7.26.2007

new england in july, part four (final)

Our next stop was in Northampton, near Amherst, in western Massachusetts. It's an artsy, organic, progressive area, with a lot of college (meaning university) students, activism, music, art, good food, used bookstores and all the rest. Our friend and nephew D has lived there off and on for many years. He's about to pull up stakes to re-join his partner in acupuncture school in New Mexico. They met in a bodywork and holistic healing institute. She is also an herbalist, and with acupuncture added to their repertoire they will one day have a holistic practice together. This was an opportunity to see D before he heads back out west.

D is a great friend of ours, and had a great time talking, eating, drinking, and seeing a bit of his community. We even got in a small dog fix, taking a walk in the woods with "his" dog, a border collie he has taken care of and spends time with.

D is also an avid sports fan, mostly football but also baseball, and we're pretty much the only people he shares that with. We were going to ask him if we could watch the Red Sox game in a bar - a great treat for us, being in Massachusetts and all - when he said, "Do you guys want to watch a game?" We caught the last half of Monday night's game in a bar in town. On Tuesday we went to a spot he frequents, an organic cafe/bar/used-book store housed in an old mill over a stream. The owner is a Sox fan who keeps a small flat-screen TV behind the bar. We ate organic noodles and sandwiches and drank sangria and watched an exciting pitching duel between Daisuke Matsuzaka and C.C. Sabbathia. Sox won 1-0.

Allan and I also met Charlie, an old friend of mine. Charlie and I were once very close, but last saw each other shortly after high school. He Googled me a few weeks ago, out of the blue. Turns out he lives in the same town as my nephew - in fact, D has played music to benefit some of Charlie's peace activism - and he got in touch just as I was about to visit. It was great to see him. He's a very intelligent, creative, open-minded person. The three of us easily could have talked all day.

The other thing I did in New England: drank large amounts of iced coffee. Oh boy. Although I found a workaround for my iced coffee problem, there is no substitute for being able to get The Real Thing everywhere. D works in a cafe that makes the best coffee I've ever tasted. (This is their other branch. Both super fabulous.) So not only was the coffee delicious and plentiful, it was free. Can't beat it.

We drove back on Wednesday, happy as always to come home to Canada and to our pups. My new weekend gig starts tomorrow night. Hope you are all well. Feel free to catch me up on news.

10 comments:

MSEH said...

..."an organic cafe/bar/used-book store housed in an old mill over a stream"

OMG, I love that place. How nice to hear it's still there. I haven't been back since 1991. Whoa! Putting that in print freaks me out.

BTW, did you know that the National Enquirer - you know, that highly esteemed publication - once tagged Northampton "Lesbianville, USA?" Serious.

Again, welcome back. Glad you had what sounds like a nice trip.

redsock said...

Very nice recap. Does the bar we watched the game in have a website?

Also, while driving down Route 7, we passed through many small VT towns and the most of the signs welcoming us into the towns said "Incorporated 1761" (some were a few years later). I'm trying to find out why that is, perhaps a statewide decree.

Also, back in 1795 or so, my great-great-great-great-grandfather Ebenezer Wood (yup, that was his name!) moved with his wife and young son from Pelham, MA (near where we saw D) up north to Georgia, VT.

This past Monday, we made that drive in reverse. With all those towns along Route 7, I wonder how much of it was an old road 212 years ago?

L-girl said...

OMG, I love that place. How nice to hear it's still there.

Cool. :)

BTW, did you know that the National Enquirer - you know, that highly esteemed publication - once tagged Northampton "Lesbianville, USA?" Serious.

Since Northampton residents proudly call the town the lesbian capital of the USA, it doesn't seem so crazy. Dyke friends of mine in Seattle and Portland dispute the title, but hey.

L-girl said...

Does the bar we watched the game in have a website?

Added! Thanks.

back in 1795 or so, my great-great-great-great-grandfather Ebenezer Wood (yup, that was his name!) moved with his wife and young son from Pelham, MA (near where we saw D) up north to Georgia, VT.

This past Monday, we made that drive in reverse.


Very cool. You also have ancestors from Canada (en francais), so we've done that in reverse, too.

L-girl said...

MSEH, do you by any chance know the owner of the Book Mill? D is friends with him and his ex-wife. D actually lives in a house with the woman and their kids. It would be funny if they were also friends of yours.

MSEH said...

Re: the owner - nope. But, stranger things have happened! ;-)

BTW, I hate to think that the NE actually started something, but ya' know - the NE ran that article long before anyone who lived there was saying so. I was there from 1988-1990 and while *we* knew it was the "lesbian capital" you didn't hear anyone say as much. How could it be that was almost 20 years ago... Yikes!

redsock said...

Great motto for the bookstore:

"Books you don't need in a place you can't find"

L-girl said...

"BTW, I hate to think that the NE actually started something, but ya' know - the NE ran that article long before anyone who lived there was saying so."

Wow, the Enquirer started something hip! Go figure. :) Cool little detail to know, too.

"How could it be that was almost 20 years ago... Yikes!"

I feel that all the time these days. Time is just whipping by!

Jere said...

Thanks for the tip on that bookstore/cafe. Sounds nice. I see why I never heard of it, despite always going to Northampton--looks like it's about 20 miles north.

And maybe we'll try that coffee place as well. We always go to the Haymarket, which we call the "Haym." (Making the other coffee-type shop we pass by "the Feldman.") But I don't think the Feldman is the one you mentioned, so we'll try that one. I guess search "Northampton" on my blog if you want to read about any of my many adventures in that awesome town.

Thanks for your wrap-up of the trip. Glad you enjoyed New England.

L-girl said...

This bookstore/cafe is really nice. It was a little ways out of town, but a quick drive.

Northampton and Amherst Coffee was truly some of the best coffee I've ever had. They are smart, trendy-looking places, but still relaxed and neighbourhood-y, in keeping with the towns.

New England is beautiful. It was a treat to see more of it this time.

I'm glad you enjoyed reading my travel blather. :)