Last week, Type E and I packed up the Subaru and drove North to explore a bit of New England. The first leg of the trip was Northampton, MA and the surrounding Pioneer Valley.
On Saturday afternoon the tent made its first 2010 appearance as we set up camp in DAR State Forest, where the fall foliage was already in full force.
Then we promptly left nature behind and took scenic Route 9 into town for Indian food. Northampton’s downtown is charming: very walkable, bike path, tons of restaurants, lots of retail, multiple music venues, and the Academy of Music. The Northampton Brewery has an amazing outdoor, multi-level deck, a lovely place to have a beer and soak up the scene.
On Sunday morning, after my standard grumbling about the trauma of going out into the cold, cruel world just to use a bathroom, we did the Route 9 drive again and found ourselves at Bread Euphoria. This place, located in Haydenville, MA, really is euphoric.
The smell of baking cinnamon lures you into the building, where you’re greeted by a display case of scones, cookies, bagels, quiche, pizza, salads, mac ‘n cheese—all of life’s finer things. Beverage options include delicious coffee and Berkshire Brewing Company drafts. Bread Euphoria offers wifi, but their customers prefer talking to typing.
After some driving through Smith College’s campus (gorgeous), Easthampton (small), and Holyoke (depressing), we paid our admission to Look Park, just outside of Northampton. There was a benefit concert in the outdoor amphitheater, a miniature golf course (sadly, I got my ass kicked), a zoo (sadly, with a caged bald eagle), and a train exactly like the one I used to drive at Dutch Wonderland.
Our trip coincided with The Big E, the largest fair in the Northeast, home of the Big E Cream Puff and Craz-E Burger. In addition to the usual record-breaking pumpkins, rides, and livestock, the Big E has something not usually seen at PA fairs: booze. And a huge cow sculpted from butter.
On the way out, Type E sampled salsa prepared by a sullen veggie chopper salesman and almost died from ingesting a hot pepper. The sullen veggie chopper salesman was unsympathetic.
We left Massachusetts the next morning, after one last drive through town, where a busker was playing his banjo in the rain.
One response to “New England trip: Northampton”
Good article, but…are you aware that the bald egals (and other animals), at the Look Park Zoo are there because they have been injured and need a place to live? Especially the Bald Eagles! They have been hit by cars, caught in traps, shot, etc., then due to the nature of their injuries cannot be RE-released so they are given a home where they are taken care of and loved. At the same time it helps educate the public about the animals. Look Park Zoo is small, not sad though. It is a wonderful place where I am sure most of the animals are happy to be alive and being fed and cared for.