In Captain Jack’s kitchen, the crew assembles a concise menu. With the fryer bubbling and the scent of salt and oil in the air, the cooks prepare fresh scallops, whole-belly clams, all-natural beef, free-range chicken, and hand-cut french fries. The menu appears selective because it is. They use only humanely treated animals from regional farms to make their house-made burgers and hot dogs, and all their veggies come from local purveyors who practice sustainable farming. In fact, everything at the roadside shack is so fresh that they don’t even own a freezer, which assures their ingredients are served in a timely fashion and that penguins never claim squatter’s rights.
The fair-trade coffee and gourmet tea at Cup and Top Cafe intermingle with locally sourced breakfast and lunch dishes to create a mouth-mash of palatable goodness. Imbibing enthusiasts can enjoy an organic coffee ($1.45 for 12 oz.) or chai latte ($2.14 for 12 oz.), while serious apple-pie-eating energy-seekers can gulp americanos ($1.48 per shot). Supplied by sleep-deprived, jittery bovine, the espresso milkshake adds some oomph to a straw-clogging classic with Bart's ice cream and Mapleline milk ($4.30).
The talented roasters at Shelburne Falls Coffee—deemed Best of the Valley in 2009, 2010, and 2011 by Valley Advocate readers—percolate eight daily blends of organic, flavored, and single-origin coffees to entice tasters and nourish nostrils in a low-key, café environment. Guests can guzzle a regular cup of brewed coffee or add a splash of caramel-flavored milk, making sips as sweet and warming as a thank-you letter from a cupcake ($1.50–$3.21). After a hot cup of joe, cool off a piping-hot palate with the chai vanilla frozen blender—an enchanting swirl of homemade masala and exotic spices ($4.25). Acquire daily servings of fruits and breads without sneaking into the food pyramid with a fruit smoothie made of freshly squeezed orange juice ($4.50) and a bagel smeared with specialty olive or vegetable cream cheese ($3.30).
Since 1976, Bart’s Homemade has been a destination for ice-cream lovers of all ages. The shop scoops rich, 16% butterfat ice creams in an array of fun flavors, including chocolate Heath bar, mint chip, and Three Geeks and a Red Head—coconut ice cream with coconut flakes, chocolate chunks, fudge brownie, and a raspberry swirl. Local fruit makes appearances in many seasonal flavors, such as ginger peach, featuring ginger from Old Friends Farm and peaches from Franklin County orchards. Bart’s team also whips up batches of healthier treats, including five varieties of sorbet and three hard-serve frozen yogurt flavors.
Voted the best place to see live theater in the Valley Advocate's 2011 readers' poll, the Majestic Theater envelops audiences in compelling stagings starring local thespians. In the midst of the Majestic's summer season, Two by Two juxtaposes the dramatic and comedic sides of Massachusetts playwright Steve Henderson by showing a pair of his enthralling one-act plays back-to-back. Theater-goers get a peek at the ins and outs of the fictional Morse brothers' complex relationship in Morse Code—a case study of universal truths about fraternity, such as the fact that it's more entertaining for others when siblings argue in public. The Gravedigger's Gift riffs on two grave-digging characters from Shakespeare's Hamlet, extracting comedy from the dour business of burying the deceased.