This guide is meant to complement the information available on the NetWorks for Faculty Development website, and FAQ on Human Resources website. Your department, program, or evaluation committee chair, the administrative assistant linked to your department or program, and the coordinators of the First3 Program are also invaluable resources for consulting about these and other questions.
Some details of faculty life
The big picture
For lots of ideas and resources, see the “our teaching” section of the Networks for Faculty Development website.
How do my course offerings fit into the college requirements for Williams students?
https://registrar.williams.edu/academic-information/degree-requirements/ (relevant for questions below about general requirements, including EDI and writing-intensive courses)
What is the college honor code and what is the student/college culture around it? How does it affect how I operate in my course?
Every student must sign the honor code at the beginning of their first-year at Williams. Faculty members are asked to include specific information on our syllabi about how the honor code applies in our specific courses (including each assignment): https://registrar.williams.edu/academic-information/academic-policies/
See here for information aimed at educating students about the honor code at Williams: http://web.williams.edu/wp-etc/acad-resources/survival_guide/Integrity/HonorCode.php
What is the Gaudino option?
This is an experimental initiative aimed to encourage students to take courses outside of their intellectual comfort zones. Up to twice in their time at Williams, students may, with instructor permission, designate a course a “G-Option” and thereby making that course pass/fail. (In all other cases, students may only register for a course on a pass/fail basis if it is in addition to four graded courses in a given semester.) For more details, see: http://web.williams.edu/admin/registrar/aprilreg/Gaudino_Guidelines.html
What is an EDI course?
This is an acronym for the Exploring Diversity Initiative, one of the college-wide curricular requirements. EDI courses focus on teaching students to explore the diverse, globalized world and the multi-cultural character of the United States via analysis of how groups, cultures, and societies interact with and challenge one another, as well as of the multiple approaches that engage these issues. Students must take one course that fulfills this requirement during their time at Williams. For a full description of the initiative and the courses that fulfill this requirement for 2013-2014, see http://web.williams.edu/admin/registrar//catalog/depts/exdy.pdf
What does it really mean to list my course as writing intensive? What expectations and best practices go with this?
Each student must complete two courses in their time at Williams that is designated “Writing Intensive” (one by the end of sophomore year, the other by the end of junior year.) Although there is no fixed template for a writing-intensive course, instructors must assign at least 20 pages of writing, but the goal is not simply to produce this number of pages but to increase proficiency in writing. Thus, techniques such as revision and assigning multiple kinds of writing are encouraged. [email protected] in the Office of Writing Programs is an excellent resource for developing writing-intensive courses and incorporating writing into your teaching in general.
How do I decide about prerequisites?
Talk with your chair for department/program culture on this; may also vary by course level
How many independent study students/students in my lab/thesis should I take on?
Again, something to discuss with your chair as well as the coordinators of First3
How do I place an order with the bookstore (and when)? What are the other ways that students get books?
Book order requests arrive very early: mid-November for the spring semester and mid-April for the fall semester. You shall receive an email about this, offering online book request submission:
You may also place your book orders by email to Water St. Books, the local Follett’s branch that serves as the college bookstore. Please bear in mind that although some of your students may purchase required texts through other vendors, students on financial aid must use Water St. Books to receive the books through their financial aid package. Required books are fully covered by financial aid, but only during the first few weeks of the semester. Books you add later in the course may pose a financial burden for students on financial aid.
How do I assemble a course packet?
Your administrative assistant or Kim Brown [email protected] at 4806 can help.
What are the deadlines for course packets?
About one month before classes. Watch for a daily message from Kim Brown.
How do I request additional copies of course packets?
Contact Kim Brown
Where do I tell students to pick up their packet?
Watch for a daily message from Kim Brown with all packet information
What are my options for putting materials on reserve and/or online?
The library has a great site answering this and many other questions faculty might have. See: http://library.williams.edu/faculty/
Please note that Williams College does not have a robust culture of using library reserves but the e-reserve system is very easy to use and complies with all copyright laws.
Some faculty also post readings to GLOW…see next question
What is GLOW and how do I learn to use it?
GLOW is the college’s online teaching resource. OIT automatically establishes a GLOW site for each of your courses. You login to GLOW using your college ID and passphrase and then will have access to all of your current and past courses. Using the editing function, you can make the course accessible/visible to your students, access photos and contact information for them, email with them individually or in groups, post your syllabus and other course material, establish and maintain discussion fora, receive papers and other assignments from students, and many other functions. The OIT staff can assist you in learning more about GLOW: http://oit.williams.edu/help/glow/
How do I manage my enrollments?
