Feb 28, 2019 · 3 min read

Did you know that there is an alternative currency in the USA?

No? Neither did I, until earlier this month when I was sent a video, watched it, and then decided to go explore the Berkshires to learn more about it.

This adventure started off when my girlfriend sent me this 9-minute video titled A Very Thin Line by Topic. It’s a video that follows two stories, one about The Liberty Dollar and the other about the BerkShares.

Meet the Americans behind two alternative currencies: the originators of the community-focused BerkShares in Massachusetts, and the Fed-baiting libertarian Bernard von NotHaus, creator of the Florida-born Liberty Dollar. Neither party was happy with the status quo — but their strategies for disrupting the economy couldn’t be more different.

So we decided to make the best of our three day weekend and head up North from NYC.

1st Stop

There are only 4 banks with a few branches each in the Berkshires that will exchange USD for BerkShares. My goal going in was to keep one of each bill to later frame and then get some spending money. In total, I ended up converting $200. I was overly excited to be experiencing this surprising simple life event.

And here is what the bills look like.

2nd Stop

The BerkShares have a website where you can see a list of establishments that accept the BerkShares. Our second stop was to Main Street Cafe for a little snack and a coffee.

While exploring around the little towns we noticed that some of the establishments had these little stickers on their doors. Of course, when we saw these we had to stop in.

On our last day before leaving the Berkshires, I was eager to spend the rest of my BerkShares. We decided to try Great Barrington Bagel Company as it was highly recommended by my good friend John Britton. At checkout, we asked if they accepted BerkShares and the man behind the counter seemed excited by the question, which led to a little conversation about the BerkShares and our journey thus far. That man turned out to be Bob Climo, the owner of The Great Barrington Bagel Company and a member of the Board of Directors of BerkShares Inc. I wish we had more time to chat with him, but the restaurant was pretty busy.

Overall the entire experience was pretty amazing as well as the people of Great Barrington and the surrounding cities were absolutely lovely.

Although not all the shops accept BerkShares, they are still worth the visit. For example, Connie at Griffin made me feel like a million BerkShares (feel free to groan at the bad dad pun).

We plan on coming back this summer as we learned there are a lot of amazing hikes, waterfalls, music festivals, and other adventures to be had.


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