Families: College Detours

How to transform a routine summer tour of campuses into a cultural education for the whole family

Summer is the best of times and the worst of times to visit colleges. That's when the family is free to go and size them up, but it's also when few students are on campus to give a sense of what the place is really like. Some schools take advantage of the student exodus, however, by transforming themselves into world-class cultural centers for a few days or for the whole summer, with events that range from lecture series to local-history celebrations and performing-arts extravaganzas. Some annual festivals, like the Williamstown Theatre Festival at Williams College, have become renowned, while others flourish...

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