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The Best 2013
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COMMUNITY- The Best 2013 Berkshire Record Magazine (Return to The Best top)
Best Community Center
Berkshire South, 15 Crissey Road, Great Barrington
Celebrating over 10 years of community building, Berkshire South has served thousands of children, adults and seniors from all over South County as well as the surrounding regions in Connecticut and New York since 2002. To date, the non-profit establishment has granted more than $100,000 in financial aid for membership and program assistance, allowing countless community members to be touched by their goal to create a sense of community and common purpose.
Best Jet Service
Epic Jet LLC, 6 Roaring Brook, Lenox
Epic Jet seeks to eliminate the variables and headaches of less refined travel options, ensuring that you arrive to your destination relaxed, refreshed and on schedule. With a focus on safety, efficiency, reliability and flexibility, Epic Jet believes today’s economic demands shouldn’t be a deterrent to security and comfort.
Best Apple Picking
Windy Hill Farms, 686 Stockbridge Road, Great Barrington
For a unique horticultural experience and a great day out with the family picking apples, look no further than Windy Hill Farms, who offer both apple and blueberry picking. On their seven-acre apple orchard, they remain dedicated to seek, grow and offer traditional favorites, including native species as well as cultivars and selections from the United States and abroad.
Best Ski Area
Ski Butternut, 380 State Road, Great Barrington
Widely regarded as the number one Massachusetts ski resort, Butternut offers wintertime adventures for families and those just learning skiing or snowboarding. With 22 trails stretched out over 110 acres, Butternut is conveniently located in the scenic Berkshire Mountains, perfect for day trips from New York, New Jersey, Connecticut and Western Mass. With affordable lift tickets and season passes, it’s a great winter vacation destination for the whole family.
Best Pediatric Dentist
Yarmonsky Pediatric Dentistry, 100 Maple Avenue, Great Barrington
By adhering to their mission to make a difference in every child’s life by creating healthy smiles that last a lifetime, Yarmonsky Pediatric Dentistry treats kids with honest, respect and a sense of humor, while teaching them that developing healthy dental habits is both smart and fun. With efficient, talented and caring staff and state-of-the-art equipment, they provide top quality care in a relaxed atmosphere.
Kilpatrick Athletic Center, 84 Alford Road, Great Barrington
Housed on the campus of Bard College at Simon’s Rock, The Kilpatrick Center is an expansive complex, with 58,000 feet of state-of-the-art exercise and recreational equipment. With classes and programs led by an enthusiastic and committed group of industry professionals and activities that range from swimming and racquetball to yoga and rock climbing, the Kilpatrick Athletic Center creates an environment where members can improve their life quality, find community and challenge themselves through life-long, integrated solutions to health and fitness.
Carlson Propane, 79 Pike Road East, Sheffield
Using the most durable, cost-effective and efficient products available, the family owned and operated Carlson Propane provides both a commitment to service and a well-trained staff that can meet all needs, no matter how large or small. As a result, they are able to provide clean, efficient propane to fit everyone’s needs.
Berkshire Community College, Pittsfield
BCC strives to place higher education within the reach of all Berkshire County residents, and remains committed to academic excellence, student success and leadership in the community. With a focus on its core values of integrity, innovation, community engagement and respect for differences, continues to offer a path to higher education and success for Berkshire County citizens and beyond.
Cove Lanes, 109 Stockbridge Road, Great Barrington
The family-owned and operated Cove Lanes is a one-stop destination for bowling fun, complete with full service lounge and snack bar, arcade and two-story, 18-hole indoor mini golf course. Their 24-lane facility is perfect for serious and casual players alike, with plenty of league and tournament options, as well as youth programs, party availabilities and their own “rock n’ bowl” deal offered every Friday and Saturday night.
Michele’s Salon and Day Spa, 54 Stockbridge Road, Great Barrington
For over 10 years, Michele’s has been providing top-quality expert salon services as well as convenient and flexible scheduling and planning to remove the hassle and accommodate any needs in event preparation. From upscale weddings to low-key romantic getaways, their talented staff and laid-back environment can accommodate parties of any size or need to help you feel and look your best for any special occasion.
Best Limousine Service
Abbott’s Limousine & Livery Service, 435 Greylock Street, Lee
The family-owned and operated Abbott’s Limousine has been delivering satisfied customers to their destinations for 48 years. Their solid reputation is built on an attentive concern for detail and the transportation and personal needs of their clients, maintaining the highest standards with their 30 hand-picked full- and part-time drivers, making them the go-to wheelmen for your journey to and from Berkshire County.
Best Weight Management Program
Berkshire Weight Management Center
By providing the tools necessary for an individualized approach to nutrition and wellness, Berkshire Weight Management Center employs their dedicated and well-educated staff with a comprehensive three-phase program to offer world-class energy, weight-loss, nutritionally and physical performance solutions. With a wealth of medical research, educational resources and proven nutritional supplements at their disposal, they blaze a fun, successful and supportive trail to a healthier lifestyle.
Best Elected Official
With over 30 years of public service under his belt, lifelong Berkshire resident William “Smitty” Pignatelli has served as State Representative to the Berkshires’ 4th District for a decade, focusing on a strong communication and connection with his fervently supportive constituency. As a frequent smiling face at events countywide both great and small, he has deservedly achieved status not only as a well-beloved local celebrity but also as a staunch and dedicated defender and representative of his constituents’ needs and values as a solid Beacon Hill veteran and a friendly Berkshire native.
As a community yoga destination, TriYoga Berkshire is more than just another yoga studio. As a community-based non-profit in collaboration with other institutions, they offer inspiring classes in health, music and art. With supportive and experienced teachers, they seek to foster positive energy, creativity and well-being for all ages, means and skill levels in promoting yoga as both a practice and a way of life.
Berkshire Functional Fitness, 325 Stockbridge Road, Great Barrington
Berkshire Functional Fitness’ tried and true motto, “Learn it, Live it, Love it,” is well-earned. Focusing on a broad and practical approach to a healthy and fit life, their passionate team of dedicated trainers and instructors strive to meet the exercise needs and improve the well-being of all members with programs that integrate structural integrity, postural integrity, balanced muscular development, correct techniques, injury prevention, alignment and precision of movement to offer the best in physical conditioning and training.
Canyon Ranch, Lenox
At Canyon Ranch, joy and good health is contagious. As one of the world’s premier health resorts, their spa treatments combine techniques both ancient and modern that restore your body’s healthy balance and reenergize body and mind. They offer a large selection of lavish spa therapies, ranging from classic massages and Asian therapies to advanced restorative touch therapies and ayurvedic body treatments facilitated by gifted therapists and aestheticians who help determine the appropriate, individualized treatment plan for anyone. They also feature world-class salon services including manicures, pedicures, makeup and hair styling, as well as service for me including a gentlemen’s spa renewal treatment.
Berkshire Botanical Garden
Gardening author Virginia Small once called Berkshire Botanical Garden “a glistening community gem,” and she couldn’t be more correct. With an incredible collection of plants indigenous or thriving in the Berkshires, they boast over 3,000 species and varieties of garden vegetation encompassing 15 cultivated acres. As both a functional and ornamental garden, Berkshire Botanical has expanded in both sheer size and variety over its tenure as one of the oldest gardens in the U.S., ever pursuing their mission to fulfill the community’s need for education and inspiration concerning the art and science of gardening, as well as the preservation and improvement of the local environment.
Best Local Hero
Since taking the helm as general manager of the Berkshire Co-op Market in 2002, the community market’s sales have grown from $1.5 million to over $8.5 million – an expansion that has not only offered more and more quality grocery products to Berkshire residents, but also injected vigor into the regional economy, specifically through local produce markets. Over the last decade, Ames’ leadership has furthered Berkshire Co-op’s goals to support the local economy through farmers, food producers and small businesses as well as sustainable business practices and regional food systems towards a more thriving community.
Best Adventure Park
Butternut’s Cruiser and Twisted Terrain parks
Featuring the region’s best terrain parks, Ski Butternut offers a varied and unique freestyle terrain park experience, with two park options of varying difficulty to accommodate all skiers and snowboarders. Their Cruiser terrain park, for those either new to the style or looking to get technical on smaller stuff, allows riders to get used to smaller boxes, rails and jumps before leveling up to the Twisted terrain park, which is loaded with natural features like log rides and rock jibs, man-made features like a wall ride and 26 constantly updated and switched-out rail features, as well as impressive jump lines ranging from small tables to 30-foot step downs.
Best Local Nonprofit
Berkshire Taconic, Sheffield
Celebrating a quarter century of community building and over $100 million in grants given, Berkshire Taconic has unquestionably proven itself as an agent of positive change in the region it serves. From the arts, senior and youth programs to health care and transportation, their grants have helped thousands of donors every year achieve countless philanthropic goals and build stronger, more vibrant communities throughout the Berkshires and beyond.
