Many tout the arrival of online furniture mammoth Wayfair and its 300 new hires in Pittsfield, Massachusetts, as a big win. That doesn’t compare to the nearly 14,000 jobs that once existed at General Electric Co. — but those working to shape a new economy in the Berkshires aren’t looking for another GE.

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Brave Little State got a funny question a while back from Michael Hudson, in Putney, Vermont. He wrote, “For the love of God, please tell me the origin of Putney’s Hi-Lo Biddy Road!” Michael’s question is one of a bunch that Brave Little State received after an episode last summer, when we tried to decipher the origins of perplexing road names. In an attempt to establish a new tradition, we’re taking another road trip of inquiry to bring you more answers.

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It takes over a day to fly from the Berkshires in western Massachusetts to Indonesia. With than 250-million inhabitants, Indonesia is Southeast Asia’s most populous nation; it’s also the world’s largest Muslim country. Its nearly 20-thousand tropical islands are home to beaches, mountains, rainforests, and bustling metropolises like Jakarta. Indonesia’s islands may be half a world away from the Berkshire hills. But an Indonesian-born filmmaker living in Berkshire County is finding ways to bring her native home and her adopted home closer together.

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Norman Rockwell's portrait of Erik Erikson. It is currently on display at the Norman Rockwell Museum. Photo by Lily Tyson for NEXT

In 1953 American illustrator Norman Rockwell moved from Arlington, Vermont, to the small town of Stockbridge, Massachusetts, on the Western edge of the Berkshires. While there, Rockwell developed a relationship with a prominent psychotherapist who came to influence the artist’s work. Their relationship is the subject of a new exhibit at the Norman Rockwell Museum: “Inspired: Norman Rockwell and Erik Erikson.” 

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A service at the Church of the Woods in New Hampshire. Photo by James Napoli

In early June, twenty-five pastors and spiritual leaders from across the U.S. and Canada gathered at a retreat center in Wisconsin for the first meeting of the Wild Churches Network. The members of this new alliance span denominations from Mennonite to Catholic, but are united in their mission to bring Christian practice together with environmental stewardship. The founder of this eco-theological movement, Reverend Stephen Blackmer, has a congregation in Canterbury, New Hampshire.

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