Arriving in Paris after leading a scientific expedition through northern China, Sterling Clark was just another Boxer Rebellion veteran and Yale-educated engineer looking for something to do with the inheritance of his magnate grandfather, Robert Clark, who was an heir to the Singer sewing-machine fortune. Like the countless men who found themselves in the same position, Sterling did the only thing left to do at that point of his adventurous life: invest in art.
Sterling and his wife Francine both displayed a discriminating eye for art in their first year of collecting, almost immediately acquiring a piece by the sought-after painter Hyacinthe Rigaud, who was famous for his portraiture of 17th-century European nobility and drawing the most realistic-looking stick people. The Clarks' tastes evolved over time, and their collection ballooned to include more than 30 paintings by Renoir and dozens of works by other impressionist artists.
In 1955, a year before Sterling passed away, he and Francine founded their art institute, where the museum's curators presently stay true to the couple's artistic interests. French impressionism still forms the crux of the collection, but the museum's scope is ever expanding and nowadays includes works of early photographers and American painters and a rotating schedule of well-curated special exhibitions.
Every Friday and Saturday night as the light begins to fade, cars cruise through the dusk into an empty field, where images begin to flicker on the giant screen at Hathaway’s Drive-In Theatre. Moviegoers prepare for double features of new and classic films by positioning one of the drive-in’s special speakers in their car's window or by tuning their radio dials to the affiliated FM station. Picnic-basket packers can choose to bring in their own snacks and drinks for a small fee, while those who like to travel light can patronize the theater's snack bar, which stocks hot dishes and snacks such as house-made fries, Hebrew National all-beef hot dogs, veggie burgers, candy, and ice-cream treats.
Lickety Split pleases palates with contemporary café fare and access to more than 160 flavors of Coop's Microcreamery super-premium ice cream, dished up amid contemporary masterpieces. Diners fuel up for art gazing with a slice of quiche ($4), which is baked fresh daily and primes taste buds for the subtle fruit flavors of Katharina Grosse’s installation piece One Floor Up More Highly. Or, sink teeth into Lickety Split’s take on a BLT, which accentuates the traditional sandwich trio with smooth, ripe avocado ($7.95). Appetites struck with a creative craving can construct their own sandwich opus from a slew of proteins options—including oven-roasted turkey, lemon tuna, and homemade hummus—dressed with a choice of 7 toppings, 6 cheeses, and 11 sauces ($6.95). Lickety Split tempts the most stubborn sweet teeth with a selection of super-premium frosty flavors, including black-raspberry fat-free frozen yogurt, Tang-flavored ice cream released to coincide with Michael Oatman’s All Utopias Fell, and vanilla ice cream interspersed with Twinkies and overt existentialist overtones ($3.50 for a regular; $4.50 for a large).
The strong-armed kitchen colossi of Hot Tomatoes hand-stretch disks of dough, slather them in sauce and cheese, and then fire them in a hearth oven to create a menu of unusual pies. The tortellini white pizza ($14.95+) lithely pirouettes cheese-stuffed pasta about its doughy dance floor alongside duos of fresh tomatoes and melted gorgonzola. Make a bet on flavorful odds with the clams casino pizza ($14.95+), where glitzy shellfish hangout on strips of bacon and roasted red pepper, blowing all their pearls on games of five-cheese stud. The eggplant and goat cheese pizza ($14.95+) overthrows herbaceous hungers with a revolution led by breaded eggplant, rebellious goat cheese, and other mercenary flavors. Foodsmiths carefully craft the shrimp and capers pizza ($12.95+), balancing powerful flavors in the saucy valley between the rising crests of crust, creating a stunning view for the ingredients and ostrich epicureans who have buried their face in the pizza.
Northern Berkshire peaks peek through the windows of Taylor's, where surf and turf unite in a lamp-lit, exposed-brick dining room. An army of appetizers kicks off the menu, including the baked brie, which is infused with grapes and sprinkled with brown sugar, walnuts, and apples ($8). A fresh garden salad sidekicks every entree, serving as a momentary plate mate for hearty dishes such as the filet mignon ($24) and its aquatic, redundant counterpart, grilled mahi-mahi ($21). The ratatouille with tofu forgoes filets for a mix of stewed eggplant, zucchini, and tomatoes that are fresher than haircuts of the eighties ($16).
Founded in 1928, Carr Hardware stocks more than 50,000 items that can aid in everything from DIY home-construction projects and lawn maintenance to automotive and party supplies. Shake down low-life weeds for lunch money with Roundup Pump 'N Go Weed & Grass Killer ($16.99), or surround them with positive role models by purchasing the 3.75-pound container of EZ Seed, a life-affirming combination of mulch, seed, and fertilizer ($13.99). Black or tan stack chairs ergonomically assist in lemonade consumption ($18 each), and children can wield 24-inch lawn-and-leaf rakes ($6.99) and glow LED flashlights ($3.99–$6.99) during lawn-raking raves. The 18-inch bamboo grill brush cleans cooking grates with dazzling fortitude and is amply suited to futuristic application as a robot loofah ($6.99).