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iBerkshires.com Columnist Section

Sue Bush
More articles from Sue Bush

Five Things to Love About the Northern Berkshires III

By Susan Bush
12:00AM / Monday, June 27, 2005

Northern Berkshire streets are in full bloom; this display is in North Adams.
Welcome to our regular feature, “Five Things to Love About the Northern Berkshires.” The column highlights five Northern Berkshires-based entities, locations, people or endeavors that help create the unique and beautiful area we call home.

What We Love About Municipal Beautification Projects

Northern Berkshire communities are blooming with beauty during the summer months, and the color and greenery that adorn streets, bridges, and curbsides do not appear by accident. In Williamstown, the Williamstown Garden Club plants and cares for flowers along areas such as the Route 2 bridge [near Eastlawn Cemetery], the Veteran’s Memorial at Field Park, and the Town Hall. Members of the Mount Greylock Garden Club of Adams bring the color and life to the Center Street bridge, Armory Court, the area surrounding the McKinley statue, the Town Hall sign, and along Summer and Hoosac streets. North Adams Mayor John Barrett III has led the charge to beautify the city’s streets and the results are flowering in places including Center Street, the Veteran’s Memorial site, and Main Street. Other communities in the region maintain municipal properties in an attractive manner. We love the color and the beauty of live flowers, and we thank those of you responsible for the effort it all requires.

What We Love About Northern Berkshire Museums


MASS MoCA is but one of the fine Northern Berkshire museums.
Our area is home to three of the most respected art museums in the nation. The Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute is considered among one of the best in the world, the Williams College Art Museum is noted nation-wide as a top college art museum and the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art has generated national attention and buzz since its’ opening. Each museum is different from the other, which only adds to the appeal of all three. And all three may be visited in one day, since all are located within a 10-minute drive of each other. In addition to world-class exhibits, the museums work with the surrounding communities and are especially generous to local schools. We love that the museums are located within our Northern Berkshire community and are involved with the community members as well.

What We Love About the Women’s Exchange

The Women's Exchange offers easy-on-the-budget items and financial support to community health initiatives.


The Women’s Exchange is far more than a consignment shop for clothing, and, in the case of the Women’s Exchange II, household items. The Cole Avenue, Williamstown non-profit entity is very well known for its’ selection of second-hand, bargain-priced upscale clothing and its’ financial contributions to area health programs. Since opening in 1957, the exchange has funded community health care providers, including the North Adams Regional Hospital and the Visiting Nurse Association and Hospice of the Northern Berkshires. The group joined the Northern Berkshire Healthcare family in 1999, and its’ past donations include funds totaling over $15,000 that assisted initiatives including a NARH emergency department prescription drug program, the VNA/Hospice, the REACH Community Health Foundation, and additional local health care programs. The exchange is operated almost entirely by a staff of volunteers. Exchange volunteers also work at a North Adams Regional Hospital gift shop. We love the Women’s Exchange for its’ constant commitment to community health, its’ friendly, dedicated volunteers, and of course, the super deals on great clothing.

What We Love About Youth Programs


The Williamstown Youth center is one of many youth-oriented venues.
Take a look around and discover the many opportunities open to Northern Berkshire youth. Adams and Williamstown host youth centers, the North Adams-based Northern Berkshire Community Coalition offers numerous initiatives via the United Neighboring Interdependent Trusted Youth and Grooove groups, the COTY program is going strong, and the YMCA offers a wide array of youth activities and summer and vacation “camps.” After-school programs are available at many public schools, and in North Adams, a contingent of “neighborhood coalitions” frequently plan events for their neighborhood youth. Youth athletic leagues are abundant, and private citizens have stepped up to the plate; when Dawn Karo of North Adams faced difficulty finding a Brownie troop for her young daughter, Karo fulfilled Girl Scout requirements, became a troop leader, and started a troop. While challenges remain – transportation from rural areas and some program costs continue to act as barriers for many youth – we love that Northern Berkshire communities and entities place an emphasis on that all-important resource, our youngest citizens.

What We Love About Outdoor Markets

Chenail's Farm Fresh Produce market is just one of the numerous fresh produce outlets in the Northern Berkshires.


Summer is the time for fresh vegetables, berries, fruits and flowers, and the Northern Berkshires is ripe with produce markets offering the region’s best. From community farmer’s markets to small, seasonal roadside stands to larger venues such as Chenail’s Farm Fresh Products and the Green River Farms in Williamstown, Renton’s Farmland Market in North Adams, Racine’s in Adams, and Whitney’s Farm Stand in Cheshire, summer bounty is plentiful. In many cases, the produce sold is locally grown, and may taste all the better for it. We love that during the summer months, we can say “buh-bye” to brown-tinged lettuce, puny tomatoes and frozen corn and “hello” to tasty fresh foods while supporting our local agriculture industry.

Susan Bush may be reached at 802-823-9367 or by e-mail at suebush123@adelphia.net.
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