Community

It’s Risky to be #1

We are #1!

Great Barrington has always had a good opinion of itself, but recent accolades may have gone to our heads. Being called the #1 small town in America is exciting, and I’ve done my best as a booster over the years. But when census figures are rolled out, and tax bills are presented, I start to wonder if we’ve got a firm grasp on who and what we are. For those who don’t know (shockingly, not […]

 
 

Speak Out, or Watch Out?

Speak Out, or Watch Out?

Some say small-town politics are more vicious than the big-city variety because the stakes are so small. They can be vicious, that’s for sure. But the stakes aren’t small for people who live here and pay the bills, and my limited involvement in local politics has been a chance to connect with life-long residents who feel pressured by rising taxes and by an economy that is too dependent on tourists and second-home owners.

 
 

Six Myths that Lead to Small-town Battles

Six Myths that Lead to Small-town Battles

I drove up Route 7 to Monument Mountain High School on Friday night as the moon rose over East Mountain, milky white and nearly full, luminous in a sky streaked with coral and rose pink from the setting sun. I had forgotten how beautiful that stretch of the Berkshires is in the evening. I hadn’t been to a School Committee meeting since 2001 when I resigned soon after I returned from my first trip to […]

 
 

The sounds of music on The Hill in Great Barrington

The sounds of music on The Hill in Great Barrington

Neighborly harmony is a thing devotedly to be wished for. It is not easy to achieve, and I’ve read plenty in the course of my research on community about battles over hedges (a huge issue in the UK), loud music, and lawn and garden housekeeping. It’s easy to avoid neighbors today. I know someone who has lived in in a crowded suburb in the Silicon Valley for decades without speaking to a neighbor or even […]

 
 

‘Cash-Mob’ Creates Movie-Like Fairy Tale for Family Behind Ohio Hardware Store – ABC News

The town I live in (“some of the time,” my neighbors might say) is known for efforts to promote local businesses as part of a sustainable regional economy. I’ve written about them and will be writing more. When I came across this article, which mentions the “sense of community,” I wondered if such a thing could happen in Great Barrington. And I wondered if the good feeling that motivated the “mob” shoppers would keep them […]

 
 

Welcome home

My usual walk is to Lake Mansfield, through the neighborhood we call “The Hill.” I occasionally see people but not many. It’s a quiet neighborhood, and even quieter along the lake until you get to the beach (busy this time of year). But this morning we needed milk so I walked down the hill to Main Street, to the Berkshire Coop. I had other on-foot errands (dropping boxes of cereal the no one likes at […]