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Fall Break

12.October 2009

Yesterday, Dan and I and the Little Dog took our annual Fall trip out West to Northampton and environs. We were out for a little leaf-peeping, a little escapism, and a little taste of the Autumn That I’m Having a Hard Time Getting Used To (TM).
Fig. 1. Leaves were peeped. Though I didn’t get any really spectacular photos of blazing trees or impressionistic hills, I think this fall is the most spectacular I’ve seen in a long time. I guess that’s a good reason to be thankful for the cold snaps of the last couple weeks, yes? Fall always makes me all shades of nostalgic, and never more than when I’m taking the fall drive out to Northampton. There’s this one rise in the road on the Pike near Brimfield that affords an amazing sloping view down into the valley as you come over the top of it. I know I don’t live out there anymore and it’s likely to be some time before I live out there again, but it always feels a little bit like coming home. There’s simultaneously a drop in my stomach and a bubbly feeling of excitement that never fails to make me feel choked up. The same thing happens to me after turning onto 91 North, after passing the Holyoke Mall, when it starts to look more like Northampton. The view out across South Hadley just south of Mt. Tom is another spot, as is the first view of the Connecticut river, just before Exit 18. And the whole Pioneer Valley is speckled with spots that make me catch my breath and want to cry happily, and yet out of a sense of nostalgia for lost experiences and fading, but still warm memories.
Fig 2. Cider Donuts were consumed. These were still warm when I bought them. Still warm. It was the kind of day where there was a line waiting for the donuts to come out of the kitchen. Crispy on the outside, sugar and cinnamon crackling with each bite. Little puffs of cider-y steam. Divine. If anything tastes like fall, it’s these donuts. We enjoyed them with a half gallon of cider that we drank from the jug. A perfect meal, all in all.
Fig. 3. Dan ate some donuts too.
Fig. 4. We drank delicious beers at the Northampton Brewery. I had an 8 ounce (very petite) Hoover’s Porter, which was one of the finest beers that has ever passed my lips. Why, oh why don’t they sell it in bottles?!Fig. 5. As we hit the road back home, we made a pitstop for a strawberry shake at the Whately Diner. This was another college haunt and definitely a place I wanted to share with Dan – he’s also a big diner fan. The pink neon glow and the shiny metal of the diner’s exterior is frozen in time, I think. It’s fabulous, but still somehow unsettling. Dan said it seemed like an X-Files episode should have been happening around us. It’s true. Places that stay static while the people who inhabit them (however temporarily) are uncanny. Places that change, although we expect them to stay the same, however, moreso.

More photos here.

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