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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Photo by Kate Abbott

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.

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Photo by Kate Abbott

Clark Art Institute

Renoir rubs elbows with Rodin, and the reflecting pool glows between northeast granite and classical marble. The Clark Art Institute holds a collection of Impressionists and more on a campus re-imagined by Tadao Ando.

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Photo by Rosana Prada

Images Cinema

Images is a non-profit community movie theater in Williamstown, and one of the few remaining single-screen, independent theaters still running in this country. It shows new films every week, with organic pop corn and real butter.

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Williamstown Theatre Festival

Williamstown Theatre Festival

On these stages, actors and writers can take risks. A new musical can ache for a Polish woman who escapes Russia, between a World War and a revolution, and comes to Paris with little but a skill with paint and determination to rebuild.

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Field Farm / Photo by Kate Abbott

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.

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Photo by Kate Abbott

HooRWA

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.

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Courtesy photo by Sam Whited

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.

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Image courtesy of Williams College

WCMA

The Williams College Museum of Art is a college museum, a teaching museum showing artists around the world and across centuries, from paintings by Edward Hopper and Meleko Mokgosi to contemporary photography, to 9th-century BC Assyrian stone reliefs from Nineveh.

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Dada Masilo as Giselle / Photo by Kevin Parry

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.

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Photo by Kate Abbott

Williams College

Williams College is named the top liberal arts college in the country, out in the Berkshire hills with an art museum, theater and music, talks and trails — and a spirit of making its own fun.

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Photo by Kate Abbott

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 […]

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Williamstown Chamber

Williamstown

Williamstown has grown with Williams College, from a quiet farming community to a center of the arts. They were founded together, and their relationship is often complex. The college gives the town an energy.

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