Weekly Photo Challenge: JOURNEY (1)

The way journeys used to be —

is the way they’re revived every other year in the Berkshires of Western Massachusetts on Coaching Weekend. Some dozen or so four-in-hand coaches in the Gilded Age tradition roll out from Orleton Farm in Stockbridge. The horses are splendid, the male passengers top-hatted and formally attired, ladies sport elaborate hats, coachmen blow long coaching trumpets —

And hearts really do beat faster when the cry goes up among the waiting spectators lining the lake Β —

THE COACHES ARE COMING!

One by one they rattle down the road, the passengers Β from the past occasionally waving or tipping their hats — The horns blaring — We gazing up from the road, tugging on our forelocks (well, kind of) — and then the coaches are gone until next time —

Photo by Frank Bruder

The last Coaching weekend was in October of 2011, so the next opportunity to watch this amazing spectacle will be in 2013. Stay tuned —

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22 Responses to Weekly Photo Challenge: JOURNEY (1)

  1. reb says:

    What a lovely tradition … great shots for this challenge!

  2. Oh, wow! What a sight…Love the look of those horses. Beautiful photos. With gas prices as high as they are, I could go for a horse and buggy. LOL.

  3. ponky says:

    beautiful!!!

  4. barb19 says:

    Fabulous tradition, but why do they have it only every two years? I would imagine it’s so popular, it could be held annually! Great shots for the challenge.

    • Touch2Touch says:

      It’s a big deal — the coaches come from up and down the East Coast of the US — very expensive hobby! and they are gathered for a benefit weekend. Each day of three the coaches come from Orleton Farm and go to a different cultural destination, Shakespeare & Co., the Norman Rockwell Museum, and I forget the third — People can pay to dress up and ride atop the coach! and all proceeds go to the organizations. HUGE logistics, etc.
      Actually it began as a one-off, and was so successful they continued it on the every other year. Actually I just hope they continue it on any basis, each year it seems like a gift to the Rest of Us.
      πŸ˜€

  5. jfb57 says:

    Very majestic. Prince Philip (the Queens husband) takes part in these competitions I think.

    • Touch2Touch says:

      I don’t think this event is competitive although I don’t really know.

      The Gilded Age and its “aristocrat” robber barons were the closest we in the US came to royalty!
      (These were the same families who married off their wealthy daughters to badly-in-need-of-cash British noble families in epics like
      Downton Abbey.)

  6. what a lovely tradition and all for a good cause – bonus upon bonus.

  7. What fun! It seems very British, no?

    • Touch2Touch says:

      Mais oui —
      those folks of the Gilded Age — many of whom summered in the Berkshires — fancied themselves as British aristocracy, but better at business!
      πŸ˜‰

  8. Stef says:

    I can’t imagine this being a person’s primary mode of transportation; it just speaks to how *very* different life was, not that long ago. Beautiful pics.

    • Touch2Touch says:

      Automobiles were just beginning to make their first, few and far between appearances back in the Gilded Age, roughly 1875 – 1917. The first income tax law was enacted in that year, and the unlimited accumulation of money experienced its first setback.
      Unless we were among the very rich, I don’t think living at that time was any bed of roses.

      • Stef says:

        Agreed. I can only imagine how difficult life truly was back then… (Of course it can also be difficult now, just in different ways…)

      • Touch2Touch says:

        There was a really fascinating PBS series called the 1900s House which gave a reality to what it was like, as a modern family struggled to live just as they would have back then. You can watch it via the link, I thought it was enthralling.

  9. Christine says:

    This looks like it was a lot of fun – I’d love to ride in one of those coaches! Bet it was fun to take photos of, too!

    • Touch2Touch says:

      Takes a hefty donation to ride on the coaches, too rich for our blood — but waiting for them to arrive and waving as they go past is also a lot of fun!
      Frustrating on the photos, moving objects are not a skill of mine, I’m into still lifes. πŸ˜‰

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