Since I was going all the way up to Goshen yesterday, I decided to make a day of it up in the hills. Richard Richardson's jack o'lantern party was only the climax of a string of festivities for me, mainly because this happened to be the weekend of the Ashfield Fall Festival. It's a gorgeous time to be in the foothills of the Berkshires, and everyone was in the mood to celebrate.
Ashfield was founded in 1765, and has a population of 1765. The first industry in Ashfield was the peppermint business, and not a heck of a lot has changed since then. Ashfield has a beautiful lake with a neat roadhouse--called, imaginatively enough, the Lake House--perched over it. Also lots of farms, and the D.A.R. State Forest, which is full of bears. If you don't have a farm or wait tables at the Lake House, you'd better be an artisan or independently wealthy or be prepared to drive a long ways to work, because there's not much industry around. Which makes for some gorgeous scenery.
At the Fall Festival you can buy pumpkin doughnuts and cider or coffee from the Boy Scouts, or hot dogs and hamburgers from the Lions Club. Or roll down the hill and play some old-fashioned games if you're a kid. Or be tempted by pottery and weaving and jewelry and all the other beautiful handmade things the locals sell there. Or just be dragged up and down the street by your wired cockador, apologizing to everybody, if you're foolish enough to bring your badly-behaved dog along.