The Marketplace Café

Marketplace café menu

The Marketplace cafe has soooo many tempting choices that it can be very hard to decide, salads, paninis, wraps and sandwiches and then there are all the different tea and coffee drinks. If you have a woman in front of in line that’s taking forever to choose, that’s probably me, please forgive me.

They always have great vegan options as well as gluten free items.

Marketplace cafe

One of my favorite things to get at Marketplace is their soups, which change daily and the selections are always posted on their Facebook page. My mother and I love their vegetarian chili, it’s so chalked full of veggies. Anytime I need an extra pick-me-up I go for their dirty chai, which is chai with a shot of espresso, and yes it’s as good as it sounds.

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Can I admit that I love this place as much for the people watching as I do the food?

I’m a writer who’s always searching for inspiration and this place never let’s me down. There is always an unending array of interesting characters who supply great entertainment as well as great ideas.

BYOB at the marketplace

They’re also a great place great for local entertainment and the fact that they allow you to bring your own alcohol makes it even better.

The next show at Marketplace:

Podunk Throwbacks
Thursday, April 17th 2014 @ 6:30pm

Book of the Week 4/11/14

Book of the Week 4/11/14

I know this book is a few years old but I never got around to reading even though I really wanted to. So I decided to read this as part of Bookish Bingo! hoping that it qualifies for the book told by a child category. I loved this book from the moment I picked it up, the main character Lily is fourteen and has such a genuine honest voice when telling her story. I found the catalyst of the story, the event that set off Lily’s running away with her friend and caretaker Rosaleen a bit far-fetched in an otherwise great story, but then again I didn’t live in the south in the 1960’s so who am I to say Rosaleen wouldn’t have reacted the way she did to the three racist men which got her is so much trouble. This is one of those stories that you just want to sit outside on a sunny day and slowly meander through as you drink a glass of lemonade. I hope you enjoy it as well.

Letting an Apartment on vacation

845-Parisphoto 1images

I love that phrase “letting an apartment”, it always reminds me of Pride and Prejudice, in American English it translates to renting an apartment.

Why rent an apartment on vacation?

Why NOT? When I first started researching hotels in both Paris and London, the few hotels in our price range were a bit old and wilted in my opinion, especially London with it’s leftover olympic village feel hotel dorms. I figured why not save the money and stay in a hostel, they seemed to be of the same quality, but hubby refused. Stupid horror movies giving hostels a bad name.

Then I stumbled across a website called homeaway.com and a few others offering all sorts of options with nice, clean, homey feeling places to stay. Yes, some are just a room where you are staying with your host family but there are also plenty of apartments that are completely yours for however long you stay, complete with your own bathroom, kitchen facilities and sometimes even a washer. Hubby was still a little leery of giving quite a bit of money to some random person and then traveling to a foreign country just to discover the place didn’t even exist, so I did a lot of checking and found only good things about such reputable sites as Homeaway.com or Flipkey.com (Which is run by trip advisor) I would be a lot more hesitant to risk my vacation with craigslist or other less monitored sites, they seem to have more of a horror story potential.

I booked both our Paris and London apartments through homeaway.com. Their website was very helpful with tips and suggestions for people trying vacation renting for the first time. I have been in contact with the apartment’s owners and feel pretty confident about our upcoming stay. Both required half of the money upfront, one went through paypal and the owners of the second apartments is more of a rental company and only took credit card which was fine. Obviously NEVER give out your bank account information or send a money order if you’re going to book an apartment.

I’m really hoping all goes according to plan because another benefit of staying in an apartment is you get to live like a local, which is one of my goals in traveling, I don’t want to be a tourist! I want to blend in I want to soak up the culture and the surroundings. How about you, do you have an experience with staying in a vacation rental or do you prefer a traditional hotel stay?

Headed to the Gilded Age

 

Ventford Hall
Ventford Hall

I guess you don’t particularly think of folk music when you think of the gilded age, however sitting in this beautiful old house in front of the crackling fireplace listening to the mesmerizing music of Oakes and Smith, it felt perfect.

Ventfort Hall in Lenox, Massachusetts is hosting free folk music events every Wednesday night in April 5:30-7:00. It makes for a great date night.

Oakes and Smith were a great start to this performance series. They performed a mix of original and cover songs and I have to say I enjoyed their original songs the best. Flowers in a fountain and Giant were by far my favorite. I loved hearing the stories behind the songs. Katherine Smith is the singer and she has a voice that is absolutely enchanting, it makes you put down what ever you were doing and just listen. Check them out if you get the chance. Oakesandsmith.net

Also for more information about Ventfort Hall click here

Baby Gift shopping in the Berkshires

I might be considered strange but I actually enjoy baby showers. Yes the oohing and awing over the baby clothes and toys might get a little old and the games are  as stale and moldy as the three week old bread stuffed in the back of my cupboard. This baby’s going to be a Berkshire baby and I knew  we needed to get her started off right. So, after consulting the gift registry for a good idea of our co-worker’s taste and what others had already bought, we checked yelp for baby stores in our area. There were also a couple baby clothing stores at the Lenox Premium Outlets however they didn’t keep with our objective of keeping it local. We started at Persnickety Toys, because, well it was the closest.

