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 2019.
In the evening, a fire is lit in the fire pit on the terrace, and in the fireplace in the lobby. It opens into a nook full of games and comfortable chairs, and a hallway to the restaurant. The art on the walls comes courtesy of the Williams College Museum of Art, in rounded abstract organic shapes. Leaf-green curves suggest a sweet bell pepper.
The restaurant is open to the community, and even early on a weeknight it can be busy, but the front desk ask carefully about preferences and sensitivities, and the servers know them before the guests reach a table.
The menu is as contemporary-traditional and East Coast as the architecture. Wood beams and quiet light, scallops and corn chowder with a fillip of cider. The flavors are deft and the portions ample, and the servers willingly double-check requests. I lingered over a bowl of hot soup sweet with local corn.
On the way out, a friend pointed out subtle hints of purple and gold in the design — Williams College colors. And we stood by the front door, looking up Spring Street at the lights downtown and the ridges beyond.