One of the great things about The Berkshires is that it's charismatic little towns, like Lenox, Lee, Stockbridge and Great Barrington. While there's plenty of antiquing and leaf-peeping to see, take time out to also explore some of the fun shops in the centers of these towns.
Great Barrington is just two hours from Boston and a few minutes from Tanglewood, the Norman Rockwell Museum and the Lee Premium Outlets. Everything you'll want to shop for is on or around Main Street, including food and cafes. The funky Gypsy Joynt is a popular place for lunch, and where you'll also find sweet snacks for that mid-afternoon pick-me-up. Fuel Coffee is an Internet cafe with - you guessed - some great coffee. You'll also find art galleries, antique stores and speciality stores around the block.
Stop into Rubiner's Cheesemongers on Main Street for some gourmet meats and cheeses. This high-end grocer has some unique tastings, and some great sauces, oils and rubs. It's bit like stepping into a French cheese store, complete with fresh baked breads and a few sweets to nibble on.
One of my favorite retail shops on Main Street is Louisa Ellis. The women's fashion store feature various local and national designers, and even a few novelty items (like pillows that say "Be Nice or Leave!"). I loved these ballet flats, made entirely of recyclable material and they're even machine washable!
Robin's Candy Shop is every kids dream, and every adult's transition back into childhood. The front of the store features all the "vintage" candy – Pop Rocks, lollipop rings, rock candy, Nerds, Fun Dip, candy buttons and more. A little further in and things get more mainstream. The Jelly Belly and M&M wall will keep kids enthused until they get just the right mix of colors and flavors. The back of the store houses the chocolate, ice cream and gelato. Note the retro disco ball hanging from the ceiling, too. It's all in good fun. Robin's even gives you a toothbrush to take home with your bag of goodies.
Everywhere you turn in these little towns, you'll find various boutiques of flowers. At the Berkshire Co-op Market, just off of Main Street, you can grab smoothies, groceries, and even pick up a bouquet of your favorite flowers.
A little further past Main Street is Guido's, one of the Berkshires favorite markets. It's part grocery store, part novelty store. Pick up wine, gifts, cookbooks, and last-minute groceries to hold you over for the car ride home.
I'm a big believer that the best beers are found in local breweries. Stop into the Barrington Brewery and Restaurant for lunch and a brew before heading home. The Barrington Brewery & Restaurant opened in 1995 and brews on site. Their hops all come from local farmers and their beers are all seasonal.
The author is solely responsible for the content.