Monday, May 28, 2012

Two Days in the Berkshires: Part 2

 Copyright Daniel E. Levenson 2012.

On our second day in the Berkshires took us to Stockbridge, Massachusetts which seemed to be a slightly quieter, more relaxed version of Lenox. We fueled up at a small restaurant in town before  heading out to visit two locations in the town where human use and the natural world intersect - The Norman Rockwell Museum and the Berkshire Botanical Garden. Our first stop was the museum, located at the end of a long, winding driveway amidst the hills and thick green stands of Oak and Maple. In front of the museum itself there is a large lawn where I spotted a Brown-Headed Cowbird, and inside the museum I was delighted to not only get a look up close at some of Rockwell's original work, but to see that he painted several scenes in which the natural and man-made world intersect, including one depicting a fisherman at sea in one Saturday Evening Post cover. .Rockwell also wrote a children's book about a Thrush who gets separated from his family and goes on a journey of self-discovery. The illustrations are great and his rendering of a generic Thrush looks pretty accurate to me.

 Copyright Daniel E. Levenson 2012.

Outside of the museum we discovered a beautiful expanse of green lawn and a rolling meadow sloping down to a wetland, with an impressive line of mountains in the background.  Although the much of Rockwel''s work focused on the daily lives of people, the location of the museum and the setting show a nearly seamless integration of something highly artificial (as in made by man) and the natural beauty of this part of New England. In the photo below you can see Rockwell’s last studio, which was moved from the town center to this idyllic spot not long before the artist’s death.

Norman Rockwell's last art studio, seen here on the grounds of the Norman Rockwell Museum in Stockbridge, MA. The building was orginially located in near the town center, but was moved to the grounds of the museum not long before the artist's death. Image Copyright Daniel E. Levenson 2012.

The gardens and buildings on the grounds also attract birds and butterflies, including Chimney Swifts and this gorgeous Spicebush Swallowtail butterfly, shown in the photograph below.

A Spicebush Swallowtail butterfly not far from Norman Rockwell's studio on the grounds of the Norman Rockwell Museum. Image Copyright Daniel E. Levenson 2012.

Our next stop was the Berkshire Botanical Garden located less than a mile away from the Rockwell Museum, also located in Stockbridge, Massachusetts.  It was quite warm and the sun was strong, so we took a short walk around the grounds, looking at the different plants and the bees and butterflies they attracted. There was also a small pond with a Snapping Turtle and a bird box where an Eastern Blue Bird had made its home.

A creative kind of gardening - a variety of flowering plants grow on a curved ramp at the Berkshire Botanical garden. Image Copyright Daniel E. Levenson 2012.

An Eastern Snapping Turtle enjoying a warm sunny day. Image copyright Daniel E. Levenson 2012.
Image Copyright Daniel E . Levenson 2012.

Copyright Daniel E. Levenson 2012.

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