As we are beginning to see the annual pilgrimage of summer tourists into our region once again, I am reminded of all of the reasons why Williamstown is such a remarkable place to visit. Sure, as the director of the local Chamber of Commerce it should be relatively easy for me to relay to you all of the premier cultural attractions, the natural beauty and serene surroundings that make Williamstown a mecca for tourists, but it runs a bit deeper than just reciting a list of what's what.
When you leave Williamstown to visit other places, what takes you there? Are you looking for arts and culture? Natural surroundings? Posh accommodations and relaxation? If you are in that market for any or all of those things when you leave town for a getaway, then you needn't look much further than where you're standing. To truly grasp what a tourist finds so uniquely within Williamstown, I encourage all of you to become one. Become a tourist in your own town.
Start with the arts, since it seemingly is the most obvious tourist attraction in Williamstown (I mean, other than that premier educational that boasts fantastic lectures, hosts camps, conferences and countless other events that bring the masses to town). I'll share a secret; I'd never been to the Williamstown Theatre Festival until last season. Scandalous, I know. I grew up in Williamstown, have resided in the area for most of my life, and never went to the festival. Bradley Cooper has that effect on me, I guess. Visitors come from far and wide to see the performances, and I had been ignoring the opportunity before me.
When you're submerged in the natural beauty of our area, it is easy to overlook the surroundings that beckon visitors to Williamstown. A scenic drive to the top of Mount Greylock and a sunset dinner at Bascom Lodge is not only picturesque for its natural beauty, but a panoramic view of a tourist destination. A visit to Sheep Hill, a property of the Williamstown Rural Lands Foundation, offers natural history programming and information on all of the hiking trails within the WRLF trust. Select an easy to moderate trail to take with the kids, or amp it up for a more strenuous hike. Or, visit the Hoosic River and its watershed, - there are great spots to picnic or put a canoe or kayak in for an afternoon on the river.
And if you want to take your tourist experience to the next level, spend an overnight at any of our local lodging experiences. Stay at a small bed and breakfast and savor the smells of a burning log in the fireplace to take the chill out of the evening or freshly roasted coffee in the morning. If you like the idea of a full-service hotel with a restaurant on-site, book a night at the Orchards Hotel or The Williams Inn.
Whether you're looking for a romantic getaway or a full family outing, being a tourist in Williamstown will exceed your expectations. As always, if you'd like more information on ways that you can become a tourist in your town, contact the Chamber at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit williamstownchamber.com.
Jennifer Civello is executive director of the Williamstown Chamber of Commerce.