Tanglewood and Floating the Deerfield: Summer Essentials

Wine glass holders are fashionable accessories at Tanglewood in Lenox.
Wine glass holders are fashionable accessories at Tanglewood in Lenox.

This summer I took my companion to two places that to me are what summer is all about in the western Massachusetts. Like the great song by Jonathan Richman, “That Summer Feeling,” what is more summer than a Friday night picnic on the lawn at Tanglewood? Or a leisurely float down the Deerfield river on a Sunday afternoon?

I was pleasantly surprised when I learned that Mary had done neither of these things, and excited to bring her along and show her all of it. I think that something as sublime as that late afternoon light at Tanglewood is best when shared, like wine, and she drank it all in.

Tanglewood is about music, but it’s the people watching as concertgoers found their picnic spots and spread out their summer feasts that fascinated her. We watched old friends reunite and set out their little tables, and special holders for their wine glasses that stuck into the lawn, and then as night fell over Lenox, the sounds of Mozart and Ravel would entrance us as we sat back in our chairs.


Sunday’s excursion to the Deerfield involved the usual clatter of preparation: blowing up floats and making sure our route would be filled with plenty of water and no portaging. The recent rains and the timed release of dams up above took care of that.

The Deerfield was brown and flowing nicely when we entered at Bardswell Ferry. Bobbing along with the current, sipping a canned beer, we hooked together all four vessels for part of the journey and then as often happens, the women stuck together as the men did the same, talking as we lazily made our way down.

After two perfect hours of floating, a crew of 20-somethings by the bank indicated we had reached our final put out, Stillwater Bridge.

A parking ticket up on the road was a fine and reasonable price to pay for our day on the river.