Sure, Boston dining is amazing, but sometimes you want a bit of an adventure. Pile in the car, kids. It’s time for a road trip. Today we head about an hour and a half west to Northampton, Massachusetts
Ah, Northampton. Home of Sonic Youth’s Kim Gordon and Thurston Moore, one-time residence of Smith College alumnae Gloria Steinem, Sylvia Plath and Barbara Bush (three names you never thought you’d hear in the same breath), birthplace of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Nestled into the heart of the Pioneer Valley just below the Berkshires, Northampton (or Noho, as the cool kids call it) is the cultural center of Western Massachusetts, boasting scenic views, killer art and music scenes, and, most intriguingly for our purposes, great food at a fraction of Boston prices. Drive on down for a day of art galleries, record and vintage clothing shopping, and gorging yourself.
Plan to arrive just in time for breakfast at Sylvester’s. Housed in the former home of graham-cracker inventor Sylvester Graham, Sylvester’s makes hand-down the best omelets in town and the rest of the menu isn’t too shabby either (we’re very fond of the apple cinnamon pancakes).
Spend the rest of the morning doing some light shopping along Main Street before decamping to Pinocchio’s Pizza for a slice topped with a semi-bizarre but delicious combination of ingredients. We’re partial to the slice with feta, tomato, and avocado, but, really, nothing tops the anti-Atkins tortellini slice. Totally worth the inevitable tummy ache. If you’re craving a healthier option, cross the street to find the Haymarket Café, for an excellent vegetarian sandwich and the best people-watching in Noho.
While away your afternoon checking out the galleries lining Main Street and the Smith College Museum of Art. When you’re ready for dinner, mosey on over to Del Raye, widely regarded as Northampton’s best restaurant. Although the prices are steep by Northampton standards, they aren’t too bad to the Bostonian eye. If you’ve managed to go Sunday-Thursday, you can grab a $28 prix fixe. Don’t have too much money to burn? Try Viva Fresh Pasta Company, where $6.95 gets you an ample portion of their house-made pasta and sauce. Go for either the egg linguine dressed with the near-perfect alfredo or the sweet potato ravioli with romesco. Head home, happy and full.
Pinocchio’s Pizza, 122 Main St, (413) 586-1468
Haymarket Cafe, 185 Main St, (413) 586-9969