I went on “walkabout” last week, taking a spontaneous short vacation for four days, three nights. Such is possible sometimes when one is retired. It could never have happened in the years before this. I just simply left home, telling the cats but no one else. Okay, Master Card knew, or got to know. Maybe not the best idea, but. I did it, and came back to tell the tale. (The old home is a mess, and the new home is not ready for me quite yet. Mentally, I needed OUT. And I needed a minimal schedule!)
I booked a motel in Williamstown, the northwestern-most corner of Massachusetts, for two nights. I would have picked a Motel 6 or a Best Western had I seen one, but I ended up in a non-chain motel that I chose because a) those two chains weren’t available as far as I could tell, b) there was no second story to have to walk up to (my arm is still not much good for carrying things or holding onto railings, and since my knee is bad, railings are necessary for me), c) the price was right. I ended up taking the room there the third night, too. I liked the shower, and the Indian owners were personable. The place isn’t fancy, and the rooms are small, but I’m not moving in! The hotel key blends into the bedspread, but once I found it again, I was copacetic 😉 . They provide continental breakfast, which I ate the first morning (cream cheese on toasted English muffin), but I do need more protein to start off a day without getting dizzy and running into walls. Very clean, though. Williamstown Motel. I had a one-queen-sized bed bedroom, but I suspect photos on the site are from a wide-angle lens. I’d down-rate them a star for that. Not that I need a large room, but the principle of the advertising. (But maybe they do have a room that big!?)
On the way up, I stopped for lunch at Aroma Bar and Grill, previously reviewed. I’ve added an addendum to that post – I really wanted to try their pakoras again, to figure out what I’m not getting quite right.
I won’t be reviewing every place I ate at, just the outstanding places simply because… who has the time?
Dinner that first night in Williamstown was at the Pera Bistro.
Dining Out: Pera Mediterranean Bistro
60 Spring Street, Williamstown, MA, 01267
According to the menu and website, the owner is Turkish, and he prides himself on Mediterranean cuisine, and fresh foods.
I ordered the Prince Edward Island mussels du jour – that day it was mussels cooked in a lemon wine shallot sauce, and these were spectacular. I would have loved to try the spanikopita, but the mussels won out. They also have vegetarian grape leaves, pan seared falafel, or labneh on the appetizer menu. Any of those would have been worth the try. I considered returning for another meal, but hey… so many restaurants, so little time!!
For my main, I ordered the wild mushroom ravioli, with Marsala cream. These were Cremini mushrooms, and hence not really wild, but hey, I was entirely in a mushroom state of mind. I was less satisfied with this – I am not in particular a pasta/ravioli fan, so it’s my own fault. The pasta and cream sauce were a little too rich (for me). I will note however, this is an item true to the description, and I am not going to dock them points for my wanting to indulge my mushroom fetish without really thinking about what the rest of the dish would entail. The mushrooms were plentiful and cooked right.
There were several seafood main dishes that sounded excellent, but if I go back, I can see just getting two or three of the small dish/appetizers instead. They also served a few salad choices to which one could add optional falafel, salmon, lamb, shrimp or chicken for extra. (I’d be tempted by the falafel, salmon or lamb…)
Service was excellent, and I was in a corner where my issues with eating politely considering my right arm could be mostly glossed over… I did what I could! Mostly just ate slowly.
I rate this restaurant 4.2. It is adjacent to portions of Williams College, so there is a sizable student population in the area (along with visiting parents). The street this is on, Spring Street, is host to many other eateries as well.
I had an omelet one morning at Spring Street Marketplace – which is geared to the casual college crowd and serves great coffee as well as a large selection of fresh pastries for those who eat pastries. (I don’t do well with excessive sugars/simple carbohydrates for breakfast, so I didn’t sample.) They also have a lunch menu. No actual review, but they do use real eggs rather than “liquid egg product”, which would do a number on my gut.
Pera Bistro is highly recommended.
Well, I figured if on walkabout, and driving through Great Barrington to get up to my final destination, I should finally stop in at the Guthrie Center. You know, Alice’s Restaurant? You can get anything you want at Alice’s Restaurant…
I had a fascinating talk with one of the caretakers there. I was the only visitor at the time (last Tuesday right after lunch). They do a lot of community service there, including, natch, a free Thanksgiving dinner. There’s also periodic free meals to people in need, and there are music gigs. It is located in a converted church, which is undergoing renovations at the moment. They have a weekly non-denominational service, too, in the spirit of this building having once been a church.
The caretaker says that she believes that Alice now lives in Florida. She sold the building to Arlo Guthrie in (if I remember correctly!!!) the ’80s.
Oh, PS, I saw Arlo Guthrie in concert as the closing act at the Clearwater Festival in NY this past June.