Sat. July 18, 2015:
The first thing we did in the morning was to Google where the Boston Symphony Orchestra was playing that evening. Based on last night’s ballet, I was starting to think that the Tanglewood Festival was a casual affair. I was right, the dress code (if you can call it that) for the orchestra was “informal”, and I kind of figured that if the concert is taking place somewhere with the word “shed” in the name it would be casual. Breakfast at the hotel flat out sucked. I had a crappy piece of raisin bread toast and a yogurt. There was granola, I tossed some in my yogurt but still- what kind of a hotel doesn’t serve pastries for breakfast?!
Unfortunately for Shakespeare on the Mount, an outdoor performance of Shakespeare as part of Tanglewood, we had to get dressed up real fancy. We had lunch reservations right after, at Blantyre (Inn?). We looked up the weather before heading out, it said no rain until the evening. We grabbed a towel to sit on for the grassy lawn. As we were picking up our tickets at will-call (a tent with a foldable table) we felt a few rain drops. What’s a few rain drops we thought? No rain until the evening the weather service said. At will-call we found out that they rent lawn chairs for $2/each. Much better than trying to get comfy in a dress and heels on a small towel on the grassy knoll. We wound up using the towel as an umbrella when it rained. At first the rain was not that bad, the play went on. It was an abridged version of Hamlet. The rain let up, giving us hope, only to come back with a vengeance. The sky tore open and it just poured rain on us. Off in the distance you could hear peals of thunder. The play was paused and we were ushered into the barn. The company policy was to wait it out for 15 minutes and see if the rain subsided. We were now not only hilariously over-dressed, but soaking wet to boot. In the end we decided to leave, we, the chairs and the towel were soaked. Due to the delay we would have to leave early and we would not have a chance to freshen up before lunch.
I felt silly in the hotel, standing there aiming a hair-dryer at myself. I did not feel like getting undressed as we did not have much time. I briefly considered ironing my clothes to dry it. I had worn heels and thanks to the rain, they had torn up the lawn. There were tufts of grass and mud caked onto my heels. At least I had aerated the lawn for them. In the parking lot of the Blantyre, in our fancy dress clothes, we saw a guy in khakis. I swore I’d be pissed if he ended up going in there dressed like that. (He did).
The hotel was really fancy on the inside, there was a mounted deer head over the fireplace and fancy porcelain figurines and beautiful wooden furniture everywhere. The servers at the restaurant were all dressed like 50s diner waitresses. It was really weird and at odds. We had looked the menu up online earlier, we went in expecting a prix fixe lunch. Luckily they had changed that and we could order a-la carte. A lady at a nearby table had ordered the steak (which had been my prix fixe choice) and it looked like way too much food. Instead we split a cheese plate, which only solidified my thought on cheese plates: they are too risky if you are not an avid all-types-of-cheese lover. The goat cheese was not for me (or you know, wretched). We also ran out of crackers and had to pile on the cheese. For the mains we ordered sandwiches. It was a nice light lunch, even though I got full and could not finish my sandwich. The winner was the grainy mustard in my sandwich. My only complaint was: who serves a sandwich with cheese and doesn’t melt the cheese?! Who does that?! In a ham and cheese sandwich that cheese should be melted! My sandwich did not exactly match with my glass of rose wine, but I had to try something from their huge fancy award-winning wine collection.
We tried watching Lost on Netflix, but Brent was dozing off. I brewed a cup of tea and settled into a comfy chair with my book, Catcher in the Rye and caught on my reading. After a while I got fidgety, Brent woke up, and we went down to the vending machines for some snacks. The stupid machine would not sell me a Snickers bar, it kept telling me to give it the “correct change,” last time I checked vending machines give change. It would also not return my money. After mashing a few buttons I ended up getting a Crispy Kit Kat. Having not learned my lesson, I again tried to buy a Snickers bar. The only thing that ended up working was Famous Amos mini chocolate chip cookies. They were not good. We finished watching Lost, while eating the world’s crappiest snacks.
Afterwards Brent drove me to the outlets, I cracked and could not resist a mini-shopping trip. Partly I used the excuse of having to buy my sister a birthday present. I had no luck with that though. I did buy some workout clothes, which made me feel better about all the bad eating lately. At the Lindor outlet the cashier convinced me to sign up for their loyalty card, saying that of my 5 chocolates I’d get 3 free and the program works in Canada. Then it came time to spell my last name. She laughed and asked me how to pronounce it. When her co-worker walked by she showed it to him, he also laughed.
Brent picked me up an hour later and reported that there was no line-up at Friendly’s. When we got there we realized the line was to the pick-up window outside, not because the place was especially busy. Inside however was a different story, we got one of the last free tables. Maybe it was the dinner rush? The bacon cheeseburger was ok, but it was nothing to rave about. The clear winner was the waffle fries. We had to get ice cream for dessert because Friendly’s advertised itself as an ice cream parlour. There were a lot of options and there was quite the debate. In the end we settled on Friend-Zs (what happens in Canada when it’s zed?). They were like McFlurry’s, and that way we could get them to go. We thought maybe we would get to choose the ice cream base, but nope it was just the same old vanilla soft serve you get everywhere. The Butterfinger one was good, but it was no different than getting a Blizzard. Brent had one with Reese cups and hot fudge, it was way too rich and too many flavours. It was fun trying to feed him as he drove. As we got close to the hotel I could hear the GPS giving directions… from inside the armrest console. Oops. Outside our room, our neighbour was sitting on the hall-porch with a giant magnifying glass reading a book on a music stand.
On our way to the symphony there was a road sign about Tanglewood parking, we followed it, ignoring the GPS and soon realized we were going the wrong way. We managed to get back on track and find the parking lot at The Shed at Tanglewood. There were a lot of people there to see the Boston Symphony Orchestra perform music by Mozart. Apparently there had been general admission tickets available for lawn seating. Thankfully they had not been sold online, and we had seats under the covered roof. In keeping with the spirit of the day, when we had actual outdoor (semi-outdoor) stuff to do, it rained. We wandered the grounds a bit. There was a gorgeous view of the Berkshire Mountains and you could see the rain off in the distance as it started moving closer to us. The performance was great, the conductor was very passionate in a wacky sort of way. he clearly loved the music and loved his job. I felt so cultured, having already been to the ballet and to Shakespeare, now listening to the orchestra (ladeeda).
Leaving Tanglewood the traffic was not bad at all. They had redirected it so that everyone exiting used both lanes. We were driving on the wrong side of the road, it was a bit scary but there were enough other cars that I was entertained by it and I felt British. I ended up having a Sierra Mist craving, sadly there were no gas stations on the route back. It seemed our hotel was full of Tanglewood-goers.