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Welcome, new readers! You can read all about my travel here.

My perfect Massachusetts getaway in Hampshire County of Western Massachusetts included just a fraction of the amazing restaurants and cafes in the region. It’s the most productive farmland in New England, and Hampshire County is a foodie paradise.

After I checked into the beautiful Lord Jeffrey Inn, I decided to check out Amherst Coffee, which I had heard great things about, for a cocktail. Amherst Coffee isn’t just a coffee shop; it’s also a whiskey bar after 3:00 p.m., making for a space that is multi-use, and it is one of the coziest places ever. I loved all of the dark wood, the friendly and warm staff, and the craft cocktail menu.  I ended up visiting two days in a row, opting twice for the Walnut Old Fashioned, the perfect balance of sweet and bitter.

Amherst Coffee

I had a hard time deciding on dinner, because Amherst has so many great restaurants, but since The Lumber Yard was new-to-me, I decided to wander  in the cold, starry night down to this cozy restaurant, located near the railway station I used to travel through as a student at UMASS. It was the perfect choice.

The Lumber Yard Amherst

The Lumber Yard Amherst

The Lumber Yard mixes Amherst country charm with everything a cocktail lover and foodie would want, including a full bar with great wines by the glass, charming service, and delightful locals at the bar.  While sipping a penicillin at the bar and chatting with some local ladies, I felt the need to move to Amherst ASAP. Truth be told, I feel that every time I visit. There’s a relaxed free feeling about the place, and at my core, I am the nose ring decorated, backless shirt wearing, Phish following hippie I was in college, molded into a more conventional life in the city.  I like the old me, and that nose ring may make a reappearance.

penicillin cocktail

But back to the cocktails and food. . . everything at The Lumber Yard was SO good. The cocktails were so perfectly made, and my fries with dips and the warm lentil dip I had were both amazing. The Lumber Yard was one of the best dining experiences I have had lately, and I wish it wasn’t two hours away. It is well worth a visit.

perfect fries

The Lumber Yard Amherst On my way back to the Lord Jeff, I spied a live music session happening at one of my favorites, The Black Sheep Deli.  I had plans to have breakfast the next day at The Black Sheep, but I couldn’t miss the music so stepped inside for some toe-tapping fun for a few minutes.

Black Sheep Amherst

The Black Sheep has always been one of my favorites, and I loved seeing their window signs welcoming refugees and got a kick out of their Brooklyn Bernie sandwich.

Black Sheep Amherst

I only made a few stops in Amherst due to the limited amount of time I had there, and I am so grateful I get the chance to work with Hampshire County and to visit the region on a regular basis.

bueno y sano amherst

And of course, no visit to Amherst is complete without a stop at Bueno y Sano for a taco fix and Atkins Farms for their famous cider doughnuts and other local products.

Atkins Farm Donut

In the interest of full disclosure, I do PR  work for the Hampshire County Regional Tourism Council, but I chose to arrive early and stay in Amherst after my work was done and paid for all of that myself just because I love it there so much.

It’s a special place, and I am thrilled I get to share even a little bit of it with my blog readers.

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Tags: Amherst, Dining out, Food, food blog, Hampshire County, Massachusetts, Travel, travel blog, Western Massachusetts

The Other Side of Massachusetts is an often-overlooked location when Boston residents are planning getaways. We often look to Portland or Newport or the Cape, and all of those are amazing, but when you want something new and different, I would heartily recommend checking out Amherst, especially during times when UMASS and Amherst College are not in session.

Full disclosure: I work with the Hampshire County Regional Tourism Council on their PR, and I am a Western Massachusetts loving UMASS grad, but my love of the area really comes from all that it has to offer, including history, quaint inns, incredible restaurants, farms, breweries, wineries (Black Birch is a must-visit), outdoor activities, walkable little towns, and a vibe that I just can’t describe. The shopping is great; you can find many locally made products along with great book stores, music shops, wine shops, and boutiques.

