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Thursday, June 23, 2016

Northampton Redux

Mo Willems at the Michelson Gallery
Northampton – this is another town, after Brattleboro, Vermont, where I feel sure I could happily live. I'm imagining a little one bedroom apartment just outside the downtown area. A crib within molto convenient walking distance of shops, galleries, restaurants and public transportation. This'd be lovely.

BUT, and this is big, apartment rentals IF you can find one, aren’t cheap. I just looked online and found a one bedroom, near town center going for $1350 a month. Ouch. Mostly there’s lots of buildings with “no availability” noted. Understandable since Smith College, Northampton Junior College, Smith Hampshire College, Mount Holyoke College, Amherst College, Holyoke Community College and UMass Amherst are all in the area.

In comparison, the average Boston one bed is two Gs a month. So, Northampton’s less pricey but not cheap.

If I was looking to buy, home prices seem more doable. I didn’t see physical descriptions (i.e., “handyman’s special” or "turn key"  condition) on the site but, there are ranch and cape style joints listing at or below $200 thou and there’s a nice looking multi-fam near town center for $259,000.

What does Northampton have besides the awesome Michelson Gallery?

Raven Used Books – fabulous shop, always a great collection!

Ye Ol’ Watering Hole – from the outside, and in for that matter, this LOOKS like a total dive but, and this is key, Helen and I didn’t spot even one biker or truck driver type. Also, ya know what was playing on the telly over the bar? Jeopardy. Not sports or sports chat shows, not Fox “news,” no. It was Jeopardy. There were pool tables but, make no mistake, this is NOT a Big Dan’s kind of a place.

Oh...this is also the home of the Beer Can Museum. So yeah, this IS a dive but without the scary, skeevy clientele. Cool.

The Northampton Farmers Market. It's big. It's awesome. We were there on a Tuesday – not exactly a huge shopping day yet there was a crowd of sellers and shoppers. The shoppers were all hanging around chatting too – more than a market, this was a social scene.

For you hearing folk, there’s The Iron Horse – a great place to catch bands, big names and small.

And, I had no idea, Smith College has an art museum!
Coming up in August is the show, Eric Avery: AIDS WORK.
Eric Avery: AIDS WORK includes more than 30 prints and books by Dr. Eric Avery acquired by Smith College Museum of Art (SCMA) and the Mortimer Rare Book Room in 2014. This group represents a cohesive and important body of work that documents three decades in the life of the major public health crisis of AIDS (Auto Immune Deficiency Syndrome).  As an artist, physician, and gay man, Avery was at the center of the crisis both personally and professionally.
Yes, I am SO going to this show!

Northampton also has about a zillion and a half great restaurants, at least two tie dye emporiums, craft galleries, a nearby hikeable mountain (for those of you not of the klutz clan), a school for the deaf and a metric fuck-ton more.

But no ocean. Ah well, no place is perfect.

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