We’ve had a particularly cold and unpredictable winter this year, and our passengers were ready to get out of the house. We filled a single motor coach this time and had a roster of 42 passengers. Some of our clients were tried and true; some were newbies. All were excited to be getting out on a day that wasn’t icy – Today, clouds and sun with temps hovering around 40 degrees. Nice for February.
We departed at about 7:30 AM and followed route 9 west – stopping at a McDonald’s in Hadley. After a light breakfast, we were ahead of schedule, and decided to take a half hour at Trader Joe’s so we’d arrive for the shopping portion of our trip just as stores opened in Northampton. Everybody was happy with the extra stop. Let the shopping begin!
We dropped off at the center of town, and most of our group headed for the shelter of Thorne’s Marketplace. Here is a group of shops inside and undercover. Some looked for clothes; some for jewelry; some for books; and others enjoyed stores that were more home-oriented. Everybody seemed to have a nice time. I saw some of our passengers in the paper store down the street, and a few in 10,000 Villages. And some made it to Bruegger’s Bagels on Main Street and sat with a cup of coffee. You can smell the hot bagels from outside – a very popular place!
At noon, we boarded our coaches and steered back toward Amherst where we were scheduled to have lunch in the grand ballroom at the Inn on Boltwood (formerly the Lord Jeffery Inn). The crew was ready for us and the room was set up with 6 round tables - each with tea lights and crisp linens in blue and gold. We settled in; ordered drinks from our bartender; and waited while the wait staff served salads. What a menu! Everybody loved what their talented chef served up.
LUNCHEON at a COUNTRY INN
Baby Field Greens, pistachios, feta cheese, dried cranberries
with sherry vinaigrette
Grilled Sirloin Steak with mushroom sauce
Pan-Seared Salmon with fennel saffron relish
Vegetable Wellington with tomato sauce
Chocolate Rum Raisin Cake with caramel & whipped cream
Chef’s Choice of Vegetable, Potato, and Warm Buttered Rolls
Soft Drinks, Coffee, & Tea Included
Cash Bar for Alcoholic Beverages
After lunch, we toddled back to our coach, and headed for our next stop, the Eric Carle Museum just fifteen minutes away. Eric Carle is a children’s picture book illustrator, and his museum is dedicated to showcasing art created by children’s book illustrators. The museum has several large galleries, an auditorium for films, a marvelous art studio where kids of all ages create their own works, and a superb bookstore where you can buy children’s books and art supplies. Most had never been here, and all had a good time.
I loved this trip. The destination was close to home, and the stops were simple and direct. The meal was a great success, and it was good to get out on a winter’s day. Everybody had a great time, and there was much talk about the upcoming Summer Place Mystery Trip. Lots of people are ready to book!