hill country observerThe independent newspaper of eastern New York, southwestern Vermont and the Berkshires

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In Bennington, a downtown makeover begins

After two years of delays and setbacks, construction has begun on an ambitious $54 million project to revitalize downtown Bennington. The project, covering nearly an entire square block in the center of town, cleared its final hurdle in June when a local redevelopment group formally took title to the property. When the work is complete, backers say the project will restore and reopen three multi-story buildings along Main and South streets, create several new commercial and residential buildings to the west, and draw up to 150 new residents and hundreds of jobs to the downtown. read more



Mozzarella from the mountains

Bennington cheesemaker grows with Vermont’s artisanal food movement.
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College’s new institute builds links to area arts groups

Working with a network of arts and community organizations across Berkshire County, the Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts launched a new institute this summer. Its goal is to cultivate connections between students and the region’s arts community, with an emphasis on hands-on learning and collaboration.

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Traveling exhibit, a hot-air balloon, to land locally

Doug Aitken, an artist known for creating large-scale installations that incorporate sculpture, film and performance, will bring his new work to the Berkshires in late July. And it will fly. “New Horizon” is an abstract sculpture and a moving stage -- and a hot-air balloon. read more

How the 1960s recast Vermont, from politics to art

Two new exhibitions at the Bennington Museum explore how the turmoil of the 1960s transformed Vermont, both in everyday life and in art. read more
















Belcher Hollow Forge, Handforged iron