Thank you so much for all of your sweet, supportive comments. I’m still going to try and answer all of them, but that will have to be tomorrow.
I also have vowed not to spend 20+ hours on this post as I have for the last two weeks.
But, before I get into the exquisite homes and gardens in Northampton, MA, I want to give you guys an update.
I am looking for a place to rent here in Northampton, for real.
However, I’m also gelling in my mind what it is I need. (and want)
Well, there’s a whole list of must-haves and hope to have. But, I think that’s a different post.
Some of you are concerned that I will be able to tolerate the harsh New England winter. Gosh, I lived for five years in Wisconsin. And, I can always escape to someplace warm for a few.
One item on my wish list is a fireplace. And, there ARE fireplaces, but they no longer work.
Okay, onto the topic at hand– the exquisite homes and gardens of Northampton, Massachusetts.
Above, I brought down the map again, so you can see where I am.
For now, if you’d like to read more about Northampton, please check out their Wikipedia page.
All of the photos below were taken by me with my I-phone. (except for two of a historic building) I believe that Cale and I have hit just about every neighborhood. We haven’t hit every street, however.
Northampton was first settled in 1654 but only became a city in 1883. And, that period through the very early 20th century is when most of the current homes were built. The style of these homes is late Victorian, also known as Queen Anne Victorian.
Although some homes are made of brick, the majority are of clapboard or shingle.
However, there are also some 18th-century Federal and colonial homes, as well as other styles of architecture.
Northampton is a city that, in 2010, had a population of 28,500. However, I understand that recently, they are estimating that the community has swelled to close to 100,000.
Well, sort of. I imagine that the population has grown, but we’ll have to wait and see by how much.
Please enjoy some of my favorite homes and gardens in Northampton, MA.
This photo was from the first walk that Cale and I took on May 18th. As you can see, it was the height of spring.
The building above might belong to Smith College, or not. I’m not sure. But, it’s very close to the campus. And, very close to where I am currently staying.
Across a green lives this beauty.
I have often fantasized about having an entrance ladened with wisteria.
Further up the road are some MASSIVE Victorian houses like this one. Most of the big houses have been broken up into small one or two-bedroom apartments.
This home is a typical Queen Anne Victorian in Northampton. I believe this one is near the Hungry Ghost.
23 Round Hill Rd is a superb example of a Gothic Revival home. It was built in 1860.
via Wikipedia – Round_Hill_Rd_23_Northampton_MA
This how the Walker Evans home looked a while back. It appears that they needed to rebuild the center gable. I imagine the way it is now is both sturdier and far easier to build. I love it painted all-white.
A colonial near Smith College.
A magnificent Greek Revival. But what’s up with that balcony on the second floor? Aren’t we missing a railing?
People in Northampton take time to “smell the roses.”
Lots of peonies in the last few weeks.
Same house, but a different view. Most of the time, I prefer to shoot photos on a mostly cloudy day. But, it’s nice to have some bright sunlight for a change.
Quintessential Queen Anne Victorian
And, one of the super-old-super-huuuuuuuge trees. (with my son, Cale who’s 6′-3″)
One of Northampton’s beautiful bike paths.
Another Queen Anne beauty
Okay. Remember the goat? Farming is big in Northampton. Yes, IN the city. Mini farms like this one. And, also community gardens. I love that.
Cale lives on the southeast side of the city. And, near him is this larger farm.
This beauty is on the way from my place to Cale’s house.
I couldn’t resist snapping these two women lunching outside.
The other day Cale and I went for a walk. He needs a LOT of exercise, so he left me, and I walked back on my own. However, my poor feet started screaming at me. And, so I took a rest here. That was when I decided that I needed to live here.
The Daughters of the American Revolution. This building dates back to 1753.
I think I shared this image before. But, I just love it.
I’m not sure if this is an old home or a new home. But, I love the symmetry.
The other day, Cale and I took a trek down the historic district on Elm St.
Oh, man, the houses! You can read more about the architecture here.
Huntington Mansion – Northampton, MA – Italianate – home – Elm St
This one was for sale a while back. I believe it is divided up into three homes. Most of them could use some work.
