What you'll discover in Northampton is a lovely and vibrant town with lots of local color, fun shopping, and good eating. It's a short drive - just under an hour - North on Route 91 from Hartford, CT. The easiest way to approach Northampton is by taking Exit 18 off of Rt. 91 N; turn left off the ramp and you'll be on Route 5 (also Pleasant Street) which goes through the center of town. Aside from checking out the town, there are a couple of live music venues. Smith College has a whole campus to explore. There's also a local biking and walking trail that's part of the Rails-to-Trails Conservancy ... when you're done browsing in town, perhaps wander along this path that's scenic and easy to navigate; or bring your bike to do more extensive exploring.
WEBS yarn store
You'll pass WEBS on your way into the town center. WEBS is a well-known knitting store. If you do knit, chances are you will love it here. Don't forget to look for great discounted items in the back warehouse area. Bring someone with you who can help you keep your buying impulses in check!
Parking for your visit
If you're looking for easy, safe, and inexpensive parking, count on the E. John Gare garage. As you continue along Rt. 5 from Rt. 91 and approach the traffic light at the main intersection in town, look on your left for Armory Street. Turn left there and proceed to the parking lot or garage. For the ground lot, you must display a ticket in the car window. For the garage, don't forget to take your ticket to pay at the kiosk before returning to your car. There is also metered parking in town.
Thorn's Market is one of the fine attractions of downtown. From the parking garage, there's a walkway on the 3rd level that brings you straight into the market (also wheelchair accessible). As soon as you open the door from outside, there's an amazing sensory-overload! Breathe deeply the wonderfully blended aromas of coffee, chocolate, food, and je-ne-sais-quoi. Buy something to savor. Look around at several levels of shops with their eclectic items for sale. Listen to the bustle of activity around you. Enjoy taking it all in!
So much more...
There's more to Northampton (forthcoming); but for now, best wishes on your first venture into town.