All that art makes you hungry. And the secret’s out: eating, hiking, and great art is a way of life in northern Berkshire County. The hills are alive with farmers, artisanal food-makers, and small batch distillers who give us a taste of place. Time for an edible escape.
Maybe start in Williamstown at Tunnel City Coffee for an Instagram-worthy latte and a scene bustling with professors, students, award-winning authors (hey, didn’t she just get nominated for a National Book Award? Yep, she’s talking to a reporter from the Times now…), visiting artists, and the curious. The counter’s manned by local celebs—everyone from the school principal to the town manager—who dish up slices of comfort with seriously delicious desserts.
After spending the morning at the Williams College Museum of Art or the Clark, you can grab an inexpensive lunch in the Clark’s café, which prides itself on seasonal ingredients in soups, salads, and sandwiches at prices that leave plenty of money for their gift shop.
Or stroll down memory lane on Spring Street for wings or pizza at The Log, a hail-fellow-beat-Amherst kind of place owned by Williams College that was a social gathering place for decades, and has been recently reopened with a $4.5 million renovation that makes it look…er, old. You’ll still find the bottle of Olympia Beer that you put on the wall when you were a freshman in ’84.
Heading to MASS MoCA (a quick eight-minute ride on four wheels down Route 2), you can swing into Wild Oats, a community co-op that has a good array of local cheeses, sausages, spreads, and breads, along with salads and daily specials, which you can eat at small tables in the front of the store. Carnivores keep on trucking to Jack’s Hot Dog Stand in North Adams, where not much has changed since this beloved joint was opened in 1917. Dogs start at $1.30 (small fountain drinks are a buck), and you can rub elbows with locals who remember the days in this Italian city when the trucks delivered grapevines to the end of your driveway after the fall harvest so you could make your own grappa.
Lunch can also be had at Lickety Split, a café in MASS MoCA’s lobby that dishes up wholesome food and good java. If you want to shake it up, there’s local hot sauce for sale in MASS MoCA’s hardware store.
After absorbing Sol LeWitt’s psychedelic work (don’t miss Loopy Doopy on the third floor), you can walk to dinner at Gramercy Bistro for a grown-up artisanal cocktail and menu specializing in Berkshire-grown, organic ingredients. Watch for Bright Ideas—a brewery on campus opening this spring. We’re all hopped up.
You might also want to stroll a few blocks downtown to Public, a friendly, industrial-edged restaurant that serves comfort food, craft beer, and a lively crowd. (With its extensive menu of sides, Public is also a godsend if the kids get fussy, too.) In Williamstown, Mezze Bistro + Bar draws loyal fans for its commitment to locally sourced food, always artfully prepared and paired with small-batch microbrews, locally distilled spirits, and seasonal, small-production wines. There’s also Hops & Vines if you’ve got a hankering for oysters, craft beer, and a fireplace. You’ve still got that hot sauce, right?