Best Radio Station
WSBS, Great Barrington
WSBS is the main source of news and information to residents of the Southern Berkshire Region, serving over 200,000 people in the tri-state Berkshire area. As a full-service community station, they make a major commitment to keeping locals up to date on the latest news and information with two full-time news reporters plus hourly reports from the Associated Press’ radio network. They also feature an extensive music mix, talk shows and local interviews, keeping radio a valuable medium to the citizens of Southern Berkshire County.
Best Private Gallery
Mary Childs Gallery, Great Barrington
Featuring a diverse array of works from sculpture and ceramics to photography and painting, the Child Gallery offers an exquisite and sophisticated view of meticulously-crafted fine art across a mixed media. Of particular note is their collection of glass art, drawing eyes from near and far and largely considered to be the best in the region.
Best Political Contest
MA Senate Race – Brown v. Warren
In November, Elizabeth Warren upset incumbent Scott Brown for the Massachusetts Senate seat in what was both a heated and expensive contest for both sides. The $68 million total spent by both campaigns combined – mostly on a battery of back-and-forth television advertisements – was the most expensive senate race in the entire country. Garnering approximately 53 percent of the vote in a tight race, Warren became the first woman ever elected as a U.S. senator from Massachusetts.
Best Golf Course
Wyantenuck Country Club, Great Barrington
Featuring a beautifully landscaped course surrounded with flowers, mountain views, wildlife and rivers, Wyantenuck’s golf course, open since the early days of golf in Great Barrington in 1896, is an exciting and challenging course with 6,403 total yards of golf to be had. As aesthetically pleasing as it is well-maintained, it’s appreciated for some of its trickier holes. Hole 17 - teeing off across a river and up a hill – is a course favorite.
Rudolf Steiner School, Great Barrington
The Rudolf Steiner School treats education as an art, wherein everything that is taught must speak to a student’s experience and imagination. As an independent coeducation school accredited by the Association of Independent Schools of New England, the Steiner School’s curriculum focuses on a comprehensive integration of the sciences, mathematics, literature and world history with the fine and practical arts and study of cultural heritage. Graduates of the Steiner School leave with an ability to discern and appreciate order and beauty, but also a knack for asking tough, critical questions about life – skills they can use to shape a changing world.
Best Bed and Breakfast
Wainwright Inn, Great Barrington
Combining Berkshire beauty with European hospitality, The Wainwright Inn has been around since colonial times, making it both a historic cultural landmark and a destination in all seasons for a fun, relaxing or romantic getaway while you explore the Berkshires. With its convenient central location proximal to countless natural, cultural and entertainment wonders, it’s the perfect place to unwind in between excursions to Tangelwood, the Rockwell Museum, Bash Bish Falls or Ski Butternut. Add to this the amazing breakfasts and the hosts’ unending hospitality, and you’ve got a Berkshire B&B paradise.
Volunteers in Medicine Berkshires
VIM’s mission is as simple as it is singular – to make their community better one patient at a time. Since 2004, VIM has treated thousands of in-need patients with free, compassionate health care, serving as a user-friendly portal to the health care system for those who lack insurance. Countless stories from previous Berkshire patients act as the most telling testimony to the necessary, inspiring and outstanding nature of the work of these volunteer clinicians.
Best Law Firm
Gogel & Gogel, South Egremont
The motto at Gogel & Gogel is simple, but effective: Small town attention with big city results. Attorney Kenneth Gogel’s resume is a testament to those results, from several high-profile national class action victories across the country to the successful reorganization of numerous small business after bankruptcy. With expertise in business and commercial law, employment law, arts and entertainment law, estate matters and both residential and commercial real estate transactions, Gogel & Gogel is the place to go for any problem big or small.
ARTS AND CULTURE (Return to The Best top)
Berkshire Museum, 39 South Street, Pittsfield
From ancient history and natural science to acclaimed art and everything in between, the diverse collections and exhibits at Berkshire Museum offer a “window on the world” to curious knowledge seekers of any age. Bring people together for experiences that spark creativity and innovative thinking, the museum strives to make inspirational and educational connections among art, history and natural science.
Best Local Dance Company
Olga Dunn Dance Company, Great Barrington
Now embarking into their fourth decade, Olga Dunn continues to pursue their mission of striving for excellence in dance through dedicated professional level training and mesmerizing performances. Now a household name in dance throughout the Berkshires and beyond, they have reached thousands through not only critically-acclaimed performance but also guest workshops, public master classes, lecture demonstrations for area school children and outreach programming.
Known as “The Bard of Barrington,” Michael Houlihan’s personal poetic style and dedication to the medium has earned him a reputation as the poet laureate of South County. He has pursued his mission – to bring poetry to the community he lives in – with commitment and vigor, hosting many poetry nights and groups as well as inspiring young poets across the county since becoming a Berkshire native in the 1960s.
Higher Organix, Great Barrington
Operating within the self-appointed genre of “organic-livetronica,” this dynamic power trio prides themselves on their nigh indefinable style, incorporating dance rhythms and electronic experimentation into a jam-band foundation evolved by jazz-like improvisation. Focusing on a delivery that is as spontaneous as humanly possible, they never plan their sets – flowing in form from heavy rock to ethereal ambient to twitchy house-trance – and they are a live experience that must be heard to be believed.
Best Emerging Artist
Teruko Kushi, Great Barrington
Teruko Kushi’s imaginative and one of a kind paintings and drawings reflect a style that is at once vivid and dark, both playful and filled with visual depth, and reveals a colorful artist’s perspective that echoes a reverence for the natural world and beyond. Simultaneously ethereal and psychedelic, her subjects burst off the page in eye-popping creative splendor.
Huckleberry Delsignore, Pittsfield
Huckleberry Delsignore’s unique approach to crocheting has made her one of the most talked-about creators of wearable art in the region. Pushing the structural and sculptural boundaries of the common craft into exciting new frontiers, her work creatively walks the line between fashion and performing arts, and her work has been proudly worn far and near – from residencies at Berkshire Museum and Mass. MoCA to being featured in the Huffington Post, the Three Letter Man Gallery in London, BASE in Miami and an episode of MTV Extreme Cribs, just to name a few.
Best Orchestral Director
This conductor – whose large-statured, bushy-haired physical presence is nearly as remarkable as his musical presence – is one to watch for possibly taking over the musical director vacancy at Tanglewood. His musically cerebral but aesthetically dynamic performance conducting both the Boston Symphony Orchestra and Yo-Yo Ma this past summer at Tanglewood solidified his position in the hearts of music lovers throughout the Berkshires.
Best Scenic Design
Carl Sprague, “A Christmas Carol” at The Colonial Theater in Pittsfield
Sprague’s amazing set design work on “A Christmas Carol” – on a low budget, no less – brought an imaginative and detailed visual aesthetic to the classic holiday story put on at the Colonial. From the grandiosity of the cathedral and the streets of London to the dark, intimate corners of the bedrooms of the poor, Sprague’s scenic design didn’t just bring the setting to the audience of 19th century London – he brought the audience into the setting.
Best Dramatic Performance, Actress
Jayne Atkinson as Edith Bolling Galt Wilson in “Edith”
Ruling the stage in the title role of this powerhouse performance, Atkinson’s Edith (first lady and second wife of President Woodrow Wilson) is a character of multifaceted moods and emotions – and Atkinson executed them all seamlessly. At times charming, elegant and controlled, and at others flamboyant and confident, her lively and emotive performance breathed life into an excellent work of historic fiction.
Best Dramatic Performance, Actor
Jason Asprey as Ronnie in “Parasite Drag”
In a tragicomedic work that created controversy over its portrayal of dark and sometimes excessive behavior between family members during a crisis, Jason Asprey delivers a strong performance, filled with both nuance and volatility as “Ronnie.” In his role, Asprey waxes both poetic and obscene, filling his already dynamically-written character simultaneously with hostility and violence crossed with affection and nobility in one of the best performances in Asprey’s celebrated career.
Best Supporting Performance
Jonathan Epstein as Stephano the butler in Shakespeare & Company’s “The Tempest”
In this jolly and quirky twist on a Shakespearian classic, Epstein elevates a side character to one of the most entertaining aspects of the production in a performance lauded by The New York Times and audiences alike. With British aplomb and the self-serving logic of an alcoholic, Epstein’s performance pushes Stefano into the limelight as a key piece of the essential puzzle of understanding “The Tempest” as a character trapped in deluded visions of who they are and what’s important in life.
“A Chorus Line” at the Colonial Theatre, Pittsfield
In this flawless take on the classic Tony Award-winning musical, Berkshire Theatre Group’s youthful ensemble cast deliver pitch-perfect performances in director Eric Hill’s uncluttered approach, allowing for the true synthesis of this memorable production to show through in its iconic music and lyrics.
