Destination: Northampton, MA

• 07 July 2009

When we lived in Boston, it never occurred to us to drive out to Western Massachusetts--about a week and a half ago we stayed in Northampton and wondered why. It is such a darling, little New England town. We even talked about flying out from the West at some point in the future for a getaway. Although we thought our Pricelined-motel was perfectly fine, it might be fun to try one of the quaint B&B’s next time.

In this little gem-of-a-town you’ll find refurbished brick buildings, locally made homemade ice cream, gourmet restaurants, reasonably-priced boutiques and the most beautiful Urban Outfitters you’ll ever see. The latter was kind of a surprise…I’d never seen one outside a major metropolitan area before.

If you visit Northampton, you must stop by the following:

Essentials…this is one of the best shops I’ve ever seen in my life because it combines so many things I love into one location. You’ll find Japanese goods, vintage French items, awesome publications by Chronicle Book, baby clothes from Tea, letterpress stationery, bold wrapping paper and a million other Etsy-esque offerings. Heaven. They do have a website and while it doesn’t do the shop justice, it does at least allow you to enjoy a slice of the retail experience.

Circa…inspired by Alice Waters & Chez Panisse, you will surely find something to love at this tiny restaurant just off the main drag. When locally procured ingredients are combined with excellent seafood, the results are simply superb. The Husband enjoyed the best salmon entrĂ©e of his life. I, on the other hand will never forget those scallops…yum.

Urban Outfitters…located in an old, perfectly restored bank, this UO is the most stunning you’ll ever see. Even if you don’t love Urban Outfitters, be sure to stop by and check out the extensive moldings and dentals up near the ceiling.

Herrells…one of the many reasons why Massachusetts residents consume more ice cream per capita than any other state in our nation. Do you blame them? There are so many creameries offering homemade ice cream, one can hardly resist. Herrells apparently inspired the popular chain Cold Stone (thankfully they credit Herrells), but after enjoying the real thing I’m wishing it were Herrells that made it big!


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