Persnickety Toys

Persnickety Toys 137 N St Pittsfield, MA 01201 Phone number (413) 236-8697 Mon Closed Tue – Fri 10:00 am – 6:00 pm Sat 10:00 am – 5:00 pm Sun 11:00 am – 4:00 pm

Persnickey toys Stuffed Animals

Knowing it’s essentially just a toy store we really weren’t expecting much, however it did have some great options, including a great selection of stuffed animal. We chose not to purchase anything there but decided to check out what the other stores offered and then come back if need be.

Our next stop was a little unorthodox because this wasn’t listed on yelp as a baby store but Museum facsimiles Outlet Store is just down the street from Persnickety toys was one of my favorite stores. They have a small selection of baby items if you’re looking for something unique. They have some beautiful baby blankets that are handmade in Pittsfield for around $40.

museum facsimiles

Museum facsimiles

 

We still hadn’t found exactly what we were looking for so we decided to take a trip up to North Adams to see what Shima had to offer.

Shima North Adams

Shima 65 Main St North Adams, MA 01247 Phone number (413) 346-1055 Hours: CLOSED Tuesdays & Sundays | Mondays 12-4pm | Wed.-Sat. 10:00am – 5:30pm

Shima at first glance was a little intimidating because of it’s very earthy, organic vibe, I’m still just wading into the shallow end of the organic, natural lifestyle. My fears were totally unfounded, it’s a great little shop with a lot of great options and the woman behind the counter was friendly without being invasive. This place has a lot of inexpensive, gently used baby clothes. I bought a Pride and Prejudice board book. It’s so cute! Check out their website Click Here

The Gifted Child Lenox Massachusetts

The Gifted Child 72 Church St Lenox, MA 01240 Phone number (413) 637-1191 Hours- Monday-Saturday 10:00am-5:30pm     Sunday 11:00am-4:00pm

Wow! Turns out this should have been our first stop. The Gifted Child had everything a person could ever want for not only babies but every gift throughout a kid’s life. We will definitely start here next time we’re looking for a gift and highly recommend that you do the same, this store will not let you down.

Any other suggestions? Where do you shop for baby gifts in the berkshires?

Desperados North Adams, MA

Let me warn you right now, this Mexican Grille no es autentico, that being said if you’re in the mood for some good Tex mex food, this is a great place to try.

Redheaded Mexican
Redheaded Mexican

The name had more appeal then the actual dish. I’m almost sure if you like enchiladas you would like this meal. It was just a little too soggy and drowned in sauce for me. I should have gotten my husband’s Cali tacos which were much better.

Cali Tacos
Cali Tacos

My husband had to be a little difficult  and asked for pork tacos instead of the shrimp, beef or chicken that were offered on the menu. They were willing to accommodate him which was appreciated.

Drink selection is good and the chips and salsa they bring to your table are a step above average, with the salsa having an impressive kick to it.

Desperados

23 Eagle Street
North Adams, MA
Phone: 413-346-4664

Lunch & Dinner

Monday- Thursday: 11:00 – 10:00

Friday & Saturday: 11:00 – 11:00

Sunday: 3:00 – 9:00

Also try their Williamstown, MA location which is just as good.

246 Main Street
Williamstown, MA
Phone: 413-458-2100

Lunch:Monday- Saturday 11:00 – 4:00

Dinner: Monday- Saturday 11:00 – 4:00
Friday & Saturday 4:00 – 11:00

The Violets of March by Sarah Jio

Violets of March by Sarah Jio

This is my first book review for the book challenge Bookish Bingo created by the Great-Imaginations blog. <a href=”http://www.great-imaginations.com/2014/03/introducing-bookish-bingo.html?showComment=1396290942495#c1022760793288408976″&gt; Click Here</a>.

I really wanted to like this book, it is very well written and the mystery of the diary that the main character finds was interesting enough to keep me intrigued until the very end. However, I guess I’m just not a fan of romance novels, especially those that are based around the premise that the characters in love just never get the timing right.  So it’s not the author’s fault, she did a great job with this book, I’ll just know from now on to shy away from Nicholas Sparks-esque romance novels.

I picked it up because it had flowers on the cover and in the title, I can now cross that square off on my bingo board. I’m now one book down! Who’s with me?