New England Travel: New England's Best Small Towns


Because… it’s home to the Berkshires’ own Restaurant Row.

 Photo by Keller + Keller

It’s got a cheesemonger, an old-time general store, and a new-age co-op market within a four-street radius. Yet the real allure of Great Barrington is Railroad Street, a single block with enough culinary delights to fill a weekend visit from beginning to end.

Friday dinner: Far-flung entrées (Himalayan antelope loin, Australian lamb) and a tasty bar menu elevate Pearl’s above the average surf-and-turf shop [EDITOR'S NOTE: Pearl's closed indefinitely after the October issue went to press].

Saturday breakfast: Locals hit Martin’s early—as in, 6 a.m.—for hefty omelets with a side of town gossip. Tourists take the second shift and scarf bagels piled with smoked salmon and cream cheese.

Saturday lunch: The Yo-Yo Ma roll (bigeye tuna, avocado, mango, multicolored roe) at sushi bar Bizen makes fighting for a seat—or spending $100 on lunch—an acceptable tradeoff.

Saturday dinner: Get your fill of local flavor at Allium, where chef Michael Pancheri rewrites the menu daily after making the rounds of area farms.

Sunday brunch: Line up at 11:30 a.m. at 20 Railroad Street for juicy Kobe, Angus, and bison burgers, and to people-watch out the wide, street-facing windows.

Sunday pre-drive snack: Busy "micro-creamery" SoCo scoops gelato, sorbet, and ice cream in flavors like snickerdoodle caramel crunch and peanut butter mudslide. —Sascha de Gersdorff


New England’s Best Small Towns 


  • Dan

    Don’t miss Great Barrington Bra & Girl (GBBG) at the top of Railroad Street, the area’s only full-service bra shop, and one of the best intimate apparel and accessories shops that you’ll find anywhere!

  • lo

    also- see Brad at Allium-the best bartender in the Berkshires

  • Dan Shaw

    One of the best places to eat in GB is not on Restaurant Row–it’s Cafe Adam

  • Claudia

    If you are serious about food, this is the place. It’s a couple of miles north of town.

  • fred

    no one in Shelburne Falls drinks Bud… they (we) prefer locally made micro-brews

  • Marti

    Don’t miss Millerton NY, one of Arthur Frommer’s Budget Travel “10 Coolest Towns in America”. We are just 10 minutes or less to Sharon, CT and about 30 minutes to Great Barrington We’re a little bit Hip and a little bit Homey! To come on over.

  • Chris

    I have lived in Sharon all my life and it’s nice to see Sharon getting such recognition . The article got it right when it added Sharon.

  • Jonathan

    In Harvard, between orchards, you also have to go to the General Store (a gourmet/locavore paradise), get a cappuccino, sit on the Common, and look at the beautiful old houses. Then go to Fruitlands Museum.

  • Eve

    You forgot to mention the magnificent hillsides and valleys (ablaze with color right now) and the ancient pot holes and waterfalls, and my favorite – the very beautiful bridge of flowers.

  • Eve

    I forgot to mention above, I am talking about Shelburne Falls, MA.

  • J

    Couple comments:
    The bad: Putnam might be quaint because of the antiques, but other than that – it’s pretty much a dump. I grew up near there.
    The good: Hancock IS a beautiful town, not to mention the incredibly nice people. It’s also next door to another beautiful town, my other hometown of Harrisville.