DescriptionSettled in 1654, Northampton was an isolated frontier village for its first 150 years. Past residents include 18th-century Puritan theologian Jonathan Edwards and Calvin Coolidge, who served as Northampton's mayor 1910-11 before moving on to the Massachusetts State House and eventually the White House.
The community also is known as the location of Smith College, which opened in 1875. The respected women's liberal arts college has educated such movers and shakers as Julia Child, Margaret Mitchell and Nancy Reagan.
Today Northampton is a cultural hub boasting a lively music scene, numerous ethnic restaurants and seasonal art festivals. In residence at the Academy of Music, 274 Main St., are the Pioneer Valley Ballet, the Pioneer Valley Symphony, Greene Room Productions and Old Deerfield Productions. In its heyday, the 800-seat theater built in 1891 hosted everyone from French stage actress Sarah Bernhardt to magician Harry Houdini. For the box office, phone (413) 584-9032, ext. 105.
Visitor InfoGreater Northampton Chamber of Commerce 99 Pleasant St. NORTHAMPTON, MA 01060. Phone:(413)584-1900
ShoppingDowntown Northampton shelters a number of eateries, independent retailers and art galleries. Most stores are centered on and around Main Street between State and Market streets. The highlight of this pedestrian-friendly shopping district is Thornes Marketplace (150 Main St.). Built as McCallum's Dry Goods store in 1873, the building now houses 30-plus businesses. You'll find everything from women's clothing to gourmet coffees to natural baby-care items at the fun, urban bazaar.
NightlifeMuch of Northampton's nightlife revolves around music. Two of the most popular spots to see touring bands in concert are sister venues Iron Horse Music Hall (20 Center St.) and the Calvin Theatre (19 King St.); phone (413) 586-8686. If a juke box will do ya' just fine, head to Ye Ol' Watering Hole (287 Pleasant St.). In addition to pool tables and dart boards, the dive features a beer museum with a collection of more than 4,000 cans, some of which are from the 1940s. Phone (413) 585-0990.
Things to SeeThe Botanic Garden of Smith College