Information about who is enrolled in your courses is available on Peoplesoft. Follow the instructions sent to you by Barbara Pietras to be able to access Peoplesoft. This online resource is also where you can find out your assigned classroom and where you record and submit your final course grades at the end of each semester and for winter study courses. If you have questions about using Peoplesoft for teaching-related matters, please contact Associate Registrar, [email protected]
My assigned classroom is unworkable (too small, too big, whatever)—how do I request a different classroom?
If you need to change your room assignment for a course you are teaching, contact the Registrar's Office, 597-4286 (email: [email protected]). To get information about specific classrooms, see http://web.williams.edu/admin/registrar/classrooms/classroominfo.html
Whom do I contact to arrange a field trip for my class?
If you would like to incorporate an experiential component to your course, including an off-campus field trip, contact Paula Consolini, Director of the Center for Learning in Action ([email protected]). For some ideas of the kinds of trips that faculty have developed, see http://learning-in-action.williams.edu/courses-teaching/creating-a-course/
How do I arrange a film screening for my class?
Sawyer library has small viewing rooms available for students to use at their own discretion if you place a film on reserve at the library. You can also arrange to show the film in a classroom. For the latter, you may request a room using the online room scheduler: https://roomscheduler.williams.edu/virtualems/
- How do I get a special student (e.g., area high schools, Bennington College, or auditor) added to GLOW?
Can I decline requests to audit my class?
Yes. Many local folks do audit Williams College classes, so you may well be approached with a request. It is always up to you. You can set ground rules about participation as well. See registrar.williams.edu/course-information/community-auditors/
- If I am happy to have an auditor (from outside the college), what is the process for admitting an auditor?
If I suspect cheating/plagiarism, how do I handle this?
College policy, in keeping with the Honor Code, asks faculty to bring their concerns directly to the Honor and Discipline Committee, NOT to approach the student(s) directly. http://web.williams.edu/admin/registrar/handbook/policies.html
When are grades due?
By faculty vote, course grades must be submitted to the Registrar within four days after the final exam in a course, or, if there is no exam, within four days after the last day of classes or within four days after final written work was due, whichever is later. You submit your grades online, through Peoplesoft. If you need a little more time to complete your grades, please contact Registrar Barbara Casey ([email protected] or x4286). https://registrar.williams.edu/faculty-staff/
How do I get funding for…
How do I process a reimbursement?
Forms & instructions: http://web.williams.edu/admin/controller/forms/ap_forms.php
Do I manage my own funds (research, divisional)?
Peoplesoft is also used for managing financial accounts. To be trained to use Peoplesoft financials, please contact the Controller’s office http://web.williams.edu/admin/controller/ or x4412.
Daily bread and coffee
Where can I get a coffee/snack?
on campus: Hollander Faculty Lounge, free coffee, for cash: eco-café, Paresky, and sometimes Goodrich Hall;
off campus: Tunnel City;
Further afield (good for extended grading sessions): Brew Ha-Ha in N. Adams; Dottie’s in Pittsfield, Starbucks in Pittsfield
Where can I get lunch?
On campus: Faculty House; Paresky offers a snack bar, “grab-n-go” in basement, or a full meal in the dining hall
Walking distance on Spring St: Spice Root (Indian), Sushi Thai, Pera (Mediterranean), Mexican (Tony Sombrero’s), Purple Pub (soup, sandwiches, salads), Papa Charlie’s (sandwiches), Tunnel City (quiche)
Easy driving distance: breakfast/diner food: Chef’s Hat, Renee’s café in N Adams, Moonlight Diner; Wild Oats Coop hot bar (including daily soups, at least one vegetarian or vegan option); sandwiches: Brew ha-ha, Mediterra, and The Hub in N. Adams
A comprehensive list of local restaurants is available at http://www.berkshiresnow.com/wi.htm and http://www.berkshiresnow.com/na.htm . iBerkshires.com has a comprehensive restaurant listing as does, Berkshires Visitors Bureau, and the Berkshire Eagle Online also includes reviews of restaurants in the Berkshires.
Interacting with students outside of class
There are two College sponsored programs that serve to support student-faculty interaction.
