Published on Oct 25, 2011
Most people don't think of Massachusetts as an incredibly hospitable place. Boston...yankees....I don't even know what the proper denomyn is...it's Masshole right?
All FALSE. Massachusites (had to look it up) have institutionalized hospitality. Here's the story of my trek through Mass:
I stumble into Upper Goose Pond Cabin after dark on Saturday night. They supposedly closed down last week, but I saw a fire, so I made the trek. As I entered, I heard, "You're just in time for Prime Rib." They weren't joking. Seconds later a plate was in my hand with a huge slice of steak.
A few yards down from a road crossing lives "The Cookie Lady." She lives on a blueberry farm with her husband. They have an airport in their backyard that he flies his piper out of. She makes warm cookies for hikers...Awesome.
There's a secret place somewhere in Mass called the Birdcage. You have to know where to ask and who to ask to get in. He doesn't advertise, he stays out of guidebooks, because he doesn't want to get overwhelmed. I got into town, made the inquiries as I was instructed, and I made it in. Secret handshakes and codewords, I made it in. This man, who remains unidentified, opens his home to hikers, does their laundry, shuttles them around, and provides a warm shower and bed. It's the best deal on the trail. Maybe that's why you have to know someone. The Birdcage is legendary. Each year the owner collects an entire photo album of people who pass through. It's a permanent history of his guests. So cool!
I knock on the door to the Rectory of Cheshire's Catholic church. The priest opens the door, ushers me into the Parish hall where they have rooms set up for hikers. We talk for a few minutes, then I crash, happy to be out of the rain.
Mount Greylock is the highest point in the State of Massachusetts. The lighthouse on the summit serves as a war memorial for those KIA from Massachusetts. Within view of the peak is an old lodge build by the CCC. They offer beds to hikers for $35. From my room I could see the tower. The lobby, furnished like a hunting lodge, offered views of the mountains and valleys below. It was pristine. The wait staff was attentive. For the price, it's the best kept secret in MA...except for the Birdcage.