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Great Barrington, Massachusetts

Great Barrington is a mountain town located in rural Berkshire County, Massachusetts. As of the 2000 census, the town had a total population of 7,527. It is the home of Simon's Rock College of Bard.

For geographic and demographic information on specific parts of Great Barrington, please see the articles on Great Barrington (CDP) and Housatonic.

Table of contents
1 Geography
2 Food and Entertainment
3 Local Projects
4 Demographics


According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 118.4 km² (45.7 mi²). 117.0 km² (45.2 mi²) of it is land and 1.3 km² (0.5 mi²) of it is water. The total area is 1.12% water.

The town is located in the Berkshire Hills and is known for its scenic beauty and natural environment. This location is largely wooded and is part of the Appalachian Trail. Opportunities abound for hiking, mountain biking, paddling, and rock climbing. For skiing, there's Butternut Basin near town, and Berkshire East is an easy drive.

Food and Entertainment

Being a tourist town, Great Barrington has a lot of restaurants and overpriced stores, but there are some cheaper places. La Choza has the biggest burritos in town (or the state, for that matter), starting at $3, while Baba Louie's serves gourmet organic sourdough pizza. When it comes to Asian food, there is an abundance of good sushi and Thai food. For groceries, options are Big Y, Price Chopper, Guido's Fresh Marketplace (a gourmet foods market, kind of a farmer's market/Trader Joe's hybrid), the Berkshire Food Co-Op, a Latin market, and a few other small food stores.

In town, choices for entertainment are limited. The Triplex is a small but pleasant theater that generally shows non-Hollywood movies and documentaries. Helsinki is a beautifully decorated, but expensive, tea house/cafe/bar/club. The Cove is a bowling alley that's usually open until one or two in the morning, and is a favorite hangout for college students. Also in town are a photo store, a few outdoor equipment stores, a record shop (White Knight), multiple banks (Lee Bank and Berkshire Bank), a few coffee shops (Berkshire Roasting Company, Woggafer's, both close early), a bateria dance group, and various other places. Great Barrington also offers a popular used book store, Yellow House Books, and Threads, the local hippie clothing/accessories store.

Local Projects

One of the very nice things about Great Barrington is the Railroad Street Youth Project, which is a youth center run by local residents, most in their teens or twenties, and provides a spot for youth to go hang out, have meetings, and work on projects. They just finished a huge graffiti mural in the center of town all about W. E. B. DuBois and his life; it's a project by some local teen artists. Railroad Street also hosts meetings for a local teen GLBT group, Narcotics Anonymous, some other teen groups, and BADD (Berkshire Alliance for Direct Democracy, a local anti-authoritarian group).


As of the census of 2000, there are 7,527 people, 3,008 households, and 1,825 families residing in the town. The population density is 64.3/km² (166.6/mi²). There are 3,352 housing units at an average density of 28.6 persons/km² (74.2 persons/mi²). The racial makeup of the town is 94.74% White, 2.09% African American, 0.16% Native American, 1.25% Asian, 0.03% Pacific Islander, 0.70% from other races, and 1.04% from two or more races. 2.07% of the population are Hispanic or Latino of any race.

There are 3,008 households out of which 27.3% have children under the age of 18 living with them, 45.8% are married couples living together, 11.5% have a woman whose husband does not live with her, and 39.3% are non-families. 32.6% of all households are made up of individuals and 13.3% have someone living alone who is 65 years of age or older. The average household size is 2.28 and the average family size is 2.89.

In the town the population is spread out with 22.6% under the age of 18, 9.0% from 18 to 24, 23.5% from 25 to 44, 26.2% from 45 to 64, and 18.8% who are 65 years of age or older. The median age is 42 years. For every 100 females there are 87.2 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there are 83.8 males.

The median income for a household in the town is $45,490, and the median income for a family is $53,135. Males have a median income of $38,163 versus $29,474 for females. The per capita income for the town is $22,655. 7.2% of the population and 3.4% of families are below the poverty line. Out of the total people living in poverty, 6.6% are under the age of 18 and 4.5% are 65 or older.