Community City Guides

Green City Guide: Northampton and Amherst

Grab your EV and embark on this easy, eco-friendly escape to Northern Massachusetts.

With lots of sustainability-minded local business and many convenient locations to charge your electric vehicle, Northampton and Amherst are great, green places to visit when planning an eco-friendly daytrip or weekend getaway in Massachusetts.

Both cities are home to a vibrant community of scholars, artists and farmers, and have lively downtown areas comprised of charming restaurants, museums, art galleries, coffee shops, bookstores and boutiques. The area is conveniently close to other major metropolitan hubs, such as Boston, and is known for its rich history and notable former residents, including poet Emily Dickinson, former President Calvin Coolidge, and abolitionist and suffragist Sojourner Truth.

Here’s a one-stop guide for Northeasterners who want a fun, food-filled weekend getaway not far from home, complete with recommended stops to Destination Electric businesses that promote environmental sustainability and are within walking distance of an electric car charging station.

Editor’s Note: We understand that travel is complicated right now and restrictions vary state to state. Check out the state’s COVID-19 site for up-to-date Massachusetts guidelines. If you plan on visiting any of the below destinations, we recommend wearing a mask and checking their official websites for possible closures, limited access announcements, and general safety guidelines.

Friday:

7 P.M.
Dinner

Indulge in farm-to-table eats at 30Boltwood, an upscale and inviting restaurant located within the Inn on Boltwood. Request a table on their rooftop terrace, which offers serene views of the Amherst Common, or their patio, which has a warm and inviting fire pit for colder days. Pair one of their hand-crafted cocktails, like the Beautiful Disaster (Four Roses bourbon, dry vermouth, mint syrup, chartreuse, lemon, fresh mint, $13) or a yummy mocktail with a classic New England Lobster Roll. Satisfy your sweet tooth with their homemade Strawberry-Rhubarb Galette or Vanilla Panna Cotta. We promise you can’t go wrong with either.

9 P.M.
Rest

Walk upstairs and unwind at the Inn on Boltwood, a treasured hotel in Western Massachusetts since 1926. Both a Silver LEED Certified hotel and a member of Historic Hotels of America, the hotel was built by an Amherst College graduate and has 49 unique guest rooms. Former famous guests of the inn include poet Robert Frost, who was a regular visitor, and poet Archibald MacLeish.

Saturday:

9 A.M.
Breakfast

Stop by local favorite Familiars Coffee & Tea for a delicious start to your day. Located downtown in an iconic red dining car, Familiars is best known for their locally, sustainably sourced, and hand-crafted coffees, espressos, and teas. Grab a breakfast sandwich, like the Mediterranean (egg, arugula, feta, roasted red peppers, balsamic, and cream cheese, or the fan-favorite Cranberry Walnut Toast, which is served with goat cheese and honey.

11 A.M.
Shop

Spend the morning exploring Thornes Marketplace, the city’s contemporary bazaar known for its collection of independent businesses. Pop into Cornucopia Natural Wellness Market for local and organic eats, herbal soaps, and canned kombucha. Supplement these healthy products with a visit to their sister store, Heavenly Chocolate, which serves artisanal chocolates and an astonishing assortment of bars, truffles, and vegan treats. No trip to a college town is complete without stopping at a quaint and charming independent bookstore. Pop into Booklink Booksellers and pick up a book by former Northampton resident Kurt Vonnegut.

1:30 P.M.
Lunch

Get lunch to-go from Belly of the Beast, a warm and eclectic eatery known for its locally sourced, nutrient-dense comfort food. Try their Fried Fish Sandwich (Berkshire procured local fried monkfish, lettuce, dill, watermelon radish, and green sauce) for a classic New England bite or the Bougie Grilled Cheese (Jasper Hill Chef’s cheese blend, Park Hill apples, and confit onions served on toasted rye). Complete your order with one of their craft beers, signature wines, hard ciders or nitro cold brews.

3 P.M.
Scenic walk

Take a lazy afternoon stroll on the Norwottuck Rail Trail, a picturesque 11-mile paved path along the former Boston and Maine Railroad. Keep your eyes peeled for the picturesque trail bridge which connects the towns of Northampton and Hadley and offers sweeping views of the Connecticut River.

6:30 P.M.
Dinner

Unwind and cozy up with a steamy cup of soup at Noodles. Try their signature Beef Stew Noodle Soup made with marinated chunk beef and vegetables in an exotic Thai style beef broth for only $9.95. Looking to spice things up? The Nava Noodle Soup will bring the heat and is served in a spicy lime broth ($11.95).

Sunday:

9 A.M.
Breakfast

Close out your trip to Northampton with a visit to Woodstar Café, a family-owned bakery and sandwich shop situated right in downtown. They source many of their ingredients from nearby farms and grow their own produce. Fuel up for your drive home with a bagel sandwich like The Vermonter (baked ham, cheddar, and Granny Smith Apple) or The Goat in the Garden (chèvre, smoked salmon, cucumber) both served up on your preferred choice of bagel. Don’t forget to snag a coffee from their espresso bar and a fresh-baked loaf of bread for trip home.

Charging:

Fuel up the electric way. Check out public charging stations, all conveniently located downtown near the listed Destination Electric businesses:

Amherst Town Hall
4 Boltwood Avenue
Amherst, MA
413-259-3333
Available EV plugs include J-1772.

Boltwood Garage
51 Boltwood Walk
413-259-3020
Amherst, MA
Available EV plugs include J-1772.

E.J. Gare Parking Garage
85 Hampton Avenue
Northampton, MA
413-587-1238
Available EV plugs include J-1772.

James House Lot
42 Gothic Street
Northampton, MA
413-587-1025
Available EV plugs include J-1772.

Whalen Insurance
71 King Street
Northampton, MA
413-586-1000
Available EV plugs include J-1772.

Interested in purchasing your first or next EV? Check out these nearby dealerships and use Drive Change. Drive Electric’s vehicle explorer tool to find your ideal EV match.

Lia Toyota of Northampton
280 King Street
Northampton, MA
833-353-0214
Available EVs include the 2020 Toyota Prius Prime.

Country Hyundai
347 King Street
Northampton, MA
413-551-4610
Available EVs include the 2019 Hyundai KONA Electric and 2019 Hyundai Sonata Plug-in Hybrid.

Northampton Volkswagen
361 King Street
Northampton, MA
413-248-4286
Available EVs include the 2019 Volkswagen e-Golf.

Burke Chevrolet
200 North King Street
Northampton, MA
413-372-1827
Available EVs include the 2020 Chevrolet Bolt.