Every other winter, we drive to Williamstown, Mass to visit The Clark (actually named The Sterling and Francine Clark Institute of Art but known to just about everyone as just "The Clark"). It's really a fun weekend for us because we love The Clark and enjoy poking about Williamstown. This year, we picked a very cold weekend, just about as cold as we can remember it being in in a long time (just enough colder than Hartford to make it worthwhile).
On our first trip eight years ago, we stayed at the Williamstown Inn. It's right on the green and looks good from the outside but we found it expensive and noisy. Since then, we picked a motel from memory or through an Internet search. This year we booked an overnight through Priceline at the Willows Motel for just $65. This place doesn't look like much in the dead of winter, but was it clean, warm and very comfortable. There appeared to be just one other guest beside us. If some of you are long time readers of our blog, you may remember an entry a few years ago about another motel. The first question I always ask (this is FH speaking) is where is the ice machine. We were told at that place that they did not have any. Since we always go in the dead of winter, maybe they assume we will harvest ice cycles. We were told at that time, if we needed ice for our medications, we could come down to the office. Well, this year we were advised to go across the street to the Cumberland Farms and purchase a bag of ice for 99 cent.Too funny...
We stopped at The Clark just to see what their Sunday hours were and then drove into North Adams, right down the road. Not much going on there except we did notice a dozen or so big new wind generators on the top of the mountain. Then we unloaded our stuff at the Willows and broke out Frances' always-welcome picnic basket: vodka, wine, orange juice, cheese, crackers, special glasses from Stowe, napkins and utensils. We were many miles from the nearest boat but cocktail hour simply had to go on.
Frances fired up her little computer and we picked a place to have dinner. One of the docents at The Clark had recommended a place called Hobson & Choice that was located nearby. We booked a table and headed out into the cold. God, was it cold!
Dinner at Hobson's Choice was excellent as was the service. Even better, it wasn't crowded, probably because Williams College students were on winter break. It was very homey and populated by locals and
beautifully age knotty pine every where.
On Sunday morning, Bill headed out to a nearby Dunkin Donuts for two coffees while Frances took a shower. On return, Bill set the parking brake on our reliable old Mercury and snapped the frozen parking brake cable. No big deal but it was that cold!
Finding a place to have breakfast also took some computer assistance but we did locate the Chef's Hat that was apparently on Route 7. We called them for an exact location but they sent us in the wrong direction. We eventually found the place and had a good breakfast although, note for next time, don't sit near a window. Also note the very good home made hash. Just excellent. And it was another knotty pine lined local hangout.
After breakfast, we drove over to The Clark. Much of the facility is closed while they do a major expansion. Frances took pictures of the construction. The plan is to have this finished in mid-2014, so we'll have to come back again then.
The Clark has several fascinating audio-visual presentations that describe the benefits of the new construction.
Even during construction, The Clark is still well worth a visit. One gallery contains some of the The Clark's most famous paintings. That room also offered a way for us to virtually arrange some of these great paintings within the room. The software is called "UCurate" and as we arranged the paintings via computer, we learned that we could download the software and play again at home.
Here's what our gallery looked like. Yes, we arranged all those works. It was really fun.If you are an art nerd and would like to create your own gallery, go to www.clarkart.edu and find clark remix...it's pretty intuitive, but will require that you down load their veiwer-seems harmless. You can change the gallery's color of the walls and then add pictures and other artwork. I would like to send a screen shot story of what to do, but have run out of time...enjoy (FH)
Back to boat work next weekend.