When you think Massachusetts, you think Boston, right? Think again – take a trip to one of New England’s little treasures. Located in Western Massachusetts at the foothills of the Berkshires, Northampton combines natural splendor, college town charm and gallery chic – all in a town that’s fun and tourist-friendly.
Northampton is best known as a college town – it is home to Smith College, the nation’s oldest women’s college. Located on a hill in the center of town, the college definitely makes its presence felt in Northampton. Try a visit to the gorgeous campus grounds for a taste of real Seven Sisters atmosphere – including ivy, botanical gardens and manicured grounds, Paradise Pond and even an art museum.
Once you’ve spent some time on campus, promenade down Main Street and explore Northampton’s lively, eclectic galleries and shops. Try some homemade ice cream at Herrell’s Ice Cream And Hot Fudge Shop and browse through the shops at Cedar Chest, which features paper products, cosmetics and charming knicknacks. If you’re tempted by more trendy fare, a trip into Faces on Main Street will give you more than your fair share of pop culture influences – stocking everything from trendy clothing to gag gifts, it’s a favorite for locals.
If you like antiques and historical sites, try any of the town’s plethora of antiques shops. Antiques Corner on Market Street is a good place to start. Or if you prefer to look at artifacts rather than buy them, try the Forbes Library’s collection of memorabilia from Northampton’s most famous resident – Calvin Coolidge.
When you tire of small-town life, you can head to the hills – the Berkshire Mountains, that is. Try a day trip to the Berkshires for a taste of the gorgeous colors of New England falls or its humid, bright summers. If you choose a winter vacation, don’t miss maple sugaring time – it’s a fun, typically New England treat.
These are just starter suggestions for a trip to Northampton, a town that’s known for being fun, friendly – and a little bit funky. Explore on your own and get to know this gem of the Berkshire foothills.