The Lord Jeffrey Amherst

I visited Amherst and Northampton this past week to give a presentation on PR for the region to tourism partners, and I stayed at The Lord Jeffrey Inn. During my years as a student at UMASS, I had always wanted to stay at the inn, so I was excited to finally have an occasion to do so and to receive a rate that worked with my budget.

Located in the center of downtown Amherst, right on the Common, The Lord Jeffrey has welcomed guests as an inn since 1926. I arrived just before sunset, and I received a warm welcome at check in.

The Lord Jeffrey Inn


The Lord Jeffrey Inn

The Lord Jeffrey Inn, Amherst

My room was cozy and comfortable, decorated with a nod to the inn’s historic nature but with all of the contemporary touches you could want, including a gas fireplace, Wi-Fi, and an amazing shower.

I want to return to the inn just so I have more time to hang out and enjoy the room!

Lord Jeffrey Inn

Since I only had one night, I quickly headed back out to take a look around at the rooms that make up the common areas.

Lord Jeffrey Inn

Little seating areas are perfect for reading or getting work done, or enjoying a cocktail by the massive fireplace. The inn has a number of fireplaces, giving plenty of opportunities to warm up and relax. The entire place feels very laid back and welcoming, ideal for a getaway for a couple of days.

open fireplace

I ate my way around Amherst that night, trying some of the new-to-me places for cocktails and apps, and I will share all of that in a separate post, because, much like Portland, Amherst is a town you can visit just to spend the day eating and drinking.

My last stop of the night was 30 Boltwood where I sampled some of the cocktails on the menu along with a cheese board. The restaurant sources many of its ingredients locally, as many restaurants in the area do, and they are particularly interested in locally-driven cocktails. 30 Boltwood is the perfect place to end the night or even to stay at if you just want to take in the ambiance of the inn.

whiskey in a jar cocktail at 30 Boltwood

meat and cheese board

The event I presented at was a hospitality industry exchange where local hospitality partners can learn about each other, the Hampshire RTC, and working together to promote one another and the region. They have SO much to offer, so it was fun to be a part of this.

getaway ideas in Massachusetts

I left with a ton of new knowledge and ideas whirling around in my head, surrounded by beautiful scenery on my way out, and excitement to book my next visit. Outside of work, I hope to bring my husband back for a few days of brewery visits, farm visits, rafting, and hiking this summer. I can’t emphasize enough what a great getaway Hampshire County makes. And at only two hours from Boston, it’s an easy and pleasant day trip. Give it a try, and you will want to return!

Amherst, Massachusetts

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Tags: client, Hampshire County, hotel, hotels, Massachusetts, Travel, Western Massachusetts

Rosé is always in season in this house. While I curse the weather outside, I can sit by the fire with a glass of summer, cozy, warm, and dreaming of boating and wine country. It doesn’t hurt that Rosé is so good with food. This past long weekend we made tuna steaks with a delicious ginger sesame sauce (recipe to come) and I thought a bottle from the Dry Creek Valley would be a nice throwback to our last visit to Sonoma County.

Martorana Rose of Zinfandel This 2014 Martorana Family Winery Rosé of Zinfandel was the perfect pairing for the tuna. Dry, with lots of fresh mineral/stone notes and a hint of strawberry, for me this was the perfect style of Rosé. Not only was it delicious, but it went really well with the hearty tuna steaks and the spice and saltiness of the marinade.

The wine also brought back great memories of visiting their friendly tasting room on a scorching hot late summer day, a day where we also visited Truett Hurst for a glass of wine by the river. Bliss.

Healdsburg Truett Hurst Martorana wine tasting Sonoma County wine country

For other Dry Creek Valley wine posts:

Lambert Bridge Winery

Amista Vineyards

Dry Creek Valley (a VERY old post!)

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Tags: Dry Creek Valley, Healdsburg, Sonoma County, Travel, wine, wine of the week, wine tasting

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