having fun in Northampton

Local, NorthamptonIf you know me in real life, then it's no surprise that I'm going to be visiting the Northampton/Amherst, Mass region every now and then for the next few years. Lucky for me, because it's a cool area. I didn't take as many photos as I should have during my last visit. For example, I wish I'd gotten a photo of the "Sushi Love Boat for Two" I shared with Jen at Osaka one night -- total sushi overload. And I definitely should have snapped some photos at Atkins Farms in Amherst. Here's a recap of some other highlights.Donut Dip, Springfield, MassFirst, if you're driving north on 91 to Northampton, whatever you do, please do not forget to stop by Donut Dip in West Springfield. If you're into old-fashioned donuts, seriously, I can't imagine a more perfect place. Yeah, I love the crazy donuts at places like Doughnut Plant in NYC and Voodoo in Portland, but I'd trade those in a minute for a perfect cruller from Donut Dip. No food photos because I ate everything too fast.The Donut Man, near NorthamptonThe Donut Man, near NorthamptonSpeaking of old-fashioned doughnuts, The Donut Man in Hadley is absolutely worth a visit, assuming you're driving of course.Essentials, NorthamptonOnto Northampton -- now I can't even mention this town without giving a shout-out to my new buddies at the coolest shop in town, Essentials. Colette and Sydne, it was great meeting you.Local, NorthamptonLocal, NorthamptonLunchtime -- all burger lovers have to eat here. Something tells me that Local is a mad-house at certain times of the day or week, but we missed the crowds by going a little late. These guys do burgers right. Honestly, I'd take this place over anything in NYC. No, really. But as good as the burgers were, the sweet potato fries and these onion rings were even better, not to mention huge.Hungry Ghost in NorthamptonVisiting Hungry Ghost Bread was almost an after-thought. And as you can see, it's easy to miss. Phew, thank goodness I found it. They make just a few kinds of bread, and they had only two types of cookies for sale, but it's all about quality over quantity. Don't misunderstand me -- the breads and cookies were actually gigantic. I just mean that some bakeries do a few things really well, and they don't have to flaunt it. One try and you'll be hooked. You should have seen me driving home, grabbing handfuls of the challah. Now a trip to the Northampton/Amherst area won't be complete without a visit here. Did I mention how big and awesome the chocolate chip cookies were?