We spent the night in Pittsfield, MA at Angel’s mother, Suzanne’s, house and began the day by heading out to a quaint little cafe across town, Cafe Reva.
We had (luckily) timed it just right, so we had only a short wait. A few minutes later, we were seated, awaiting our morning supply of coffee, and looking over the menu. The good news was that everything sounded amazing. The bad news was that everything sounded amazing… and narrowing our selection would be difficult.
Reva’s is another luncheonette counter with a gill behind. With the height of summers sweltering heat it was hot.. very hot… inside.
Angel and I tended to focus on the same things, so we decided to split the huevos rancheros dish (cheddar cheese, rice, and beans in a flour tortilla with eggs, spicy sausage, sour cream, and avocado) and one of their specials, a challah bread egg sandwich with tomatoes and pesto, with a side order of home fries.
Everything was cooked flawlessly and the home fries were the best we’ve ever had (shh, don’t tell my mom).
It was clear that not only was everything made on premises and fresh, but everything was made with a special attention and care. Everything looked as wonderful as it tasted. At about $10 a person (including the coffee), it was a slightly pricey for breakfast, but it was also money very well spent and the servings were huge. We were looking to sit, take our time and enjoy our food and company, and Cafe Reva did that to perfection.
We left extremely happy… and stuffed.
From there, we decided to explore northwards, head to North Adams, MA, possibly go to the MASS MoCA (Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art), walk around town and enjoy the endless art galleries, and hit as many tag sales as we could along the way.
A little over an hour later, we finally make it to North Adams, each with some new found garage sale item in our possession.
With the weather being near flawless, we figured we’d enjoy it and simply follow the arrows and walk around outside visiting the galleries.
Amongst the artwork and various stores, we began noticing a trend that quickly became more and more apparent… advertisements for Jack’s Hot Dog Stand. We thought our lunch decision was made for us, until we turned a corner, found the shop and realized that the dreaded ‘Closed on Sundays’ curse had struck again. We knew nothing about Jack’s before, but after seeing a plethora of items around town (t-shirts/ sweatshirts, postcards, trinkets, memorabilia, etc.) and that they’ve been there since 1917, we felt like we were missing out on a good opportunity. Hopefully we’ll make it up to the area again and be able to stop in.
The galleries displayed a wide assortment of completely different styles ranging from paintings and pottery, to printing press art, to numerous installation pieces which used action figures, found items, or new media depending on the gallery they were presented in.
Jarvis Rockwell (one of the galleries) included a pencil pattern with sparkles and business cards. Inspired, we left ours in hopes that he will add it to an unfinished canvas at the back of the gallery. It also had a pyramid of action figures that keep out attention for a bit. In the words of my grandmother “it reminds me of my childhood.”
It was a fun walk around a couple of blocks, but with it now pushing 3PM, lunch was on our mind and, with Jack’s closed (and all the galleries closing), we decided it was time to return to Pittsfield. Unfortunately, upon arriving an hour later, we were introduced to yet another ‘Sorry, We’re Closed’ sign. I guess we should have expected that.
A quick discussion of ‘where to next’ led us heading westward to NY to a small roadside stop, Meps BBQ (which we called first to confirm they’d be open).
The small building has limited indoor seating, but they have plenty of picnic tables outside. Angel and her mother split a pulled pork sandwich with a side order of coleslaw and cheese fries and I enjoyed a ‘Better than Philly’ sandwich (with peppers, onions and Texas brisket). While they do have burgers on their menu, they are primarily known as a bbq place (after all, it’s in their name) so we decided to stick with that…. and were glad we did.
The sandwiches were everything good bbq is expected to be- tasty, juicy, and a bit messy. The only complaint were the cheesy fries, or rather, the cheese they used on them. The fries themselves were fine, but the cheese seemed more like plastic than a dairy product.
The cheese was straight from a can nuclear orange nacho cheese. Everything else was so good it was sad to have the worst cheese on the planet end up in our meal.
Feeling complete and totally stuffed for the second time that day, I did what any sane person would do… I had Angel get me a small ice cream cone while she ignored all of my warnings and purchased a deep fried Oreo for herself.
Sean warned that it would be one of these food that I will crave all my life and I might just be easier if I just never have one to begin with. Ignoring the warning, I went in and order a deep fried mint Oreo. The outside was carnival fried dough, but the process had turned the mint center into a gooey, minty, Oreo liquid. Damn, Sean was right. Good thing it’s on the way to mom’s house since I’ll now have to stop on each visit. One deep fried Oreo every few months has got to be better the buying the cookies and finishing the container in a few days.
With our stomachs full, we headed back to Pittsfield, dropped Suzanne off, and thought we’d begin the long journey home. We were able get about 5 miles out of town before that plan came to a halt… as we passed a helpless turtle attempting to cross the road. It’d take a step, a car would pass over, it’d turtle up, wait, and return and take one step before the next car arrived. We couldn’t help but feel the need to stop and offer assistance.
By the time I was able to do the two U-turns to get near him (or her, I wasn’t about to look under it’s shell to find out), he was just crossing the stripe to the side of the road, but we wanted to see him in the grass before we’d feel safe.
Car parked, we cautiously advanced and had our first good look.
Moss had grown so thick he had a wet matted afro.
Not being thoroughly knowledgeable on the different types of turtles, we (wisely) assumed it was a common snapping turtle and kept a safe distance. Angel, being a mix of brave and idiotic, found a stick and slowly approached.
When she got close, I learned 3 VERY important things:
- It was, in fact, a snapping turtle.
- Turtles can jump 6 inches straight up.
- When confronted with a jumping turtle, Angel can jump a few feet straight up.
I didn’t know they could jump.
Once Angel caught her breath and I stopped laughing, we decided our little fuzzy friend was safe from traffic and could take care of himself, so we continued on our trek home.
From there, we passed (and turned around to get a closer look at) a grill or smoker that was painted and decorated to look like a life size pig at Hilltown Pork (12948 State Route 22, Canaan NY), a meat processing facility.
…and the remnants of the Falcon Ridge Folk Festival. If we had had the $50 for a day ticket we probably would had gone.
A long and tiring weekend, but one amazing adventure.
(continue to next blog)