A Walk Down Main Street in Northampton, Massachusetts
Main Street in Northampton Massachusetts is a rare find in the middle of the Western half of the state. Whether you are seeking live music, a fine meal, or just want to sit outside with a strong coffee watching people go by, Main Street in Northampton is the place to be on a warm summer evening.
Main Street technically starts on route 9 at the Academy of Music. A bit further up route 9 is Smith College and specifically the college's Museum of Art. For a small fee you can enjoy all that the eclectic art museum has to offer. Check out the women's bathroom and you will understand just how artsy this town can be. (Think artistically painted toilet bowls and beautiful tiling).
The Academy of Music is now reopened thanks to generosity and hard work. Closed for less than a year, The Academy once again shows movies and has live performances on occasion. Along with the Pleasant Street theatre, there is no need to head to the mall in order to take in a movie if you live in the Northampton area.
Keep walking along the street and Pulaski Park is on your right. On Wednesday nights you can often find hula hoopers unwinding after a hard day of work. The group looks fun and all types of people can be found with a hoop around their waist trying to keep time to the music. Some have rhythm, others don't, but the main point is to have fun. If hula hooping is not your thing, keep going because something else will catch your eye.
Across the street from Pulaski Park is the Fresh Pasta Company, a longstanding staple of downtown Northampton that serves a different kind of fresh pasta every night. Excellent quality and affordable prices make the Fresh Pasta Company a great choice for budget conscious diners.
Past Pulaski Park is the Town Hall and as you continue walking, you come across a wonderfully unique shopping experience called Thorne's Market. Thorne's Market contains three floors of shopping for the downtown Northampton crowd. From Cornucopia, a whole foods grocery store, to Cedar Chest, a bed, bath and beauty store, to a Glimpse of Tibet, a store full of Tibetan crafts, books, and jewelry, a shopper can get lost in Thorne's Market for hours while finding just the right gift for a loved one.
Across Main Street from Thorne's is FACES, another unique shopping experience that caters to the college age crowd. Here you can buy funky clothes, dorm room furniture, posters, lamps and obnoxious tee shirts among many other things. At FACES, you will sometimes wonder, why?, but in Northampton, the answer is, why not?
Continue walking down the street on the FACES side and you will come across BUCCI. BUCCI offers ten dollar haircuts on a walk-in or appointment basis. Ask for Melissa and she will give you a great cut.
After BUCCI, you will come across the Chocolate Emporium (no explanation needed) and then to the old town hall which is now part of a law library. Check out the odd sculptures that surround the small fountain before you cross the heart of Main Street where Pleasant Street and King Street meet at Main Street. Throw a penny in the fountain for luck and move on.
Cross the street and you will come across Sweeties, a great little candy store that has also been an integral part of the Northampton landscape for the past 15 years or more. Buy a few vegan chocolates or some jelly belly jelly beans, take your bag of candy and keep walking.
Main Street Northampton has many other shops and restaurants then the few mentioned here. On a nice night, consider Northampton as a place to unwind, have something great to eat and walk around shopping, looking at art or people watching. Northampton is a very safe, fun place for all to enjoy.
Melissa Nykorchuk, Author