The Faculty Advisor Meal Program
This program enables you to take snacks or meals in any of the College's dining halls in order to meet with students. And for special neighborhood dinners in the dining halls, you can bring your family with you. These meals are paid for by the faculty advisory meal fund and the CUL collectively. Just be sure to take your College ID with you. Please note that this program is exclusively for the purpose of encouraging contact with students. It may not be used to provide free meals for department meetings or for other faculty group meetings. See also https://faculty.williams.edu/cul-snacks-and-meals-program-for-faculty-members/
The Faculty-Student Entertainment Program
This program provides faculty members with discretionary funds for use in entertaining students. The amount allocated to you is listed below.Faculty with full-time teaching appointments are provided $125 per semester.Those with part-time or one-semester appointments are provided $65.These funds are for the full academic year.Your discretionary account may be used to entertain students--whether they are currently in your courses or not. It may be used for entertaining at home or in restaurants, or to secure the help of caterers or our Dining Services Department. It cannot be used to purchase alcohol.Keep track of any reimbursement requests you submit, and take care that you not exceed the amount you are allocated. For reimbursement, send your original receipts (taped to an 8 ½ x 11 page) with a completed reimbursement voucher (People Soft form and account #544010-110-3001400) http://www.williams.edu/admin/controller/forms/html/requestforpayment3.html) directly to Cyndi Haley in the Dean's Office. This must be filled out properly or it will be returned to you. All your requests must be sent in by mid-June to receive reimbursement. See also: https://faculty.williams.edu/cul-snacks-and-meals-program-for-faculty-members/
In addition to these two programs...
the College continues to allocate funds for student entertainment to the academic departments, so you might also be able to apply to your chair for additional money. You can also apply to the CUL (Committee on Undergraduate Life) for additional funds for events beyond the traditional classroom context. Finally, advisors to first-year students have special funds to entertain their advisees available from the Dean's Office. Such funds are separate from your discretionary account and have different account numbers.See also: https://faculty.williams.edu/cul-snacks-and-meals-program-for-faculty-members/.
Tips for how to handle some minutiae of life on campus
Who do I contact if something breaks in my office?
Your administrative assistant can point you to the correct area of facilities for help or
Submit a service requests here: facilitiesworkrequest.williams.edu
If something goes wonky with my computer?
Call the OIT Faculty/Staff Help Desk x4090 or email[email protected]
If I want to use a new/different technology in teaching?
Go to the OIT website; the staff offer one-on-one sessions for faculty
If I need a poster printed?
You should have access to black & white as well as a color printer from your office on which you can print your own paper posters, but for event posters the Printing office can take orders
If I want to publicize that event on (and perhaps also off) campus?
To publicize at college, add to college calendar: https://events.williams.edu/
It is also helpful to submit your event as a daily message: http://communications.williams.edu/publicity/daily- messages-guidelines/
Additional information about publicizing events is available through the Office of Communications, see: http://communications.williams.edu/publicity/
Local things to do
Places to Start:
The Massachusetts Office of Travel and Tourism maintains a comprehensive list of information on Massachusetts destinations, including outdoor adventure, special events, discounted lodging, and special interest tours. The Berkshire Visitors Bureau links you to “what to do” in the Berkshires, including information on summer camps, shopping, recreational opportunities, and dining (www.berkshires.org). For an online version of See the Berkshires, updated seasonally, go to www.berkshires.com. The site provides an overview of the area, including travel information, performing arts, a calendar of events, dining, and feature stories. See iberkshires (www.iberkshires.com) for an online guide to Berkshire County living, filled with information about local events, sports, community and business news, and the arts. The Mohawk Trail Association provides information on hiking, biking, outdoor recreation, and scenic tours (www.mohawktrail.com). For more information on what there is to see and do in Southern Vermont, including Bennington, Manchester, and the Stratton Mountain region, go to (http://www.southernvermont.com/). The Albany Convention and Visitors Bureau has an excellent online guide that includes a calendar of events and a listing of specialty shops and shopping malls (www.albany.org).
Water Street Books (458-8071) gives a 10% discount to faculty, staff, and their spouses. This applies to special orders, but not to books ordered for College courses (textbooks and other books). Increase your savings by getting a "Reader's Choice Club" card: buy ten books, and get the average price applied toward an eleventh book. Where’d You Get That? on Spring Street carries a small selection of children’s and other gift books. Barnes and Noble in Pittsfield (496-9051) has the largest selection of books in the local area and houses a Starbucks Café. There is also a large Barnes and Noble (518-438-1728) on Wolf Road, Colonie Center, Suite 355, Albany, (518-438-1728). If you want to “support your independent bookstore,” the Bennington Bookshop (802-442-5059) on 467 Main Street in VT, and the Northshire Bookstore (802-362-2200) in Manchester, VT are very user-friendly. The Bookstore (413-637-3390) at 11 Housatonic Street, Lenox, is where owner Matt Tannenbaum hosts readings, book signings and meet the author opportunities. The Northampton/Amherst/South Hadley area (75 minutes by car) also has many used and new bookstores.
Local Theatres: Images Cinema (458-5612) on Spring Street in Williamstown is a non-profit independent film house that also sponsors lectures and special events. Local theatres include the North Adams Movieplex 8 (663-6300) on Rear Main Street in North Adams
Vermont: Cinema 7 (802-442-8170) on Northside Drive/67A in Bennington, VT.
