Explore ArtCountry in the Berkshires and Bennington

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By Vikki Moran | The Grateful Traveler

Four museums in the Berkshires, Massachusetts, and Bennington, Vermont, have teamed up to create an ArtCountry package that offers art lovers access to four of the area’s renowned institutions—the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art (MASS MoCA), the Clark Art Institute, the Williams College Museum of Art and Bennington Museum (artcountry.org).
The Porches Inn at MASS MoCA is a great Inn for a stay to experience all there is to offer in this lovely art package and you can even squeeze in a marvelous dinner at Hops and Vines. Hops and Vines is a restaurant, beer garden and wine bar in scenic Williamstown. To round out a fully packed weekend, you can delight in a show at the Williamstown Theatre Festival. It may seem like a whole bunch to accomplish for a short get-away but, honestly, this quaint area is perfect for skipping from one corner to the other and not missing a morsel of anything offered there.
The Porches was a wonderful resting point for me with its industrial chic rooms and awesome location across from MASS MoCA. I was delighted to see how a hotel in an older section of the county could successfully pull together modern and inviting accommodations. I can report that it truly fits the need for those devoted to a day or days seeking local culture. The inn features a year-round outdoor heated pool, WiFi, hot tub, sauna, bonfire pit, and fitness room.
For more information on Porches and the ArtCountry package visit porches.com/berkshires-hotel-specials.

The Williamstown Theatre Festival
Box office: 413.458.3253
Williamstown features Tony Award-winning theatre in an almost neighborhood setting, encircled by top cultural establishments. I saw “The Roommate” and absolutely loved it but, then again, I have always been thrilled with the festival’s productions. Find the show that you’ll be delighted with by going to wtfestival.org/shows-events.

MASS MoCA
1040 Mass MoCA Way, North Adams, MA
The Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art is a museum in a rehabilitated and completely transformed factory building complex. In addition to all the wonderful exhibits that MASS MoCA offers, there is a James Turrell exhibition called “Into the Light.” Timed reservations are available by going to massmoca.org/event/james-turrell. Make certain that you give yourself enough time to see everything and if you do so by September 4, check out “Until,” the much-talked about contemporary exhibit of Nick Cave.

The Clark Art Institute
225 South Street, Williamstown, MA
“Picasso | Encounters” is on exhibit until August 17 along with other current showings—“Orchestrating Elegance” (until September 4); two exhibits of Helen Frankenthaler of woodcuts and painting; “An Inner World” (17th century Dutch paintings); and so much more. clarkart.edu/Mini-Sites/Picasso-Encounters/Exhibition. Take time to enjoy the outside elegance of The Clark to round out your trip there and capture some pictures that will remind you of your visit for years to come.

The Williams College Museum of Art
15 Lawrence Hall Drive, Williamstown MA
Just off of Route 2 at the heart of the Williams College campus and with an impressive 15,000 works of art in its holdings, The Williams College Museum of Art is not to be missed on your visit. There is a collection of modern and contemporary Chinese art that is awesome and so much more to enjoy. wcma.williams.edu/collection/modern-contemporary-chinese-art.

Bennington Museum
75 Main Street, Bennington, VT
Bennington Museum is home to the largest collection of Grandma Moses paintings in the world. A selection of her works is always on view to the adoring public. There also are galleries of military history and contemporary art, while Gilded Age Vermont can be found in close proximity to the ongoing Bennington Modernism exhibition, Art, History, and Innovation from the early days to the current of Vermont. benningtonmuseum.org. With a very short drive from anywhere in Capital Region, the Berkshires and Bennington region is a wonderful cultural break from the day to day. There is truly something for every taste and folks travel from all over to enjoy it. How lucky are we?

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