It’s best to just jump right in.
Everything has changed, which became abundantly clear as we prepared to head off to the 24th Annual Stockbridge Main Street at Christmas festivities, December 6-8. Subtitled “A Norman Rockwell Holiday,” the weekend-long event culminates in a crazy reenactment of the painter’s famous 8-foot-long Stockbridge Main Street at Christmas painting, which appeared in McCall’s magazine in December 1967.
Our room at the famous 240-year-old Red Lion Inn–which features prominently in the painting–had been booked before we’d come into partial possession of a little terrier mix dog named Rudy.
Rudy is many things to many people, but in appearance, which is the first thing you notice, he appears to have a brainy little dachshund head joined to a barrel-chested Jack Russell body. The barrel chest beautifully conveys that Rudy is all heart. Below that, he is all stomach.
The Red Lion Inn has an allotted number of dog-friendly rooms.
Sadly, all were spoken for by the time our need for one arose, so we checked out nearby Camp Wagalot, a massively popular doggie daycare that has tongues wagging.
And then, at the 11th hour, a Christmas miracle occurred—a cancellation—and suddenly there was room (or should I say, a dog-friendly suite) available at the Red Lion Inn.
Thank you, Michele, most awesome innkeeper! Rudy had a cozy living room, full kitchen, beautiful bedroom, and his choice of bathrooms. Not to mention a spacious crate to stretch out in if we couldn’t take him with us as we jaunted around Stockbridge.
What a fabulous weekend. We saw it through different eyes, for sure. Eyes that were only a foot off the ground, and there were a few unexpected dustups (that freakish mannequin on the sidewalk in front of the lovely 1862 Seasons On Main B&B inspired a machine-gun burst of frenzied barking as Rudy strained to bring her down),
but mostly we soaked up the essence of a Rockwell Christmas. Caroling on the porch of the Red Lion Inn on a crisp winter’s night,
historic house tours (see where Rockwell stayed before moving here for the last 25 years of his life!), and lots of good cheer throughout the day.
And, of course, the reenactment of the painting on Sunday.
As the orange traffic cones went up, blocking general traffic on Main Street, Chief Rick Wilcox, who modeled for Rockwell when he was a kid, motioned a stream of vintage cars into empty parking spaces.
A ’55 Oldsmobile Rocket 88,
’55 Studebaker, ’51 Mercury, and the calendar flipped back to a day long ago, somewhere in the 50s or 60s, when soda fountains still existed.
A few minutes before noon, Tony Carlotto drove his bright red centerpiece into the middle of Main Street.
A small evergreen tree, its trunk carefully wrapped to protect the car’s finish, was placed gently on top. And there we all stood, somewhere back in time, our frozen breath suspended in the air.
Rudy wasn’t there to see it. He was back in the room, paws crossed, watching a football game. The weather had turned cold and damp, and he’d covered most of Stockbridge, multiple times. He liked the sidewalks there. Found a few bushes that he frequented. But he really liked that suite and is very much looking forward to the next assignment.
Future travel blogs may or may not include Rudy, but going forward this blog will also chronicle his additional exploits. Which are many.