By Kim Ostellino
This is the time of year in the Berkshires for berry picking, Tanglewood picnics and it is also the best time for shopping, especially back-to-school shopping. Unlike big cities where there are shopping meccas to browse, the Berkshires offer countless shops sprinkled here and there throughout the county, finding these unique shopping gems offers you a great opportunity to explore our many unique towns and take in our great New England scenery.
In Williamstown where the shopping has a young, vibrant energy due to the college that makes its home in the town, you’ll find The Cottage of Williamstown, Ruby Sparks and Nature’s Closet, all are filled with exceptional clothing and each have their own flair that is sure to delight. In North Adams, tucked on a side street, you’ll find Persnickety Toys which is packed to the brim with toys of all kinds; unusual crafts, games and science kits for busy, young minds. There is also a fabulous museum store inside MASS MoCA where there is one of a kind clothing and jewelry along with unusual accessories for people of all ages.
In Pittsfield along the North Street corridor lies the wonderfully eclectic Circa. This shop carries wonderful finds from the past including recent items such as a 1950’s teak desk from Denmark which could make a lovely addition to a college dorm room. Further down the road is PhD Design & Photography. They carry a selection of collegiate products for those going off to area colleges in the fall. From posters to mugs to greeting cards and wall prints you’re sure to find your favorite school represented. Don’t miss Miller’s Supply Company where you can get your favorite piece of art framed to take off to college or pick up some much need art supplies.
Need a new computer? Local Apple brand specialist Mad Macs in Pitts field and Williamstown can help you with all of your technology needs. Looking for some delicious, new scents to brighten up your car or dorm? Yankee Candle in Lenox and Stockbridge is a quaint New England style store with candles for everyone’s tastes. Also in Stockbridge you will find Mutability in Motion filled with great handcrafted goods.
Lenox offers up The Arcadian Shop who sells warm and durable clothing for the colder months and quality backpacks and footwear perfect for the active student or if you want to send your student off with something warm and cozy be sure to check out SWTRZ or MacKimmie Co. Looking for a project to keep the kids busy after school? Stop on by Colorful Stitches and be inspired to knit.
You’ll want to make your way to AsiaBarong, in Great Barrington. This massive store contains a mind boggling array of imported Asian arts and goods. It is a fun adventure each and every time that you shop there. From whimsical items like flying wooden mermaids and dragons to practical though beautiful items like delicately carved wooden boxes and decorated scarves, this amazing place can be a never ending source of inspiration. If you are still in the market for back to school fashion then stop in at GB9 on Railroad Street.
Looking for unusual furniture to decorate your student’s life? The Berkshires are renowned for its antique shops and a special piece is always just waiting for the right shopper to come along. Perhaps a writing desk or heirloom chest to store things in are what you are looking for or maybe a reproduction Windsor chair like those found at Painted Porch Antiques in Sheffield could be perfect for getting homework done. We are, after all, the Antique Capital of the Commonwealth of MA, learn more about this at Berkshire County Antiques & Dealer’s Association.
You can discover fantastic art supplies, calendars or appointment books in the Norman Rockwell Museum Store or decide to let your children (or the child in you!) go wild with all of the wonderful products at Charles Baldwin and Sons such as hilarious TV trays, bug ointments and fun candy. Adults will find plenty at this store too, like their homemade vanilla and table syrup which are both very well known to cooking enthusiasts. If you find yourself in Lee be sure to pop into Karen Keenan Gifts & Home.
Wherever you shop, whether in our local shops or in area shopping destinations like the Lee Premium Outlets or The Berkshire Mall, you are bound to have a wonderful shopping experience, surrounded by the beauty that is the Berkshires.
For more great shops and shopping ideas in the Berkshires, click here.
Kim lives in Stockbridge with her kids and her dog. She is an avid lover of the outdoors and local history and is the founder of Berkshiregirl, an online source, devoted to sharing the best of the Berkshires.