Thursday, October 28, 2010

Won't You take me to...Funky Town

Memories...pressed between the pages of my mind
Memories...sweetened thru the ages just like wine

Recently, with all the mixed publicity regarding the great state University, I have found myself thinking about Amherst more than usual. Perhaps it was the unfortunate passing of the great George Parks (it seems whether it was emails from alumni groups, Drum Corps International, or Facebook, tributes, well-deserved, were everywhere), or the ramp-up to the Colonial Classic this past weekend at Gillette Stadium, I really miss Amherst.

There was something special about Amherst. The “Five College” area (UMass, Amherst College, Hampshire College, Mt. Holyoke and Smith) had it’s own sensibility…let’s just say the Tea Party would not likely be warmly embraced.

Amherst was full of funky restaurants, bars and shops. I’ve seen some recent pictures of the downtown area, and it looks funkier than ever (and those that know me best often connect me and “funky”). As mentioned in an earlier post, I could not get enough Taco Villa, a little Mexican restaurant that was dirt cheap. To go, you needed to walk down a tiny alley, and go down two steps, physically and sociologically, but it was a typical college “cheap eats” and damn good at that.

Of course, Panda East was a pleasant Chinese restaurant, but Sze’s in North Hampton was the higher-end of the Chinese food chain. That was more of a special occasion restaurant, and their Sunday brunch was terrific. My parents enjoyed Sze’s, as did I, and I note, an anonymous poster, whomever that was.

The area had it’s share of funky shops too. Northhampton had plenty of consignment clothing stores, along with antique shops. Amherst had the usual and sundry array, but I especially likes “Faces”, which defies description. I also recall that there was a place called “East Heaven Hot Tubs” in NoHo, where you could rent hot tubs by the half-hour…sort of like a Russian Bath House, but more private. You can let your own imagination work it’s magic with that concept…but it’s still in business, apparently catering to more of the “spa” aspect that drunk college kids…

No walk down memory lane would be complete without thinking about the places on campus that I frequented. Mentioned in previous posts-The Blue Wall, Dirtfoods (Earthfoods), Top of the Campus…

There were lots of places…whether on Route 9 in Hadley, downtown Amherst, NoHo or Sunderland (Bub’s!!!). I’m planning on taking the Junior Palate out to Amherst on November 6 for the football game and a little fraternity tailgating, and no doubt we’ll be heading into to Amherst for a post-game meal. I just hope the “sweetened” memories live up to their reputation…

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