The Saratoga Traveler: Day Trips, Weekend Getaways & Hidden Gems

May 2012 Archives

Norman Rockwell Museum


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Sitting in a secluded area in Stockbridge Massachusetts is a museum dedicated to one of the United States most beloved artists -Norman Rockwell.  The unassuming building houses original Saturday Evening Post covers along with the original canvases the covers were printed from.  

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Downstairs is the gallery for the Post covers spanning a time of almost 40 years.  As you walk along from cover to cover your memory will be sparked and you'll say to yourself, either aloud or not, "I remember that one."   Rockwell's work depicted iconic Americana, depicting small town life in the early 40's and 50's and then changing to reflect the times on into the 60's.


Rockwell used props and models to make his work realistic, sometimes even using himself as a model.  Oftentimes you can spot him in the paintings much like Alfred Hitchcock in his own films.  When you walk through the upper gallery and see the works the covers are based on, linger in front of them and take in the detail, the way the paint was laid on the canvas to create depth in the faces. 


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 You don't have to be a art or history buff to appreciate the skill and talent that Norman Rockwell possessed.  Whether it was paint or pencil, ink or charcoal Rockwell captured the true essence of American life.

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Just a short walk down a path from the Museum building is the studio where Rockwell created these masterpieces.  Not a replica of the studio, but the actual studio with a lot of his belongings in tact.  The chair he sat in, the pallet he used, the couch he napped on and the desk he sat at.  The studio looks like it did in the 1960's and has the same view it did before it was moved from it's previous location, over looking the river with a northern exposure.  The studio was moved on a flat bed truck back in the 1970's to it's location on the museum property.  

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There is just something awesome about seeing the works of art you knew as a child and then going into the building in which they were created.  


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Stockbridge is small town America. At first glance the town looks like a bland and boring place, but once you walk up and down the tree lined streets you'll see that isn't true.  Stockbridge is home to the original Alice's Restaurant, that's right the one from the Arlo Guthrie song.  It's now called Theresa's but still boasts it's ties to the famous song and movie from the 1960's.

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The Red Lion Inn also makes it's home in Stockbridge.  A 108 room inn that has been in continuous operation since the 18th century.  The inn also houses a restaurant and a gift shop.  Stockbridge's proximity to many attractions in the Berkshires including Tanglewood makes the inn the perfect place to stay.  They offer lots of different packages including one for Tanglewood and for the Rockwell Museum.

Stockbridge is about an hour and half from Saratoga which makes it a perfect day trip.  You might want to set your GPS so that you take the scenic route to avoid tolls which will take you a little longer but I think it's worth the drive through Vermont and the Massachusetts.




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Sure NYC has prestigious cooking schools, Hyde Park has the CIA but why look any further than your own backyard. Right here in Saratoga Springs you can take a number of cooking classes. Now granted most of them are demonstration cooking classes like the ones held by Price Chopper and Taste of Home Cooking show but they still offer lots of information and prizes. But for me there's nothing like a hands-on cooking class. Right on Broadway in downtown Saratoga Springs there is such an opportunity at Forno Bistro where you can learn from a real Italian Mama- Theresa Viva.



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Recently I took a class on ravioli making from "Mama" Theresa.  Who knew that there was a quality, hands-on cooking class right here in Saratoga Spring?.  Mama Theresa isn't a graduate of the CIA or a professional chef but she is a great teacher.  She came to this country from Italy at the age of 5.  She learned  pasta making from her mother and grandmother.  During the class she shares tips she learned from them, including how to use an old key to crimp a ravioli. 


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 After Mama gives you some basic information and lots of useful tricks then it's time to make ravioli.  Sheets of pasta dough are handed out and lots of fillings are available for you to make one of a kind ravioli.  Nothing limits you but your imagination!  Want to get the feel for a pasta machine?  Go ahead and try it out.  What to make a heart shaped ravioli that would be perfect for Valentine's Day?  Mama  has a cookie cutter to use in that shape and lots more.  Want a foolproof method for sealing your ravioli so that it won't open in the water?   You'll learn that and so much more from Mama.




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The classes are informational, entertaining and most important of all - hands-on!


After you create your one of a kind ravioli (actually you will create at least 4 but I think we did a lot more than that) they will be taken to the kitchen, cooked and topped with Mama's own marinara sauce.  The dining room is then set and the feast begins!  Platters of tender, savory ravioli, fresh baked bread and wine! 


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 So if you're looking for a hands-on cooking class with an excellent teacher who will teach you tips and tricks to authentic Italian food with some out right hilarious anecdotes then you must check out the cooking classes at Forno Bistro.

Forno Bistro is located at 541 Broadway in Saratoga Springs.  Give them a call for classes and schedules and tell them you saw it on The Saratoga Traveler!


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Kim Bernard

Moved to Saratoga from St Louis MO (home of The Gateway Arch, Baseball Cardinals and of course Anheuser-Busch) with my family for my husband's job. In the last 2 1/2 years we've had the opportunity to explore and discover day trips, hidden gems, along with some of the most beautiful, historic, interesting and curious places in New England. So come with me and look through a Midwesterner's eyes at Saratoga and beyond. I hope you enjoy your adventures and feel free to share yours and together we can feed our travel bug!