CultureTourist has returned from an extended spring hiatus in order to relaunch with the Summer Tour edition. Providing coverage and giving acknowledgment to the many summer offerings on tap in the vast northeastern corridor, this begins a continuing multi-part series over the next two months.
Over the years, the Berkshires has been my premiere summer destination of choice and a sort of cultural playground worth immersing in. But lately I’m methodically incorporating new locales into the mix and experimenting with different schedules to expand beyond the cozy confines of the Berkshires.
Niagara-on-the-Lake was one such town I ventured to last summer. It’s a little hamlet of a village in the Ontario province in Canada situated between Niagara Falls and Lake Ontario. The Shaw Festival is the major draw there and is now celebrating its 50th year this summer. Charming bed & breakfasts, wineries, boutiques, chocolate shops and a historical fort are what lure the tourists. I shall be back in a few months just so I can be a part of the Shaw’s golden anniversary. Also nearby is the Stratford Shakespeare Festival. Another preeminent theatre festival, this will be a new destination for myself later this year, along with the Glimmerglass Festival in Cooperstown, NY.
But the Berkshires itself is a pastoral region populated with scenic drives of rolling mountains and placid lakes. The arts events complement the naturalistic surroundings and add to the regional splendor. Several organizations such as the Williamstown Theatre Festival, Tanglewood and the Clark Art Institute are in full operational mode during the summer months. Ever since I first worked at Williamstown in 2005, I have made it my annual tradition.
While visiting the area there last weekend for the first of four trips, I encountered a couple of restless factions threatening to give in to rumbles. One was a collective of crapshooters heeding to the sin of gambling and the other was a Cuban troupe twitching and shoving to their own beat. Not to worry, though, the Berkshires isn’t actually becoming overrun with these corrupting societies. But you can find out in the next post what these two groups were really up to.