Derek Gentile: My very own best of the Berkshires

Friday June 21, 2013


All right, this week the good people of Berkshire County told us the businesses, people and institutions that make up The Best of the Berkshires. And as far as I’m concerned, the people have spoken. But, if I may, there are other "Best Of’s" that didn’t make the list. And to be honest, these are more of my personal preferences as to what’s the Best of the Berkshires. The readers out there may disagree, and I welcome feedback. No, really, I do.

So, here we go. You may notice that a lot of these "Best" things are South County-based. Well, I live in South County, so what can I say?

Best Inexpensive Place to Take Someone Who’s Never Been to the Berkshires: Olivia’s Overlook, Lenox. Great view, and there’s a big thick wall on which to sit. Yes, by inexpensive, I meant free.

Best Place to Find Vintage Silver Age Comic Books: Fantasy Realms, Pittsfield. I’m not sure there are a lot of other choices, so we’re lucky we have this place. FR has a lot of other cool comics, but I mostly go for Silver Age comics. And as we all know, this column is pretty much all about me.

Best Home Fries: Martin’s Great Barrington. I can’t really eat home fries too much anymore, but when I can no longer resist, I go to Martin’s.

Best Used Bookstore: Yellow House Books, Great Barrington. A really great selection of children’s books. And a great selection of local books, as well. From time to time, they also stock old "Mad" magazines, but not always, because people snap them up.

Best Used Folk/Rock/Metal Vinyl: A tie, between Toonerville Trolley in Williamstown and Tune Street in Great Barrington. I wouldn’t like to make a call as to which store is better. Toonerville has a more eclectic selection; Tune Street has more mainstream stuff. Both also have new vinyl, as well.

Best Auto Repair Shop: Apex Automotive, Great Barrington. I go to independent guys most of the time for just about everything, and this includes where I get my car fixed. To be honest, since I don’t go anywhere else, there are probably other good places to get your car repaired. But I go here.

Best Hot Dogs: I could never desert Jack’s Hot Dog Stand in North Adams. But if you find yourself in Great Barrington, Gorham and Norton’s on Main Street have really good franks. Tell ‘em I sent you.

Best Place to Learn Comic Book History: I have been pleasantly surprised lately by how many interesting comic book-related exhibits there have been at the Norman Rockwell Museum in Stockbridge. The Alex Ross show was really, really good, and a few years ago, they had an exhibit on comic book art. I’ve always liked the museum and Rockwell’s stuff, but they’ve done stuff that I really dig.

Best Sports Department: The one I work for. In every way.

Best Film Festival: Obviously, the Berkshire International Film Festival. I think they do a great job. I think Kelley Vickery does a heck of a job. And I wish I could get to more of their movies.

Best Place to Watch a Baseball Game: Hands down, it’s Wahconah Park. I know, I know, the parking lot floods. Sometimes the locker rooms flood. But it’s spacious, and I really like the hamburgers there. And the sight lines.

Best Gourmet Ring Dings: Rubiner’s, Great Barrington. This is a repeat winner, and it’s not really what they’re known for. But when I fall off the wagon, sugar-wise, I usually find myself here.

Best Place to Find Narragansett Beer: Moe’s, Lee. Again, I’m not 100 percent sure this is what they’d prefer to be notorious for, but I can’t tell you how excited I was when I found out that I could get cans of Narragansett at Moe’s. You can take the boy out of Adams Š

Best Place to Get a Pet: I just wanted to plug the Sonsini Animal Shelter, because that’s really where one needs to go to get a pet. There are a couple of great pet shops around, and this is no disrespect to them. But take a trip to Sonsini. I promise, you’ll see a bunch of kittens and doggies that you’ll want to take home.

Best Columnist: Yeah, I know. You thought I was going to nominate myself in some humorous way. But I’ve always liked Brian Sullivan and Milton Bass. And I think Ruth Bass is better than all of us.

Derek Gentile can be reached at


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