Sunday, September 16, 2018

Beautiful Sunday

It was absolutely gorgeous when Lauren and I headed out this morning around 10. Perfect weather to check out a local flea market, just over the border in New York. We went here last year, too. I did pick up peaches here from a small farm stand for the rest of the week. Otherwise, unlike our trip last year, we made no finds.

We first drove to the Berkshire Mall in Lanesborough next and spent an hour walking through their huge Target. I considered some more Our Generation Retro outfits, but decided to save my money for later in the week. Otherwise, there wasn't much to see here. The Berkshire Mall is dying hard, a victim of too-high rents and poor management. Even The Garden restaurant that we had dinner at in 2016 is gone.

Next stop was Dalton for lunch. Lauren introduced me to her favorite outpost of a local chain, Hot Harry's Burritos. They were a small hole-in-the-wall fast food Mexican joint that had apparently just been remodeled last year, according to Lauren. She had two soft-shell tacos wrapped around hard-shell tacos. I went simpler with a chicken and black bean burrito. Yum. My burrito was really tasty, with lots of savory chicken pieces and guacamole. We both had house-made tortilla chips with our lunch and sodas.

Hit up two shopping centers across from each other after we ate. Lauren picked up the new Nintendo Switch version of Captain Toad's Treasure Tracker at a Game Stop at Allendale. I saw a sweater I liked at TJ Maxx across the street, but it was white. Considering all the running around I do, white is probably not a good idea for something I wear constantly. Lauren did better, picking up plaid shirt and another good blouse for work.

Thankfully, the mini golf course a few minutes down the street from the mall is still around. We've been playing each other here for years. It's your standard family course, with fiberglass bears to block shots and small wooden houses and mills for balls to get stuck under. Lauren's purple ball wound up in a small pool of water at one point. My red ball got stuck under the metal loop-the-loop in another. I accidentally hit Lauren's ball in the hole once! Lauren ended up winning, but only by a few points, 52 to 56.

Headed back towards downtown Pittsfield around 3. We wanted to eat at Lauren's favorite restaurant the Highland, but they don't open until 4 on Sunday. After a quick stop at a bank to use their ATM machine (we tried using Lauren's branch of the Co-Op earlier, but their ATM doesn't always work well, according to her), we went for a long stroll down North and Suth Streets. It was actually rather pleasant. The streets were relatively quiet, giving us a chance to enjoy being together and play tourist. I even got to take pictures of the stegosaurus statue standing outside of the Berkshire Museum for my nephew and his friends.

Most stores downtown were closed on Sunday, but we did find two to explore. The consignment shop we went to last year was not only open, but had recently expanded into the next building. Lauren picked up an orange and black striped Ralph Lauren polo shirt for her dad and a yellow blouse for her mom. I found a really pretty blouse in brilliant shades of orange, turquoise, red, and black.

Museum Facsimile sells prints of old movie posters, cartoon posters, comics covers, maps, and advertisements for the Berkshires, locally-made crafts, colorful socks, Berkshires merchandise, and soaps and perfumes, among other items. The gentleman who owned the store was trying to hang lights around the windows when we came in; I couldn't help giggling at his efforts. Most things were too expensive for me, but Lauren bought a mug for her dad and socks for her and her mom.

We strolled to the Highland minutes after it opened. The Highland is another hole-in-the-wall, this one a bar serving basic American fare like turkey and mashed potatoes. Lauren had a meatball sandwich; I had a veal cutlet sandwich. Both came on thick white "Viennese" bread. A basket of this bread was also brought to our table. I'd already had a slice of bread, so I took half my sandwich off the bun. Dessert was slices of their tasty coconut custard pie.

Went straight home after dinner. Lauren and I showed her parents our purchases, then went downstairs to play Captain Toad for a half-hour before wrestling started. The Millers are all big WWE fans. Tonight's even was called Hell In a Cell. It began and ended with no-holds-barred matches in a red steel cage, though the other matches were regular ones. I can't really tell you much about the matches, since I don't know the athletes or their personas well. I know Lauren likes "Rowdy" Ronda Rousey, a tough female wrestler who successfully defended her Women's title against the rather bimbo-ish Alex Bliss, a blond in some of the worst eye makeup this side of an 80's model.

(And the guy in the KISS makeup in the beginning tried swinging off the top of the cage and made a 20-foot drop onto a table...but the wrestler he was supposed to be landing on had the sense to move. He ended up doing some major damage to himself instead and had to be carried out in a stretcher.)

Tomorrow, it's back to Springfield, this time to check out New England's version of a state fair, the Big E.

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