Within an hour of my arrival to The Berkshires, I rush out to Jacob’s Pillow, the unique dance campus that has been declared a National Historic Landmark. To celebrate its 80th anniversary, it is mounting an enlightening photo display tracing decades of performances and featuring such luminaries as Mark Morris and Alvin Ailey when they were very young dancers. The dominant subjects of these photos, though, are Ted Shawn, the founder of Jacob’s Pillow, and his troupe called “Men Dancers,” usually shirtless and leaping with homoerotic abandon in the late 1930s.
Shakespeare and Company is a remarkable multi-theater complex in Lenox. Founded in 1978 by an Englishwoman Tina Packer, it was at first housed in Edith Wharton’s home, The Mount,. The company was able to purchase a permanent complex on a 30-acre estate where they moved in 2000. Throughout its 35 years, Shakespeare and Company has increased its reputation for theatre excellence and courage.
The Pulitzer Prize winning author Edith Wharton came from a privileged background and made a bob or two from her writing – enough to build this wonderful home, The Mount; but despite being rich and successful, she was always bucking gender limitations, not the least the accepted blueprint for women of her class as wife and hostess.
SATURDAY SEPTEMBER 17
My first stop is at the Cape Cod Canal that connects mainland Massachusetts to Cape Cod. I have many times passed over the Sagamore Bridge, one of three bridges that were part of the same canal construction project, on my way to Provincetown on the tip of the Cape, but I have neglected to understand the history of the canal underneath.
Entering Newport, I’m surprised by how old and beautiful it is. Founded in 1639, the town is full of tourists, twee shops and handsome 18th century houses. Down many side roads are views of the yacht-laden harbor and always-nearby shore. There are renowned attractions we won’t get to – from the popular Cliff Walk to the peculiar collection of 800+ living sculptures in the Victorian Green Animals Topiary Garden.
The hills are alive with colorful wildflowers in Fredericksburg, the heart of Texas Hill Country, where every spring Lady Bird Johnson's legacy blooms anew to the delight of travelers and locals.
Under a luminous full moon at midnight, my partner and I buy tickets for the shuttle bus from the airport to the Reykjavik central bus station. We pay 33 Euro for the two tickets and receive our change in Icelandic kroners, beautifully decorated paper money, including a 2,000 note with a woman in full frontal nudity. What a way to start our vacation.
Tuesday August 31
Friday August 27, 2010