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Trip Report Williamstown, MA trip report

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Thought I'd post about my recent visit to Williamstown, as there are some pertinent things to bring up.

As it turns out, the day I went was a Sunday. The Clark Art Institute opens at 10 AM on that day but the Williams College Museum doesn't open until 1 PM. So the decision of which museum to see first was a foregone conclusion.

The Clark is not that large a museum, though it has a remarkably high quality-to-quantity ratio. It is a much smaller museum to see these days, as about half their collection -- including all but four of their Impressionist and post-Impressionist works -- is out on loan, not to return until Fall 2013 at the earliest. The only Impressionist pieces currently there are one canvas each by Renoir and Monet and one sculpture each by Degas and Renoir. There are also several paintings by Homer, Constable, and Sargent, plus individual canvases by Goya, Gainsborough, Botticelli, Gericault, Remington, Lorrain, and Ghirlandaio. Excellent stuff, but what's there can be seen in detail in ca. 60-90 minutes. Was told the new Stone Hill Gallery is currently empty and there's nothing to see there.

The Williams College Museum was actually quite good, though not with as high a "must see" factor to its collection. Still, there were several excellent items here, including paintings or sculpture by Hopper, Rivera, Oldenburg, Remington, St. Gaudens, Jose Clemente Orozco, Grant Wood, William Morris Hunt, and Maurice and Charles Prendergast, Spent about two hours here.

Got lunch in between at an Indian spot located in the small business district near the latter museum, Spice Root. Their buffet had a few clunkers (a weak stab at hot and sour soup, as well as an unpleasantly gelatinous-textured chickpea sag), but several worthy items, including a chicken mixed grill of tikka and tandoori, vegetables vindaloo, chicken masala, chicken biryani, mushroom fritters, eggplant fritters, and other dishes. Plus there were two excellent desserts, a typical kheer and an unusual carrot pudding, the latter so tasty I went back for seconds.

Also got a very good cup of coffee at Tunnel City Coffee, the most heavily patronized of the few local coffee house hangouts in that small business stretch. Coffee was sturdy and full tasting without any bitterness.

One other piece of useful information. It is strongly cautioned at a Williams College wiki site not to take the evening Peter Pan bus (leaving 9:15 PM) from Pittsfield to Williamstown because the station is closed at that time and not in a great part of town. Note that the approaching Peter Pan bus from Springfield arrives in Pittsfield at 7:35 PM, necessitating a ca. 90 minute wait between. A look at the Pittsfield bus station's posted hours confirms that the station closes down at 6:30 PM or even earlier, depending on the day. The bus station also does not look like a place I'd want to hang around alone after dark. I'm glad I didn't choose this option.

With caveats mentioned above, this was an enjoyable visit.

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