We got the word early Saturday that a group of friends was meeting up in Northampton. We loaded the bikes up again, and picked up another friend en route, with the promise of a bicycle ride. We all headed up to meet the rest of the crew. They had already had lunch by the time we arrived, so we joined them for dessert at Herrell's Ice Cream.
My first time in there, it was definitely a good, ice-creamy atmosphere. Nice and cool, pastel colors and stainless steel everywhere. Tom Daponde (head cut off, sorry) had the Brown Cow, and his daughter Amanda had some kind of cookie crunch mix do-dah thingy.
We went through Thornes, then around the back, and took a walk down an alley behind Pleasant Street Theater. Why not? This was a good one, as far as alleys go.
The graffiti under that vent says Kill Landlords. Hmm, that sounds discriminatory.
It was another beautiful day, in downtown Northampton. People lounged on the lawn of the County Courthouse among sculptures.
We had gotten there a little too late and missed an Obama rally, and a Green Northampton presentation. They were wrapping it up when we arrived.
Probably would have been pretty interesting to see. Luckily blogger Tommy Devine was there to capture some of the Obama-Love going on...
By this time, another member of the group had shown up on his bicycle. The bicycle-equipped people and non bicycle-equipped people now had to say good bye to each other, and part ways.
This xylophone player was providing some background music to the Noho scene:
Four of us hit the Northampton Bikeway.
The Northampton BikeWay, unlike the Norwottuck Rail Trail, is a city owned commuter way, and thus kept clear of snow in the winter. It goes north from downtown about 3.5 miles, into Florence, and ends near Look Park. This owners of this house situated trail side at 8 High Street, very generously provides seating for taking a break, an air pump station, a public phone, and even a lending library to passerby's.
They very cleverly incorporated a couple of bicycle wheels as portholes in their fence.
We went to the end of the trail, and rode on into Look Park. We stopped at a small hill top overlooking some playing fields and the Children's Train, an icon of the park.
There's also a small pond for paddle boating, and a small zoo. Add to that a lot of picnicking areas, a banquet hall, and The Pines; an outdoor concert arena. It's a pretty well rounded park.
The way back to downtown is a breeze, as the trail has a slight decline going that way. You can almost coast the whole way back. Yet it's not so steep as to be very difficult heading the other way. We all split up late in the afternoon, and headed back to our respective abodes. Kelly and I got home absolutely starving, and practically inhaled dinner. Getting on the computer afterwards, I was reminded of the Extravaganja Festival going on in Amherst. Hmm, forgot about that. It was going on until dusk, or about 8 pm. We jumped back in the vehicle, and struck north again, hoping to get a look at this all too famous gathering, of all things Hemp.
The crowd was thinning out considerably as we were getting there. But seeing the remnants of the crowd, we got an idea what it was all about...
It was just about over, with a few dawdlers hanging about, and the clean-up crews already at work.
Here's a little panoramic video of the winding down of the Festival, (with some commentary on my video practices...)
Amherst Blogger Larry Kelley was on the scene earlier, during the height of the festivities, and recorded some observations of the rally...
We hung out in town until after dark, walking up by Emily Dickinson's house, then around the block. We examined some daffodils and other flowers, wide open in the growing darkness, then parked ourselves in front of this fountain (The 'Sweetser Fountain') across from the town hall.
There was something mesmerizing about it, the sound of water gently falling, on this warm spring night. We sat there, watching it for a good half hour. (And that was without taking part in the festival!). We finally got moving. Sauntering back to the car to complete our day, we watched the full moon rising above Amherst.