Indian Summer Sortie

Gorgeous cars and a gorgeous view at the Golden Eagle restaurant in North Adams, MA

By Dave Pratt
Photos by Brian Cacchiotti, Judy Otto, Meg Anderson, Gene Durso, and Tom Letourneau

The eighth annual AONE Indian Summer Sortie is now history!  And a fine bit of history it is. This year’s edition was held a week or two earlier than some years in the past, and as a result there was still most of that spectacular New England foliage remaining on the trees. We expected that there might be a correspondingly larger number of leaf-peepers clogging up the roads, but that turned out not to be the case at all! In only a couple of instances were we obliged to blow past a slower vehicle; the rest of the time, we pretty much had the roads to ourselves!

On the morning of Saturday, October 23rd, we met (as usual) at the Fillin’ Station Diner in South Deerfield, MA, where most of us got a little breakfast and coffee to sustain us through the upcoming drive. Then tourmaster Peter Walker gathered us in front our waiting Alfas, handed out route directions, and gave us a rundown on where the drive would be going. As usual, ten Alfas and a lesser car were ready to go. It’s a strange phenomenon — we always seem to get around ten Alfas on the Sortie — not the same Alfas, but always around ten. No complaints, though, since it’s enough Alfas to admire while we’re on the road or stopped for a rest, but not so many that it’s tough to keep everybody together (and up to speed).

Then it was off to the races! (Well, not races, perhaps, but definitely a spirited automotive exercise.) It was a brisk, sunny, autumn day, and most of the convertible tops were dropped before we set off. Peter and Meg Anderson were in the lead Spider and set the pace. They’re very familiar with the area roads and know when the tempo can be veloce and when it should be moderato. As a result, we were able to get in some exhilarating driving, while knowing when to proceed safely through villages (and avoid the scrutiny of the local constabulary).

Peter and Meg always vary the route somewhat every year, and this time was no exception. We ended up tracing a path all over northwestern Massachusetts and even up into southern Vermont. The overall length was a little over 90 miles. Since we were, after all, in the Berkshires, this meant 90 miles of uphills, downhills, sharp turns, and sweeping bends, with just an occasional straight stretch. And 90 miles of farms, forests, fields, rock outcroppings, and long, scenic views. And did we mention the spectacular foliage?

Speaking of spectacular, our odyssey ended at the Golden Eagle restaurant in North Adams, perched on the outside of a hairpin turn on Route 2, on a steep slope halfway up a mountain (see map). The expansive views of the valley below and mountains in the distance caused us to dawdle in the parking lot both before we went inside and after we came out. There were twenty of us and we were seated for lunch at two large tables (with a little overflow onto a third). The food was quite good and the service quite fast for a group our size, and I have a feeling that Peter and Meg may choose it again for some future Sorties. Our group this year comprised (in no particular order, except the tour leaders first and lesser car last):

Peter Walker & Meg Anderson – White ’77 Spider
Dan & Deb Donovan – Metallic burgundy ’88 Spider
Greg & Andrea Stidsen – Rosso Amaranto ’74 GTV
Ken & Millie Greene – Red ’91 Spider
Tom Letourneau & John DeWaele – Tom’s red ’86 Spider, with John as chauffeur
Fred Frey & Beverley Fisher – Blue ‘73 Junior Zagato 1600
Rich Rumelt – Maroon ’79 Spider
Phil Bostwick – Dark blue ’72 GTV
Gene & Judy Durso - Pagoda Giallo ’74 Spider
Dave & Vi Pratt – Pagoda Giallo ’74 Spider (not a misprint)
Brian Cacchiotti & Judy Otto – Lesser car (VW Jetta TDI), friends of Peter & Meg

Our thanks again go to Peter and Meg for planning and running the Indian Summer Sortie, easily one of the most fun driving events our club does (and that’s saying something)!Tiny Quadrifoglio


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Indian Summer Sortie