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Friday, November 7, 2008

Berkshire Ramble

It is already brown, gray, leafless and November-y in New England, but here is a last look at the color of autumn, and word by Herman Melville, former resident of Pittsfield, Massachusetts, who ruminated on life in the Berkshires in his 1855 novel based on the autobiography of Revolutionary War soldier Israel R. Potter: “Israel Potter: His First Fifty Years of Exile.” The character finds himself a soldier under Washington, a sailor, a captive of the British, a Rebel spy, who longs above all to return to peace, seclusion, and isolation of the Berkshires of western Mass.

"The traveler who at the present day is content to travel in the good old Asiatic style, neither rushed along by a locomotive, nor dragged by a stage-coach; who is willing to enjoy hospitalities at far-scattered farmhouses, instead of paying his bill at an inn; who is not to be frightened by any amount of loneliness, or to be deterred by the roughest roads or the highest hills; such a traveler in the eastern part of Berkshire, Mass., will find ample food for poetic reflection in the singular scenery of a country, which, owing to the ruggedness of the soil and its lying out of the track of all public conveyances, remains almost as unknown to the general tourist the interior of Bohemia."

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