As you’re looking for things to do in the Berkshires, MA, allow me to kindly suggest unique shopping and food in Pittsfield, Massachusetts! Let’s stroll down North Street and see what we can see…
Antiques and Vintage Shops Galore
Because Pittsfield has a rich, long history (see my article about its storied buildings of Pittsfield for more background), many of the stores date back decades or more — and most give nods to the past. Above, enjoy the window display in a vintage lamp store. Below, revel in the antique clock store.
Even the local laundromat in Pittsfield pays homage to the history of hand washing, juxtaposing old technology with the new! Ah, I’m glad I don’t need to use those washboards for all my family’s dirty laundry.
Museum Facsimiles: Frames, Gifts, and More
Do not miss the store called “Museum Facsimiles” when in Pittsfield. Now, this shop is not actually a museum (check out the nearby Berkshire Museum down the street if you want a real one), but the store feels museum-like because of all the old-fashioned posters!
Custom Framing in Pittsfield
Pittsfield’s Museum Facsimiles is world-famous for its prowess in custom framing. When we visited, people were coming in from around the country to get precious documents, posters, and heirlooms framed by the experts there, influenced by its stellar reputation.
Apart from framing, the Museum Facsimiles store also has gifts for all styles and price points. Below you can see colorful leather purses, patterned throw pillows, and Berkshires memorabilia — plus a glorious purple wall color.
Framed Book Spine Posters
Most exciting for me as an English teacher, Museum Facsimiles has extremely unique book spine posters, as shown below. The owner explained that now people send them in beautiful book spines that they find all over, in order to be turned into wall art like this…
I couldn’t resist posing in front of these fabulous book spin posters in my a favorite dress from my friend’s woman-owned small business, Leota. I appreciate how the pink contrasts nicely with the green of the Hobbit book spine!
If I’d known about this photo opportunity ahead of time, I would have packed my book print dress from my other friend’s company, Princess Awesome! Or maybe some superhero-themed outfit, as so many of the store’s fabulous posters are from vintage comics. Next time…
Hot tip: If you are a vintage book fan and are willing to drive a little over an hour west from Pittsfield and love vintage books, check out Rodgers Book Barn in Hillsdale, NY: home of over 20,000 used books! Oh, hey — that photo above of the antique clock store is reminding me that it’s time to eat, and I’m hungry. Where shall we dine in Pittsfield?
Note: We were guests of the following restaurants, but all opinions are my own.
Dottie’s Coffee Lounge
A beloved place to eat, sip, and watch live performances in Pittsfield is Dottie’s Coffee Lounge. Look at its cute patio, pictured above, for outdoor dining! Below is the cafe’s cute performance stage, which has kind of a Northampton, MA vibe of artsy inclusivity.
Bear Butter: Fortified Almond Butter
When at Dottie’s make sure to try its unique feature: Bear Butter — perfect to eat while reading Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See at the Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art 80 minutes east. What is in this mysterious “Fortified almond butter,” you ask? Scroll down to see the ingredients…
Ingredients of Bear Butter
Bear Butter contains: Almonds, cocao nibs, coconut flakes, goji berries, hemp seeds, flax seeds, and vegan vanilla protein powder — all ground up and mixed together into a delicious spread. I had asked for a small sample of Bear Butter and enjoyed it immensely. Know that it’s wonderfully filling due to being packed with superfoods and protein. It almost gives one enough energy to power the tiny planes at Great Barrington Airport, half an hour south!
To fortify ourselves to explore Herman Melville’s Arrowhead home (where he wrote Moby Dick!) fellow travel blogger, SanTara, and I had a big breakfast at Dottie’s, partially pictured below. That patio was a perfect people-watching spot.
Soda Chef Diner in Pittsfield
One regret I had, as we passed it on our way back to freshen up at the Hotel on North down the street, was that we didn’t get to see the old-fashioned diner, Soda Chef, before it closed for the day. As you can see from its wall art, pictured below, it is truly a blast from the past.
King Kone Ice Cream
We also didn’t get a chance to sample King Kone ice cream shop — supposedly a favorite of actress Elizabeth Banks when she’s back in her hometown of Pittsfield. However, we did walk by it on the way back from seeing an amazing show at the Barrington Stage Company, and we ogled its giant portions of dessert!
In general, Pittsfield is a fascinating place to window shop, as it’s a delightful combination of vintage and new — like MASS MoCA in nearby North Adams. Do you get as much of a kick out of these lime green suit vests, pictured below, as I do?
District Kitchen + Bar, Pittsfield
Soon it was time for dinner! SanTara and I hit up District Kitchen + Bar, which has a friendly, light-filled interior, and yummy American food. I ate salmon, and SanTara had the jackfruit tacos. We may not have climbed Mount Greylock that day, but we’d still worked up an appetite.
Shopping and Eating in Pittsfield, MA in Sum
We only scratched the surface of shopping, dining, and other things to do in Pittsfield, MA — I’m keenly aware that there are SO many new places opening there, in addition to many historic places that have stayed wonderful through the years. However, despite only showing a fraction of the fun possible, I hope this article has affirmed that there is much to see, buy, and taste in this Berkshires town!
So what about you? If you’ve been to Pittsfield, what other spots would you recommend for shopping and dining? If you haven’t been yet, which places look good? Do share!
Want more? Check out my article on nearby Bash Bish Falls!
The author, Lillie Marshall, is a 6-foot-tall National Board Certified Teacher of English, fitness fan, and mother of two who has been a public school educator since 2003. She launched Around the World “L” Travel and Life Blog in 2009, and over 4.2 million readers have now visited this site. Lillie also runs TeachingTraveling.com and DrawingsOf.com. Subscribe to her monthly newsletter, and follow @WorldLillie on social media!