Tuesday, November 16, 2010


In 2010, the theme is STORYBOOK FOREST and is sure to be as dazzling as last years' which is the topic of this post from 2009... Happy Holiday season to all. Kathy

While we await those first magical snowflakes to fall on our mountains, I find it hard to believe that we are within a month of Christmas and Yule. Hanukkah is nearly here!
Ready or not, the Holiday Season. has launched. Thank goodness the Berkshires is prepared to help straighten out the Scroogiest of locals and visitors, armed with events and attractions like FESTIVAL OF TREES.

We at The 1896 House in nearby neighboring Williamstown have 20% Off coupons to this event for our guests to use and enjoy...of course I had to pilfer one of them and see what all the fuss is about.

Housed in Pittsfield at the BERKSHIRE MUSEUM on the floor just above the fossils, across the hall from ancient civilizations, and a hop skip n jump from walls of classic paintings, are tons of decorated holiday trees!

 Like a little kid, I bounded in initially just to see the trees, but stopped in my tracks once inside... WAIT, is that a jawbone from a 30 foot prehistoric carnivore? A shovel in a sandpit for my own fossil excavation dig?

Interactive games to learn about dinosaurs? Too much fun! The darn trees had to take a backseat for a few minutes while I toured the museum stuff first. WOW, tree fest AND a museum visit in one!

The "Berkshire Backyard" room had a wall of insects...beautiful butterflies, icky beetles, hairy centipedes. The stuff of nightmares.
Wonderful large cases of birds, owls, a big ole turkey, turtles, and stuffed real creatures of the woods.
...I loved the audio center teaching bird calls.

A room with miniature scenes with animals from around the world...

Rocks and minerals and even a geiger counter to test for radiation in sample dust!

The Hall of Innovation has stations for creativity, as well as examples of folks inventing things under unusual circumstances, against the odds or after many failures. Coloring easels and lots of video and audio stuff to entertain even the most bored in your crowd.

YAY What a fun diversion all this educational stuff is!

My nerdy side enjoyed the Brainstorm Helmet...used in the Christopher Walken film of the same name (with Natalie Wood...remember when she died in real life during the filming of this and the rumors started spreading about him?)
Antique Pull Toys on display too! Fun and Funny!

Down on the lower (basement) floor is an oversized aquarium with a touch Tank!

Adults will smile browsing moldie oldie artifacts and the interesting mummy display in the Ancient Civilizations room.
Way cool methinks, cuz they have all 3 parts to the burial tomb, the ooky graphic body scan photos and even a reconstructed head of the pre-mummy person.
The beautiful greek statues so pure and flawless, and I loved the yummy discus thrower hot guy in the corner.

The paintings in the American Art room were lush and large, and the Native American room had a hut and campsite set up. There is a movie theater in the center of the museum for films and lectures too.

Why am I here? Oh ya...the HOLIDAY TREES! 3 rooms and a hall with interesting ornaments and interesting (and funny) ideas from local businesses. There were old black n white photos mounted on the walls around the trees for historical glimpses of Berkshire Life.
I wandered through the artificial trees, all glistening and pretty. Some were full size and some were small. All were great to view.

Some were just so cute, created by kids or featuring photos of children and babies.

Some kind of got me in the kleenex...thought provoking and emotional, like the mental illness awareness tree...

...the nursing home's "It's A Wonderful Life" tree...

...and the pet adoption tree which features photos on the ornaments of many 4 legged friends awaiting homes from the shelter.

What is this?! A bike that generates watts of electricity to run the lights on the tree!

Here is a pic of my brief ride... and it took about 15-20 seconds of fast pedalling to get the lights to go ON. Lots of satisfaction there, but short-lived I'm afraid. I barely made enough to keep the lights on more than a few seconds. What a lazy museum guest I am. Glad I don't have to do that for my house electricity!
Some trees were inventive and pretty.

Some were done in kindergartens, cub scout and brownie troops, high schools, institutions and businesses such as banks, farms and restaurants. Panera Bread had silver coffee cups and stirrers.
A custom window company housed their tree entry in a cool window,

...the Visiting Nurses had a tree of CDs and there was even an oddly shaped "green" tree made entirely of recycled materials.

The setting was a little different in each room, giving the trees a different backdrop.

This tree fest started in 1984 and has been done annually since. This being their 25th year ("Silver"), their theme is Silver Bells. There are display cases with silver coffeepots and silver items, the entrances and halls are decorated for the holidays. There is definitely a feeling of holiday spirit here.

My favorite tree was the old fashioned one with toys underneath and big old fashioned ornaments and lights. I had a crush on the teddy bear tree up on the stairwell landing near the statue as well.

It took about 30 minutes for me to zip through them all, but take your time and enjoy the choirs or bands that are playing on the weekends, read the trees' paperwork, look at the ornaments closely...really good work in some cases... and you may just get a jump start on the spirit of the season.
"Steg" knows best!

FESTIVAL of TREES  (until January 3rd)
Berkshire Museum
39 South Street (Route 7)
Pittsfield, MA 01201
Open :
Monday thru Saturday 10-5pm
Sunday 12-5pm
Full price is $12 weekdays and $15 for events on the weekends (concerts, choirs, etc). Parking is free and easy to find in the area tho it is a busy street (route 7).