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Arts and culture abound in Northampton, Massachusetts

SmarterTravel

When my sister was attending Smith College in Northampton, Massachusetts, I jumped at every chance to visit her. Northampton is a lively hamlet about an hour from Hartford and two from Boston, and it’s a treasure trove of unique shops, galleries, restaurants, and performance spaces. Even though my sister graduated a few years ago, I still head back often for a concert (the Iron Horse Music Hall and Pearl Street Night Club are particularly good venues), shopping (essentials and Cedar Chest are my favorites), and a tasty ice cream cone at Herrell’s.

I also love the people watching. Packs of motorcyclists brush elbows with tweedy professors outside coffee shops; gay and lesbian families stroll alongside college students from all walks of life. The town is known for its welcoming atmosphere, tolerance, and diversity, and it’s evident the moment you arrive on Main Street.

Additionally, you can indulge your outdoorsy side beyond downtown Northampton. The area is home to several farms, many offering pick-your-own options or roadside stands with the latest produce. And the scenic trails and panoramas of Mt. Tom are just a short drive away in nearby Holyoke and Easthampton.

Lastly, if you’re a fan of dining out, consider visiting from June 2 through 8, when 14 area restaurants participate in Northampton Restaurant Week. Three-course dinners will be available for the bargain price of $20.08 per person.

To plan your trip, get acquainted with the area on the Greater Northampton Chamber of Commerce website.

Read more of the 50 Affordable Stateside Escapes.

Have a recommendation for Northampton, or another great getaway within Massachusetts? Post your comment below!

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