It was a beautiful, sunny, windy day when we started out around 10 this morning. This time, we headed north towards Stockbridge. We arrived around 10:30 and easily found parking on Main Street, a few blocks down from our first destination. Lauren wanted to check out the Williams & Sons General Store. They're basically a smaller, more local version of the Vermont Country Store, selling a lot of the same things - locally-made kitchen wares, old-fashioned toys, penny candy, fancy soaps and lotions, condiments from New England farms. They're the only local sellers of the "Heavenly Preserves" her dad loves - a jam made from pears, pineapple, strawberries, and raspberries. I didn't want to carry jam home in my bags, so I opted for cranberry soap and three cute cookie cutters in the shape of a horse, a turkey, and a tea cup.
We strolled around Main Street and down past the sprawling, elaborate Victorian hotel the Red Lion Inn. Lauren spotted another chocolate store tucked away in an alley with other restaurants and art galleries. This time, we both found things we could afford. I went with two thick peppermint patties. Lauren grabbed raspberry caramels.
Our next destination was originally going to be Great Barrington, a larger town nearby. Unfortunately, our luck with small towns gave out here. Great Barrington was swamped with road and building construction, including moving or raising a good-sized clapboard church, that took up most of where people would have parked on the main road. We did stop at The Co-Op Market, a small organic grocery store, but decided it wasn't fair to take up their parking when we weren't planning on shopping there. Lauren just could not find parking anywhere. After Lauren went around the block several times, we finally gave up and just hit the road again.
Lauren spotted an interesting-looking pizza parlor on our way into Great Barrington. We ended up stopping there for lunch. Four Brothers Pizza Inn mainly specialized in Greek food and diner basics like burgers, but what I wanted was pizza. We shared a small pizza. Lauren's half had pepperoni, mine had mushrooms. Yum. There were three slices for each of us, and they weren't bad, doughy and full of cheese.
We wound up back at the Lee Premium Outlets to use the bathrooms and for more shopping. Lauren and her parents are apparently regulars at IZOD and Van Heussen...or they were regulars at IZOD. Their Lee store is shutting down. Lauren bought a gift for her father for the very low price of $3.99. We did almost as well at a heavily discounted Van Heussen. I bought a nice, simple green sweater for $19.99 - it was originally $68! Lauren bought two sweaters. I did equally well at the Gap, picking up a pale green long-sleeved t-shirt for $8 dollars. Lauren got a t-shirt and a sweater.
It was around 2:30 when we left. Not only was it too early to go home, it was too nice. The sun was out, the sky was blue, and there were only a few fat, fleecy clouds drifting around. We opted to check out the Berkshire Mall instead of going home. No wonder Lauren says they aren't very good. They're not. Their anchors Target, Sears, Macy's, and JC Penney are pretty decent, but the mall itself is dark and in desperate need of remodeling. Nearly half the stores inside are closed, victims of high rents and owners in Texas who couldn't care less about a mall in Massachusetts.
We drove into Pittsfield to pick up dinner at Angelina's Subs, the hoagie shop next-door to the bank where Lauren works, The Co-Op. They'd had a bit of excitement on Columbus Day when an out-of-control car crashed through their (thankfully closed for the holiday) drive-through! The older women who took our orders knew Lauren on sight and were eager to give us both details. There was sand on the ground where the car had crashed. Lauren said they took out their handicapped railing, which was totally gone.
There was a Duncan Donuts a block away that Lauren also frequents. We went there for dessert. Like the Christmas shop yesterday, they were deceptively small on the outside. The interior was twice the size of the store in Oaklyn, and like that store, probably just remodeled. Lauren opted for an Orange Coolatta. I tried the Pumpkin Pie Coolatta. It was a disappointment, so sour it tasted more like Lauren's orange than pumpkin.
We just opted to take our hoagies home and eat them while watching more of "Rowdy" Roddy Piper's stint hosting Prime Time Wrestling in 1989. Lauren got her favorite Taco Wrap. I went with a pizza hoagie. After we ate, we played more Mario Party 10. Lauren''s Luigi kicked rear at the minigames and won the water-themed Mario Party round. My Princess Peach just won the Luigi-themed Amiibo board by the metal of her gold crown over Donkey Kong.
I took a shower after we finished. When I came down, went online. Now, we're once again chatting, listening to big band music, and enjoying each other's company while a fire roars in the corner. Tomorrow, we're going to dodge rain while finishing up at the Lee Premium Outlets.
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