Best Production of a Play
“Edith” by the Berkshire Theatre Group, Stockbridge
In this absorbing historical work, the story of Woodrow Wilson’s second wife Edith Bolling Galt Wilson and her commanding role in the White House following her husband’s extended illness is brought to life by a well-written script and even better acting throughout the main and supporting cast. Led by the excellent, multifaceted performance of Edith Wilson by Jayne Atkinson, the work is wonderfully and almost cinematically choreographed, with an outstandingly-designed set that seamlessly took the audience through a whirlwind of 54 scenes with expert pacing for a performance that is not to be forgotten.
Best Dance Performance
Paul Taylor Dance Company’s “The Uncommitted” at the Mahaiwe Theater, Great Barrington
Paul Taylor Dance Company’s appearance at the Mahaiwe this past summer showcased a rare mood for the celebrated company – one of darkness, pessimism, loneliness, but one that rang true in its choreography’s vivid physical expression of these ebon emotions. The superb synergy amongst the performing dancers highlighted Taylor’s knack for fluidity even in the context of a dynamic and punchy Schubert musical backdrop.
Best Local Choreographer
Olga Dunn, Great Barrington
A veteran immersed in the world of dance since the age of five, Dunn’s resume is nearly as impressive as the work put on through her dance company in Barrington. After studying dance in Virginia, Canada, Boston and Washington D.C., she pursued dance in New York City in multiple studios, which she credits with truly crystallizing her personal ideas about dance. The founder of the Olga Dunn Dance Company, she has guided her company to five Merit Aid awards from the state, named a choreography state finalist and was chosen to serve as a Massachusetts Cultural Council panelist in Boston, confirming her reputation as one of the biggest names in dance and choreography in the region.
Best Local Dancer TIE
Raised in the Berkshires in his youth under the guidance of his mother, the legendary Olga Dunn, Burke has made a name for himself throughout the county and beyond, performing with renowned dance companies such as Amy Marshalland Ann Maria Mazzinni, as well as the Metropolitan Opera in New York City. Recently, he guested with his mother’s dance company at a gospel festival at the Mahaiwe Theater in Great Barrington in June of last year.
After dancing for over a decade with the Canterella School of Dance in Pittsfield, Comeau now brings a smile to the faces of audiences in the eastern part of the state in her successful new gig performing with the Harvard University Dance Group.
Best Historical Site
Ventfort Hall, Lenox
This imposing Jacobean Revival mansion typifies the Gilded Age in Lenox is the home of The Museum of the Gilded Age, and rightfully so. The picturesque architecture and grounds are not only aesthetically breathtaking, but also serve to interpret the great changes that occurred in American life, industry and society during the fascinating social era known as the Gilded Age.
Best Public Gallery
Good Purpose Gallery, Lee
The Good Purpose Gallery is aptly named. Not only are they a vivid source of artistic vitality on Main Street in Lee, but they promote creativity far and wide in an effort to further their goal of encouraging and developing the talents of young adults on the Autism Spectrum and with learning disorders. Through exhibits, events and community gatherings, they make the local art world a little brighter, all while facilitating the artistic and expressive opportunities of the differently-abled.
DINING (Return to The Best top)
Best Co-op Market
Berkshire Co-op, 42 Bridge Street, Great Barrington
As a consumer cooperative market, Berkshire Co-op not only strives to provide high quality food products to its loyal consumer base, but also to be a transformative force in the community. In addition to offering affordable and healthful groceries and food stuffs, they also aim to nurture social and economic well-being in an environmentally sensitive manner, cultivating a sustainable local and regional economy and a more vibrant community.
Guido’s Fresh Marketplace, 760 South Main Street, Great Barrington
Guido’s harmoniously blends a classic marketplace atmosphere with up-to-the-minute goods and services, such as an exceptionally fresh and robust produce selection, quality meat and seafood and a full service florist. With options for everyone from vegans and vegetarians to those with lactose intolerance and Celiac’s disease to those looking for natural, organic and additive-free food products, Guido’s is a destination for the discriminating food shopper.
Best Greek Restaurant
Aegean Breeze, 327 Stockbridge Road Route 7, Great Barrington
For a trip to the Greek coast for your taste buds, look no further than Aegean Breeze. Revered for their specialties of grilled whole fish and tasty tapas, they expertly blend authentic Greek cuisine with American influences in a cozy atmosphere. Soak up the Greek Isle experience on their patio in the warmer months, or warm up next to the fireplace in their rustic indoor dining space with an expansive bar and wine list.
Best Italian Restaurant
Fiori Restaurant, 47 Railroad Street, Great Barrington
Whether it’s brunch, dinner or late-night offerings, Fiori strives to offer a unique and authentic take on Northern Italian cuisine. With a focus on natural food, they serve homegrown and handmade dishes, utilizing the freshest ingredients from local produce and dairy farms, as well as handmaking their own pastas and growing their own herbs in-house using their state-of-the-art hydroponic table. All this with live music events, wine pairings and menu tastings make Fiori the go-to destination for the fresh flavors and aromas of Italy right in Berkshire County.
The Meat Market, 389 Stockbridge Road, Great Barrington
Featuring a staggering variety of meat products sourced directly from local independent farms, The Meat Market is a veritable carnivore’s Nirvana. In addition to their regular stock of fresh beef, pork, chicken and rabbit, they also feature a rotation of specialty meats including veal, venison and goat, as well as offering turkey, geese and duck during the holidays. As a “head-to-toe” butcher, they go the extra mile by purchasing the entire animal, which not only allows them to remain a highly sustainable and waste-free business utilizing every part of livestock, but also allows them to offer high quality unique cuts to satisfy any customer’s desire.
Best Breakfast Spot
Martin’s Restaurant, 49 Railroad Street, Great Barrington
Martin’s has served the Berkshires since 1989 with one simple formula: a cozy atmosphere plus simple, delicious food. From scrumptious breakfast standards like buttery French toast and crisp veggie omelets to exquisite specials such as their asparagus eggs Benedict, they offer great bang for your buck with delicious, thrifty breakfast options. The paper mats and crayon portraits that line the tables are just proof of the warm, family friendly environment that makes for a great breakfast on Sunday morning – or any morning.
Koi, 300 State Road, Great Barrington
As a fixture of Berkshire oriental cuisine, Koi rivals even Chinatown’s best. Their fresh, flavorful dishes – from the Szechuan dumpling platter and the seafood fried rice to the standards of Chinese comfort food such as General Tsao’s chicken and wonton soup – are always served hot and to order with excellent service by an accommodating wait staff. Their killer cuisine can either function as an exquisite experience to go or in their ornate, expansive dining room.
Marketplace, Great Barrington
While the Marketplace Kitchen does many things right, the heart and soul of their enterprise has always been catering. With elegantly delicious food and an ability to tailor their menu to any event, they provide great eats with a unique experience – the way food is meant to be celebrated. Whether it’s home, office or somewhere in between, no event is too big or too small, too sophisticated or too basic for Marketplace to satisfy everyone’s tastes.
Riverbend Café, Great Barrington
The highlight of the simple and delicious fare on Great Barrington’s best organic vegetarian café is most certainly the smoothies. With 21 different flavors (one, the soy berry blast, made with soy milk so vegans and lactose intolerant customers can get their smoothie fix), it’s hard to not find something you like on their delectable list of frozen beverage treats. They nail the standard chocolate and fruity smoothie options, but also offer some unique flavor combos as well, such as the drama queen (raspberries, lime, orange and apple cider) and the healthy blend of the “veggie cocktail” (beets, carrots, ginger, pear and parsley).
Barrington Bites, Great Barrington
Located within the confines of the Chef Shop is the Berkshires’ sweetest treat: Barrington Bites, specializing in mini cupcakes with over 40 flavors. They offer classic flavors as well as deliciously diverse specialty flavors ranging from the decadent – banana hazelnut, hot fudge sundae, key lime pie – to the wacky – the Elvis, a cupcake with chocolate, banana, peanut butter and bacon – and everything in between. They even have gluten free and vegan options, making sure no sweet tooth goes unsatisfied.
Best New Restaurant
Bell & Anchor, Great Barrington
Bell & Anchor checks off all the attributes of the stellar restaurant list: warm, rustic and stylish décor, check; a seasonal and locally-sourced menu with expertly-crafted entrees, check; a comfortable, casual bar with an excellent wine selection, check; a knowledgeable and attentive wait staff to bring it all together, check. Whether you’re stopping in for the jaw-stretching, taste bud-pleasing signature burger or trying one of the daily specials, you can’t miss at Bell & Anchor.
Best Restaurant of the Year
Café Adam, Great Barrington
With great attention to detail and an expert flair for modern European cuisine, first-time customers will be hard-pressed to forget the culinary experience at Café Adam. Their lunch and brunch consists of Parisian street food and European classics, while their fine dining offers whole roasted fish, aged duckling and hand-made pasta dishes with a menu that changes nearly weekly and ingredients locally sourced whenever possible. Their move up the road to a new location will allow them to have a bar, private dining room and outdoor seating, while their menu will remain as exquisite as ever.
