New England 2017: A sunny day’s walk in Northampton, and Rauchbier revisited.


The barista at Esselon Cafe asked me if I was a music teacher. I said no, just an intuitive drummer.

As is my usual custom, I’ll be posting photos, commentary and links about our trip; the daily accounts will be back-dated to coincide with their occurrence. It won’t be the most thrilling reading, but in addition to whatever else NAC may or may not have become over the years, it’s still a personal blog, and you’re fully entitled to views of our holiday.

We awoke on Thursday morning in a condition gradually approaching exhaustion, albeit of a pleasing holiday-like type. This was briefly remedied by a visit to the superb Esselon Cafe in Hadley.

Independently owned and operated, Esselon was founded in June 2006 and has grown from an award winning cafe, to a retail and wholesale provider of fresh-roasted artisan coffees, fine teas, and coffee equipment, coffee and accessories. Both our cafe staff, and our roasting crew, are highly committed to quality, consistency, and friendly attentive service.

The coffee, sweets and meals are first-rate (we returned both Friday and Saturday), and they’ve done wonderfully with a transplanted tin ceiling.

Northampton kept calling us back, and we kept obeying. On Thursday, Jen and Ruby joined us for a stroll through historic neighborhoods where we’d be lucky to be able to afford the shed in the backyard.

This caught my attention.

Absolutely no, insists New Albany’s governing elite — it simply isn’t possible to paint a crosswalk.

Lunch brought us to Northampton Brewery for a second time.

Later in the afternoon after Ben got off work, Diana stayed to babysit Ruby while I accompanied the Brennans to Fort Hill Brewery in Easthampton, to which Ben had introduced me last year.

Lovely Rauchbier. A smoked golden lager was on tap, too, and we took a growler back to South Hadley for dinner.

From their web site.

Dinner was smoked lager from Fort Hill and carry-out from Autentica Mexican Food, which is located in the Commons opposite Mt. Holyoke College in South Hadley, walking distance from the Brennans.

iAutentica! offers a unique menu that features the famous red and green chilé, commonly associated with the state of New Mexico. Only the freshest chilés from New Mexico, the Mecca of where chilés are grown in the United States are used.

For the first time our whole trip, the Friday forecast called for sustained day-long rain. It didn’t matter. That’s why we have package stores.