Friday Field Trip

Crystal and I set out on a Berkshires to Northampton to Springfield and back to home day trip on Friday. It was her last "offical" day off of summer and I had taken the day off as well so we could do something interesting.

It was overcast and foggy as we left home in the morning, after a bit of time traveling west on Rt. 2 the skys opened up and the rain began pouring down. Oh joy! That lasted for about half an hour or so, rain falling at a pretty good clip as I squinted thru some rather unfamiliar single lane roads. By the time we hit The Mohawk Trail area the sun was peeking out behind the clouds. Jeez, I forget this part of Massachusetts even exists, where there are roadside stands selling indian mocassins, and rubber indian drums and tomahawks for the kids. This one place we went to was a total blast from the past, where they were still selling bright orange Massachusetts bumper stickers that were straing out of 1972. I think the price hasn't changed since 1972 either as they were priced at .57 cents.

Our 1st stop was Mass MOCA in North Adams after taking a brief detour to The Bridge of Flowers in Shelburne Falls. MOCA was aiiight, The Huan Yong Ping exhibit was hit or miss I thought some of his pieces were crap, but Manuscript Through The Wall, The Nightmare of George V, and Bat Project were interesting. Bat Project used the fuselage of an EP-3 spyplane similar to the US spyplane that crashed into a Chinese fighter plane in 2001, killing the pilot. If you recall the Chinese government held onto this plane for a few months before handing it back over to US officials in July of '01. Ping filled the inside of the fueslage with 100's of taxidermied bats of various sizes which created a pretty haunting effect.

Carsten Holler's Amusement Park exhibt made for some great photo op's. I was expecting a bit more than a couple old rides with their lights flickering on and off to varying degrees. The fact that you were surrounded by these park rides minus the calliope music while inside a darkened old mill building was pretty interesting though. The great mirror set up at the far end of the room also toyed with your senses.

After leaving MOCA we headed for Northampton with stops at a small farmers market and country store in Florida, MA. Before Northampton though we popped on into the Yankee Candleflagship store in South Deerfield. In know that Yankee Candle (ticker: YCC) recently announced a lower EPS for the 2nd quarter and reduced yearly guidance. You would never know it by walking through their showplace in Western Massachusetts. The flagship store is certainly branching out in many ways and is attempting to do more business than just candles and Christmas. There upscale kitchen and bath sections were bigger than ever with alot of focus being put on higher end kitchen do-dads, such as Mario Batali spoons, sauces, cookware etc.

The stock has been trading at a 52 week low as recent as a few weeks ago and I see that YCC has signed Lehman Brothers to "seek strategic alternatives, which could include a sale of the company" It would be a shame to see Yankee Candle sold, IMO, but it could be interesting to see how the stock acts in the near term.

Back to the roadtrip... Northhampton was pretty much a non event as we breezed in and out of Main Street and on to Springfield. We had two missions in Springfield.
*Nerd Alert*
Ms. C. and I have taken up geocaching as of late, and we were going to Springfield to drop a travel bug in a stash. Geocaching involves putting some latitude and longitude coordinates into our GPS unit and tring to find a hidden Rubbermaid container filled with knick-knacks hidden somewhere in the woods, all without getting on each others nerves about where we should be looking and without catching poision ivy. As we both did on Monday in Newport!

After finding the cache we headed to the Springfield Quadrangle as I wanted to photgraph the Dr. Suess sculptures there. I thought the sculptures were part of a public park, but come to find out that the Quandrangle is totally fenced in and access is only granted with admission to the Springfield Museums. As it was already past 6pm, I bagged out on that idea, I didn't feel just going into the courtyard to shoot some pictures for 20 minutes warrented the price of admission.

So all in all we travelled about 300 miles, picked up a half dozen ears of freshly picked corn which we had on the grill last night and some fresh maple syrup which we had on some totally tasty french toast this morning.

You can see other pics from our adventures by clicking on my buzznet pics on the right!!


Anonymous said...

it was a super weekend...But the Best part of the weekend was Sunday doing nothing all day...

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