I have the best sister in the world, and for a combo birthday-graduation gift, she bought a set of tickets for us to go see James Taylor and Carole King in Tanglewood. It was July 4th weekend, and the show was sold out. Originally we were going to make a weekend out of it, and we had gone so far as to put a deposit on a house that was for rent nearby. However, someone else’s deposit made it before ours did, and due to other circumstances, we opted to just make the day of it instead.
The concert was scheduled to begin at 7:00 pm and was about 2-1/2 hours from our house near Hartford, CT. We decided since it was a beautiful day to back-road it, and stop along the way for some lunch before we went to the show. As is custom with lawn seats at Tanglewood we had packed food and drinks. My husband, my daughter and her friend, and my sister and her boyfriend, and I split up into two vehicles for the trip.
Before I go, let me just say this about the guy who was pushing the baby-stroller with his precious cargo at around 5:00 pm. He had the cooler, the chips, the chairs, the table and the candelabra in the stroller, and he was making serious time. Dude- you rock!
The rest of us that decided to lug coolers that were filled with ice, laden with beer, and heavy as hell-well let’s just say, the stroller dude was much cooler than we were when all was said and done. The lesson here is that if you go to Tanglewood, pack lightly and carry wisely, and get there earlier rather than later.
Fitzwilly’s for lunch
Ok, so back to our day. We landed in Northampton, MA for lunch at a great local restaurant called Fitzwilly’s. They had a “conversation” area that we stood in while they arranged our requested table for six. We enjoyed looking at the uniquely decorated antiques and gadgets that were strategically placed throughout. When we were seated, we ordered a round of appetizers first, and then we ordered our drinks from the family-friendly menu.
Sharing the appetizers by passing them around to the right, we soon were full. We departed fatter and happier than we had arrived. The waitress was awesome, accommodating our requests for pictures and more napkins. She could sense we were a rowdy bunch of 30-somethings…
Seeing the sites in Northampton, MA on the way
Since we were in Northampton, we took a walk along Main Street. Northampton is an eclectic city that has fine art, NY caliber restaurants, as well housing many Smith college students. We donated a dollar to one of the homeless and then we walked to Thorne’s Market, enjoying the many boutiques and restaurants in the mall and along Main Street.
Time was flying by so we got back to the cars and hopped in the car and headed for the hills of the Berkshires. We had underestimated our journey by about an hour and a half, but about an hour into it, it was obvious where we were going because everyone else was going there too.
Arriving at Tanglewood
We found Tanglewood out in the middle of a field in Lenox, MA. Seeing the cars being lined up in fields surrounding the venue reminded me of visiting an amusement park. There were people everywhere, and after making it past the ticket security area, we saw a plethora of blankets, chairs and faces and no empty spots.
The sold out show was made up of people of all ages. It was a beautiful day, with the sun still shining as we found our spot a little bit back from the crowd, near the restrooms but still in the direct range of the stage.
I didn’t want to sit in the hot sun or be amongst a million people so we sat near the back where there was shade and more room. We scattered at different points of the show to dance, to enjoy the grounds, or get closer to the stage.
James Taylor’s ‘You’ve got a friend’ had the house standing, but I think it was Carole King’s, ‘A Natural Woman’ that made the crowd thunder. I don’t think I stopped dancing the whole night. We laughed, ate, drank, and enjoyed the easy going crowd. People lit candles as the night grew dark and it was a wonderful atmosphere for children and adults alike.
Around 10 o’clock we managed to get back to our cars with a load that was much lighter, but still heavier than it should have been.
We’ll know next time to take back packs and only pack what we each can carry, or get a stroller. We hung in the parking lot for a bit as the traffic was backed up, and we enjoyed reminiscing. By that point I was pretty cooked, and the next day I was dehydrated, and sick as a dog. Lesson here: Hydrate, particularly in the sun, when dancing, walking, lugging coolers, drinking, and having a blast!
What an awesome day with my loved ones, enjoying music I grew up on. It couldn’t have been more perfect. Thanks my big little sistah for a great day, and thanks James Taylor and Carole King for making beautiful music for me to enjoy with my family. Tanglewood is peaceful, natural and relaxing.