Day/Date: SATURDAY -10/15/22
Towns visited: Williamstown & Savoy
Had we ever been to any of these towns before? No
Time spent in town(s): 20 + hours combined
What did we do in the town(s)/area?
Well, we were blown away by our visit to Williamstown. This small town in the uppermost corner of the state is home to Williams College, a small liberal arts school. Having been to many “college towns,” this one seemed to integrate campus and town nicely. The Berkshires are known to be a home for the arts, with many museums and summer event spaces. We found out that, along with Tanglewood music venue in Lenox and Jacob’s Pillow dance study and performance center in Becket, Williamstown is also known for the performance arts, specifically, the award-winning Williamstown Theatre Festival which typically runs in the summers.
We really tried to pack a lot into our few days here. We went to the Clark Institute of Art, spending time both inside the museum and outside, walking the campus’ many trails and taking in the scenery and the outdoor sculptures. One piece of art entitled “Can you teach a cow to draw?” by Analia Saban was a fence showing concepts such as the rule of thirds and the golden ratio. The fence surrounded a pasture of cows on a hill, and the walking paths went right through the pasture. These well-behaved cows didn’t seem to mind us literally walking through their home in order to see another outdoor exhibit of architectural artwork called the Crystal, an asymmetrical wooden structure that provided a unique look out onto the scenery (the picture will explain it better).
Inside the museum was an impressive collection, inclusive of paintings, sketches, sculpture and photography, much of which was donated by Sterling and Francine Clark. They had familial ties with Williams College, so they decided to establish a public art gallery in the town of Williamstown.
We stayed in a lovely Airbnb about a mile from campus, a small apartment adjacent to a couple’s house. After checking in, we continued our Williamstown adventures, checking out the Spruces Community Park, a charming park with a few miles of walking/biking trails on a flat piece of land with great mountain views. This used to be a mobile home retirement community from the 1950s until 2011 when hurricane Irene came and devastated the area. The Hoosac River is just a few blocks from this spot, and with it being so low in elevation, the area was severely flooded. The town condemned the area after every home was damaged and turned it into a public park.
Since the night before had been really rainy, we decided to pick up some great food for dinner from the local food co-op and head out to chase the sunset! We ended up watching it from Luce Road which went from town up into the hills, with many farms. It was beautiful! We slept well that night.
When we awoke in the morning, our first thought was, “time for coffee!” So, we headed down to Spring Street, which is a small street a few blocks long that has most of the restaurants, the Williams bookstore, and other shops in town. There was the 2nd location of Tunnel Coffee Roasters, and having had such a good cup o’ joe there the day before in their other location, we went back for more! It did not disappoint! After coffee and breakfast at the cafe, we went across the street to take in the Williamstown Farmer’s Market, complete with live bluegrass music! We purchased a few carrots and onions from a small local farm called Big Foot Farm.
Then we walked around the Williams College campus. From every vantage point, you could see the foliage-covered mountains all around. We went into the newly-expanded library. A brick wall from the old library sits inside the new, very modern glass library building! We also toured the Williams College Museum of Art, which had some really amazing works! There was an exhibit about the late artist, Mary Ann Unger. Unger was a feminist sculptor whose works express unconventional human forms. Her work “Across the Bering Straight” (pictured) is a room full of figures, seemingly in motion, plodding away on their journey. Unfortunately, Unger passed away at the far too young age of 53 from breast cancer. Her daughter, who is an artist in her own right, attended Williams College, which may be why the exhibit made it to this museum.
After our campus adventures, we picked up a sandwich at the local deli, and they headed to Sheep Hill . Jenny read that this spot was “the best place to see foliage in the Berkshires,” and we think that the review was correct! This spot, just a few miles out of the downtown part of town, is part of Williamstown Rural Lands, a protected patch of land for recreation. The views from this hike were lovely from the bottom, then just became more and more colorful and beautiful as we walked up the hill. From the top, we enjoyed our sandwiches as well as spectacular views of the foliage and Mt. Greylock, Mt. Fitch, and Mt Williams. It was a beautiful, sunny day, and we could have sat on top of that hill until nightfall. But, alas, we wanted time to visit one more town on our way home.
This small town of about 650 people is on the Eastern Edge of Berkshire County. This town is so small that they don’t even have a post office. Well, they do have post boxes next to the town hall, which are covered by a wooden shelter. And the town offices are only open Tuesdays from 1 pm to 5 pm! The very small Town Hall building has a police station around the back. We think they only had one police car, which was parked beside the building. This town had no stores and no gas stations. There was google info for a general store, but it led us to an abandoned building.
But, there is a State Forest in Savoy, and our handy dandy All Trails app took us down a bumpy road to a trailhead for Tannery Falls. This was a fairly steep but well-maintained hike to the base of a waterfall. Well, actually, to the base of two waterfalls, with the hiking trail running between them. It was beautiful, and the water was really flowing after the recent rain.
We hiked back up, hopped in the car, and headed the 2+ hours on Rte. 2 all the way home. What a wonderful fall foliage weekend adventure in the Berkshires! 5 towns visited in 3 days!!!
Indigenous/ Native land info for this region:
WILLIAMSTOWN: Mohican SAVOY: Nipmuc, Wabanaki Pocumtuc