The Best Small Town in America Williamstown MA
Everyone has their own favorite and usually it's the town they grew up in or live in, or at least I hope many can feel that way about where they live. For me, Williamstown MA is the best small town in America and I thought I'd write about why that is for me. I can imagine there are quite a few other Williamstown residents who probably share my view, at least on many of the points if not all. First of all, I like the lack of traffic and Williamstown has none except when there's something big going on like the Williams alumni parade or fall alumni homecoming. Even on those rare occasions a driver can drive the length of Main St. from the Library in the West to the Williamstown town line in the east is five minutes give or take and pass through just one traffic light which by the way, is more often than not, green as it changes only on demand. I like the fact you can dine out at any one of about 15 different restaurants and almost never have to wait for a table, how great is that! Williamstown MA has its own independent movie theater which shows a kaleidoscope of different films most of which never hit the big commercial theaters. Another reason the town is my number one pick is thanks to Williams College. Awesome! Residents can attend athletic events, theater, use the college's outstanding facilities like the pool, squash and tennis courts, gym for modest fees or audit courses. This is no ordinary town thanks to the college and Williams as is well known, is no ordinary college. Students are among the top in the nation. We don't have the wild fraternity scene or crazy behavior that some university towns have to deal with but instead we host smart, hardworking, ambitious and outstanding students who for the most part are focused on their studies. How about the scenery! Some of the best in the nation I wager. Any time of year it's just beautiful here. No, we don't have the Rockies and no we don't have the Pacific but neither do we have a dense urban environment either. Here we enjoy plentiful natural beauty at our doorsteps while for those needing an urban escape the big cities are only a few hours away. Our climate is terrific too. Yes we have winter and what a wonderful time of year that is when those who enjoy winter sports are in their glory and we can turn inwards in the winter and get lots of good reading done and enjoy time by the fire. Spring and fall are spectacular seasons and of course summer, brief as it is, allows us time for gardening, boating, golf, tennis, outdoor cultural events, hiking and basking in the summer sun.
The town is really clean. I like that. It's not that there isn't an occasional bit of litter around but by and large we're so happy with the way our town looks that people will pick up trash and put it in its proper place. The water is clean, the air mostly clean (we can't do much about what blows here from other parts of the country), our streets are clean and everyone keeps their properties looking really well kept. Close to home for me is of course real estate and I can say that in this respect too, Williamstown is the best small town in America because it is "just right". There is something that fits just about any budget and our values are near the mid-range in the nation. We are neither a rich nor a poor town but we have residents who fit in just about every point of the spectrum from quite wealthy to those who need and receive our support and help. Affordability has actually improved since the recession so housing here is again much more affordable. The town has committed to building more affordable housing because we try to make it possible for as many who would like to live here to be able to do so. Call me unusual if you like but living where I do in this gorgeous valley and wonderful small town I don't feel the urge or necessity of going away on vacation. There were years past when we did but more to take the children to see their grandparents. I traveled quite a bit as a younger person and have seen some wonderful places but I never found one I could say today that I'd rather live there. Having done my traveling I find I am blessed and quite content to enjoy the Berkshires in every season. One more reason to consider Williamstown as the best town in America is the people. What a great bunch. Relatively open minded, committed to learning, committed to the quality of life here, interested in the arts, living a healthy life-style, showing consideration for others. We are not a fanatical bunch and we have a wide variety of interests and talents. Unlike a ski town for example where everyone is engaged in one way or another in that activity or a yachting community, Williamstown is home to a spectrum of different interests although I will acknowledge that education and learning are a prominent focus. So there you have it, my short list of reasons why Williamstown is number one in my book (I hope everyone not fortunate enough to live here will write their own list about how they like their own town best) and while we don't ever want to see it become over crowded we would welcome anyone else who cares to join us. It's simply a great place to live!
Paul Harsch Copyright 2014