I get to know Northampton, a small city in western Massachusetts, as my daughter started her college last year. She goes to University of Massachusetts (UMass) in Amherst, a neighboring city of Northampton and we always pass by Northampton before reaching Amherst by car or train. My first encounter of Noho, the city’s nickname, was an eye-opening. The city is so charming with rows of 19th century buildings along its main streets. The downtown area especially, oozes that charm. For someone who has never come here, let alone heard about Northampton, I was in awe and felt dumbfounded. Every time we come to Amherst either dropping-off or picking-up our daughter from her dorm , or me having a solo trip to attend UMass Symphony Orchestra concerts (our daughter plays violin with them), I’d make sure I’ll visit Northampton and strolling down its beautiful downtown area. My love for old buildings, history and architecture find its way in this city. Thomas Cole, my favorite landscape painter who established the Hudson River School, painted the Oxbow in 1836 depicting a romantic panorama of Connecticut River Valley after the thunderstorm as viewed from Mount Holyoke in Northampton. It showed how he loved Northampton and its environment.
The city was called “Norwottuck” or “Nonotuck” by the native inhabitants of the area which was the Pocumtuc. The name means “the midst of the river” and Northampton is situated by Connecticut River. Its splendid surrounding has attracted many, including the “Swedish Nightingale” – Jenny Lind, a famous opera singer, who thought Northampton as “Paradise of America”. That’s how this city’s other nickname is the Paradise City. Noho is known as the city with cultural, arts, educational and historical background where Christian revival, slave abolitionist, artists and people with eclectic lifestyle thrive. Clarke School for Hearings and Speech was established here in 1867 which was United State’s first oral school for the deaf. Alexander Graham Bell was one of their school leaders. Other educational establishment founded in Northampton is Smith College, a private liberal art college for women, founded in 1871. Their famous alumni are Julia Child, Barbara Bush, Nancy Reagan – both were US first ladies, and also American poet and writer, Sylvia Plath.
Having a road trip means stopping occasionally when something interesting is seen. That also means turning around when the thing we saw was being passed quickly. During our trip to Cape Cod in Massachusetts, we passed by a windmill on U.S. Route 6 and I just had to see it closely. So we turned around and I wandered for a while. As I suspected, the windmill is a very old. In fact, it’s actually the oldest windmill on Cape Cod. It was built by Thomas Paine in 1680 in Plymouth. Plymouth was the first European Colony in America. The windmill then moved to Truro in 1770 by ferrying it on a log raft across Massachusetts Bay. It must have been quiet a task! The windmill then moved again on an ox cart to Eastham in 1793 and 1808 was set up on its recent location on the Village Green. The windmill worked to grind the grains into flour. The surrounding scene around the Green was typical of a New England small town, picturesque and calm. It was fortunate that the weather was amazing when we passed Eastham and I got to take several of the most wonderful images of the windmill. I wished we could stop by longer and had some picnic on the Green. It must’ve been wonderful!
The towns of Sandwich and Plymouth in Massachusetts are among the oldest towns in United States. They situated in the area in Massachusetts which is a cape in the southeastern part of the state called Cape Cod. Cape Cod is famous for its beaches and quaint New England style towns. Town of Sandwich is the oldest town on Cape Cod being settled in 1637. While Plymouth was the first permanent settlement of the European who came to the New World (America) and became the Plymouth Colony. I visited these two towns in summer and although I didn’t explore much, I managed to visit several places and snapped some wonderful and interesting scenes on my cellphone. The SNAPS FROM A ROAD TRIP is the newest theme I want to develop on this blog that consists the pictures I took with my cellphone camera. Please, enjoy!
Some places are meant to be visited more than once. Because although they may seem the same in shapes, their surroundings may change from time to time. The first time we came to one place, we created some memories. Then when the second time came, to visit it once more, those memories might add or replace by the new ones. When I visited this historical place called OLD STURBRIDGE VILLAGE in 2002, in Massachusetts, with my family and a couple of friends, I never thought that I would visit it again three times. Back than, we had a lot of fun and since our children were still toddlers, the significant history and other interesting parts of this live museum, seemed didn’t matter much. We only saw the museum as a place to be, nothing more to it. It’s simply recreational. Years gone by, and my younger daughter who was 14 months-old back in 2002, was a 5th grader two years ago. She and her class planned a school trip to visit the same Old Sturbridge Village, and I was asked to chaperone them. I loved to go there again, to catch up what I missed the first time I came. This time, I joined the 5 students under my watch, to learn the same things they would learn about the stories and facts about the place and matters, and to create new memories.
When we visited Old Sturbridge Village, it was just 6 months after Hurricane Sandy wreak havoc in New England. The devastation was still present when we reached this outdoor museum. The damaged and uprooted trees were strewn about, toppled on top one another. It’s eery. That scene was a little bit different when I had another chance to chaperone, this time my youngest’ , just two weeks ago. New plants have emerged and the open space where there used to be some trees standing, were more lush with some brushes and baby trees. We were greeted by so many wildflowers that grow covering the meadows. The water was a little bit high from the big rain before and it reached parts of the dirt road. It was my third times visiting the place, and it felt like going back to a place I knew well. The three boys under my guide wandered here and there wondering about things that attracting them. They tried pumping an old water pump located in the middle of the village. It was hard and they had to be patient waiting for the water to come out. Oh, the joy they exclaimed when after a while the water sprouted out! As we took our journey further, I added another memory to the ones I’ve had before, especially since that day was my son’s birthday. He sure was a happy 10-year old all day.