Once upon a time, a boy and a girl ran away from their wedding. The reasons why were complicated, but suffice it to say, they still loved each other very much. So the boy and the girl remained together and continued to grow as a a couple. As months passed, they continued to be happy…but that would-be wedding weekend was still looming on the horizon.
Yep, that’s a horse grazing, right outside the window of out B&B. You can’t get more idyllic, people!
There would be no big party with hundreds of guests, tiers of cupcakes and a big brass band. Loved ones would not be flying in from all over the country to wish them well. There would be no shiny new knives and Kitchen Aid Mixers and china ordered off a registry. There would be no rings. No vows. In spite of all this, and in spite of what a failure calling off your wedding can make you feel like… the boy and the girl still felt like they deserved to celebrate their love.
OK, can we cut the fairy tale crap now? The girl is me, the boy is Mr. Apple. We were supposed to get married a few weeks ago. Instead we took off and had a fantastic long weekend. And now I’m gonna give you the details.
Our first idea was to spend a beautiful fall weekend in the Berkshires… because I loves me some foliage. But holy cow, have you seen the prices in the Berkshires for a fall long weekend!? Mark ups and minimum stays galore! No thank you, I’m not spending more than a month’s rent to stay in a bed and breakfast. So we recalculated, and came up with a restful and relaxing plan. You do not need to shell out for a boutique hotel or spend half your time sitting in traffic on the Mass Pike to have a wonderfully relaxing quintessential fall weekend!
Ladies and Gentlemen, I give you… Our Budget Berkshires Alternative Weekend.
First… The Sleeps…
I got on the inner tubes and found us a fantastic and affordable Bed and Breakfast in Bolton, MA. Charlotte’s House is the real deal. This is not some shi-shi boutique hotel masquerading as a B&B. Staying at Charlotte’s House is like spending the weekend with a warm and hospitable relative that makes your bed when you go out, offers you fresh-baked chocolate chip cookies when you come home, and does not harass you over the dinner table about when you’re gonna pop out some grandchildren. It is, in short, a slice of heaven.
Hand sewn quilt and gorgeous stained glass window in our cozy bedroom!
Lovely and historic, Charlotte’s House is nestled along a quiet country road. I could see horses grazing in the field across the street from my bedroom window! The Inn’s proprietor, Nancy Slade, lives on site. Her gorgeous fiber arts decorate much of the surrounding house, making the decor truly unique. She welcomed us into her warm kitchen and showed us to our room. It was decorated with a beautiful handmade quilt… and check out the stained glass! Each room has a working fireplace. The bathroom, as Lyn said, “Is petite but it works.” If you’re looking for a long jacuzzi soak, look elsewhere. The shower was just fine for us though. Bonus… our room was adjacent to a sitting room stuffed with magazines, DVDs and board games. It was a relaxing place for us to pass a little time together…Yahtzee!
The real thing that sets Charlotte’s House apart though was the breakfast! Everything was freshly made, from the muffins and scones to the sublime cheese blitnzes. The stale croissants and withered fruit you find at other B&Bs were nowhere to be found.
Next up… daytime adventures!
On our way to Charlotte’s House we stopped by the Fruitlands Museum. First of all… a trip to the Fruitlands Museum is worth it for the view alone! Situated on a gorgeous sprawling hillside, the Fruitlands Museum has a few small buildings housing Native American and New England art.
To me the most interesting part was touring the historic shaker house and the Alcott house! (Louisa May Alcott, that is!) The Alcott family lived on the property during a brief experiment with community living. After nearly starving to death they moved back to Concord. Their house lay derelict for decades until the owner of the property, Clara Endicott Sears, bought the property in 1914 and realized the historic gem she was sitting on. She then devoted her life to preserving the grounds and collecting Native American art.
Front porch of the Alcott House.
Super cool Skull installation on the Fruitlands grounds!
Apparently there are a lot of cool walking trails and a Labyrinth on the grounds too, but it began to rain so we had to cut our visit short and high tale it back to the car. Oh well, we’ll just have to visit again!
That evening we went to the Harvest Cafe for some drinks and eats. Harvest Cafe is a charming townie hangout. There was live music, a super friendly vibe, and board games! Mr. Apple and I had a blast drinking beer and playing Bananagrams!
The next day we were off to Tower Hill Botanic Gardens. I had no idea this amazing treasure was lurking so close to home.
More sweeping vistas!
We saw all kinds of nifty vegetation, including these black and red ornamental peppers!
Took a ramble in the woods that ended at this gazebo, overlooking a lush pond full of wildlife.
Tower Hill Botanic Gardens also has a series of cool greenhouses. They just happened to be hosting an indoor farmer’s market when we were there. The place was loaded with fresh local fruits and veggies, jams and jellies, homemade jams and soaps… you name it. I picked up some soap and a lovely hand knit cap.
We ran into these little guys out in the courtyards!
Tower Hill Botanic Gardens is a true gem, and it’s opened year-round, so check it out!
On our way home, we stopped by one of my favorite places on earth, Walden Pond. Walden Pond has long been one of my most loved summer escapes, and I’ve always wanted to go there in the fall. Finally, I got my wish! Mr. Apple and I took a lovely ramble around the pond.
Yup, those are swimmers you see through those autumnal leaves!
The weather was fairly mild that day, so mild in fact that we saw lots of swimmers! I know Walden is a destination for distance swim training, but I never imagined people would still be out there in sweater weather. Brrr!
I stopped to take lots of photos by the waterside. I love the autumnal colors reflected in the water!
Aaaahhh! Can I just tell you how much I love fall!? The colors!
A single red leaf.
Let’s not forget how the foliage matched my favorite pair of boots!
On our way around the pond we stopped at the site of Thoreau’s House. I never bothered to check it out during the summer, I guess I was always too preoccupied with the water! A stop to the Thoreau House site is well worth it. The original house no longer stands, but the rocks from the foundation have been excavated. Many people have written inspiring messages on the rocks.
The road less traveled.
All and all this was an amazing, relaxing and rejuvinating weekend. It was just what Mr. Apple and I needed. No fanfare, no wild party, just the two of us enjoying each other’s company in a warm, cozy and beautiful setting. I couldn’t have asked for a more wonderful weekend. This was proof that you can getaway close to home, and that romantic vacations don’t have to be epic and expensive. I’ll treasure these memories forever.
What’s your favorite fall activity?