You can sit back over cheese fondue or ham and cornichons on a baguette with butter. This milltown along the Housatonic River has a long connection to New York and one of the strongest concentrations of restaurants and small local shops in any Berkshire community.

You can wander among second-hand books and vintage clothing. On a crisp fall morning, you can share a home-made doughnut with apple filling and a locally roasted cup of coffee, or Thai noodle soup and steamed buns.

Bard College at Simon’s Rock adds to the cultural weave of the community, holding talks and performances and art year-round, along with downtown venues like the Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center and St. James Place. The town has fed creative life since long before Herman Melville and Nathaniel Hawthorne met on a hike up Monument Mountain.

W.E.B. DuBois was born and raised here, and he found sources of strength on the Housatonic. Today you can walk a path to his homesite and find his thoughts in the DuBois Center, in the rare bookstore near the cemetery where he buried his wife and young son — or join a tribute in a garden along the River Walk and keep the rhythm of a spiritual and a talking drum.

Great Barrington

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Guthrie Center

You can get anything you want at Alice’s Restaurant — even an evening of music with the Guthrie family. The church that made folk music history 50 years ago in Arlo Guthrie’s hit song is now a community center and the site of an annual folk music series in the summers.

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Great Barrington Farmers Market

The Great Barrington Farmers Market runs outdoors, just off Main Street on Saturdays, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. from May to October, with fruits and greens, baked goods, herbs and oils, coffee and cider, and live acoustic music on warm and quiet mornings.

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Berkshire Grown: Great Barrington

A small boy is dancing to East Tennessee Blues and the Reel de San Antoine on a ripping fiddle. The accordian slides into another key, and the group follows him grinning into another Quebeçois dance tune. He is also a beekeeper — more than one of this group have grown […]

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Prairie Whale

Mark Firth was a restauranteur in Brooklyn before he came to the Berkshires. Out here he has raised his own pigs for his own kitchen — he named his new venture for them: A ‘Prairie Whale’ is a hog. He also turns to local farms for fruits and vegetables and meats.

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Steam Noodle Cafe

Steam Cafe is a cheerful place, and the menu is pure comfort food — soups and dumplings, steamed buns, spring rolls. A bowl of Thai noodle soup comes in a generous portion, ample for many meals, mild on the spice and rich with chicken and vegetables.

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