Easthampton is becoming the place to be in Western Mass. On Saturday my friend Jack and I rode our bikes there from Northampton on the bike trail and we joined in the city-wide celebration called Cottage Street Cultural Chaos. Indeed, it was chaos, there was so much going on in a small sector of town, Cottage Street.
First we parked our bikes and walked through One Cottage Street, where dozens of artists and craftspeople have studios. It was open studio for many of them, and visitors streamed through viewing paintings, sculpture and other visual arts. Outside just up Cottage Street, we were happy to see that they had blocked off the street and it was time for a street fair.
Nothing pleases me more than cutting off automobile traffic. There is such a domination by the car here in the sticks, it’s nice to shunt them off to the side and let people walk the whole street from sidewalk to sidewalk. Booths were set up and vendors were selling barbecue, jewelry, and shops were open and people were everywhere, mingling in the sun.
A BMX bicycle ramps were set up, and men on bikes did tricks, and in two parking lots, beer gardens were created. This was an excellent idea—The Brass Cat had their beer tent in the parking lot, and next door, Whiskerz Pub was serving draft beer and hot dogs and hamburgers out back. All a nice addition to the multiple activities going on on the street.
Before we left we walked around to the back of the Dye Works building where 50 new affordable housing apartments are being built. The huge floor to ceiling windows and 14 foot high ceilings are going to be quickly sold, I’m sure. I kept thinking about much fun it would be to live downtown in one of those. Maybe my country living in South Deerfield will come to an end some day and I’ll live there without a lawn mower or a dump sticker.