Labor Day in Buckland

Okay, let’s see if this works.

This entry is for the sake of Leslie and David, who could not attend the annual Labor Day Reunion. There are also those who have suggested that I start a travel blog. I don’t know how much traveling I’ll get done in the future, but here’s the pain they’re asking for.

I would also like to thank my hosts, Jon and Prity for a wonderful stay in Buckland, Massachusetts. I have to say my life has been blessed by family and friends who (at times at least) keep my life packed with fun and activity.

Here’s the view from J&P’s Chalet in Buckland, MA. Buckland is in Western Franklin County (Berkshires East). The land has a hilly lost-in-Vermont feeling to it. As placid as this view is, the Deerfield River was the center piece to this trip.

The Deerfield River Valley

We stayed at Jon & Prity’s Chalet. My family and I slept in the loft to be woken by the sunrise in the morning. One morning I caught sight of a flock of 15 to 20 wild turkeys foraging in the yard. Buzzards and other birds flew by during the day, and a few bats zipped around at night. There are rumors of bears, and there are even moose crossing signs on Route 2. The balcony worked equally well for coffee in the morning and margaritas and daiquiris at night.

Jon & Prity's Chalet

Here’s most of everybody on the trip. From right to left: Max, Peter, Sima, Prity, Lena, Lisa, and Hung Hung.

Most of the Gang

Day 2 of the trip started mildly enough. After breakfast, J&P took us to see the Village of Shelburns Falls. It’s a small place, with that bohemian coffee shop atmosphere.

Shelburne Falls

McCuskers is one of the general store / food co-ops in the village. Grab a coffee and a newspaper, and take your time. Watch the view pass by.

McCuskers Market

There is one “must see” in Shelburne Falls, especially if you’re a gardener. That is the Flower Bridge. We were there in early September, but everything is probably in full bloom in late Spring and early Summer. The bridge is a foot bridge, open to the public, and it is cram full of well kept flowers and plants. The village maintains the bridge this way as a memorial to its fallen in the Korean War and Viet Nam.

The Flower Bridge

This is still Day 2, and like I said, my family and friends keep me on my toes. There are companies along the Deerfield that do rafting tours. We never went rafting before, so J&P signed us up for a beginners’ trip of type I and II level rapids. Although, Crab Apple (our tour guide company) does offer level’s III and IV, perhaps even V.

Rafting on the Deerfield River

Here’s Jon trying to look manly on the river. It was very difficult for him, while wearing an ascot.

Manly Jon

The company offers raft expeditions with a guide. Our guide was very friendly, talkative, and knowledgeable of the river.

Lisa letting me know how feels

We also rented a pair of “funyaks,” inflatable kayaks. The guides let us switch between the raft and the kayaks. That way we could let different family members try each.

Sima in a Funyak

The low level class of rapids allowed for the younger and less experienced to try the adventure of shooting rapids in the kayaks.

Max in a funyak

Even in the raft, the object is to get wet, get cold, and maybe even a little scared.

Hung Hung - no ascot!

We got our feet wet on Day 3 as well. Jon found a less frothy part of the river, where we could all wade around.

Jon and Hung creaking.

For those of us that needed some more pensive time for themselves; they found that too.

Peter getting some quiet time.

The afternoon of day 3 was not quiet. You can not visit J&P on Labor day and expect to miss the 3 County Fair. It’s hyped as one of the oldest fairs in the country. It’s filled with animals, tractor pulls and other demonstrations, and of course rides.

3 County Fair

I actually over came my combined fear of heights and rickety, rusty fair ground superstructure. I rode a Ferris Wheel.

Lisa Pete and Jon can't believe Swin went up in the Ferris Wheel

The fair grounds were not far from Northampton, the Bohemian Capital of the United States. Before we left, we all sat for one last dinner together in Fitzwilly’s. Then we drove off into the night for home.

Mr & Mrs. Swin in Fitzwilly's in Northampton

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