Rural Intelligence



The “new” Rural Intelligence looks and feels much the same.  “If it ain’t broke don’t fix it” seems to be new owner, Mark Williams’ guiding principle — though he has added a couple new sections to the website:  REAL ESTATE  (check out our Hammertown Banner at the top!!) and HEALTH & WELLNESS.

Like so many of you I was devastated when I heard Rural Intelligence was “closing shop” back in August of 2011.  We had all become so used to having a thorough, well-written and thoughtful online source for all the many things there are to do and see and experience in our neck of the woods.

Initially created by journalists Marilyn Bethany, a full-time resident of Columbia County and Dan Shaw of Litchfield County in Connecticut, both were veterans of New York Magazine and The New York Times so the content and the writing was smart and concise.  In addition to writing everything, they were also both traveling all over the Berkshires, Litchfield County, Columbia County and beyond to research their stories and they were handling the business side of everything too…finding advertisers, paying bills, looking for reporters…all on a shoe-string budget so it was certainly understandable when they announced they were stepping back so they could “have a life”.  In the meantime, we had to find our local news elsewhere.

Then just a year ago this month…the “cavalry” in the form of Mark Williams came to the rescue.  Mark, a financier who has a weekend home in Tyringham MA had, like so many others, had come to depend on Rural Intelligence as a source for what was happening — especially around the Berkshires.  He thought it was particularly important for the cultural community (he is on the Board of Jacob’s Pillow) to have a publication like Rural Intelligence.  Eventually, he found Bess Hochstein, also a Tyringham resident and previously a freelance writer for Rural Intelligence. Together they decided they would try to buy and revive the website.  Promising Dan and Marilyn they would no longer have to run the business side of the site, Mark and Bess were able to persuade them both to sell the business and return to doing what they loved…writing…for Rural Intelligence!  Mark and Bess (who was the new site’s editor but has since moved to California) hired a new editor and more reporters to cover Rural Intelligence’s large reach so Dan and Marilyn can pick and choose their stories now.

“It’s taken more time than I thought but I’m really enjoying it!” Mark confesses.
“I thought I was buying an online magazine but I’ve actually bought a wonderful community.”




Hammertown Choices