I am sure most college sports fans have heard the term “Pay for Play” in reference to the debate over whether paying student athletes would ruin college sports or improve the bottom line for the schools. Back when I was in the publishing business, we had a strict “No Play for Play” policy when writing the agenda for our annual technology summit. Meaning, corporate sponsors could not buy stage-time for their CEO by sponsoring the event.
As a stay-at-home mom, I failed; flipped sides; turned my back on deep seeded morals. And, I was a repeat offender (especially if it was raining outside). Time and time again, I would find myself throwing an extra treat in the shopping cart or busting out a brand new toy just to get my kids to shut up and play. Ten bucks for ten minutes of silence seemed like a pretty awesome bargain!
Before you pass judgement, I have a few questions I’d like to run by you:
– Have you ever squirreled away the birthday or Christmas gifts that your child didn’t notice (fast enough) and saved them for a rainy day (or future bribe)?
– Have you ever bought cookies (or doughnuts) at the grocery store and gone through the checkout with an open box (or crumbs)?
– Have you ever Jedi mind forced a bank teller into giving you lollipops?
– Have you ever “accidentally” locked your kids out in the rain?
– Have you ever ordered a pay-per-view movie at 4:30 am?
– Have you ever had your child fall asleep in the car and driven around aimlessly for hours, wasting gas, just for the sound of silence and feel of the air conditioner flowing through your (unwashed) hair?
– Have you ever been to the Bouncy House place?
I rest my case!!
When desperate, we all “Pay for Play”. And nothing creates a more desperate situation than a long Berkshire winter, followed by an endless mud season. Thank God for our little “dependent tax write offs” because by the time tax-time rolls around in April, we’re all in desperate need our tax returns.
I know my timing is way off. (The date at the top of this blog post was April 8th, when I sat down to “finish” it today.) But here is a survival tip for next year’s mud season or for any cool rainy day in the Berkshires.
Step 1: Grab one umbrella per adult
Step 2: Order one set of “Muddy Buddy Coveralls” per kid
For even more fun (rain or shine) continue with the following:
Step 3: Find a bike, baby stroller, scooter, wagon or anything with wheels.
Step 4: Hit the Ashuwillticook Rail Trail
The Ashuwillticook Rail Trail is a ten-foot wide, 11.2 mile biking/walking trail that stretches through a long abandoned railroad corridor connecting the towns of Lanesborough, Cheshire and Adams. Because it is paved, it is my go-to rainy day trek, but it can certainly be enjoyed in any type of weather.
The trail offers multiple parking areas and access points. If you have kids, I strongly recommend the parking area at Russell Street Field in Adams. It has a fabulous play structure, swings, bike racks, tennis courts and it’s just a short walk up the Rail Trail to coffee/food/bathrooms/snacks in downtown Adams. (Follow Rail Trail signs on Route 8, taking a left on Prospect St., to a right on Harmony St.) It’s the perfect spot to bring a picnic and spend a morning.
Designated Trail Parking Areas:
– 50 parking spaces on Berkshire Mall Road | RT 8 in Lanesborough
– 45 parking spaces on Farnams Rd. in Cheshire
– 15 parking spaces on Railroad St. in Cheshire
– 35 parking spaces at the Russell Field on Harmony St. in Adams
– Over 100 spaces at the Discover the Berkshires Visitor Center at 3 Hoosac St. in Adams
Another great way to explore the Cheshire Lake stretch of the trail is stop for lunch or some fresh produce at Whitney Farms (1774 Rt 8/S State Rd). Grab a coffee, baked treat or a quick sandwich in the Farm Market, let the kids loose on the playground and then hit the Ashuwillticook Rail Trail for some biking (directly across Rt 8, off of Nobody’s Rd.) Though you may want to reverse the order of things and get your hiking/biking in first. The peacocks, sheep, goats, pony and multiple play structures may make it too hard for your kids to leave Whitney’s.