New York: There is also an old-fashioned drive-in theatre in North Hoosick, NY on Rt. 67 called Hathaway’s Drive-In (518-686-7768).
Movie listings and times are easily accessed online through the Berkshire Eagle website.
The possibilities are endless, but newcomers can easily explore a number of terrific places within a ninety minute drive from Williamstown.
In Hancock, MA (http://hancockshakervillage.org) you can visit the Hancock Shaker Village to learn about the life and inventions of the Shakers who had made communities in this region (a great outing for kids as well as adults).
In Lenox/Stockbridge, MA you won’t want to miss the Boston Symphony Orchestra’s summer stay at Tanglewood (www.tanglewood.org) each summer. Classical music to popular artists visit and perform up to days a week between June 30 and September 1 each summer. Everyone from Yo-yo Ma and Emmanual Ax to Steve Miller Band and James Taylor to Garrison Keillor and Wait! Wait! Don’t Tell Me! John Williams even conducts film night every August while the Boston Symphony plays the soundtracks to Raiders of the Lost Ark, ET, Harry Potter and Superman.
Within 5 miles on Rt. 183 in Stockbridge, you will find:
Berkshire Botanical Gardens http://www.berkshirebotanical.org/, hosts a spectacular pre-season plant sale each Memorial Day weekend. A great place to purchase small, reasonably priced starter heirloom tomato plants to cultivate for your summer tomato haul. The gardens are immaculately kept and there are tours and children’s workshops as well as master gardener workshops available from spring through the fall.
The Norman Rockwell Museum and Studio, http://www.nrm.org/ presents the world’s largest collection of original Norman Rockwell art, including beloved paintings from The Saturday Evening Post and the Four Freedoms, and the best in the field of American illustration. There are always new exhibitions of other illustrators’ works. The museum is open year round and hosts a high school art exhibition of junior and senior high school student work from the 13 school districts in Berkshire County each May and June.
Daniel Chester French’s studio and home, Chesterwood, where he designed the Lincoln Memorial, among other sculptures, is on Rt. 183 in Stockbridge. The grounds are festooned with contemporary sculptures and great hiking trails. There’s also a children’s clay molding program each summer at the conclusion of most tours. http://chesterwood.org/.
In Northampton, MA (www.northamptonuncommon.com), ride the bike trail, visit a gallery, see a theatre or music performance at the Calvin Theatre, or visit one of the many restaurants. In Shelburne Falls, MA (www.shelburnefalls.com), visit the Bridge of Flowers and the glacial potholes, watch a glass blowing demonstration, or go whitewater rafting. In Stockbridge (www.stockbridge.org), Lenox (www.lenox.org), and Great Barrington (www.greatbarrington.org), visit a museum, listen to music, or go on a hike. In Bennington, VT (www.bennington.com), climb the Bennington Monument, take a covered bridge tour, or attend a summer street fair. In Manchester, VT (www.manchestervermont.net), browse at an outlet or interesting shop, attend an antique, horse, or craft show, or go skiing.
The North Adams Steeplecats, members of the New England Collegiate Baseball League, offer exciting and low-cost entertainment in the months of June and July. Ticket prices are very reasonable (www.steeplecats.com). After the home game on the Fourth of July they have free fireworks. Popular local family events include the Fall Foliage Parade in North Adams http://www.fallfoliageparade.com/ and the Pumpkin Patch at the Equinox Valley Nursery (Rt. 7A, Manchester) http://www.equinoxvalleynursery.com/pumpkin-patch in October, Apple Squeeze Weekend in Lenox, MA in September http://lenox.org/ai1ec_event/34th-lenox-apple-squeeze-harvest-festival/?instance_id=, the Holiday Walk in Williamstown in December http://www.williamstownchamber.com/, the Baby Animal Exhibit at Hancock Shaker Village in April (www.hancockshakervillage.org), Riverfest in May (www.hoorwa.org), Tanglewood on Parade and Watch and Play at varying times during the summer at Tanglewood in Stockbridge (www.bso.org), and Family Days at the Clark Art Institute http://www.clarkart.edu throughout the year.
