Fall Into Paradise — Travel to Northampton, MA
By Jane Carlton
Embrace your inner artist while indulging in the beautiful fall leaves in Northampton, MA. Situated in idyllic western Massachusetts, the picturesque town is home to some of the most unique restaurants, galleries, and stores that the Bay State has to offer. Add in a fairground rife with horse shows, and you have the perfect combination.
The Three County Fairgrounds hold a host of fantastic shows throughout the season, and September is no exception. For hunter/jumper enthusiasts, the Massachusetts Horsemen’s Council Days of Champions run from the 23-27, and highlight the best riders in the Northeast. All-breed lovers will have a blast checking out the Massachusetts State 4-H Show from the 12-13. Also, make sure not to miss the Three County Fair—the oldest of its kind in the United States—held the 4-7. There will be rides, a music festival, and a demolition derby, among many other events, so it’s sure to be a hit for everyone in the family. The 50-acre fairgrounds are home to seven show rings and 540 permanent stalls—quite enough space for equines (and other farm creatures!) to enjoy themselves.
Around town, funky shops and art galleries draw in (pun intended) visitors from across the region. The Smith College Museum of Art is thought to be one of the best college art museums in the country. Enjoy one of the many travelling collections, or marvel in the expansive permanent collection. The Oxbow Gallery, located downtown, highlights local artists and their paintings, sculptures, and photography.
For foodies, Northampton is a paradise. Numerous breweries, cafes, and restaurants will satisfy any appetite. High Horse Farm and Brewery, located in next-door-neighbor Amherst, has unbelievable craft beer and a tantalizing menu—plus a rockin’ equine logo. Jake’s is a great spot to grab delicious, local food in a fun atmosphere. If you feel inspired by the culture and need to go into create-mode, cafes are dotted around town.
Nestled in the Pioneer Valley, September is the perfect time to visit Northampton. The colorful leaf-sprouted trees provide a great backdrop for a weekend away—even if you’re just in town for a horse show.
WHERE TO STAY
Sugar Maple Trailside Inn
Adorable rooms and a mouth-watering breakfast make for a great stay. Hop on a nearby rail trail to soak in the fall views.
This historic hotel is smack dab in downtown Northampton—perfect for relaxing after a night on the town.
Fairfield Inn & Suites
Stick with the classics and stay at this comfortable, affordable hotel.
WHERE TO EAT
High Horse Farm and Brewery
Grab a bite or throw back a few local craft beers in this equestrian-inspired eatery.
Fresh, local, and delicious—what more can you ask for?
Herrell’s Ice Cream
An absolute must if you’re in the area. Try one of the many flavors, and customize with “Smoosh-Ins.”
WHAT TO DO
Three County Fair
Music and eating and rides—oh my! This fair will entertain everyone.
Twenty-eight artists are featured in this funky gallery.
Smith College Museum of Art
Enjoy four floors of intriguing art exhibits on the beautiful Smith College campus.