As I enter the Shaker Dam Coffeehouse in West Stockbridge, I’m greeted by the enticing aroma of freshly ground and brewed Counter Culture coffee beans and an irresistible selection of yummy baked goods. I order a mocha latte and watch the barista create a perfectly shaped heart in the foam. He gently nudges the brimming cup across the counter toward me. It’s a work of art.
From my cozy chair in the café, I’m also captivated by the art hanging on the walls—framed images by Shaker Dam co-owner and National Geographic photographer John Stanmeyer. As I nibble on baklava, John appears from his upstairs gallery in conversation with a young couple. They’re interested in buying a photograph hanging in the café’s front window that captures a powerful moment of light, mood, and story. If I overheard the conversation correctly, that picture was bought and shipped within the hour to their home in Northern California. You’ll likely be tempted to bring one of his limited edition images home with you, too. Be sure to also pick up a copy of Berkshire Magazine while here. Co-owner Anastasia Stanmeyer is the editor.
At the historic train station around the corner from Shaker Dam, No. Six Depot Roastery and Café is quickly building a devoted following for its small-batch coffee and creative collaborations with other renowned area food and beverage artisans, including SoCo Creamery and Berkshire Mountain Distillers. Owners Flavio and Lisa have created the perfect blend of good coffee, a menu of delicious food made with fresh, local ingredients, and an adjoining gallery and event space that is a casual gathering place for travelers and the community. The ever-changing exhibits feature artwork that is also for sale.
Like many area restaurants and cafés, the Starving Artist Café & Creperie on Main Street in Lee and the Marketplace Cafe in both Pittsfield and Sheffield serve coffee from Barrington Coffee Roasters, which is roasted in Lee and has earned accolades as one of the top micro-roasters in the country. At Starving Artist Café, owners Emmy and Ryan Davis have created a unique breakfast and lunch menu featuring crepes, as well as other seasonally inspired dishes that include gluten-free, vegan, and vegetarian options made with local ingredients and organic produce. Sunday’s musical brunch features live jazz, blues, and folk while you sit, sip, and savor the morning. Be sure to stroll into the adjoining Good Purpose Gallery, where proceeds from sales of the artwork benefit a local arts education program.
Dottie’s Coffee Lounge is another hot spot where you’ll find coffee and art co-mingling. Their skilled baristas will create delicious coffee drinks for you to sip on while you read in a cozy nook or check out their adjacent gallery space. Arrive hungry because you’ll also want something of their café menu.
It’s not uncommon to find good coffee and art mixing side by side in the Berkshires. Be sure to pick up a bag or two of locally roasted coffee beans or a piece of artwork to give as holiday gifts or enjoy when you get home, perhaps relaxing by a cozy fire as you remember your visit here!