The Grossly Biased Guide to the Berkshires

An opinionated guide to the wonders of Berkshire County, MA

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Observing Spring Street

August 2nd, 2007by Timothy Jay · 1 Comment

Spring Street, Williamstown

Written in 2003, for the original iteration of the GBGB. The bakery no longer exists; the Subway closed after a fire earlier this year; and the Coffee Roaster’s has moved down the street. But the flavor of Spring Street remains.

Forget TV. Williamstown’s Spring Street provides a much better show. My perch is nestled between Zanna’s and the Coffee Roasters, the nexus of important activity. Impatient husbands, sons and boyfriends wait on Zanna’s steps. Their wives, daughters, and girlfriends browse. Walking in front of me, a college student tears off the heel of a fresh loaf of bread from the bakery and stuffs it in his girlfriend’s mouth. Teenagers examine their tee shirts from Goff’s. Women have hair cut and styled in the Clip Shop; half of them will give a final glance at themselves in the big windows as they leave the shop. A bride-to-be and her maids run across the street to a white stretch limo.

Meantime, in the coffee shop people of all ages and backgrounds chit chat as they await coffee, chai and sweet things. Outside on the sidewalk crumbs drop from pastries and croissants. Sparrows jostle each other for a taste. A fledgling wants mom to feed him. Williamstown Theater actors are frequently observed before noon on Sunday; they’re always the pale ones. Olympia Dukakis, on more than one occasion, offers a friendly smile and hello. Others blab away on cell phones to their New York agents. Sounds like a new deal for the aging soap opera star.

Up the street a young blonde adjusts a strap in the art gallery window. Her parents are off to buy the New York Times. A family from Vermont argues about whether to eat Thai or Indian. A retired professor whizzes by on his scooter with his newspaper and coffee. Tennis camp brats rifle through bags of candy from the drug store. Local high school students noisily gather around Papa Charlie’s and the Subway. Bikes carry helmeted parents and children down the road; their terrier sits in her wicker bike basket.

A tour bus ejects its contents at the foot of the street and dozens of couples traipse up one side of the street and down the other. I love answering questions. Where is the museum? You are looking for the Clark or the Williams College museum? Where is a good place to eat? What do you like to eat and how much do you want to spend? After I’ve carefully described the finer restaurant alternatives in town, the golden girls pick Subway.

I like watching people eat ice cream on a hot summer day. Vanilla with sprinkles running down a three-year-old’s forearm. A Bostonian wedges her car into a parallel parking spot after others have tried and gave up. City drivers know how to park. Mr. New York sneaks into the No Parking Anytime spot and skitters off to the post office before it closes. He thinks the sign doesn’t apply to tourists in a hurry. A Williamstown Police officer awaits, then kindly urges him to move. I hop on my bike and pedal home.

Tags: outdoors

1 response so far ↓

  • 1 Jude // Sep 8, 2007 at 7:07 am

    We’re visiting Lee for the first time over Columbus Day Weekend — thank you for starting this guide!

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