Williamstown and the surrounding areas attract a multitude of hiking enthusiasts. The Appalachian Trail, reaching from Georgia to Maine, includes eighty-nine miles of trails in Berkshire County (www.appalachiantrail.org). The Appalachian Mountain Club publishes an excellent topographic guide of the area that is sold at Bascom Lodge on the top of Mount Greylock and at the Mt. Greylock Visitor’s Center (www.mass.gov/dcr/parks/western/mgry.htm). The Williams College Outing Club publishes a trail guide for the area http://woc.williams.edu/northern-berkshire-outdoor-guide/ that includes maps for Hopkins Forest, the Dome, Pine Cobble, Stone Hill, the Hopper Trail, and Mt. Greylock. The Stone Hill hike is easy and great for young kids. Two marked trails (.7 miles and 1.5 miles) start behind the Clark Art Museum on South Street, just across the service driveway. The view of Williamstown from the cow pasture at the end of the hike is wonderful. Hopkins Memorial Forest http://hmf.williams.edu/articles/getting-to-hopkins-forest/ has 15 miles of trails open to the public for walking, skiing and snowshoeing.
Clover Hill Farm (458-3376) http://cloverhillfarm.net/ near Williamstown Medical Associates boards and leases horses, and offers lessons on a limited basis. Bonnie Lea Farm on North Street (458-3149) http://bonnielea.com/wordpress/offers lessons at all levels from beginner to advanced. The farm has a number of horses available for lease or sale, and can arrange trail rides in the Hopkins Forest for individuals or groups. Oak Hollow (458-8427) http://www.oakholloweq.com/OakHollowEq.com/Home.html, a semi-private boarding facility on Henderson Road, offers riding lessons and a therapeutic riding program for physically challenged individuals.
The Williams College Lansing Ice Rink http://athletics.williams.edu/Facility_Hours has open skating hours at different times throughout the week in the winter months. Check the “ice line” at 597-2433 between November and mid-March. If you need rental skates, go to Goff’s on Spring Street. Other regional options include the Vietnam Veterans’ Rink in North Adams http://www.northadams-ma.gov/index.php?nav_id=76 and Riley Rink at Hunter Park on Rt. 7A in Manchester, VT (802-362-0150) http://www.rileyrink.com/. Both facilities rent skates. The Pine Cobble School ski and skate sale in November is an excellent place to buy used skates, snowboards, and ski equipment.
Mini Golf/Water & Amusement Parks:
The Range (663-3030) http://www.northadamsrange.com/on Rt. 8 in North Adams, Bakers Golf Center (443-6102) http://bakersgolfcenter.com/ and PAR-4 Family Fun Center on Rt. 7 in Lanesboro. Jiminy Peak 413-738-5500 in Hancock has a variety of attractions. Hoffman’s Playland on Rt. 9 in Latham, NY (518-785-3842) is an old-fashioned amusement park, with VERY inexpensive kiddie rides, a video arcade, miniature golf, and a picnic area. Bousquet Ski Resort (www.bousquets.com) in Pittsfield has go-kart rides, water slides, mini golf, and chair lift rides during the summer. The Great Escape in Lake George, NY and Six Flags in Springfield, MA are also very popular.
The Berkshires Visitors Bureau maintains a comprehensive listing of area museums (www.berkshires.org), including the Berkshire Museum (www.berkshiremuseum.org), the Clark Art Institute (www.clarkart.org), Hancock Shaker Village (www.hancockshakervillage.org), MASS MoCA (www.massmoca.org), the Bennington Museum (www.benningtonmuseum.com), the Norman Rockwell Museum (www.nrm.org), the Berkshire Scenic Railway Museum (www.berkshirescenicrailroad.com), and the Williams College Museum of Art (www.wcma.org). Historical homes are also listed including Herman Melville’s Arrowhead (www.mobydick.org), the Bidwell House Museum (www.bidwellhouse.org), Daniel Chester French’s Chesterwood (www.chesterwood.org), and The Mount, Edith Wharton’s Estate and Gardens (www.edithwharton.org).
Music and Dance:
The College sponsors a wide array of musical and dance events throughout the year, including the Berkshire Symphony http://music.williams.edu/node/340, the Williams Jazz Band, and Kusika http://62center.williams.edu/dance/ensemble.cfm?cid=11. The Clark Art Institute and MASS MoCA also have active programs. The Iron Horse Entertainment Group offers a variety of musical activities at different venues in Northampton (www.iheg.com). The Troy Savings Bank Music Hall (518-273-0038) in Troy has a wide array of music and performance shows and spectacular acoustics (www.troymusichall.org). The Egg (www.theegg.org) at the Empire State Plaza in Albany, and the Van Dyck in Schenectady (518-381-1111) http://www.vandycklounge.com/, a nationally known jazz club, are also worth a trip. Tanglewood (413-637-1600) http://www.bso.org/, located 45 minutes south in Lenox, is the summer home for the Boston Symphony Orchestra, and presents a variety of musical events. Less expensive options include lawn tickets or the Saturday morning open rehearsal of Sunday’s program. The Palace Theater in Albany http://palacealbany.com/ and Proctors in Schenectady http://www.proctors.org/ offer a variety of performances. The program at the Saratoga Performing Art’s Center (SPAC, 518-587-3330) http://www.spac.org/ in Saratoga, NY includes the New York City Ballet, the Philadelphia Symphony Orchestra, pop, and jazz options. Jacob’s Pillow (413-243-0745) in Becket, MA, has a full contemporary summer dance season (www.jacobspillow.org).