Best New York Style Deli
Barrington Bagel, Great Barrington
Barrington Bagel personifies the three great attributes of a New York Deli: No muss, no fuss and fantastic eats. Great for an early morning breakfast, a coffee pit stop or a casual sit down meal, their offerings – ranging from a chocolate bagel with fresh strawberry cream cheese to absolutely dynamite pastrami and chicken club sandwiches – will leave no one disappointed.
Bizen, Great Barrington
For the best Japanese cuisine this side of Tokyo, look no further than Bizen’s extensive and delicious myriad of sushi offerings for sushi rookies and raw fish aficionados alike. Grab the Bento box if you’re looking for a good sushi deal under $20, or go sushi-crazy and try all their offerings from a Bezerkshire roll to king crab-stuffed California rolls, all facilitated by a quick, professional and friendly wait staff.
Best Coffee Shop
Fuel, Great Barrington
Combining a cozy, casual atmosphere with a plethora of hot and cold beverage options, there’s no better place to fuel up on caffeine or a light snack. Known for their unrivaled homemade chai tea mocha espressos, they feature not only a wide array of coffees, hot chocolates and bagels, but also delicious and nutritious smoothies, great salads and sandwiches, and dozens of other reasons why Fuel is the go-to pit stop in Great Barrington. They also regularly have almond milk for lactose intolerant customers.
Salmon Run, Lee
Novel and tasty seafood for an affordable price is the name of the game at Salmon Run. With a menu chock full of appetizers, lunch specials and seafood sandwiches, their specialty is their namesake. They offer fresh, delicious, ample portions of salmon cooked just the way you love it – char-grilled with shrimp and garlic butter – and plenty of ways you’ve never imagined – garlic potato-encrusted salmon, or grilled Buffalo salmon with baked gorgonzola.
Best Donut Shop
Home Sweet Home Doughnut Shoppe, Great Barrington
There’s a reason this place is called “donut heaven” by customers. With in-house hand-made donuts that melt in your mouth as well as muffins, cannoli and other pastries, their fresh, creative and high-quality offerings will turn anyone into a breakfast pastry lover. From classics like chocolate glazed and apple cider donuts to maple frosted and key lime pie flavors, their delectable donuts and warm, friendly service will have you saying “Dunkin who?”
Best Ice Cream Store
SoCo Creamery, Great Barrington
“One spoonful and you’re hooked,” is a good motto for this micro-creamery, whose 20 years of varied and taste bud pleasing sweet and creamy offerings have earned a deserved reputation as some of the best ice cream in the region. The key to their success is the small batches – never mass produced – to insure every cone and dish is consistent is its amazing freshness, texture and flavor. It also allows them to deal in an expansive and ever-changing myriad of flavors, from the classics (dirty chocolate and hazelnut are two big customer favorites) to the wildly exotic (seasonal offerings like Macintosh graham cracker and hot chocolate marshmallow).
Barrington Brewery, Great Barrington
Barrington Brewery stands alone not only as the first East coast brewery to use solar power to brew their beer, but as brewers with an unmatched passion and attention to detail to produce the best possible pint of liquid satisfaction. With tried and true mainstays like the big, bold Ice Glenn IPA and the dark, rich Black Bear Stout, as well as seasonal favorites like the Firecracker Independence Day Imperial IPA and Yule Fuel Christmas brew, when it comes to beer, it’s clear: Barrington Brewery is the best.
Catherine’s, Great Barrington
In terms of selection alone, Catherine’s has nearly every chocolate shop beat, but it’s the quality of the hand-dipped delicacies that keep bringing customers back for another treat. In addition to exquisite truffles and chocolates and an immense selection of fudge (mint chocolate is a good place to start), Catherine’s also has hand-made chocolate-covered fruits, chocolate-covered nuts, chocolate-covered coffee and espresso beans, chocolate-covered graham crackers, chocolate-covered chocolate and pretty much anything else one could imagine hand-dipped in the sweetest, silkiest chocolate around.
Xicohtencatl, Great Barrington
The best Mexican cuisine thrives off the ability to combine simple yet fresh ingredients with spice and flair for an uncomplicated, full-flavored taste-bud experience – and Xicohtencatl’s guacamole especial is just that. Made to order with a traditional method in a stone molcajete, the standard order includes tomato, onion, jalapeno, garlic, cilantro, lime and salt, but special requests are welcomed for those who want to known the flavor up even more. Zesty, smooth and always packed with flavor, their expertly prepared guacamole is unparalleled.
Best Pizza and Pasta
Baba Louie’s, Great Barrington
Utilizing only the freshest high-quality ingredients, Baba Louie’s mixes the tried and true traditional with the deliciously creative for an endless array of tasty options for food adventurers of all tastes and dietary restrictions. Their simple but mouthwatering evening pasta dishes are uniquely made every night depending on the availability of local produce and cheese for a different flavor experience every night. And their flatbread pizzas, with sourdough sourced from local artisan bakers, run the gamut from expertly-executed traditional masterpieces – the classic Queen Margherita – to out of this world creations – such as the Dirty Brutto, featuring roasted red potatoes, pesto, garlic and parmesan.
Best Slice of Pizza
Manhattan Pizza, Great Barrington
Specializing in New York and Sicilian style pies, Manhattan Pizza earns its name as the best slice of pizza this side of Little Italy. They’ve got a variety of specialty pizzas, such as your standard Hawaiian, meat lovers and white pizzas, but you’re better off getting creative and crafting one of nearly infinite topping combinations from their formidable and varied list of the freshest cheese, meats and veggies.
Four Brothers, Great Barrington
Ranging from small and appetite-whetting to formidably heaping, Four Brothers has the salad market cornered. You can start your Mediterranean meal off the right way with a simple yet delicious Greek or Italian antipasto salad, or you can up the “anti” and make the salad the main attraction. Between the healthy Westport salad (field greens with cranberries, walnuts and gorgonzola), the heart Milford salad (a mouthful featuring bacon, cheddar, cheese, turkey, egg and avocado) and the Four Brothers favorite Darien salad with feta, chicken and bacon with balsamic dressing, this is one place where the salad can start and finish the meal.
Cakewalk Bakery and Café, Lee
With a huge variety of pastries, cakes, cookies, breads and more available, the endless list of baked products at the Cakewalk Bakery have high quality baked right into every made-from-scratch morsel. Despite their massive list of scones, muffins, croissants, cookies, pastry bars, fresh breads, cup cakes, tarts and seasonal specialties like Yule logs, Passover cakes and Easter cookies, their cakes are the true pieces de resistance. Sinfully amazing selections like the mocha cream or chocolate devastation cakes are available, but there’s also a custom cake option, allowing customers to create their own masterpiece from an endless list of flavor, filling and icing combinations expertly hand-assembled by their bakers.
Adam Zieminski, Great Barrington
Adam Zieminski’s culinary eminence speaks for itself. With Café Adam overwhelmingly chosen as the best restaurant in the Berkshires in this year’s poll, it’s clear Zieminski follows through on his mission to not only craft exceptional meals, but to truly give customers a dining experience to remember. His resume reads like a laundry list of expertise in the field of fine food: An apprenticeship with Michael Bourdin at the Connaught Hotel in London, and stints at Aquavit in Manhattan, the Celtic Manor in Wales and the Wheatleigh Hotel in Lenox, where he was part of the 2005 James Beard Team. At Café Adam, using locally-driven ingredients as much as possible, Zieminski utilizes his mastery in European-style cuisine to approach the finest of dining experience with an artisan-like appreciation for an overall wonderful diner’s experience.
Best French Food
Bizalion’s Fine Food, Great Barrington
Bizalion’s embodies the simple elegance and delectable savor of great French cuisine with breakfast and dinner options that are as uncomplicated as they are delicious. Whether it’s a farm-fresh, expertly prepared breakfast featuring local eggs and bacon and a toasted baguette or a simply savory foccacia sandwich for lunch, it’s never a dull moment for your taste buds at Bazilon’s. They also have prepare-your-own cheese fondue to go – pot, burner and instructions included – for a fun, scrumptious French treat at home.
Best Liquor Store
Domaney’s Liquors, Great Barrington
Since 1973, Domaney’s has supplied the widest selection of best products at the best prices in the Berkshires for beer, wine and spirits. Their eye-popping inventory, from the highly affordable to the finest discriminating tastes – their ever-present specials are tough to beat – is complimented regularly by fun community events such as wine and beer tastings as well as showcases from breweries, vineyards and distilleries from near and far.
Best Family Dining
Ena Café, Great Barrington
With their wholesome atmosphere, friendly and accommodating service and affordable prices, Ena Café is an excellent spot to eat out for a family-oriented dining experience any time. Their courteous staff serve up hot, fresh meals in a hurry, whether it’s a quick, hearty breakfast and a dynamite cup of coffee in the morning or their awesome comfort food and amazing homemade soups for lunch and dinner.
