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Berkshire County, Massachusetts – A Rich Artistic and Literary Heritage

What Travel Writers Say - Kelsey Maki - During the Gilded Age (1870s – 1900), many of the wealthiest people in the US built summer cottages in Western Massachusetts’ Berkshire County. For this reason, the area was given the nickname of “Inland Newport.” And while both the Berkshires and Newport boast architectural moments to the excess of the age, the difference between these two towns lies in the rich artistic and literary heritage of Berkshire County.

Six Cool U.S. Cities: 4. Great Barrington

The Guardian - Rachel Dixon - Vibrant Great Barrington is half-way between New York and Boston, making it a good small town break between big cities. It has a strong community feel, its own regional currency, BerkShares (berkshares.org), and local food champions such as Berkshire Grown (berkshiregrown.org). Allium restaurant (alliumberkshires.com) in the centre serves locally sourced food, and has a late-night cocktail bar. Smithsonian magazine recently named Great Barrington the best small town in America, for its museums, historic sites, gardens, orchestras and art galleries.

Tough Times Renew Interest in Local Currencies

Northeast Public Radio - Dave Lucas - Before the U.S. Dollar was created in 1791, a variety of state-issued paper currencies and foreign coins comprised the US money supply. Fast forward to the 21st Century, where many modern communities are turning to "local currencies" as both a way to deal with tough economic times and boost local business. Hudson Valley Bureau Chief Dave Lucas reports.

Davis Dollars Are Homegrown Cash

The Sacramento Star - Pamela Martineau - When a shop in Davis sells something, the merchant may just get bicycles and tomatoes for payment rather than Benjamin Franklins or George Washingtons.
Davis is one of a growing number of communities around the country that has adopted its own currency – a way to encourage residents to shop at local businesses, and to keep their money in town.

The Rise of The New Economy Movement

AlterNet.org - Gar Alperovitz - As our political system sputters, a wave of innovative thinking and bold experimentation is quietly sweeping away outmoded economic models. In 'New Economic Visions', a special five-part AlterNet series edited by Economics Editor Lynn Parramore in partnership with political economist Gar Alperovitz of the Democracy Collaborative, creative thinkers come together to explore the exciting ideas and projects that are shaping the philosophical and political vision of the movement that could take our economy back.

The 20 Best Small Towns in America 2012: 1. Great Barrington, MA

Smithsonian - Susan Spano - You’ve got to slow down when Route 7 leaves behind the wide-open valley of the Housatonic River to enter Great Barrington. The road becomes Railroad Street there, right of way to pedestrians stalled in the crosswalk trying to decide whether to have sushi or chimichangas for dinner. Others carry yoga mats, bags of farmers market produce, books, CDs, double espressos and all the other stuff it’s hard to find in surrounding Berkshire Mountain villages like Stockbridge and Lenox.

Buying Local With BerkShares

Channel One News

Shelby: When Berkshire Bike and Board owner Steffan Root tunes up bikes, he will accept several forms of payment — cash, credit cards…and BerkShares.

Steffan Root: By using BerkShares and accepting BerkShares, I’m keeping my dollars here in my community.”

Shelby: What are these BerkShares?

Steffan: A BerkShare is a dollar-backed currency that can be used to buy and sell goods that are produced by locally-owned and operated businesses.

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