Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Local (non-Wedding) Activities

Berkshire Activities

There are many things to see and do in the Berkshires, from local historic towns such as Lenox, to scenic hiking trails, to contemporary art at the MassMoca in North Adams.

  • Mass MoCA (Massacusetts Museum of Contemporary Arts) - North Adams, MA, OPEN 11–5, CLOSED TUESDAYS
  • Tanglewood (Summer home of the Boston Symphony, year-round concerts) - Lenox, MA, concerts Oct 5, 6, 8 (all are All-Ravel Concerts)
  • Jacob's Pillow (Extraordinary Dance) - Becket, MA - Season ends in late August

Northampton - A funky, small New England college town, named "The Best Small Arts Town" in the U.S. Lots of cultural events and outdoor activities. Great restaurants, more than 50 in a three-block radius! (thanks to gonomad for all this info). Also check out the NoHo website for local local info.

  • The arts! Tons of galleries, museums, small theatres and public arts spaces. Browse all day and see performances by top theatre, music, literary and dance artists in the evenings!
  • Shopping: many local small businesses selling eclectic unique things.
  • Smith College Campus: beautiful campus to stroll around on -- especially the path around the pond and the campus greenhouses.
  • Check out the Paradise City Arts Festival in October.
  • Sitting in a main street cafe (there is a Starbucks and Woodstar coffee on Gothic St.) and watching the parade go by. There will be kids on the street, pierced and shaven, with skateboards and attitude, but it is always friendly. The farmers market sets up every Saturday downtown.
  • The old state mental hospital grounds. Wild, overgrown boarded up buildings. "Cider House Rules" was filmed here. Some find it beautiful to walk around; others find it creepy. There is a circular loop that goes through farm fields and woods and is a perfect place to walk your dog.
  • There are lots of outdoor activities from hiking to rafting, as Northampton is located in the foothills of the Berkshire mountains and near the Connecticut river. Local outfitters can arrange everything from kayaking to ballooning. Contact Wildwater Outfitters in Hadley, 413-253-5500.
For some free activities, try:
  • Hiking Smith College campus.
  • Riding bike/rollerblading along the Northampton/Belchertown bike path, an eleven mile path that can be bumpy due to roots coming through the asphalt, but is still a pretty, if bumpy, ride.
  • Hanging at coffee shops like Starbucks, Woodstar, Northampton Coffee, Shelburne Falls Coffee Roasters all in the downtown area.
  • In addition to the nightly lectures and performances held on Smith’s campus and around town, there are also lots of local options for informal learning from yoga to arts and crafts. Look at the bulletin boards around town and pick up a local paper.
  • Iron Horse Music Hall, a small, cafe/performance space with legendary big name performers.
  • Flywheel: in nearby Easthampton -- funky performance space featuring lots of local and regional bands. Volunteer run.
BEST EATS (We haven't tried these - just took it from GoNomad.com)
There are lots of inexpensive eateries featuring all kinds of food from around the world. This is a college town, so remember that coffee shops and cafes are also plentiful!
  • Bela-- Total vegetarian, small, funky-- Cheaper
  • Pizza Paradiso--wood fired pizza, pasta, great atmo, moderate
  • Amanouz Cafe--Moroccan cuisine, cheap and filling
  • Green St. CafĂ©, India House Teapot -- more expensive
If you can’t catch a performance or lecture at Smith College Campus, try the following:
  • Iron Horse: famous concert venue. Small and intimate. Many national folk, jazz and alternative bands/musicians. Check schedule in the weekly Valley Advocate, or online at iheg.com
  • Pleasant St Theatre: small comfortable movie theatre showing art/foreign films.
  • Academy of Music: Larger, but not mainstream, movie theatre. Also occasional opera house.
  • Calvin Theater. Part of the Iron Horse Group, national acts in music, theater, dance and spoken word.
  • Joe's Pizza
  • Haymarket Cafe. Northampton Brewery's rooftop garden
  • Bart's Ice Cream Shop.
  • The Elevens , for local music.
There are plenty of unique shops in town featuring the works of local artisans, but Northampton is a book-lover’s paradise.
  • Thorne's Market -- lots of small businesses in a non-mall mall.
  • Raven - used books.
  • Beyond Words -- new age type books.
  • Faces -- funky items, furniture and clothing.
  • Market St.-- side street with many used clothing stores, book stores and antique stores.
  • King St. Flea Market, Sunday mornings.


Not to be left out, check out the town sponsored tourism site.

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