The Outing Club:
The Williams College Outing Club (597-2317) welcomes faculty and staff members for a $15 annual fee. Members can borrow a variety of outdoor equipment, including tents, backpacks, first aid kits, snowshoes, cross country skis, headlamps, and fishing gear. Access to the climbing wall in Towne Field House and cabin privileges in Hopkins Forest comes with membership http://woc.williams.edu/.
Opportunities for participating in vocal groups include the Northern Berkshire Chorale, a college-community group that meets weekly from September to May. For information, see http://nbchorale.org/.
Jiminy Peak in Hancock (738-5500) offers discounts for the College community (http://www.jiminypeak.com/). Check the Daily Messages in the fall for an announcement. The Pine Cobble School's annual ski and skate sale in November offers an excellent opportunity to purchase new and used equipment. Bosquet in Pittsfield MA (http://www.bousquets.com) offers modestly priced skiing lessons at a smaller, family-friendly ski area as well. Taconic Golf Course, Hopkins Forest, and Field Farm are great local spots to cross country ski. Prospect Mountain Ski Area (802-442-2523) http://www.prospectmountain.com/ in Woodford, VT (Rt. 9 East of Bennington) Notchview Reservation (413-684-0148) http://www.xcskimass.com/ski-areas/about-notchview in Windsor, MA (Rt. 9 east from Pittsfield/Dalton) and the Robert Todd Lincoln Estate, Hildene, in Manchester, VT are also very scenic http://www.hildene.org/.
Hours for the the Carl R. Samuelson and Robert B. Muir Pool at the Chandler Gymnasium are available by calling the “wetline” at 597-2419. http://athletics.williams.edu/Facility_Hours Information on securing a locker is available at the equipment desk (offered to faculty, staff, and their spouses and partners). The YMCA in North Adams (663-6529) also holds open swim hours http://ymcanb.org/about/ymca-facilities/.
Margaret Lindley Park, at the southwestern intersection of Rts. 2 and 7 is a town-owned pond that has a nice beach. The Sand Springs Pool and Spa (458-6026) http://sandspringspool.org/ is a spring-fed pool (and wading pool) that offers memberships and daily rates. Windsor Lake in North Adams http://northadams-ma.gov/index.php?nav_id=75 features a sandy beach, roped-in wading area for toddlers, picnic and BBQ areas, a snack bar, and canoeing. (Take Route 2, exit to the right in North Adams before the overpass, go straight at the light through the center of town, bear right at the Civil War memorial, and continue past Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts to Bradley St. Turn left and drive up the hill, following signs for Windsor Lake). There is a $3.00/day admission fee per car, or purchase a season pass for $25.00 for residents and $30 for non-residents. Clarksburg State Park http://www.mass.gov/eea/agencies/dcr/massparks/region-west/clarksburg-state-park.html has a lake and a large grassy area for picnics, a nice shallow beach, and primitive facilities (Take Route 2 east to Route 8 north, and follow the signs -- it's a few miles up on your left). North Pond in Savoy State Park in Florida, Mass., is probably the prettiest pond in Massachusetts http://www.mass.gov/eea/agencies/dcr/massparks/region-west/savoy-mt-state-forest-generic.html. In Vermont, Lake Paran in North Bennington and Lake Shaftsbury on 7A are an easy drive. Grafton Lake State Park in New York has a sandy beach, rental boats, picnic tables, a snack bar, and up-to-date facilities (Follow Route 2 west to Grafton and turn right at sign, approximately 30 minutes).
Drive or hike to the top of Mount Greylock, and have dinner at Bascom Lodge (413-743-1591) http://bascomlodge.net/. The Golden Eagle Restaurant, (663-9834) http://thegoldeneaglerestaurant.com/ge2011/our-menu/ up the Mohawk Trail outside of North Adams, is fun and overlooks the “Hairpin Turn” and the northern Berkshire valley.
Getting out of town
Albany, NY, is the closest airport. It is sometimes cheaper to fly out of Bradley International Airport in Hartford, CT (approx. 2 hours from Williamstown), Providence, RI (approx. 3 hours from Williamstown), or Manchester, NH (approx. 3 hours from Williamstown). For international flights, check flights out of Boston or New York, since the connections to Albany are sometimes longer than the drive. For inexpensive flights to some destinations, Southwest Air operates out of Albany.