Neighborhood Diner, Great Barrington
Generous portions and good times abound at this friendly locale at any time, from a quick early morning breakfast to a late night bite. It’s tough to miss out on what you’re looking for with their extensive menu of comfort food, American fare and all day breakfast – the French toast, Paninis and friend string beans are always a shoo-in. Their wait staff is all that is should be at a neighborhood diner: cordial and quick service, plus a friendly vibe good for a laugh in between bites.
Best Homemade Soups
Sullivan Station, Lee
Always homemade from scratch and served hot and fresh, soups are the appetizer of choice at Sullivan Station for a reason. Even in those large cauldrons, the demand for their delicious variety of soups can barely be met. They’ve got all the classics, like French onion, chowders and vegetable, but the real treat is their outside-the-box cheddar ale soup, a hearty and scrumptious beginning to any meal – or even a quick, delicious meal on its own.
|SHOPPING (Return to The Best top)
Best Pet Supplies
Bens Dotter’s Pets, 940 Main Street, Route 7 Great Barrington
Offering a bit of the conventional, and a bit of the alternative, Bens Dotter’s Pets has a friendly local atmosphere with carefully selected products for pet dogs, cats and parrots. They have everything from toys and kibbled and canned foods to supplements and medicinal and even all natural chews and treats. Additionally, they offer the very best for those with pets on raw diets, including raw diet supplements and freeze-dried and dehydrated foods. Pet nutrition is the name of the game at Bens Dotter’s.
Ed Herrington, Inc., 312 White Hill Lane, Hillsdale, N.Y.
As a fourth-generation family-owned and operated building supplies business, Ed Herrington, Inc. is the one stop destination for construction or restoration supplies and assistance. In addition to their special order millwork, they offer services such as in-house blueprint copying, digital paint color matching and professional power tool repair, as well as available rental equipment from power washers to floor sanders and much more. They even provide architectural assistance if needed, with blueprint specifications and job management.
Zabian’s Fine Jewelers, 15 Main Street, Lee
Since 1985, Zabian’s has prided itself on offering the absolute finest in jewelry and watches. Owner Mohamed Zabian is a seasoned gemologist, with expertise in diamonds and gems, with a specialty in custom design. As a highly respected jewelry in the Berkshires as well as throughout the nation, they provide their loyal customers with a memorable shopping experience.
Best Ceramics/Pottery Store
Sheffield Pottery, Route 7, Sheffield
Supplying ceramic supplies for artists, craftsmen, school and industry since 1946, Sheffield Pottery is the one-stop destination for anything ceramics or pottery related. Growing over the years from their start in a 6’x6’ kiln over six decades ago, their 26,000-foot production warehouse is matched only by their extensive and exquisite retail selections in their showrooms, building on an earned reputation for premium quality products, excellent customer service and dependability.
Best Men’s Clothing
Zabian’s Ltd., 19 Main Street, Lee
In addition to their fine jewelry offerings, Zabian’s also offers a wide array of quality men’s wear for any discriminating eye of male fashion. On top of their diverse offerings of formal wear, casual wear and tuxedo rentals, you can also pick out a sleek hat or stylish pair of shoes. They also have a big and tall department for clothing that fits the needs for men of any size or age.
Best Yarn/Knitting Store
Wonderful Things, 232 Stockbridge Road, Great Barrington
Featuring the largest selection of yarn, needlework, handcrafted gifts and craft supplies in the Berkshires, Wonderful Things stocks yarn as far as the eye can see – five full rooms piled to the ceiling with everything from hand-dyed and sock yarn to unique specialty yarns, such as Paternayan Persian yarn. On top of their massive yarn selection, they also sell needlepoint and knitting kits, as well as handcrafted gifts such as jewelry, wooden toys, dolls, hand-blown glass and pottery, making it a one-stop destination for anyone looking for a special hand-crafted gift – or looking to create one themselves.
Best Precious Metals
Pittsfield Precious Metals, 93 First Street, Pittsfield
Pittsfield Precious Metal’s large, diversified selection of antique, estate and contemporary jewelry, diamonds and precious stones features exquisite items made from sterling silver, pocket and wristwatches and quality collectibles and accessories, as well as porcelain and art glass pieces. With a gemologist and licensed and bonded auctioneer on premises, they’re also an authorized PCGS and NGC coin dealer, and have helpful advisory services for fast and profitable liquidation of assets.
Best Paint Store
Lee Hardware, 221 Main Street, Lee
Lee Hardware is the place to start a project off right, and that goes double for anything that needs a coat of paint. Since the 1950s, Lee Hardware Store, Inc. has been serving commercial, industrial and residential customers, and has earned a solid reputation through friendly and knowledgeable staff, sound advice and the best service. In their Benjamin Moore Signature Store paint section, you’ll find a massive myriad of colors available in samples, as well as the necessary equipment and know-how to bring your paint project ideas to life.
Best Foreign Auto Repair
Bob Denley’s Foreign Car and Park Street Tire, 150 West Park Street, Lee
Specializing in foreign auto repair, Bob Denley’s combines excellent service and a friendly approach with deep and constantly updated body of knowledge and experience in repairing and extending the life of your car. With special equipment to efficiently test and evaluate any problems your car may have, their staff is happy to answer any questions customers may have, and can also advise the ideal products to use to extend the life of your automobile. Additionally, they’re also the only authorized stocking tire dealer in the tri-town area.
Barrington Outfitters, 289 Main Street, Great Barrington
Discriminating shoe-shoppers from far and near have made Barrington Outfitters the sole destination for shoes and boots in the Berkshires. With an excellent selection of great products – including great deals and steals on their outside sale rack during the warmer months – as well as helpful and friendly staff, Barrington Outfitters is the perfect place to think on your feet.
Dedicated to enriching the community they serve, Salisbury Bank not only offers a wide swath of personal and business banking as well as trust and wealth, retirement planning, personalized investment and mortgage services, but is also committed to new and innovative products and approaches that makes the lives of their customers and their community members more rewarding. Between their annual scholarship program and their frequent support to many non-profit organizations in the tri-state area, they have carved their reputation as both a reliable banking institution and a good corporate citizen.
Best Women’s Clothing Store
Louisa Ellis, Great Barrington
Louisa Ellis’s posh boutique of women’s fashion, with an impressive selection of clothing, jewelry and handbags, is the perfect place to keep your finger on the pulse of the Fall runway shows’ iconic looks, without the hassle of shopping in NYC. It has quickly built a solid reputation with a large, loyal fan base from far and near for its convenient and high quality offerings.
Best Toy Store
Tom’s Toys, Great Barrington
For over a decade and a half Tom’s Toys has been the place to go for a great selection of quality toys for tots of all ages. Featuring an ever-growing collection of more than 20,000 toys ranging from games, dolls and puzzles to science, arts and crafts and infant/toddler toys, if you can’t find the toy you’re looking for at Tom’s, it probably doesn’t exist yet.
Best Ski/Snowboard Shop
Voted the number one ski shop in New England by the New England Winter Sports Reps Association, Butternut’s full service ski shop at their on-mountain location at the base of their iconic resort has earned the reputation as one of the highest quality ski and snowboard shops in the region. Since 1969, they’ve offered a high quality complete line of products from top line skis and snowboards, ski boots and bindings, as well as luggage, helmets, goggles, hats and anything else you’ll ever need before hitting the slope. You can even try out their demo center, allowing customers to try out skis and snowboards before making the best purchase decision.
Best Wealth/Trust Advisory
Salisbury Bank strives to truly get to know each and every client’s individual circumstances for an up close and personal approach to personal investment. Their investment planner services aren’t commission based, so their goal isn’t an agenda to make trades, but to make the best investment decisions for each and every customer. Their well-established and objective investment philosophy follows a disciplined four-step process that defines individual objectives, portfolio strategy and performance management for a process where the bottom line is the enrichment of the client’s life.
Best Gourmet Food Store
Locke, Stock and Barrel, Great Barrington
For the widest and best selection in gourmet grocery options, whether it’s natural foods, health foods, regional and local foods or any food under the sun, look no further than Locke, Stock and Barrel. With a slew of food stuff selections that are as delicious as they are unique, it’s hard to even get out of the parking lot before diving into your shopping bag and trying out what you’ve bought. Of particular note is their cheese selection, largely considered the best in Western Mass.
Best Art Supplies Store
JWS Art Supplies, Great Barrington
For artists, fine design minds or those with a creative and quirky taste, JWS Art Supplies has everything one could ever desire. They have an exhaustive permanent stock of various paints, oils and acrylics, pencils, markers, pastels and other writing and drawing instruments, brushes, canvases, easels, and pretty much anything else an art studio could possibly need. They’ve also got one-of-a-kind funky office supplies, as well as photo albums, journals, stationary – everything. And if everything wasn’t enough, they also exercise the space above their product racks as an informal gallery space for local artwork.
