Williamstown is a college town. Up in the Northwest corner of Massachusetts, where New York meets Vermont, Williams College is consistently ranked as the best liberal arts college in the country — and it’s a standing joke among students and faculty that no one (but alums) has ever heard of it.

Maple trees turn in October on the path along the Hoosic River off Cole Ave. in Williamstown
Photo by Kate Abbott

Maple trees turn along the Hoosic River.

The town around it is a quiet country place, and it touches many parts of the world. Nationally acclaimed ctors and musicians perform at the Williamstown Theatre Festival in the summer — in plays that often go on to New York. The Clark Art Institute brings in global contemporary artists alongside its Impressionists.

And around the corner you can sample cheeses at Cricket Creek Farm or hike the Appalachian Trail. In Hopkins Forest in the sugaring season, the forest manager will be up at the sap house, stoking the wood stove under the boiler. He may offer a taste of maple syrup, still hot.

What to do in Williamstown

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Field Farm

Nature and Modern art mingle at Field Farm in Williamstown. The Trustees of Reservations maintains the outoor sculpture garden and trails— open to the public from sunrise to sunset all year — and runs the house as a Bed and Breakfast, and they will open the Folly for art tours occasionally through the summer and fall.



The Hoosic River Watershed association is a group of local people who want to restore and conserve the river and bring people to enjoy it — paddling, biking and wandering along the bank or soaking your feet as you watch a migrating solitary sandpiper at the water’s edge.


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 for its house blend — its roastery has recently moved to the renovated Norad Mill in North Adams. It is more bakery than cafe, known for treats like chocolate cheesecake, fruit tarts and linzer hearts.


Williams ’62 Center

Williams College renovated a brick-and-column theatre into the ’62 Center for Theatre and Dance, a 21st-century performance space, with four stages and high-end sound and video. In the fall and spring, national and international performers appear here along with student groups, and in summer it is the home of the Williamstown Theatre Festival.


Williams Inn

Walk through the park and cross the bridge over Hemlock Brook, and you’ll see a kind of courtyard in old New England forms. The buildings run together in red barn and clapboard and stone. And they are all new. The Williams Inn opened in its Spring Street incarnation in summer […]