George ascends Laura's Tower

I could almost hear the riff, “I got you, babe,” while taking this photo of George ascending Laura’s Tower. I took the same shot of Mutti doing the same a year ago. (But with a better camera.) Apropos of Groundhog Day, I returned for a repeat hike of Laurel Hill and time left to explore the craggy glacier ravine.

Laura’s Tower, the Ice Glen and the Mary Flynn Trail are part of a beautification program run by a board of preservationists at the Housatonic Valley National Heritage Area. Ambitions bent on retaining the region’s natural legacy have worked in their favor for over a century.

The trails are just minutes from art-centric Stockbridge, Massachusetts, home to the Norman Rockwell Museum, 19th-century mansions, antique car shows, and sculptured botanical gardens. We parked not far from the cultured grounds of the 1915 Villa Virginia estate, a Mediterranean Renaissance Revival home that rivals anything you’d see in Italy!

Atop the metal observation platform, we saw very little, not even our shadows; everything was obscured by a thick blanket of fog. No matter, we were here for the wonders of the Ice Glen, a family-friendly favorite with big mossy boulders covered by thick layers of slippery ice.

A labyrinthine network of dark caves and steep crags screamed verboten but dogs and kids didn’t seem to care. Squirrels danced on the limbs of thick-skinned hemlock and pines, some said to be over 400-years-old. Don’t miss the engraving made in 1891, the year that 40-acres of land was donated by attorney David Dudley Field.

After the hike, we paid the Stockbridge Coffee and Tea a visit for frothy cups of Six Depot lattes.

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