Albany Park and Fly (1-866-922-PARK, or 518-869-8200) is slightly cheaper than airport garage or long-term parking, and involves a short shuttle ride. Your car will be warmed up and waiting for you, and they provide services such as oil changes and car cleaning for reasonable fees – great to accomplish while you’re on vacation. Ask for a discount coupon at The Travel Store on Main Street (458-5786) or at the counter when you check in. Certain Albany hotels offer one night's lodging and one week free parking (with shuttle bus), which is convenient if you have an early morning flight. You can ask for specifics at The Travel Store.
Buses to Boston and New York depart daily from the Williams Inn (see http://peterpanbus.com or the Williams Inn, 458-2665, for schedules and fares). A regional bus service links Williamstown, North Adams, Adams, Berkshire Mall, Pittsfield, Stockbridge, and Great Barrington (Berkshire Regional Transit Authority, 499-2782 or 1/800-292-BRTA).
Rental Cars/Cars for Hire/Taxis:
Buildings and Grounds (597-2302) provides convenient, relatively inexpensive rental cars and vans for college-related travel. Local options for personal travel include Enterprise Rent-A-Car in Pittsfield or Bennington. Norm’s Limousine Service in North Adams (663-8300) is a popular option for travel to and from the Albany airport, as well as other destinations. Norm’s also provides local taxi service.
Amtrak runs from the Albany/Rensselaer, NY Station (about 45 minutes from Williamstown on Rt. 43 to this side of the Hudson River) to New York City (Penn Station). The commuter train to Grand Central Station, the Metro North/Harlem line, is a less expensive alternative (1-800/METROINFO). To reach the train (approximately 1 hr, 45 min), take Rt. 7 to 43 in South Williamstown to 22 in Stephentown, follow Route 22 south to Wassaic train station (watch for signs). Call or check online for ticket and parking information. An Amtrak line also runs from Springfield (about a 90 minute drive) to Washington, DC.
If you have children
Weekly Family Activities:
Check the Berkshire Visitors Bureau website regularly for weekly family activities throughout Berkshire County. http://berkshires.org/business_category/festivals-special-events/.
The Williamstown Elementary School, 115 Church Street, has a playground for older children, and a fenced-in play area for younger children. Linear Park on Water Street and Broad Brook Park on Sand Springs Road have swings, climbing equipment, and lots of green space.
Kidspace at MASS MoCA:
is a hands-on children’s art gallery within MASS MoCA in North Adams (664-4481 or www.massmoca.org/kidspace); The Advocate is also a good resource for current events and information relevant to children and families. Images Cinema (458-5612) in Williamstown has occasional kids' matinees and offers special programs for children throughout the year. The college is a rich source of programs for families with children. Check for special events sponsored by the dance program, the music department, athletics (kid’s night out), the Center for Environmental Studies, Hopkins Observatory, and the Williams College Museum of Art. Clark Art Institute in Williamstown also now features a Kidspace. All children's activities at the Clark Art are free and open to the public from October through June. For more information on educational programs or to register for Clark membership, call the Education Department at 413-458-0563. http://www.clarkart.edu/
The Williamstown Youth Center (458-5925) is located on School Street in Williamstown (www.williamstownyouthcenter.org), next to the Williamstown Elementary School. The Center coordinates the town youth athletic leagues, provides after-school care for school-aged children, runs a summer camp program, and sponsors various fitness, arts, and lifelong learning classes. Call the WYC for an updated schedule of classes and special events, including the Wednesday afternoon ski program, which offers an excellent deal on lessons.
Purple Valley Acquatics http://www.purplevalleyaquatics.org/Home.jsp?team=ampva
Williamstown Youth Basketball Association http://www.williamstownyba.org/
Berskhire County Youth Football http://www.leaguelineup.com/welcome.asp?url=berkshireyouthfootball
Berkshire Bruins Youth Hockey http://berkshirebruins.com/
Greylock Youth Lacrosse http://greylockyouthlacrosse.com/
The Williamstown Soccer Club http://www.williamstownsoccerclub.org/
Squash & Beyond http://squashandbeyond.com/contact/
Youth Tennis http://williamstownyouthcenter.org/
Ioka Valley Farm:
Ioka Valley Farm (738-5915) on Rt. 43 in Hancock MA (www.taconic.net/IokaValleyFarm/) sponsors family events throughout the year, including pumpkin and berry-picking, maple sugaring, and hay and sleigh rides. Good especially for younger kids (toddlers through early grades).
The Berkshire Museum in Pittsfield:
The Berkshire Museum in Pittsfield (443-7171) http://berkshiremuseum.org/ focuses on a combination of art, natural science and history, and hosts a touch-tank aquarium and a large theatre.
