A weekend of shopping, dining and champagne sipping. Sample over 30 champagnes at participating businesses. 5-8 p.m.

November 27—29, Hudson Basilica Hudson Basilica Farm + Flea: an alternative to “Black Friday,” featuring quality products from a diverse group of about 125 regional makers, farmers, chefs & vintage collectors. The Black Friday Soirée with cocktails & sales is Friday from 5-9 p.m.

November 27—29, New Milford Local Artist Craft Show Artists include photographers, glass and fiber artists, soapmakers, blacksmiths, jewelers & others. A portion of the proceeds go to The Animal Welfare Society of New Milford. Railroad Station, 10 a.m. - 5 p.m.

November 27—29, 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.

November 28, Ancram Ancram Opera House Open House: meet Jeff and Paul, the new proprietors, and enjoy refreshments and live music from The Hayroller Trio. 2-5 p.m.

November 28, Litchfield Oliver Wolcott Library Festival of Trees The Library’s most important fundraising event of the year will include hors d’oeurves and an open bar, a special live auction and a silent auction of gifts and one-of-a-kind experiences. 5-8:30 p.m.

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 24th 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 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 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 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