Wildflowers, Great Barrington
Wildflowers takes price in delivering the freshest and most aesthetically-minded floral arrangements, using only the highest quality flowers and hand-arranging and hand-delivering all arrangements to the recipient. Whether it’s a seasonal centerpiece, a carefully-arranged basket or the perfect bouquet for any occasion, when you need the freshest flowers in the Berkshires, you can rely on Wildflowers.
Best Credit Union
Greylock Federal Credit Union
Greylock Federal Credit Union prides itself on reminding its members of one simple fact: When you’re with Greylock, you’re not alone in the world of credit and finances. Offering a wide palette of expertly tailored services to customers of all walks – from free services like fund collection and credit counseling to convenient financial transaction services from electronic to snail mail – Greylock Federal Credit Union provides clarity and options via safe and secure financial services for all needs.
Best Wedding Dresses
5 Cents a Dance, Lee
5 Cents a Dance’s expertise in custom sewing and alterations make them the destination for the perfect wedding dress. Building a renowned reputation through their reliable and quality work designing costumes for professional dance companies, their excellent design and construction of wedding dresses for everyone from the petite to the voluptuous is just the ticket to make the perfect day even more perfect. Their headquarters of fast, friendly and professional service is located in the same location as Orchids, a full-service florist, and across the street from St. Mary’s Church – the only thing that makes them more convenient for your one-stop wedding dress needs is their dedication to expert custom dress design.
Best Consignment Shop
Threds, Great Barrington
Going retro has never been more fashionable and affordable than at Threds, the one-stop destination for used and vintage clothing. Featuring one-of-a-kind vintage clothing, as well as new retro clothing and exclusive designs by local designers and artists, they’ve also got a slew of great accessories from the fine (such as body jewelry and tapestries) to the quirky (incense and oils, Zippo lighters) and everything in between.
Best Bike Shop
Berkshire Bike and Board, Great Barrington
Berkshire Bike and Board are passionate about bikes, which means they’re eager to set each and every customer up with exactly what they’re looking for in a quality bicycle for the safest, most durable and most fun ride possible. With comfort and safety built into every bike, they stand behind their craft in every way possible: Test rides for any bike; a lifetime of free tune-ups with the purchase of a new bike; and every bike they sell is guaranteed to offer the highest quality, longest life and best resale value around. With their wide selection of quality accessories, it’s clear they are the place to go to get your wheels turning.
Best Customer Service
With a wealth of available services, a trained and helpful staff and a philosophy of individualized customer attention and community enrichment, Salisbury Bank banks on putting the client first. Whether it’s for personal or business banking, wealth management or trust services, they always keep the priorities, happiness and security of each customer in mind.
Best Kitchen Store
The Chef’s Shop, Great Barrington
For over two decades, The Chef’s Shop has housed the very best selection of quality kitchen and cooking equipment, not only focusing on customer choice but on affordability. Guaranteeing that their everyday prices can beat even the sale prices of competitors, they offer to add a free year to the warranty to any product purchased from their store. While their 3,000 square foot first floor houses a mind-boggling selection of kitchen equipment and tools, their second floor features a stunning collection of rustic kitchen and dining room furniture and décor such as are rugs, framed art and decorative accessories – everything you need for your kitchen.
Best Auto Detailing
Larkin LTD, 974 South Main Street, Great Barrington
Larkin is the one and only stop for any and all vehicle detailing needs. With 6 different detailing package options and pickup and delivery service offered, they can handle any vehicle – from small cars and motorcycles to RV’s and boats. In addition to their normal detail offerings, they also perform excessive pet hair and odor removal, window tinting, headlight restoration and more. Servicing all varieties of vehicles from small businesses to local law enforcement, no job is too big or too detailed for their dedicated and careful approach.
Best Garden Store
Ward’s Nursery and Garden Center, 600 South Main Street
From its humble beginnings in 1957 starting out with 2 small greenhouses and a potting shed, Ward’s Nursery has grown to become the complete lawn and garden resource center for the Berkshires, eastern New York and Northwestern Connecticut. Between their exhaustive nursery selection (featuring 1,400 perennial selections, 700 different woody plants and over 50 varieties of daffodils), their extensively stocked garden retail store and their seasonal holiday decorating center, Ward’s Nursery and Garden Center has established itself as a regional leader in horticultural products.
Best Furniture Store
Simmons Lifestyle Furniture, 5 Cheshire Road, Pittsfield
Since 1879, Simmons’ formula hasn’t changed: good quality, reasonable prices and great selection. With knowledgeable staff available to assist, Simmons offers more than a century of family-owned experience featuring products from around the world, as well as local, organic and naturally made furniture for a unique shopping experience that mixes luxury, sustainability and pricing to suit every budget.
Best Auto Body Repair
Carlson Auto Body, Lee
The professionalism and hard work at Carlson Auto Body is what allows them to get any auto body repair job done on time, as expected and for competitive affordable prices. Always friendly and courteous in their service to customers, they are the go-to specialists for any auto body repair needs.
Best Storage Facilities
B-Safe Storage, Lee
Whether you’re looking for on-site storage facilities or portable storage, B-Safe Storage is the number one choice for the solution to storage needs. Offering cost-effective, flexible solutions tailored to meet the individual needs of any customer, the safety and security of their well-lit on-site facilities and the convenience and flexibility of their portable storage units provide the storage expertise for whatever you need to keep safe, secure and stored.
Best Handmade Gifts
Out of Hand, Great Barrington
From the quirky to the sophisticated, the fashionable to the fun, Out of Hand’s impressively expansive inventory has a huge selection of everything from clothes, tapestries, furniture, fine glass and just about everything else if you’re looking for a unique gift for anyone on your list, or an item to spruce up the décor of any interior. And it’s all produced by hand by artisan crafters from far and near, offering a fun and exotic choice in handmade gifts.
Best Camera Shop
The Snap Shop, Great Barrington
Since 1972, The Snap Shop has been the region’s one-stop destination for everything photography. Always happy to chat about cameras, pictures or photo projects, their customer service is nearly as unmatched as their wide array of available services, which includes not only camera repair and film developing, but also old photo copying and retouching/restoration, slide scanning, printing from black and white negatives, darkroom chemicals, and basically anything else someone with a camera could possibly need.
Best Pre-owned Car Dealer
Bachetti Auto Sales, Sheffield
Great selection, congenial service and a convenient location make Bachetti’s Auto the first stop when looking for a used car in the Berkshires. Whether it’s a pickup truck for work or a young driver’s first car, their diverse inventory of various makes, models, price ranges and styles makes it easy to pick up a reliable, affordable vehicle.
Best Auto Insurance
Viale Insurance Agency, Lee
As a third generation family company, Viale insurance continues to follow the same mission they’ve followed for the better part of a century – to meet the insurance needs of Southern Berkshire County. Always available for a free review and evaluation of anyone’s present coverage, they’re committed to making seeing their clients properly protected. Treating customers as more than just a number, they strive to offer personalized service to each individual who comes through the door, echoing their motto of our customer, our neighbors, our friends.”
CVS, Great Barrington
At the Barrington CVS, when it comes to pharmacy and prescription service, “we’re at your service” is more than just a clichéd expression. With expert care and service and a focus on value and convenience to the customer, they offer a myriad of services that make it easier than ever to fulfill prescription needs. Their text alerts, mobile pharmacy management and ReadyFill automatic prescription filling options aid in tailoring their services to your schedule. Additionally, they help customers stay in the know with their Care 1on1 personalized review offered whenever a new prescription is transferred, on top of several online sources to keep customers informed like the drug information center, pill identifier and drug interaction warnings.
Best Gift Shop
Karen Keenan Gifts and Home, Lee
Candles, fashion, toys, home décor, cards, baby toys and clothes, framed pictures, knick-knacks potpouri – it’s hard to NOT find what you’re looking for at Karen Keenan’s Gifts. And on the offchance you can’t find it, the friendly and helpful staff will gladly help out. Whether it’s a birthday, a wedding, an anniversary or just an anytime gift, Karen’s should be anyone’s first stop.
RW’s Towing, Lee
As the towing and recovery experts of Western Mass., R.W.’s pride themselves on their extremely professional service made possible by their constantly updated modern facilities and equipment. As a AAA-affiliated institution with a full range of towing equipment, they can handle all towing needs no matter how specialized, including motorcycles, exotic cars, fully-loaded tractor trailers and much, much more. They also have car rentals for business and travel uses to better accommodate and serve customers.
|NIGHTLIFE (Return to The Best top)
Brick House, Housatonic
With a casual atmosphere that’s both quaint and hip and entertainment ranging from folk pop and hip-hop MC’s to burlesque shows, The Brick House is the go-to place for a no-frills night on the town. While you take in the evening’s choice entertainment, you’ll have your druthers of delectable pub fare (if you’re feeling adventurous, go for the deep-friend, bacon-wrapped hot dogs) and a top-notch, ever-rotating selection of craft brews (Dogfish Head, Smuttynose, Green Flash, oh my) as well as an impressive list of spirits.
Club Helsinki, Hudson, N.Y.
