Northampton, MA–a welcome respite.

Fourth of July weekend coincided with a recent birthday of mine, so when mom called to ask how I would like to celebrate, the answer was simple: I wanted to make the knitter’s pilgrimage to WEBS. I have to admit that this was very selfish and materialistic; I certainly do not need any yarn, and felt awful dragging my dad and brother into an immense yarn store. Lucky for them, I never checked the hours, and thus, they scored a yarn-free weekend, and we all benefited from the exploration of the outlying Northampton area.

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Scott and I got to Northampton about an hour before my family did, so we spent that time (wisely) visiting the Smith College Museum of Art. It’s a really lovely little gem: the museum has a great layout, small, intimate gallery spaces, and though the collection is small, packs a good punch. I’d recommend it.

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After a brief lunch at Local Burger, we headed up to the Montague Bookmill (where they have poppies!). It’s a great little cluster of shops and restaurants situated right on the Sawmill River. We scored some great used science fiction books and returned the next day for some of the best sandwiches at The Lady Killigrew. This lunch should be incorporated into any WEBS visit. It should be mandatory. It was just perfect–I had a brie and apple panini with a cold beer on a very hot day, post-hike. They have a great beer list.

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That night dad and I tried our hand at hula hooping in the park, for free. I’m not sure if this is the norm every Friday night, but if it is, I want to move to Northampton, stat.

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The next day we hiked both Skinner Mountain and Sugarloaf Mountain. Neither was particularly high—Skinner hovered around 1000 ft, while Sugarloaf was about half of that. The Skinner trails, however, were rather strenuous, and involved steep inclines. As a result, I am still feeling the hike in my legs and joints, a couple of days later. Both hikes provided stunning views of the landscape, the miles of farm land and bends of the Connecticut River. It was humbling to be so small. It was invigorating to walk so much, to breathe so much fresh air. It reawakened my love for New England.

We finished our trip with a visit to the Quabbin Reservoir (where Boston’s drinking water comes from!). It was so placid and quiet, the kind of atmosphere that melts your worries and drifts you off to a mentality so far away from wherever you may be (in my case, away from academic stresses and looming paper deadlines).

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And, of course, crafting a better life could not be complete without proving that statement positive: I got to sit and knit on the Quabbin Reservoir, my love by my side. The yarn tangled between my fingers with every gust of wind coming off of the water, and every time mom snapped the shutter, another breeze ruffled up into our shirts, puffing us outward and making us appear far more bulbous in the gut and well-fed than we really are. Nonetheless, knitting outside is true bliss for me, and there was nothing that could have made me happier for my birthday than spending an entire weekend outdoors with my love, my family, the sunshine (!!!), and a little bit of yarn.

…and, of course this means that I will have to go back to Northampton to visit WEBS when they’re actually open. Shucks.

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