Berkshires Week and The Shires of Vermont

MANCHESTER -- Come explore the origins and tastes of the favorite potations of early Americans. New England food and drinks writer Corin Hirsch offers some modern-day recipes as she presents "Forgotten Drinks of Colonial New England: From Flips and Rattle-Skulls to Switchel and Spruce Beer" at the Northshire Bookstore on Sat urday, March 15, at 5 p.m.

Small tastings and samples will be available at the event.

Colonial New England was awash in ales, beers, wines, cider and spirits.

Everyone from teenage farmworkers to the founding fathers imbibed heartily and often. Tipples at breakfast, lunch, teatime and dinner were the norm, and low-alcohol hard cider was sometimes even a part of children's lives.

This burgeoning cocktail culture reflected the New World's abundance of raw materials: apples, sugar and molasses, wild berries and hops. This plentiful drinking sustained a slew of smoky taverns and inns -- watering holes that became vital meeting places and the nexuses of unrest as the Revolution brewed.

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On Friday, March 14, at 7 p.m., New York Times bestselling author Jennifer Mc Mahon returns with a simmering literary thriller about ghostly secrets, dark choices, and the unbreakable bond between mothers and daughters.

West Hall, Vt., has always been a town of strange disappearances and old legends. The most mysterious is that of Sara Harrison Shea, who, in 1908, was found dead in the field behind her house just months after the tragic death of her daughter, Gertie. Now, in present day, 19-year-old Ruthie lives in Sara's farmhouse with her mother, Alice, and her younger sister, Fawn.

McMahon is the author of six novels, including the New York Times bestsellers "Island of Lost Girls" and "Promise Not to Tell." She graduated from Goddard College and studied poetry in the MFA Writing Program at Vermont College. She lives with her partner and daughter in Montpelier, Vt.

For more information on this and other events, call (802) 362-2200 or visit
northshire.com.