Above and below are the same sublime property on Elm Street.
Just beyond is a Federal or Colonial period home.
A magnificent Federal home.
A classic Colonial Revival
There is an apartment available in this Queen Ann Victorian home. I was supposed to go and see it. However, the manager had a death in the family and is now in Florida! It might be too small for me, anyway. However, I am seduced by the fireplace mantel. However, the kitchen is quite tiny, and there’s no dishwasher. I know. I’m spoiled.
And, Cale is interested in an apartment in this lovely old house.
I hope you have enjoyed this sampling of homes and gardens in Northampton, MA.
Does the entire city look like this?
Well, most of it, but not all of it. There are some less desirable streets and houses. There are even a few modern eyesores. However, they are the exception. But, what I love about Northampton is its diversity.
There is a community. And, one that takes tremendous pride in its rich history and diversification. I am looking forward to learning more about this beautiful city in western Massachusetts.
If you’re interested in learning more about Northampton and its beautiful architecture, please check out this fabulous blog, Lost New England– N’Hampton.
PS: Please check out the newly updated HOT SALES!
Oops–I think Noho tree a beech…glad you enjoyed your stroll!
Ah, you’ve hit upon the trifecta of life styles (IMO) – living in a gracious and charming antique home, nestled in an idyllic sylvan setting, near (hopefully very near) your darling son!
I wish you much deserved happiness!!
Funny. I hadn’t even written about the charming antique home I found.
Yes, you can do it, I know, I grew up in Wisconsin (southern girl now), this all looks beautiful in Northampton!!
Yeah, Wisconsin can be brutal in the winter.
If the spring was gorgeous, what until you see the area in the fall. Drive Rt.2/ the Mohawk Trail and you will definitely decide to stay…museums, music, art, food, natural beauty, space to breath and a doable drive to Boston.
Welcome to Western MA and New England!
Yes, less than two hours to Boston!
This place is gorgeous!! Go where you feel at home! Good luck!
Keep writing, I need your advise on many things 🙂
Thank you, Sue!
I love Northampton and the 5 College Area. I worked in Western Mass for 6 months. I stayed in a couple of towns. I was in a log cabin in the wood of Leverett, which abuts Amherst. One can purchase a small cottage for the cost of rent in a costlier area. You could have your own garden! I think you will love it. The country atmosphere combined with the progressive mindset is compelling. I’m from Newport Rhode Island. We have similar architecture. I’m currently living in Arizona and I often yearn for New England. The only thing missing from Northampton is the ocean. You do have the Connecticut River nearby though.
bingo! And, Rhodes Island is only two hours away.
Another beautiful post, Laurel! It’s almost like walking through Northampton. I really love your commentary. I’m learning about the architecture and it’s great to catch the gardens during the spring peak!
Oh, these pictures fill me with nostalgia! My father’s a New Englander, so as a child family get-togethers always meant Vermont or Maine and houses like those. There is something very restorative about living in a place where beauty surrounds you in daily life.
I have been reading and enjoying your blog for a few years but never thought I had anything to say but the pics that you have shared from Ma. Have moved me to comment. What a gorgeous area! I live in Fl so it is very different! I truly hope you find an apt in one of those fabulous homes. Also living near your dear son brings you obvious joy.. Embrace the opportunity and invite me next summer!
I’m so happy for you & your decision to be near your son.
We’ll all expect a complete tour of your new digs after you settle in.
Good luck with your search!
Hi Laurel, I went to college at Mount Holyoke and treasure my time in the Pioneer Valley. I’m so glad you’re drawn to Northampton! You might consider a hike (or a drive…) up Mt. Holyoke itself – there’s a fabulous view of Northampton and the oxbow in the Connecticut River, just as Thomas Cole painted it. …and wander around Upper Lake on Mount Holyoke’s Frederick Law Olmsted campus. I’d recommend peaking into the library, which is modeled after one of the Medici libraries, but perhaps that should wait until the pandemic winds down. All the best with the house hunting!
I choose the colonial near Smiths College!
