WILLIAMSTOWN -- It takes a village to make a website about the Village Beautiful.
A new website called DestinationWilliamstown.org, a collaboration of over a dozen residents, aims to attract more visitors to the region for longer visits and spread the word to residents of what the region has to offer.
Sandra Thomas, the site’s content manager, showed off the site to community members at a kick-off event on Thursday at Williams College.
"The site is for visitors and people who drop off their college students, but it’s also for all of us who live here," said Thomas, the former executive director at Images Cinema. "And it’s for those people who say, ‘There’s nothing going on here.’ This will show you that there’s a whole lot happening in Williamstown and the surrounding region."
The website, which went live this week, sports a design which creators tout as user-friendly and attractive, with minimal advertising.
The site will promote cultural institutions including Williamstown Theater Festival, The Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute, Mount Greylock State Reservation, Mass MoCA and Williams College.
Users can interact with a calendar that runs horizontally across the home page. By clicking a date, users are taken to a page that displays one-time and ongoing events close to Williamstown.
Users can also choose to view happenings and destinations, whether they fall into the arts, performances or outdoor activities, as well as find lodging and dining. The entire site is integrated with social media platforms including Facebook and Twitter, making it easy for a users to share an event on their profile.
Thomas and others stressed the website is "dynamic" and meant to be updated frequently. The site is already populated with 500 events, Thomas said. Organizations and cultural institutions are also being encouraged to submit events using a built-in form.
Photographer Carol Stegeman, one of the site’s founders, said the site is the culmination of a year’s worth of work. Locals have stepped up to volunteer time for brainstorming sessions and planning.
"We thought we live in a very special place," she said. "We wanted to share it with others, we wanted people to stay longer and plan for their future visit all in one place."
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