Tuesday September 25, 2012

Occasionally, when I mention to someone that I live in Peru, I see a glazed-over look drift into their eyes and I expect to be asked, "Do you come down from the mountain often? How long is your trek into civilization?" or something of the like. There seems to be a mistaken impression that the "hilltowns" are remote and uninviting. Nothing is further from the truth. As I live in Peru, I will address my comments accordingly.

We are less than 15 minutes from the Berkshire Mall and even closer to Berkshire Crossing -- closer than many of the more-populated areas of the county are to these locations. Though population is low, there are many neighborhood options, from fine traditional homes to sprawling farmland, and woodland abodes, as well as private vacation properties. Privacy and tranquility are major assets. There are nature/hiking trails, as well as boating, fishing, snow-shoeing, snowmobiling, and ice fishing -- and biking the hills offers a special challenge. Wildlife abounds here, and bird-watching is delightful with hawks, owls, herons, and eagles spotted regularly, as well as the smaller birds that enhance the landscape and our lives.

There are incredible, breathtaking views of lakes, distant hills and woodlands -- panoramas so sweeping and marvelous you'll surely want to linger. The sunsets are spectacular every season of the year. The sunset background used on the poster "Doors of the Berkshires" was taken from my own deck.


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All year round we are treated to beautiful natural sights: hillsides in a glorious explosion of color in the autumn; frosty, glistening snow-blanketed woods in winter; new green bursts of color along with the lilacs and forsythia of spring; and the full-bodied, green lushness of summer with buttercups, violets, and every other wildflower imaginable coloring our world.

During severe weather we often fare better than many. Tropical Storm Irene and last year's freak October snow storm caused thousands to lose power, but we never had a problem. Our two daughters who live in metropolitan areas were without power for over a week, so they joined us here "in the hills" for the duration. Our roads get plowed and sanded without delay. I never was late for work because of impassible roads, even when I routinely left home at 4:45 a.m. to get to the gym before work.

To top it all off, we have great cellphone reception, and high-speed Internet as well.

As the leaf-peeping season is upon us once more, take a drive up Route 143 from the center of Hinsdale and treat yourself to some truly glorious scenery. My own street, Lafayette Drive, offers some of the best panoramic views in the county. Come up into these "hills" and enjoy the view. You'll be surprised how close we are. And you don't even need a passport.

CAROLYN LeCOMTE

Peru