Thank you for this marvelous look into what is another world for this West Coast reader.
Thank you for sharing your travels through the New England towns. If you can schedule it, the fall (mid October) is a also a time to see this area –breathtaking colors.
I really enjoy your posts. Thank you!
Wow. The flowers are stupendous. I, too, love wisteria and have two on my property right now which I am trying to sell so I can get back to warm/burning hot California. I deal with too hot way better than cold, never mind too cold. I wish you could find a small place you can afford to make perfect. We would all love to watch you do it. Be well everyone.
If and when you are ready to purchase an old house check out Circa old houses website. They list some beautiful old homes all over the country. I get on the site just to drool over some beauties! Good luck in your search!
Hi Laurel. I lived in the area you are in for 42 years–from my mid 20’s until 10 months ago. We have just completed a cross country move to be with son, wife and grandboys. Anyway, many of those years were in Northampton, on North Elm across from Child’s Park–lovely stroll! Other years were a bit north, just beyond Old Deerfield. Though I have left, welcome to the neighborhood! ; ) Anyway, the reason I write is, if you love a grand old tree, have Cale bring you to the center of Sunderland. Hard by the library will be a huge old famous sycamore, called the Buttonball (have lunch at the Bridgeside Grille, or dinner at the Blue Heron); and within Northampton, on Pomeroy Terrace,in front of College Church, is a truly grand old chestnut (I think)–anyway, both worth a view. I hope you find a wonderful residence and truly enjoy the beauty and community!
Cale and I walked past your old house the other day! Incredible area!
I’ve been a fan/follower/reader for a while — first time commenter. Love what you have been showcasing and how therapeutic this respite has been for you. Looking forward to hearing more about your future abode and seeing images of how you appoint it with your style. And, admittedly, have a personal interest in whatever temporary measures you take. We plan to sell our charming but too high maintenance 1937 home in New Jersey next year to temporarily relocate to an inherited farm in rural OK farm next year with a circa mid-90’s ranch house). We’ll eventually head for points West, but many iterations lie ahead!
In the meantime, loving live vicariously through your journey and new found serenity.
Thanks so much Pamela! And best to you as well.
What a lovely post of a fabulous area. I don’t think you are spoiled at all to want a dishwasher–come on, it’s the 21st century–and a fireplace and reasonable living space. If you go in with clear intentions such as these, I’m sure you will be successful in finding a really cool apartment. Enjoy the process. I sure enjoy your posts!
You know, if you and Cale could spring it, buy a beauty with three apts, live in two, and rent one. (He could be your property manager.😉) The reason I even mention it is because my parents are buying a second home in Gulf Shores, AL, and it’s a duplex. So when they retire there, they can live in half and rent the other. There’s just so many ways to afford a dream house…best of luck to you!
That is a great idea, Gabrielle!
Hello Laurel, I loved all these old houses in Northampton. What I especially liked is that there is so much architectural variety and quality in a small area. In the suburban areas I am used to, many places were developed over a shorter period of time, so even though the houses are quite nice, there is not a lot of variety. I have to disagree about the Gothic Revival. I think that painting it all white like that robbed it of much of its looks, charm, and distinction. By the way, did you get to an area called Florence? I have some old photos of beautiful houses there, and a friend from Smith told me that the area has more or less merged into Northampton.
Wishing you peace and contentment in your almost new home. Hoping you’re going to rent your Bronxville home until you decide…
They are just beautiful old homes. It seems like landlords could install gas fireplaces, given that this part of the country has very cold winters. Looking at the pictures, I’m struck by all of the power poles and wires that mar the natural beauty. (I can’t wait until everything goes wireless.) Not to mention that Victorians are notorious fire traps. I hope these people have fire extinguishers in their homes, and an evacuation plan should the worst possible scenario occur. I apologize if I’ve rained on the parade, but I live in California, which, as you know, has suffered many horrible fires in the last few years.
