Until recently, there was absolutely no reason to stop in North Adams, Massachusetts. Then came MASS MOCA, the nation's largest contemporary art museum—which, since opening in 1999, has lured a quarter of a million visitors to this quiet mill town on the edge of the Berkshires.
For those more partial to Fluxus than to floral chintz, Porches is a welcome arrival. Here's an inn that's both earnestly homey and at home with irony—witness the paint-by-numbers Mona Lisa. The property was carved out of six abandoned row houses, and though their Victorian façades remain, interiors speak to the Wallpaper generation. The 37 guest rooms blend contemporary polish (glowing white linens, slate-floored baths with glass-enclosed shower stalls) and nudge-nudge-wink-wink details (fifties kitsch lamps purchased on eBay). And let's not forget those essential 21st-century acronyms: DVD players and DSL ports are standard.
This in a town that a decade ago didn't have Touch-Tone phone service.
Porches Inn, 231 River St., North Adams, Mass.; 413/664-0400, fax 413/664-0401; doubles from $160.