December 10 2020 Edition
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By the Way
The lights are on. Holiday trains are running on the Hoosac Valley Line (thank you Brent Bette for the photo), and up and down the county downtowns are trying to face December with a glimmer. I've been collecting shop windows while I've been cautiously looking into local shops — the model train in Williamstown, the red-robed woman in Great Barrington with her arms spread wide ...

In Lenox on Saturday, the day kept calling for snow, but it was raining on the edge of slush, and I'd been juggling my gloves and my phone while I took photos of their new outdoor holiday trees. They're elfin trees, not quite shoulder high on me.

I'd come from Paperdilly (in Lee), from a welcome hour of reveling in colorful paper and beeswax candles and pens. They're the only place I can find reporters' notebooks these days. They're the only local stationery shop I know now, anywhere at all.

Walking through always reminds me of the corner shop on my hometown green where I used to get pocket notebooks as a kid and spend a morning at the library. (I'd smuggle in a handful of chocolate from the tiny chocolate shop over the way, whatever the few quarters in my pocket would cover, and look up ideas ... whale song or draft horses or planets ...)

Lenox was quiet, Somewhere along Church Street I put the phone in my pocket and warmed my hands (and sanitized them) and looked in at Colorful Stitches. And I felt newly thankful that I can still find watercolor paints and yarn from targhee wool somewhere close to home. Such things as dreams are made on. They're as rare as the Bookstore.

The air was raw, and Lenox Coffee was lit with a warm glow. They've set up a walk-through on the porch, so you read the menu over a view of the day's croissants and then order through the window, and they'll pour the cream and let you say when. Holding a hot cup in both hands has never felt so good.

A woman passing by asked where it came from, and I pointed her around the corner or across to Shots Cafe, which I discovered myself for the first time a couple of weeks ago. Their Cuban sandwich can warm an afternoon by itself. And then I headed to the closest chocolate shop for a handful of chocolate ... to give away. By the Way Berkshires


Tim Jones performs as Buddy, a young Truman capote, in A Holiday Memory. Press photo courtesy of Berkshire Theatre Group.

Imagination kindles in the Depression: BTG brings Truman Capote's Holiday Memories

Deep in the Depression, a boy and his motherly cousin have saved pennies for a year to make fruit cakes — as Berkshire Theatre Group brings an outdoor performance of Truman Capote's 'Holiday Memories' to life.

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Tony award winning actor Audra McDonald will perform as Blanhe in A Streetcar Named Desire.

Listening to the darkness — Williamstown Theatre Festival reimagines 'Streetcar Named Desire'

Ariel Shafir and Audra McDonald explore the sounds of New Orleans and the darker sides of the human psyche in Williamstown Theatre Festival's audible production of A Streetcar Named Desire.

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Holiday artisans

A glass ornament takes shape at Salem Art Works. Press image courtesy of SAW.

Salem Art Works expands into a virtual holiday shop

Salem Art Works in Salem, N.Y., has opened a new webshop for their artists, with blown glass ornaments ceramics, cast iron and more — and their trails are open.

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Lenox tree 1H

Festivals of trees moves outward in Lenox and Pittsfield

Downtowns and local businesses are looking for breathing space as they navigate a season where traditional holiday walks and pageants and processions have to give way.

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Sheffield's Festival of Holidays returns with tabletop trees. Press photo courtesy of Sheffield Historical Society.

Sheffield Historical Society turns up the lights downtown

In Sheffield, the historical society is creating its own new tradition in lights. In the grounds of the historic Dan Raymond House, 20 lighted Frasier firs will glimmer.

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Outdoor wreath H

Williamstown Holiday Walk supports community

Through December 20

The Williamstown Chamber of Commerce is reimagining Williamstown's annual festival as a celebration of small shops and local nonprofits with popups and more.

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IS183 will open a popup holiday artisan market with works like Ben Evans' sky blue mugs and Amy DiLalla's white howlite earrings.

IS183 launches popup holiday online marketplace

Through December 11

IS183 Art School is hosting its first ever Annual Virtual Pop-up Holiday shop with local artists in photography and ceramics, metalwork and fiber art and more.

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A winter holiday ornament catches the light.

Legends of the Berkshires: Berkshire Museum outside

Through January 10

This year the Berkshire Museum's Festival of Trees will move from the museum’s galleries into shops, restaurants and other locations throughout the city of Pittsfield and surrounding communities.

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Williamstown, MA 01267