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.
Frogs aren’t exactly known for being fierce, but The Bone Frog Challenge’s namesake skeleton frog makes more sense when you know that it is the unofficial mascot of the Navy SEALs—the creators of the rigorous race. The mascot honors the SEALs’ predecessors: the Underwater Demolition Teams of World War II, who were dubbed “Frogmen” for their ability to work underwater.
The Bone Frog Challenge challenges everyday civilians to act like SEALs, with an emphasis on functional fitness. While the muddy, timed races measure up to 12 miles long, they require more than speed and endurance. The military-style obstacles force participants to draw on reservoirs of strength, agility, and creativity to scale walls, swing on ropes across trenches, and slither under netting through puddles of mud. Although the races champion hard work, they also focus on fun, welcoming competitors across the finish line with music-filled after-parties complete with spreads of food and beer.
In 1903, Orrin E. Smith sculpted a nine-hole course at Windsor Lake called North Adams Gentleman's Club, challenging golfers to take on its rolling terrain and bask in the peaceful effect of its verdant expanse. Though the name of the course has changed, the Berkshire Hills terrain remains a picturesque setting for players of all skill levels to enjoy golf as a relaxing pastime. A large lake forms the centerpiece of the course, forcing players to evade its watery reaches on holes four, seven, and nine, or risk donating their balls to the course historian holding court in his underwater lair.
Course at a Glance:
The 10 silver screens housed inside the newly renovated North Adams Movieplex 8 flicker with first-run Hollywood films. Standard format flicks are heightened by the addition of digital sound and unobstructed views courtesy of stadium seating, and 3-D movies give viewers a chance to immerse themselves in the action and appreciate their favorite Fonda from limitless angles. The theater is located in the heart of downtown North Adams, situating it within walking distance from the Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts.
Skyline Country Club is a semi-private club that welcomes golfers with sweeping views of the Berkshire mountains and glimmering waters that intersect the grounds. Elevation changes and blind tee shots are frequent throughout the 6,075-yard course, as seen on the 4th hole, which rewards precise tee shots of roughly 110–165 yards with an easy 110-yard shot to the green. The par 5 12th, the course's most difficult hole, forces players to drive onto a tight fairway along the straight 490-yard layout that ends with a false front, a greenside slope that often tricks golfers and sends balls rolling back toward the player like an industrial-grade pop-a-shot. After finishing the course with two consecutive par 4's, golfers can retire to the Club's pub for drinks and eats on the open-air deck, which offers views of the surrounding landscape.
Course at a Glance: