BY JANET STEINBERG
Williamstown, in the northwest corner of Massachusetts, is a charming college town that is a mecca for art and culture. It is home to Williams College, the Clark Art Institute and the Tony-awarded Williamstown Theatre Festival.
The permanent collection of Williams College Museum of Art has over 12,000 works of art ranging from 9th-century B.C. Assyrian stone reliefs from the palace of King Ashurnasirpal II, to one of the last self-portraits by Andy Warhol. It also has works by artists Louise Nevelson, Ben Shahn, and Louise Bourgeois's outdoor sculpture entitled "Eyes". Said Bourgeois:"The eyes are the window of the soul, reflecting feelings and truth. They are the best way to communicate with the world, with others."
|"EYES" BY LOUISE BOURGEOIS|
Although the Williams College Museum of Art collection spans the history of Art, it emphasizes contemporary and modern art, American art from the late 18th century to the present, and the art of world cultures. It aims to present art in ways that are accessible and exciting without sacrificing complexity or subtlety.
Williamstown, a tiny town whose population was listed at a mere 7754 (2010 census), is also home to the Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute where visitors can experience outstanding European and American art in a beautiful, rural setting. The Clark, opened in 1955 by Singer sewing machine heir Robert Sterling Clark and his wife Francine, has become one of the world’s favorite and most respected art museums.
The Clark is renowned for its French Impressionist paintings by Monet, Degas, Pissarro and more than thirty Renoir paintings. The collection also is also contains American works by Homer, Sargent, Remington and Cassatt.
The rural setting of the Clark campus is made up of 140 acres of woodlands, meadows, and hiking trails of varying lengths and difficulty. A lily pond enhances the view from the galleries and picnic tables and benches invite visitors to enjoy the Berkshire atmosphere.
The Williamstown Theater Festival, winner of the 2002 Tony Award for the Best Regional Theatre attracts world famous actors to it stage. The Williamstown Film Festival offers a venue for East Coast premiers of independent films.
When you’ve had your fill of culture in Williamstown, The ‘6 House Pub will fill your stomach with down-home food. The “Six” House Bovine Burger Bazaar offers every kind of burger imaginable.
The burgers range from “The Guernsey”, a basic no frills burger to “The Mediterranean Cow”, heaped with gorgonzola, grilled Portobello mushroom slices, roasted red pepper , and tomato basil aioli. There are dishes listed as “Simple Pub Fare”, “Spaghetts”, specialty supper salads, soups for supper and sweets from Salted Caramel Vanilla Crunch Cake to Chocolate Molten Lava Cake.
Owners of the jumping ‘6 House Pub, also operates the adjoining 1896 House Inn complex consisting of the “Brookside”, and “Pondside” Motels.
For AAA Four diamond accommodations in Williamstown, The Orchards Hotel provides a peaceful retreat combined with contemporary comfort and convenience. It is a place where you can surround yourself in the beautiful solitude of the Berkshire and Green Mountains.
Willliamstown is tucked in the far western corner of Massachusetts where Vermont, Massachusetts, and New York meet. And no matter where you are coming from in this tri-state area, all roads lead to Manchester, Vermont where upscale discount shops are housed in clapboard clusters of New England-style buildings located in the charming Manchester Center.
The Equinox Resort & Spa in Manchester Village is the quintessential New England resort, with Revolutionary roots dating back to 1769. It is one of the country’s most historically significant lodgings. Its fascinating history began during the Revolutionary War, when a solitary tavern owned by William Marsh stood on the grounds. Today, dining on hearty New England fare in the original Marsh Tavern is a cozy affair where you are swept into a bygone era.
Nearby Quechee Village is known for its picturesque covered bridge at the site of the old Quechee mill.
|COVERED BRIDGE AT QUECHEE, VERMONT|
The old Quechee Mill now houses the Simon Pearce glass-blowing facility and restaurant.
|SIMON PEARCE GLASS-BLOWING FACILITY|
Albany, the Capital of New York, is the airport of choice for the Williamstown, Masachusetts/Manchester, and Vermont area. If time permits, take in a performance, or, at the least, take a look at The Egg, a performing arts venue in Albany. Only minutes from the Albany airport, The Egg is architecturally without precedence, taking its name from its shape. It appears to be more like sculpture than a building. Designed by Harrison and Abramovitz as part of the Empire State Plaza project, The Egg was 12 years in the making from 1966 to 1978.
JANET STEINBERG is an award-winning Travel Writer and a Travel Consultant with THE TRAVEL AUTHORITY in Mariemont, Ohio.