Good food? Check. Good music? Check. Great atmosphere? Check. Club Helsinki’s dedication to bringing a lively and community-oriented nightlife destination to the Berkshire area has proven them one of the most happening joints in the area come sundown. With 2 performance spaces, full service restaurant with outdoor dining and a gallery space, they’ve played host for some of the finest musicians (as well as activists, poets and lecturers from time to time), such as Pete Seeger, Norah Jones, John Scofield and Levon Helm. Combine that with their locale’s rustic and atmospheric 19th century industrial environment, and you’ve got yourself one spirited night out that will have you coming back again and again.
Best Karaoke Bar
Michael’s Restaurant and Lounge, Stockbridge
With a song bank of thousands upon thousands upon THOUSANDS of hits ranging from Michael Buble to Metallica and every possible tune in between, Michael’s Restaurant and Lounge is the place to go in the Berkshires if you want to scratch the Karaoke itch. They’ve even got 46 different iconic TV show theme songs if your idea of a night on the town is a couple of brews and serenading the night away to theme of All in the Family. With outstanding service and a warm and welcoming atmosphere, Michael’s is the place to sing your heart out.
Best Live Music
Gypsy Joynt, Great Barrington
For some audiophiles, there’s nothing better than sitting down with a good cup of joe and taking in some great live music in a café setting – and the Gypsy Joynt is the place to do it. Their warm, local community atmosphere is comforting and welcoming, and their dedication to satisfying their customers on both the grub and music fronts makes them hands down the go-to music club in the area. Their lineups frequently feature the cream of the crop of local talent, as well as some well-known favorites – this spring, look out for underground Gypsy folk giants Bella’s Bartok, local folk hero Annie Guthrie and Berkshire favorites the B.T.U.’s.
Best Frozen Drinks
Fiori, Great Barrington
What makes Fiori’s frozen drink selection is amazing is the same thing that makes the rest of their cuisine amazing – attention to detail, a unique homemade spin and an ultimate goal of the customer walking away from the table satisfied. For a frozen beverage experience that is both quirky and exquisite, look no further than their gelato-infused cocktails. With delicious options like the strawberry bourbon milkshake and the “Dreamsicle” (house-made limoncello, orangina and vanilla gelato), you’ll want to sip these frozen treats even in the dead of winter.
Best Local Hangout
The Well, Great Barrington
The Well has all the things to look forward to every Friday night – great food and drink, hospitable service and a fun, casual atmosphere for young and old alike. Aside from a formidable spirits selection and a choice round up of familiar and unique bottled and draft beer (try the Blue Point toasted lager), it’s got some bang-up bar food: Probably the best pizza you can get at a pub and some of the best wings in the Berkshires. Throw in a couple of dartboards, some occasional live music and a great bar and wait staff, and you’ve got a place you can go every weekend – or weeknight.
Best Little Bar
The Well, Great Barrington
The Well may be the best little pub around, but it’s a big draw for a reason: A quality selection of affordable drinks and grade-A bartenders pouring them – it’s as simple as that. Even when it’s inevitably packed every Friday night, the friendly and more-than-competent staff make sure every customer is satisfied. So whether you’re there for the best Guinness pour in town, a specialty “Well-tini,” or if you brought your appetite for their oft raved-about pesto pizza or award-winning wings, you’ll quickly see why The Well is the place for a low-key night on the town.
Best Sports Bar
The Locker Room, Lee
With a name like The Locker Room, they’d better be a good sports bar – lucky for them, they are indeed the place to go to catch the game with some friends, or just for a quick, scrumptious, no-frills meal. With a dozen beers on tap and as many big screen TVs lining the walls, plus $.50 cent wing nights on Sundays and Mondays, it’s hard to imagine a better place to be on gameday. And if you’re there for a doubleheader, move beyond the standard pub fare and appetizers and grab a meal from their incredibly cheap, incredibly delicious lunch and dinner selections – massive grinders, mouth-watering pizzas and lunch specials galore.
Best Local Bar
The Brick House, Housatonic
Located conveniently but out of the way from hustle and bustle in downtown Housatonic, The Brick House is the perfect place to casually tie one on after a day at the office, or head over with friends for a fun evening out. They’ve got great, varied live music and entertainment most weekend nights, but the real highlight is their rotating craft beer selection that will tickle the fancy of even the most discriminating brew snobs.
|HOME & DESIGN(Return to The Best top)
BEST LUXURY REAL ESTATE BROKER
CHAPIN FISH OF WM. BROCKMAN REAL ESTATE
For more than 35 years, wm. Brockman Real Estate has served as a real estate powerhouse in Berkshire County, with a specialty in luxury properties and estates. In fact, Chapin Fish, broker and partner of wm. Brockman Real Estate ranks among the very highest, if not the top of the pack, in the county every year since 2005 for home sales and listings. Celebrities, executives and other A-listers have counted on him to help them find, buy and sell luxury homes throughout the Berkshires, knowing complete discretion and 5-star service is always assured . If you’re selling or in the market for a luxury home or estate, then Chapin Fish of wm. Brockman Real Estate is your Luxury Home Broker in the Berkshires. www.berkshiresforsale.com Phone: 413-528-4859
BEST INTERNET MARKETING
BERKSHIRE PROPERTY AGENTS
Berkshire Property Agents is a local industry leader in creating Internet Marketing campaigns online via Internet search and successful media buys. The team at Berkshire Property Agents works directly with their clients to customize an Internet Campaign tailored to the clients’ short and long-term needs. They can generate prospects to a generic or a specific target audience with a very short turnaround. Berkshire Property Agents can help successfully market your home, land or any real estate property on the internet today by giving their clients the complete internet marketing service they need to list and sell their property.
Phone: (413) 528-6800
BEST TRUSTED REAL ESTATE COMPANY
WHEELER & TAYLOR REAL ESTATE
Great Barrington & Stockbridge
A Berkshire County institution since 1871, Wheeler & Taylor is an expert at redefining the local real estate industry standard. For over 140 years, they have been helping people find their ideal property(s), homes, farms, lands and businesses, throughout Berkshire County. With a steadfast commitment to excellence and solid knowledge of the local market, the real estate professionals at Wheeler and Taylor are well known for providing over-the-top service to all their clients. Whether you’re thinking about buying or selling a property in the Berkshires, you need to look no further than the Berkshires most trusted the real estate company, Wheeler and Taylor, the Berkshires Best Trusted Real Estate company – since 1871.
Phone: (413) 528-1006
BEST FULL SERVICE REAL ESTATE COMPANY
Mary White and Maureen White and their company Barnbrook Realty have been the driving force behind South County Real Estate over the last 25 years. Since 1984, the company has diligently serviced clients in all aspects of residential and commercial real estate. If you’re looking for a company that can help you from everything in Berkshire County real estate from finding, buying, selling property as well as relocation services, than Barnbrook Realty is your complete, full service real estate company solution. No other company in Berkshire County can match their experience, connections and hardworking staff and overall support network.
Phone: (413) 528-4423
BEST FURNITURE STORE
SIMMONS LIFESTYLE FURNITURE
Since 1879, Simmons’ formula hasn’t changed: good quality, reasonable prices and great selection. With knowledgeable staff available to assist, Simmons offers more than a century of family-owned experience featuring products from around the world, as well as local, organic and naturally made furniture for a unique shopping experience that mixes luxury, sustainability and pricing to suit every budget.
Phone: (413) 499-0170
BEST FUEL COMPANY
You won’t get left out in the cold next winter with Kimball Fuels, A leader in home heating oil, diesel fuel, propane and heating services. Kimball Fuels has been warming homes and businesses for many years. Built on the strong tradition of providing excellent products and first rate customer service, it is no wonder that Kimball Fuels is a leader in providing Berkshire County full and part-time residents with heating fuels. They also have a 24-hour service department that can repair, maintain and install a full range of boilers, tanks and other home heating related products.
Phone: (413) 528-1410
BEST LANDSCAPING ARCHITECT
Okerstrom Lang’s philosophy of landscape architecture and design is rooted in the successful achievement of three principles: a coordinated team approach, harmony of design and an integrated construction process. Working diligently with clients from initial consultation and contracting to the completion of designing and building, they employ their skilled craftsmen and a timely construction schedule to focus on details and clear communication as keys to their clients’ satisfaction.
Phone: (413) 528-6523
BEST HISTORIC HOME SPECIALISTS
ELYSE HARNEY REAL ESTATE
If you’re looking for the ideal historic home in the tri-state area, Elyse Harney Real Estate should be your first and only stop. Well-known for their understanding and unparalleled appreciation of the area’s most desirable historic homes, the real estate professionals at Elyse Harney Real Estate can help even the most discerning buyers find that perfect historic home. Stop by and see why they often exceed customer expectations and successfully maintain their reputation as the best at finding, buying and selling historic homes throughout the tri-state region.
BEST HOME INSURANCE
FRANK CONSOLATI INSURANCE, INC.