Your visit and posts are making me homesick for New England. I live in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida – which is a wonderful beachside community, but I moved here after 20+ years in Connecticut. One of our homes was north of Hartfotd near the Massachusetts line then another in Darien, Cy … not so far from your place, I think.The Berkshires are so beautiful. Winters aren’t that bad. BTW, I suppose you know that Dash and Alberts hometown is Pittsfield, MA – not too far from Northampton. The D&A outlet there has great prices on Annie’s fabulous rugs. I wish you all the best in wherever your heart leads.
What a lovely town! Congrats on you decision and happy apartment hunting. I’m crossing fingers for you.
I lived in Westfield for several years in my youth and then we moved to Huntington. My mom chose this area for the colleges, too, but I ended up at college in OH. My daughter went to MHC, though, so the circle is complete. 🙂
This blog is making me homesick. Northampton is the rich cousin to my family’s hometown of Huntington, MA which is about 15 miles from Northampton if you take Route 66 by the library…I graduated from Gateway High School which is a consolidated district with seven small towns. Northamptonites think of us as country bumpkins!
There are some beautiful smaller towns close by which make Northampton seem like the “big city”. Take time to explore them, too!
I’ve not been to all of them. But, Cale was living in Conway, so I’ve been to a bunch of places in that area and around here, too.
I am really enjoying all these posts of the beautiful northeastern part of our wonderful country. I hope that this all works out, just the way you want it to. I look forward to watching your journey take place.
Thanks so much Connie.
Dear Laurel – I look forward to your posts. I especially love anything related to old homes. 8 years ago my husband and I decided to move – we were torn between Maine and Washington, I know, that is a BIG difference. I loved the houses in Maine, but being closer to family in Washington won. We found an 1920’s colonial revival home with original Gumwood moulding and all it’s glory. I get many ideas from your blog and I love the outside photos of your time in MA. I hope you find a great apartment, close to your son. Good luck – I’ll keep reading 🙂
That sounds great and thanks for the good wishes!
Laurel, I really enjoy your blog. If you should make the move to Mass. When you get settled a trip worth taking is to Weston, Mass. My daughter and her husband moved there over 23 years ago. The homes in this town are exquisite and the gardens are beautiful ,most of the home are on acreage, it is a mixture of historic and new homes, they have community gardens and lovely town center. I love Mass.in the summer time, not so much in the winter.
I’ve not been there, but Cale lived in Jamaica Plain which also has a lot of gorgeous old homes and community gardens. There are some pics in this old post.
My daughter went to school in Northampton and lived there afterwards for a few years. It is a good place, better than Sheffield in terms of year-round life and things to do. I just hope that Covid ends and you can see my apt before you leave!
Well, I’ll be in NY sometimes, I’m sure.
I just LOVE this post and all your posts! This one came just in time. I am heading to Cooperstown, NY later this week to stay with my parents for three weeks! (an unfortunate fall and mom needs a hand) Anyhow, my parents love to just “take a drive” and I think this will be perfect for them! I also wanted to mention, I’m sure you have heard of it, is the book A Field Guide to American Houses by Virginia Savage McAlester. I take it with me every time I travel and anticipate seeing historical homes. I think you would really enjoy that book! Thanks again for such wonderful photos and a fantastic post!
I should definitely have that book. Thanks for the suggestion. Cale went to summer “band camp” in Oneonta for a number of years in middle and high school.
I love your tours! Thank you.
I bet house painters in the area maintain a lucrative business!
Wow, so happy for you!!!
Thank you Kirsten!
My favorite parts of those old houses was far and away-the yards and flower beds! Just not into the old-house look (sorry everyone). That said-I too live in a rural area in SE Indiana; love it. My question is; why don’t you all who live there Push the Officials for Underground Electric wires? We did here. Way too many and SO SO dangerous. Otherwise; love the pics.
Good question and I don’t have an answer to that.
Good Morning Laurel,
I think I can actually hear “happy” from you in these recent posts. I am sure being out in such wonderful surroundings has helped. Most of all, I think being with family is key.
A word about the wisteria, mine was a gift from my daughter and has taken over the pergola. I love the look but the bees do not want to share the shade under it with me! 🙂
Thank you, Pamela. Yes, I feel so much better now. Although, I also realize that the last month is not real life. It’s like making up for the time spent apart. Tomorrow’s Cale’s 30th birthday!
