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Chamber of Commerce

Downtown Lenox has a flavor of old New England and contemporary art. Italian families worked Berkshire marble here and blew glass in factories not long ago, and a young black photographer left home to make his name in the Harlem Renaissance. And glimmering New York families came here in early fall.

That Gilded Age influence still shows, and so does a quirky intelligence. Walking around the central square of streets, you’ll find olve oil rioja, and hand-died yarns, and Andrew DeVries’ bronze sculptures. Local shops group around Lilac Park and a new community garden near the Church on the Hill chapel.

I’ve spent winter mornings in sunny corner at the Lenox Coffee Shop, talking about women pioneers in early film and the man who stole the Mona Lisa. I’ve wandered into Patisserie Lenox in the early evening with Edith Wharton’s A Backward Glance and sat over an almond croissant, listening to music over the speakers — a sweet, sad voice I didn’t recognize, singing in French.

And I’ve spent many hours at The Bookstore, where Matt Tannembaum has been ‘serving the community since last Tuesday’ for more than 40 years. It’s a good place to look for Pablo Neruda’s Ode to a Large tuna in the Market, or a history of the Yiddish Book Center (in Amherst). And I’ve shared a glass of prosecco here on a summer night.