The Children's Museum of Holyoke:
The Children’s Museum of Holyoke in Holyoke, MA (413-536-7048) http://www.childrensmuseumholyoke.org/, is a traditional hands-on museum filled with educational exhibits.
The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art:
The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art in Amherst has a hands-on art studio, café, and library, and hosts a number of special events (http://www.carlemuseum.org/home). Passes good for discounted admission to the Berkshire Museum, The Children’s Museum of Holyoke, the Eric Carle Museum in Amherst, and other museums throughout the state are available at the Williamstown Public Library (458-5369).
Setting up and maintaining home and life
Stop by the service desk at Stop & Shop, Price Chopper, or Super Big Y and pick up a key tag and card to use for discounts and check cashing. Discounts are automatically deducted upon checkout. All three stores are on Rt. 2 in North Adams. Wild Oats Co-op (458-8060) sells a variety of organic products in its new location on Main Street, and offers discounts to members. Non-members are welcome. Guido's Fresh Marketplace (442-9909) http://www.guidosfreshmarketplace.com/ on Rt. 7 south near the Pittsfield/Lenox border sells a large selection meats, seafood, produce, fresh pasta, and deli items.
During the summer, there are weekly Farmers’ Markets around the area (Williamstown, North Adams, Bennington, and many other communities).
Wild Oats Co-op (458-8060) on Main Street and Chenail's on Rt. 7 north (458-4737) also sell produce. Chenail's, about a mile up Luce Road off Route 2, sells seasonal vegetables in late summer and fall like corn, tomatoes, and cucumbers (among others).
Another option is to purchase a weekly share in a local farm. Some options include: Caretaker Farm http://www.caretakerfarm.org/csa.htmlon Hancock Road/Rt. 43 in south Williamstown (458-9691), a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) cooperative, sells shares of its organically-grown harvests (purchase shares in February/March to ensure your participation). Individuals or families can purchase a share of the harvest, and pick or take packaged produce, flowers and herbs weekly from the farm. Kids especially love the farm animals and children’s garden. Mighty Food Farms https://www.formstack.com/forms/?1412424-4YcAXixSJH in Pownal, VT is another local CSA. Clear Brook Farm http://www.clearbrookfarm.com/csasummer.shtml a CSA on Rt. 7A north of Bennington and Shaftsbury, VT also sells organic and conventional products.
Home Depot (www.homedepot.com) in Pittsfield (Hubbard Ave, 445-9901) and Bennington (N. Bennington Rd., 802-447-9997) have large selections of tools, building products, appliances, and home and garden supplies. Aubuchon Hardware on Main Street (458-3000) http://www.aubuchon.com/094, RK Miles at the corner of Cole and North Hoosac (458-8121) http://www.rkmiles.com/. Carr Paint and Rental (663-6600) in North Adams offers a college discount on Benjamin Moore and Pratt & Lambert paint (you must show a college ID).
Bed, Bath, and Beyond (447-1970) at Dick’s Shopping Plaza on Route 8 and Homegoods (236-6996), across Route 8 from Dick’s adjacent to the Stop & Shop on Merrill Road in Pittsfield, both have a large selection of discounted items for the home.
Local furniture stores include the Pownal View Barn (802-823-7345) http://pownalviewbarn.com/ and the Hillside House (802-823-5700) http://www.hillsidehousefurniture.com/on Route 7 toward Bennington, Paul Rich & Sons http://www.paulrich.com/ in Pittsfield, and Bennington Furniture (802-447-3212) http://www.benningtonfurniture.com/. Central Radio (664-9685) http://www.centralradio1933.com/ on Route 2 in North Adams sells discounted furniture, mattresses, and appliances (appliance repair as well).
The Super Wal-Mart in North Adams (664-4004) is on Rt. 8 south (take Rt. 2 and bear right into downtown North Adams and turn right onto Rt. 8). There is a smaller Wal-Mart on Rt. 67A in Bennington, VT, and a K-Mart on Kocher Drive. There is a Target in the Berkshire Mall in Lanesboro. BJ’s Wholesale Club is located at 495 Hubbard Ave Pittsfield, MA 01201 (413) 499-1601. Latham Farms Shopping Center (Exit 6 from the Northway I-87 or Rts. 2 & 7 after the Latham Circle) has a Wal-Mart, Sam’s Club, Home Depot, and other discount shops. Trader Joe’s can be found at 79 Wolf Rd, Colonie, NY 12205 518-482-4538 or Rt. 9 in Hadley, MA and a Whole Foods Market is located at Colonie Mall in Albany and on Rt. 9 in Hadley, MA.