I went to Massachusetts this weekend. Shelburne Falls and Ashfield to be exact.
Never heard of either one? That's because they are both tiny, tiny villages at the foot of the Berkshires. When I tell you they are unspoiled blasts from the past - that is exactly what they are. Handsome villages suspended in time with noble New Englanders living the simple life. Shelbourne Falls population: 2,000 nice people and a couple of grumps. The Ashfield sign said "densely settled".
Shelburne Falls' main street (which is Bridge Street) is 4 blocks long. It has 4 claims to fame. I think it has many, many more... but first:
The Flower Bridge
Glacial Potholes (the largest in the world - The Best Husband In The World was happy!)
Candlepin Bowling (I'll get to that)
Lamson and Goodnow, a Cutlery Outlet and kitchen store (be still my pounding heart)
This is one of the views driving into the village of Shelburne Falls:
Here is the flower bridge, it is an old trolley line that is no longer used for trolleys. Volunteer town folk have kept it planted since 1929 and everyone uses it to get from Shelburne Falls to Buckland (population just under 2,000 but who's counting), just over the bridge. I loved walking over this bridge and did it everyday of our stay.
You have to drive over the car bridge or walk over the flower bridge to get to Lamson and Goodnow - the kitchen store.
I would have crawled:
The Best Husband In The World (a Professional Geologist by day) would have crawled to see the world's largest Glacial Potholes. The holes are formed over the years when a pebble gets caught on the rock - then the water washes over it, spinning it like a drill. Some of the holes still have the rock pebble in there. Interesting. Doesn't this picture look like a spooky face? Eyes, nose, round mouth with teeth?
Doesn't this picture look like a happy scientist face? The smile is caused by looking at geologic wonders.
Anyway, here is your recipe for the day. All the beautiful squashes are now in the markets. This is one of my family's favorite side dishes. Even my fussy eaters go for seconds. It is actually hardy enough to serve as a main vegetarian meal.
Roasted Butternut Squash with Cranberries, Walnuts and Spinach:
One butternut squash, peeled, deseeded and cut into 1 inch cubes
1/4 cup dried cranberries
1/4 cup walnuts
2 cups fresh spinach
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
Kosher Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Preheat oven to 400 degrees
Place the butternut squash cubes in a heavy, oven proof casserole (with a lid if you have one, if not, you will use aluminum foil).
Drizzle with olive oil and toss to coat. Add the butter. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
Put a lid on the casserole and place in the center of the oven. Roast for 30 minutes. Uncover and stir. Toss the walnuts and cranberries in with the squash and stir to mix around. Put back in oven and roast for another 20-30 minutes until nicely browned and soft. Stir once or twice while checking for doneness.
Remove from oven and toss in spinach leaves. Cover for 5 minutes to wilt the spinach.
A Cook's Notes: This is a great side to roasted chicken, turkey or pork.
Tomorrow: The Cheese Queen and Candlepin bowling (you don't want to miss that...)