Serving Berkshire County families since 1942, Frank Consolati Insurance is a family-owned independent insurance company with a small, efficient staff that focus on providing personalized service to each individual client, allowing customers to work with the same experienced agent throughout the process from start to finish. They offer homeowners insurance, mobile home insurance, renters insurance and floor insurance, and bring their 71 years of experience to meeting the home insurance needs of Berkshire families.
Phone: (413) 243-0105
BEST REAL ESTATE BROKER
LANCE VERMEULEN REAL ESTATE
Born and raised in Berkshire County, Lance Vermeulen came to the real estate business naturally. His love of the community, extensive knowledge of the business, and commitment to helping clients achieve their goals make him one of the top brokers in the Berkshires. Setting a fine example not only to his own staff but to the real estate community as a whole, his dedication to exemplary personal service and the core values of honesty and integrity have set him apart and earned him the title of Best Real Estate Broker.
Phone: (413) 528-6011
BEST SERVICE IN REAL ESTATE
WM. BROCKMAN REAL ESTATE
The first step in finding your dream home in the Berkshires, or selling your property, is finding the right real estate company. One that gives unparalleled and unmatched service to their clients is essential. Here in the Berkshires, that company is wm. Brockman Real Estate. Founded more than 35 years ago by Bill Brockman and Jack Jefferson, the firm has diligently practiced Henry David Thoreau’s philosophy of Be true to your work, and your word, and your friend. And that rings true today. Under the leadership of Chapin Fish, Broker-Partner, wm. Brockman Real Estate is just as committed today to provide the finest, 5-star personalized service in the Berkshires. If you’re looking for a cutting-edge, authentic real estate firm with market expertise and decades of success and experience with a complete and comprehensive solutions-based approach to your next real estate transaction, call wm. Brockman Real Estate today.
PAMELA SANDLER, AIA
Pamela Sandler has been working with clients to create living and working spaces in the Berkshires for a quarter century. Extremely well-versed in code compliance and experienced in the local permitting process, she is registered in Massachusetts as well as New York and Connecticut, and has worked on every conceivable project type, from residences of all shapes and sizes to lodging, spa, worship and well-being spaces. An early adopter in the use of green building materials and techniques, her portfolio includes award-winning historic preservation and residential work that has been published in Boston Magazine.
Phone: (413) 298-4227
BEST TOP PRODUCER
TIM LOVETT, BERKSHIRE PROPERTY AGENTS
Since moving to the Berkshires, Tim Lovett has been a major part of Berkshire County’s real estate growth. As one of the owners and a broker at Berkshire Property Agents, Lovett is a consistent top producer in his company. In fact, his individual annual sales place him consistently in Berkshire County’s top 1% of Realtors. Whether clients are looking for a comfortable family home or a luxury estate, Lovett’s keen knowledge of the local real estate market combined with his leading edge technology give him the ultimate tools assuring that his clients will have the best services when it comes to buying or selling their home.
Phone: (413) 528-6800
TIM DONNELLY & BARBARA SCHULMAN
Gt. Barrington & Stockbridge
Being trend setting in Real Estate takes experience. Barbara Schulman, Broker-Associate, and Tim Donnelly, Realtor-Associate, of Wheeler & Taylor are two real estate professionals who are creating an impressive name for themselves in the Berkshire County real estate scene. Knowledgeable in almost every facet in Berkshire County real estate, Donnelly and Schulman are experts in helping their clients buy and sell residential, country estates, land, commercial & investment properties. By working with their clients’ specific needs, Donnelly and Schulman’s expertise in marketing and customer service skills have repeatedly placed them above the rest. If you’re looking for an agent who is helping set the new standard of excellence in Berkshire County real estate, than call either Tim Donnelly or Barbara Schulman today.
Phone: (413) 528-1006 Ext. 353 or (413) 298-3786 Ext. 229
BEST IN CLIENT SERVICES
ELYSE HARNEY REAL ESTATE
Elyse Harney Real Estate is one of the most respected names in the real estate industry. For over 30 years, their signs have graced some of the best homes in the area. As well as providing excellent care in finding or selling properties, Elyse Harney Real Estate can also handle relocations, land sales and commercial properties. With five offices and a wide selection of listings throughout the tri-county area, they can help you find the perfect home that suits your needs and budget.
Phone: (860) 435-2200
BEST INTERIOR DESIGN
CAROLE KING/DETAILS INTERIOR DESIGN, INC.
No matter what you want for your home décor, Details Interior Design can complete the picture for your home interior needs. Carole King understands it’s the details that complete your home, and that’s what she has an eye for - details. With a flair for everything from bold contemporary moods, quaint cottage charm or elegant style, Details brings your interior to life and helps complete the picture of your home décor.
Phone: (413) 528-8550
BEST GENERAL LAW FIRM
GOGEL & GOGEL
The motto at Gogel & Gogel is simple, but effective: Small town attention with big city results. Attorney Kenneth Gogel’s résumé is a testament to those results, from several high-profile national class action victories across the country to the successful reorganization of numerous small businesses after bankruptcy. With expertise in business and commercial law, employment law, arts and entertainment law, estate matters and both residential and commercial real estate transactions, Gogel & Gogel is the place to go for any problem, big or small.
Phone: (413) 528-2698
BEST WINDOW TREATMENT
THE DRAPERY WORKROOM
With unmatched taste and expertise, The Drapery Workroom offers draperies fabricated in-house on their very own tables and machines for one-of-a-kind custom window décor for any setting or budget. To see that their dutifully crafted product is properly placed, they install all their own products with their trained installation team – testament to the skills, experience and understanding that are critical to successfully offering affordable local craftsmanship.
Phone: (413) 528-5783
BEST RENTAL SERVICES
They’ve got a phrase over at Taylor Rental: Rent the equipment, keep the advice. Not only do these guys have just about any equipment you could possibly want to rent - from contracting and contruction vehicles to wedding and party equipment to moving and shipping necessities - they also have the knowhow to hook you up with just what you’re looking for, and make sure you know how to use it properly for whatever job or event you need it for.
Phone: (413) 243-1777
Over 5,000 satisfied customers are reason enough to flush your worries down the drain when you’ve got the professional at LePrevost handling your plumbing needs. For the past 16 years, they’ve been offering nationally-recognized oustanding service to seasonal and year-round Berkshire residents. They’re the ones to turn to, whether it’s a small problem like a clogged drain or big project like bathroom remodeling or plumbing installation. They’re available 24 hours a day for emergency service, so you’re never in hot water if you’ve got LePrevost in your corner.
Phone: (413) 243-1777
BEST LANDSCAPE DESIGN
Named not for the flower, but for the love of the work, Passionflower’s donation gardens and wildflowers in Southfield, as well as her work in private gardens and lush planters around the Southern Berkshire region and Westchester County, N.Y., are a vivid testament to their careful and quality work. Passionflower does everything from consultations to sketches, scale drawings, contracting, design/build, maintenance and interior floral design.
Phone: (413) 229-2818
The family-owned and operated Carlson Propane uses the most durable, cost-effective and efficient products available. They provide both a commitment to service and a well trained staff that can meet all needs, no matter how large or small. As a result, they are able to provide clean, efficient propane to fit everyone’s needs.
Phone: (413) 229-3328
Serving the tri-state area with quality workmanship and innovative design, Leisure Pools is the place to go whether you’re just starting to contemplate a pool or you’re ready to construct and install. Beautifully constructed pools all over Berkshire, Columbia and Litchfield counties are a testament to the pride that Leisure Pools puts into each and every pool they painstakingly design.
Phone: (413) 528-1765
BEST ELECTRICAL APPLIANCES
Henry’s sets itself apart from the competition as the appliance specialist of Berkshire County by means of its sheer breadth of knowledge and selection for any and all appliance needs. Family owned and operated since 1946, they’re authorized dealers of over 40 brands, which allows them to offer something for every budget. They also service what they sell, and have a full service department that consists of factory-trained technicians who are able to repair and maintain all the quality appliances they sell for many years.
Phone: (413) 243-0690
The Best 2014
|Finding the Best the Berkshires has to offer is certainly no easy task.
So to help, the Berkshire Record is now featuring the best the Berkshire has to offer in The Berkshire Record Magazine Best 2014. You'll discover the best parts about living, working and playing in the Berkshires.
Each survey submitted will be entered to win a $50 gift certificate from a local participating restaurant. Pickup a copy of this week’s Record to find a complete survey and help us identify the Best in the Berkshires. You can also download a survey by clicking the link below. See survey for details.
Download The 2014 Best Reader Survey (PDF)
Submitting your complete survey:
|Send us your completed survey by one of the following methods:
1. Mail: P.O. Box 868, Gt. Barrington, MA 01230
2. Drop Off: 21 Elm St., Gt. Barrington, MA 01230
3. E-Mail: scan & send to firstname.lastname@example.org
4. Fax: Fax to 413-528-9449