Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Travel Bug

I took a really quick trip up to Northampton Massachusetts over the weekend with a mission: help my mom with her yard sale. Part 2 of the mission: drink margaritas at Mama Iguanas.
Missions completed & successful!
My mom and I did a huge yard sale last year, so this one wasn't nearly as big. Once you get into the swing of pricing things (CHEAP) it's easy to just slap stickers on all of it. We got up early on a gray Saturday and dragged everything to the driveway so we could start around 8:00. The rain held off until 11:00 and we were pretty much done anyway- all of the really big stuff was gone and she'd made a decent amount of cash. SUCCESS! The goal was to amass enough money to get 2 margaritas a piece- we definitely hit that.
While I am really happy that my mom is moving on to an entirely new phase of her life very soon- moving south, living with her partner, starting a great new job, and generally being really happy and content, I am going to miss visiting her in Northampton. A LOT. I know she will miss living there. It's such a cool little town- there's lots of funky artsy shops and coffee houses and interesting restaurants. It's also got Smith College so there's definitely an intellectual feel to the place. Mostly though there's such a casual, relaxed, environmentally conscious, open minded vibe that it is just a pleasure to wander around and people watch.
I visited all of my favorite Northampton stores- I got to Cedar Chest and Faces and Pinch and what I always think of as "The Scarf Store" in Thorne's Marketplace but I have no idea what it's actually called! I bought a few things that were really perfect. At Faces I bought a mug that says "This is your world. Shape it or someone else will." At Pinch I found a small wall hanging with a picture of foggy trees that says "On dark dreary afternoons, practice being Jane Austen." Which I just ADORED, so I snatched that up in about 15 seconds. And at the scarf store I found the coolest bag. It's by a line called Travelon, and they do lots of really well designed travel bags. This is just a regular nylon hobo purse that doesn't look too utilitarian. What makes it awesome is that it's thief-resistant. The zippers have clips so they can't be opened easily. There is steel mesh between the shell and lining so the purse can't be slashed (and the strap can't be cut). And the strap has a carribeener at one end so that you can loop it through a chair handle, or as I learned last night at the grocery store, through a cart handle. It's really light and has good proportions and tons of pockets inside for the most OCD organizer. The lining is light blue so I can find stuff easily. And when I got it home I realized it also has a little LED light attached to the inside with a snap. SCORE!
I could not be more pleased with a handbag. I love it when things are engineered SMART. It raises my standards for everything else.
We ate some really fantastic food too. Mom has already sold her kitchen table and chairs and most of her stuff was packed in boxes so she just decided we were going to eat out a lot. On Friday night we had an excellent Italian dinner at Roberto's (it happened to be restaurant week so we tried the set menu). There was a polenta cake with asparagus and pesto as an appetizer, and then an amazing vegetable lasagna, followed by lemon cake for me and chocolate cake for her. And a good amount of red wine.
On Saturday night we ate Mexican food at Mama Iguanas- veggie nachos (with pickled onions- WOW) and I had shrimp tacos which I think were delicious but we were so buzzed on margaritas that they could have been terrible and I would have raved. We shared juicy stories and dark secrets and laughed and laughed and then had to wander around town for a while because we were both too drunk to drive. Those drinks are STRONG. (And so so SO good if you like margaritas- some people don't. Those people are not my friends.)
On Sunday morning we ate brunch at Wiggins Tavern in the Hotel Northampton and it was another amazing meal. There was some kind of quiche thing that I'm still thinking about, their hash browns were perfect, and the desert bar had these little chocolate raspberry cream cheese cake tart deals that I can practically taste.
I know that I will be back in Northampton some day. It won't be quite the same because mom won't be living there anymore, but I bet staying in that hotel would be a great vacation. New England is beautiful and I always forget how different it feels when I'm so wrapped up in stuff down here in Tennessee. The landscape, houses, buildings, and people just look different. And it's also so much cooler. I came home to temperatures in the 90s. Ugh. Southern summers are such a bitch. (As I type this it is 94 degrees outside, and the heat index is around 100. In Northampton it is 78 degrees with zero heat index. New England is looking good.)

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