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.

The town around it is a quiet country place, and it touches many parts of the world. Actors and musicians perform at the college year-round, and the Williamstown Theatre Festival in the summer, and the Clark Art Institute brings contemporary artists to exhibit alongside its Impressionists.

And at the same time you can sample cheeses at Cricket Creek Farm or hike the Appalachian Trail — or amble through Hopkins Forest. On the first warm spring afternoon 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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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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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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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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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.

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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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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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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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