Laurel: This sounds like a really good plan. I say this not knowing what your daily life looks like in NY, but living close to your son sounds wonderful. I like small towns and those where the people make it a point to truly be a community are the best. Northampton looks gorgeous. Probably quiet and peaceful. It sounds like you would have the opportunity to take part in some gardening too. I think it is wise to hang on to your NY place for awhile in case you miss it. However, I just see the opportunity in this. To explore new areas and make new friends. What are things you see yourself doing in Northampton and how would it differ from NY? I’m really excited to hear your ideas!
I am definitely hanging onto my NY place! First of all, it’s paid for. All I pay are maintenance and taxes. Plus, I may need to come back from time to time.
I am truly enjoying your walks through Western MA since I grew up in Westfield. My mother went to Mt Holyoke; my father to Amherst, which is the main reason my parents decided to raise their children in this beautiful area. I married a Southerner so have spent my 40 years of married life in SC and VA. Thank you for bringing Deerfield, Stockbridge, and Northampton to my mailbox. Your photos are wonderful.
Thanks so much Carol. All of the towns I’ve seen are incredibly quaint. Northampton is a big city compared to most of them.
Wow didn’t know we had so many beautiful homes still alive here in Mass. I live in Boston and I have been to historic Deerfield, but really never to Northampton. I guess when I can I should take a ride and view all these beautiful homes. Thanks for sharing and I hope you find a place that still has a lot of character. Here in New England we have so many character properties that are being stripped of it, hope people see your posts and stop that practice.
I’ve only just begun to scratch the surface here. But, I’m with you on the hideous renos.
Your joy shines through in these posts from Massachusetts and they are a joy for us to read! Wishing you all the best!
Thanks so much Ivis!
Laurel, gorgeous homes and I completely understand you wanting to be closer to family. We lived in beautiful Naples for 5 years, but hated being so far away from our kids & grands (Charlotte & Nashville). So we bit the bullet & moved to Amelia Island. We’re still in FL, but have cut our travel time in half ❤️
Sounds great. Family has always been important to me. Alas, mine is ridiculously tiny.
Laurel, it looks like Covid-19 is turning into a blessing in disguise for you! Had it not been for the virus, would you have taken the time out of your normal schedule to explore Northhampton in depth, like you have been doing? Would you have taken the time to appreciate it’s sense of community and appreciation of its history? Would you have appreciated the slower pace of life? Whether conscious or not, it sounds like you have been re-evaluating your life and questioning what you want your life to be moving forward. And it seems to me that that is a very healthy thing to do!
I have reflected on all that you say. No, I would not have come here. Well, not for this length of time. I’ve been calling it my “covid silver lining.”
Your decision to move to Northampton is one that I imagine many would make after visiting if they could. It’s a wonderful town as you have discovered, in an area steeped in history as well as in modern day sensibility. Best wishes for a smooth transition and all good things that can come from happy change! And as always, your post is lovely.
Thanks so much Ann.
I have the perfect solution. Buy one of those exquisite homes in Northampton and have ‘This Old House’ feature the re-do on their TV show.Then we could watch you in action.
I keep thinking of House Hunters. haha. which one did she pick?
The small but charming Victorian with a fireplace, but no dishwasher
The well-appointed but slightly bland place close to town
The over-budget, with the open plan and gorgeous kitchen on a busy road.
Just beautiful. I’ m glad you’re making the move. You can tell how everyone takes so much pride in their house and gardens. It will be a different and welcoming lifestyle for you. As far as the fireplace goes, we installed a gas one in our Greek Revival. It is so much cleaner and non smelly. I wish you all the best and have fun finding that perfect apartment!
I would love a fireplace– even a mantel.Some places have them, but most don’t.
I just love your posts on Northhampton and Stockbridge MA – what wonderful houses in the bucolic settings! Reminded me years ago when I arrived in Bethesda, MD in spring and lived there for a while. I really enjoy your blog!
Thanks so much, Miriam.