Mass MoCA is now the largest contemporary art museum in the country, and one of the largest on the planet. Artists from across the U.S. and the world have come to show their work in a former mill North Adams along the Hoosic River.READ MORE
Massachusetts’ smallest city is going through a revival. It hits home for me when I walk into the Bear and Bee Bookshop on a quiet day and wind up talking with the co-owners about speculative fiction … and how to revive the Hoosic River. And when I walk into a writers group and meet people I’ve never seen before, even in 20 years of talking with local folk.
I can walk into a workshop at the Plant Connector or an informal gathering of friends and local entrepreneurs and find people talking excitedly about summer plans. We have a new energy in the state’s smallest city, and I’m feeling it grow.
In the pandemic, the downtown has seen a raft of new businesses — we have an independent bookstore, plant shop, tea shop, vintage clothing and fiber arts. While Mass MoCA keeps a strong beat as the country’s largest contemporary art museum, and encourages a community of artists, they have company.
Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts brings art downtown, along with local places, from Common Folk artists’ co-op to Installation Space. Common Folk and GreylockWorks and Belltower Records host local live music.
You can pull together a picnic from the farmers market or pick up a bottle of Berkshire Cider, Chingon tacos, ice cream at Tunnel City and Lickety Split, a local burger at Public with purple potato chips … and take them on a hike up the Appalachian Trail or Mount Greylock, or sit by the marble arch of Natural Bridge and listen to the river.
North Adamsfilter by location or type
Bear and Bee Bookshop
Jennifer Stevens and Rye Howard took the leap of opening a bookshop in a pandemic, with focuses in science fiction and fantasy, health and the land and more.READ MORE
Boston ferns hang overhead, trailing long green fronds, and tiny begonias sit in the window … The Plant Connector is a warm, bright space, and it’s vividly green.READ MORE
Tunnel City Coffee
A college hangout and an anchor on Spring Street for decades, Tunnel City roasts its own coffee and has a loyal following — it roasts its own blends locally in the renovated Norad Mill in North Adams.READ MORE
Moresi & Associates has drawn more than 40 local businesses to the renovated Norad Mill — artists and artisans, coffee and local wines, vintage records, yarn shops and even rocks and minerals.READ MORE
Mount Greylock summit
At the top of Mount Greylock you can stand on the highest point in Massachusetts, 3,491 feet above sea level, with a lighthouse at your shoulder and a 1930s WPA lodge.READ MORE
Hoosac Valley Line
On weekends, Berkshire Scenic Railway runs hour-long, round-trip historic train rides between Adams and North Adams, and local volunteers tell the story of trains in the mountains.READ MORE
Public Eat + Drink
Public Eat + Drink is the kind of place that has purple potato chips on the menu, and homemade ice cream sandwiches — and local hamburgers so thick they can last for two meals. It’s the kind of place that will be crowded to spilling over at 5 p.m. on a Wednesday in a soaking rain. The word has gotten out.READ MORE
Up at Brewhaha, Barry Garton smiles when he hears about the farm-to-table movement as a new phenomenon, because he has been cooking that way since the 1970s — local and homestyle, with fair trade coffee, soups and omelettes and his signature muffins — pumpkin chip, chocolate banana and more.READ MORE
North Berkshire dance
Contra and square dancing is a living New England tradition, as casual as dancing barefoot in the kitchen on a summer night. The North Berkshire Community Dance holds a monthly dance on second Saturdays at the Williamstown Community Preschool, with live music.READ MORE
Karla Rothstein and Salvatore Perry have renovated a 240,000 cotton mill on Route 2 near the North Adams / Williamstown line into GreylockWorks, a center for local food and events.READ MORE