By Elodie Reed
UpCountry Magazine celebrated the beginning of the cultural season (and the end of a long winter) with the first UpCountry Wine, Food and Spirits Celebration in May.
At the newly renovated Eastover Estate and Eco-Village’s Tally Ho in Lenox, Mass., attendees dined on hors d’oeuvres from Berkshire caterers and sampled wines from local sellers, while mingling with hosts of various performing arts venues about upcoming performances.
On stage, the Berkshire Jazz Collective played beneath red and blue lights. Youth musicians in Kids 4 Harmony, the free after-school music program run by Berkshire Children and Families Inc., performed three songs. (A portion of the night’s proceeds was donated to Kids 4 Harmony.)
Tatiana Cruz attended the UpCountry celebration to watch her daughter, Heather, play the cello in Kids 4 Harmony.
“The best part is that it keeps the kids busy — it gives them something to do,” Tatiana said.
Before and after the Kids 4 Harmony performance, folks crowded around round tables on the Tally Ho dance floor to eat, drink and chat.
Bev and Bob Moncy of Pittsfield attended with Karen O’Donnell and Peter Sheffer of Richmond. O’Donnell said she was at the event since she was “always up for a party,” but she was especially wanting to see what Eastover Estate looked like after its current owners, Yingxing Wang and Gudjon Hermansson, bought the 600-acre property in 2010 and renovated it.
The Moncys used to work for General Electric in Pittsfield. Back in the day, the Tally Ho was a popular place for company parties.
“We had all the GE functions here and we loved the place,” Bob said.
During a tour of the property’s mansion, which has been updated throughout from guest rooms to sitting rooms, Pittsfield resident Kristene Erwin took photos on her cell phone and reminisced about her parents’ annual ski trip to Eastover. “My parents came for 25 years,” she said.
While some at the UpCountry celebration thought back to old traditions in the Berkshires, others anticipated what they might do this summer.
Natalie Matus, who grew up visiting Pittsfield and moved there full-time last year, listed off her summer plans: yoga on the lake, the farmers market, live theater and Tanglewood. “Especially picnicking on the lawn,” she said.
Rebecca Sheir and her 2-year-old son, Igor, had their own little private picnic of sorts just outside the Tally Ho. Igor munched on his first-ever chocolate-dipped strawberry.
Rebecca writes “little-known history pieces” for UpCountry, about things like the Upper Housatonic Valley African American Heritage Trail. She said she used to visit the Berkshires on vacation, then her family moved to West Stockbridge from Washington, D.C. That’s when she said she started uncovering the stories she writes now. While the summer season is nice, she said, the region’s four seasons — long winters or not — are better.
“When you’re here year-round, that’s when the magic happens,” she said.
Elodie Reed is a freelance journalist living in Williamstown.