The Berkshires are not Boston. Thank goodness for that! When Governor Baker recently banned all non-essential travel on January 27th in response to the dire warnings from the national weather service of the winter storm "Juno" (when did they start giving names to snow events?), he did so for the entire state of Massachusetts. What he didn't know concerning The Berkshires is that Boston and most of the eastern half of the state are a different world apart from The Berkshires. We love it that way too.
Here is what Boston is famous for among other things: traffic congestion, The Big Dig, Logan International Airport, crowds, an antiquated public transit system and lots of colleges. The one thing we can ALL be proud of about Boston is really located in Foxborough, our Patriots football team!
Here's what The Berkshires are famous for: gorgeous scenery, music, dance, art, theater, boating, skiing, hiking, golf, tennis, biking, ease of access and ease of getting around (whether walking or driving, great farm to table fresh local foods, four colleges, and essentially a friendly, safe, healthy and clean environment. The exception to the rule of low traffic is getting out of Tanglewood after a James Taylor or Yo Yo MA concert. We also get around just fine regardless of the amount of snow or rain and we are spared the extremes from storms that can rip through the coastal areas of our state. No sink holes here since we sit on solid rock, not sand like Florida.
I am constantly amazed and puzzled by all the people who would choose a congested, noisy pressured city life over a country and small town life such as we enjoy here in the Berkshires. Williamstown MA, home of Williams College, has just one traffic light and many Berkshire county towns have no traffic lights at all.
High air quality, low pollution, great schools, solid family life, social and cultural life are all tops here in The Berkshires. While a big city offers higher paying jobs it also requires a higher cost of living overall. Some folks choose to live in suburbs outside of Boston and spend an hour or more a day commuting by car or public transit. My commute is 8 minutes on average and usually I don't even have to stop at the one sensor activated light.
Everything one needs is right here in Williamstown from a great hardware store to an independent movie theater, to college events, to a wide variety of gourmet restaurants. We have a Dunkin' Donuts Shoppe and a Subway Sandwich franchise for fast food lovers.
Want to enjoy the benefits of living in The Berkshires but fearful of city withdrawal? No problem, hop on a bus, train or in your car and in a matter of 3 hours be in downtown Boston or NYC. Spend four hours traveling to get to Montreal, Canada. I know once you've moved here, if you do make the trek to the city, you will be all too eager to get home again and unwind.
What intrigues me is that city dwellers will purchase a country home here in the Berkshires just as soon as they can afford one but we full time residents get to enjoy our "second home" as our first home all the time.
Life is Good in The Berkshires, really good but please don't tell too many people about it because guess what, we really like it just the way it is.
This blog post appeared in the Boston Globe and on iBerkshires in Jan 2015