Spring Northampton • Destination Northampton
Come for the Art at Paradise City and Stay for the Holiday Weekend
Deep in the heart of the Connecticut River Valley, surrounded by the gently rolling foothills of the Green Mountains and the Berkshires, lies Northampton, the hometown of the Paradise City Arts Festival. Come spring, the farms sport even rows of early corn, our world-famous asparagus grows like grass, gardens are in full bloom, and the bustling “#1 Small Arts Town in America” becomes the Memorial Day Weekend home to hundreds of the country’s most celebrated artists and makers.
New England’s most uncommon destination is definitely Northampton. It surprises you with its sophistication, diversity and eclectic flavor, its small-town ambiance and big-city features, all housed within typical New England clapboard and masonry architecture.
This city possesses a unique downtown “walking Main Street”, with one-of-a-kind boutiques, galleries, restaurants, antique stores, nightclubs and art theaters – certainly not the ubiquitous chain stores that make downtowns all over America look and feel the same. Each of Northampton’s small businesses brings a unique vision to this city of 30,000, from high-style clothing to sophisticated crafts, from a choice of six different sushi restaurants to the friendly neighborhood tattoo parlor.
Did you know you can now take the Amtrak Vermonter from NYC to Northampton? The station is walking distance from the Festival and from Northampton’s center. You can even bring a bike. https://www.amtrak.com/home It leaves Penn Station at 11:30AM, arriving at 4PM. Get a weekend pass to Paradise City and stay through Monday!
Creative Residents of the Pioneer Valley
From Emily Dickinson to Tracy Kidder, Dr. Seuss to Leonard Baskin, Jenny Lind to Taj Mahal, the Pioneer Valley has been a magnet and inspiration for visual, performing and literary artists throughout history. It’s the home of contact improvisation dance, an international enclave of realist painters and a renowned center for printmaking, bookbinding, fine woodworking and furniture design. Some say that the Valley’s residential concentration of artists comprises a larger per capita percentage here than in any other population center in the country.
New England’s “Restaurant Central”
Northampton knows food! It’s a place where gourmet fare is served up daily in dozens of restaurants – a place where “fresh” means what you’re eating might have been grown nearby on some of the best agricultural land in the world. The area is rich in wines, microbrews, organic farms, some of the best coffee you’ve ever tasted and much, much more. With a restaurant or café for every taste and budget, residents and visitors are constantly delighted by exceptional cuisine, ambience and style. Go from lunch in the Festival Dining Tent to dinner on the town!
Visit 10 Outstanding Museums in One Beautiful Valley!
The Museums of the Five College Area (Museums10), consist of ten venues that boast world-class collections and major exhibitions throughout the year. Northampton’s Smith College Museum of Art is well-known for its Impressionists, but now is at the forefront of contemporary art. (Check out the artist designed restrooms!) Just seven miles up the road in Amherst, visit Amherst College’s Mead Art Museum and the Pratt Museum of Natural History. Stop by the University Museum of Contemporary Art at UMass and Emily Dickinson’s Homestead. Drive another mile or two to visit the Hampshire College Art Gallery, take the kids to the Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art and browse the fascinating and unique National Yiddish Book Center. Head north to Historic Deerfield for a tour of 14 perfectly preserved 18th and 19th century houses filled with decorative arts. Just over the river is Mount Holyoke College, with its own world class Art Museum and Conservatory.
While you’re in Western Massachusetts, there are always outstanding exhibitions at the Springfield Museums, Mass MOCA and the Clark Museum. The newest go-to attraction is the Dr. Seuss Museum at the Springfield Museum Quadrangle. If you have extra time – perhaps you’re here for more than a weekend – check out some of the quirkier sites and museums too – like the Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield, Historic Northampton, the Bridge of Flowers in Shelburne Falls, the Hadley Farm Museum, the Sojourner Truth statue in Florence, the dinosaur footprints in Holyoke, Snow Farm’s New England Craft Program in Williamsburg and the Botanical Garden and Conservatory at Smith College. Don’t miss the Hestia Mural depicting the history of women in Northampton, just behind Main Street in Northampton.
Take it Outdoors!
Walk to the Northampton Airport from the show to skydive, parachute or take a hot-air balloon ride over the patterned fields. White-water raft on the Deerfield River or hike to the top of Mount Sugarloaf for the spectacular view of the Connecticut River that has inspired artists for nearly two hundred years. Take advantage of miles of bike paths through farmlands, woodlands and along the river. Hike the Holyoke Range, rent a pontoon boat for a family cruise on the Connecticut River, picnic and play in Northampton’s beautiful city parks or take your clubs to one of the many challenging public golf courses in the region.