With May kicking off this past Saturday, I was delighted to wake up that morning to find a blue, sunny sky greeting me. I had plans to take some photos with my friend/neighbor/photographer, Dan, so having lots of natural light- and no rain!- would make for some great pictures and no hassle. Granted, it was still just the teeniest bit chilly out- but it wasn’t unbearable. Given the strange and unpredictable weather we had throughout most of April- an occasional gust of cold wind on an otherwise beautiful day was a relief in comparison.
We’d started off in the morning and gradually worked our way to different and serene locations around the Pioneer Valley- beginning in Leverett, winding through Amherst, Northampton, Williamsburg, Goshen- and finally closing out our afternoon/evening with quick stops in Ashfield and Shelburne Falls. It was the ultimate tour of the Valley- with plenty of waterfalls, streams, local hiking/cycling spots- and lots of blooming trees and flowers.
But Dan and I had also decided to make a “food tour” day of it, as well- picking a few different places to grab quick bites and full meals along the way. If there’s one thing I absolutely love about living in Western Massachusetts- it’s that there’s no shortage of amazing places to eat.
We’d kicked off our afternoon with lattes from Amherst Coffee, which acts as both a café and a bar (although the bar side hasn’t re-opened yet. Soon, though!) and a couple of slices of pizza from Antonio’s– which is right across the street. They’re famous for a wide selection of unique, by-the-slice pizza options- and I was thrilled they had my favorite- tortellini pesto, available.
While traveling through Haydenville, we’d stopped again for some BBQ at Local Burgy– a renowned food truck next to a greenhouse and ice cream shop. I again loaded up on some carbs with a serving of pulled pork macaroni and cheese- and it was pretty much life-changing.
And finally, after a day of driving, hiking and capturing some truly wonderful photos- we closed out the day with a couple of drinks and the best nachos in the world at West End Pub in Shelburne Falls.
It was truly the most fun, relaxing, and filling way to spend a Saturday- and was much-needed- especially given that this coming weekend I’ll be getting my second COVID-19 vaccination shot. I’ve heard from a few people that it’s a miserable, but short-lived, experience- so I’m taking the time to rest, recharge, and drink a lot of Gatorade after-the-fact.
I’m hoping I’ll be up for getting more food around my neighborhood once any side effects wear off. There’s just so many good places to go!