western mass

November 10, 2008

If you can’t swing a dead cat in Portland without hitting a Thai restaurant, then you can’t swing said feline in Western Mass without hitting a Dunkin Donut. I had no idea North Easterners were so into fried dough. Seriously. And I miss good coffee. I was at a restaurant last night and saw they served coffee and asked the young women working the counter if the coffee was good and she got all insulted because she makes it. Of course I got some and it wasn’t badly made, but the brew itself was kinda flat. After trying an actual coffee shop this morning I’d say that they just don’t have the good beans out here in Western Mass. Damn, if Portland’s not ruined me for seriously good beans.

I’ve only been here in Northampton for about a day. So this is a pretty cursory report. As expected, there’s a serious college town vibe for sure, mixed with the old hippie thing and of course the lesbian factor, which is amazingly high. Really, I haven’t seen this many down-to-earth lesbians since I went to a womyn’s music festival. And that was way back in the day. Also, I haven’t seen so many stores selling so many things I would never in my life buy. Except maybe all the geegaw shops on the Oregon coast. I can’t say for certain if I’ve seen a butch or a femme, although I spied a pretty masculine dyke at the food coop last night.

I was a little sad that downtown doesn’t have a square. Just a main drag with streets shooting off it. I thought I’d get a nice small town square ala so many small towns in Indiana. No such luck. Walking around I passed three street musicians. All guys with beards and guitars, separated by a number of blocks. At one point each one was playing a different Neil Young song. A street jam conspiracy or coincidence? You tell me.

My girl lives out in the wilds surrounding Northampton. For you Bloomington folks it feels kinda like if you lived out in Brown Country or out past Lake Monroe. For the Portlanders, just imagine getting out past the urban growth boundry on some small road and you get the picture. But it’s a different world out here on the other side of the continent, although there are echoes of Willamette Valley and Southern Indiana, that is if I had to find something familiar in the landscape, which I do. It helps me orient myself.

I had forgotten what so many deciduous trees look like getting ready for winter. The way they bare themselves against each other and the sky. Not that there aren’t still a fair amount of fall leaves around. There are. It’s just that it looks like I’m on the other side of what must be quite stunning. And I guess that was several weeks ago. But it’s still beautiful. Thick and wild and beautiful. It must feel pretty lush round here come spring and summer.

Right now, the sun is out and I’ll call that good.


3 responses to “western mass”

  1. Clint says:

    Happy travels, Liz. I miss those trans-Mississippi views.

  2. JimA says:

    Yeah, Dunkin Donuts is prodigious out that way. We just got our first one in Bloomington, too. Whoa.

  3. Adele says:

    Out Past Lake Monroe Huh?
    Or maybe on the way there? Like say Maybe Will Souders Road (or was it Sowders?)
    Glad to see the new bus got you there.

leave a reply