Maybe you were expecting me to introduce you to Northampton, our new home, with something a tad more glamorous? More exalted? But Northampton is a very quirky place and I think it’s really fitting that I start you off in the Parking Garage, which everyone in town is inordinately proud of.

There are a lot of wonderful things to say about Northampton, and a lot of interesting things, but there’s one really terrible thing to say about it, and that’s summed up in one word:  PARKING.

Downtown (which in effect has double main streets, don’t ask) is crowded with lots of quaint shops and ethnic eateries, and also contains Smith College, a renowned women’s college with lots of students and buildings. AND for good measure it has three highways (routes 9, 5 and 10) running through it, not to mention the broad Connecticut River hemming it in at its eastern margin. Which leaves lots of people looking to come and spend time here and very little land on which to park their cars to do so.

There are quite a few outdoor lots sprinkled around behind the main streets. How long you can park and how much you’ll drop in the meter depends on where the lot is: the closer to main street, the shorter the parking time allowed and the higher the fee. Even so, those lots are always crowded. Hence — the Parking Garage, although folks felt so bad about having to charge at all that the powers that be decided the first hour should be free.

Northampton happens to be one of the GREENEST places you’ll find in these United States (we recycle everything, if you don’t move fast, you might find yourself recycled ((joke))). If we can’t talk you into using a bike instead, we’re certainly not going to settle for less than a green garage. I mean that literally. See the hanging baskets outside of the pay station. Then there’s the landscaping and the sculpture —-

Which was specially created for this space. It’s called “Birth” —

and this is the little one born from the mother sculpture.

Whoever heard of a parking garage doing double duty as an Open Air Art Gallery? But it suits the unique viewpoint of a town filled with musicians, artisans, craftspersons, and artistic folk in general —

Now that you know where to park, I look forward to showing you more of Northampton in the coming weeks. It’s a special place with a sense of humor and a distinctive personality, and there’s nowhere else quite like it.

(Quick time out for a click, to allow some unusual people to wish you a happy Thanksgiving, complete with Youtube song, over on A View from the Woods — )

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27 Responses to Welcome to NORTHAMPTON

  1. Pauline says:

    I LOVE Northampton. Cassie and I go there often when I’m visiting. I’ld love to stroll the town with you someday though – bet you know of places she hasn’t seen yet 🙂


  2. What a fun, quaint town Northampton appears to be! I was smiling all the way through this post. The sign brought a small chuckle. The sculpture filled me with curiosity and awe. You have definitely left me excited to see more of the beauty Northampton can offer. Please do hurry and share.


    • Touch2Touch says:

      I’m so glad it made you smile, Tara. That was my intention!
      That’s the kind of town it is, it often makes you smile!
      These are long posts, so they’ll be up for a while once I do them.
      After the garage, comes the library. We know our priorities!!!!


  3. Rebekah says:

    Lovely, funny post about what seems to be a fun place to be! I’m so looking forward to reading more… Good to see that recycling is a priority there. I really like that sculpture.

    Hoping I’ll get down to that area some time..


  4. thirdhandart says:

    I love towns filled with musicians, artisans and craftspersons. Can’t wait to hear more about Northampton.


  5. Stef says:

    This seems like a quaint, socially-conscious, quirky-yet-genial place; a perfect home for you, my dear! 🙂


  6. barb19 says:

    Northampton seems like quite a quirky kind of place, with some unusual ideas for it’s townspeople. Sounds like somewhere I would love to visit! Looking forward to learn more about your lovely town.


  7. Nice to meet you Northampton; I’ve heard good things about you from Touch. 🙂


  8. tms says:

    When you look for a flat here in Wiesbaden and ask locals about the various neighbourhoods, they are most likely to say something along the lines of “nice, but you wont find a parking lot there,” or even “great area, it’s so easy to park”.

    That was my first thought when I read your introduction. Later I realized that Northampton seems like a very good place to live, or at least visit. If I ever travel the United States again…


    • Touch2Touch says:

      Yes, parking has become vital to “quality of life” all around the world —
      In order to approach the many interesting and enjoyable aspects of Northampton — you first have to park the car!
      There’ll be more about Northampton on the blog beginning (with luck and perseverance) later today.

      We would be delighted to give you a personal tour, if you come some day!
      (Right now we look forward to the arrival of our young German friend, the niece of the friends who are our same age. She arrives from Cologne on the 11th to visit for a week.)


  9. 2e0mca says:

    Not sure how to take that bit ‘…and so are the Women’ 😉 It sounds like you have the same parking issues we have in central London.


  10. munchow says:

    Fun to read about your first description of Northhampton. I don’t know anything about the place, but I enjoyed reading the post. Thanks for sharing.


    • Touch2Touch says:

      Second piece out today, covering some other “quirky” aspects beyond parking!
      N’hampton can best be described by two adjectives. One is “quirky.” We’ll be moving on to “vibrant” in the next piece!
      I think you’ll enjoy the town —
      Thanks for coming by!


  11. Smallpeace says:

    A special place filled with artist types with a sense of humor and distinctive personality? Sounds like my kind of town, T2T! I’m putting it on the road-trip list.


  12. Amy says:

    Fun post – love the photos!


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