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February 21, 2012
Travel / New England / Town Guides / 48 Hours in Northampton: Things to Do

Northampton – Play

Lautrec
For a small town, Northampton has a ridiculous number of options for music, art, theater and recreation. Here’s my list.
Smith College Museum of Art 
Take a short stroll up Elm Street to the world class Smith College Museum of Art, where even the bathrooms are artful. Expanded and renovated in 2003, the museum houses masterful works, an atrium cafe and curated gift shop. The current show, Debussy’s Paris: Art, Music and Sounds of the City is a multi-media exhibit incorporating works by Degas, Redon, Monet and Manet from the Museum’s collection, and listening stations that explore the “soundscape” of Paris during Debussy’s lifetime: a virtual cacaphony of music, street vendors, dance performance and poetry. Through June 10th.  www.smith.edu/artmuseum
In association with the exhibition, the Smith College Music Department presents a weekend of concerts, lectures, and more. Free and open to all. March 9th – 11th. For more info:  www.smith.edu/music/artsfest.
The Botanic Gardens and Lyman Conservatory at Smith
During the long winter months, I used to sneak away to the Lyman Conservatory for (literally) a breath of spring and the humid, tropical air in the turn-of-the-century green houses. Thousands of flowers are forced into bloom during the Spring Bulb Show in early March. Open daily, free.
The Bike Path and Norwottuk Rail Trail
The 9-mile long Norwottuk Rail Trail connects Northampton to Amherst, through the fields and farms of Hadley. Stop at Esselon (in Hadley) for sustenance. In the other direction, The Bike Path (with a disconnect over live rail in Northampton) heads 1.75 miles to Florence. For a map and parking: http://www.mass.gov/dcr/parks/central/nwrt.htm
Ride Noho
From “My First Road Bike Camp” to centuries and climbs, Ride Noho provides cycling weekends and training camps for all levels of riders. June through October. www.ridenoho.com
Karuna Center for Yoga and Healing Arts
My yoga teacher, Ava Tyler, recommends Karuna and heads up often for their schedule of workshops and visiting teachers. Daily classes are drop-in, but check out the events schedule for Body Image and Yoga (Women, Food, God, Love, Addictions, Cravings, Control) with Eileen Muir on March 4th and upcoming teacher training and classes with Rodney Yee. karunayoga.com
Arts Night Out
Arts Night Out, Northampton’s monthly Arts Walk features art events in the shops, galleries and restaurants on the second Friday of every month. Click here for a listing of venues and upcoming events.
Northampton Arts Council
For upcoming community art events go to:  www.northamptonartscouncil.org
Music
The Iron Horse Entertainment Group presents concerts from up-and-comers to big names at their four venues in and around Northampton: Iron Horse Cafe, Calvin Theater, Pearl Street Night Club and seasonally at the Mountain Park Ampitheater. For upcoming concerts: www.iheg.com
The Academy of Music
This historic theater presents a full calendar of live theater, film, music and dance performances. www.academyofmusictheatre.com
For a list of Northampton restaurants, click here. For my favorite shops, click here. 
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