Hi Everyone! Happy Monday!
This weekend Kevin and I celebrated our 1-year wedding anniversary by staying at a Bed & Breakfast in Amherst and visiting some of our favorite spots in the Valley. The irony of the fact that we just moved away, but chose to go back to our old hometown for vacation, is not lost on me. Nonetheless, it was such a soul-satisfying weekend.
If you’ve been following along with me on Instagram, you already saw most of these highlights in my stories!
On Friday, we loaded up the car and drove to Amherst. It was supposed to rain, so we decided to get a slice of pizza at Antonio’s, then go see a movie to ease into our weekend. After the movie we walked around downtown Amherst, then stopped for dinner at Paradise of India. I didn’t take any pictures of this first day because it was drizzly on and off and Kevin wasn’t feeling well most of the day.
Saturday morning I got up early and walked through town, then headed home to meet Kevin for breakfast at our B&B. Every year since I’ve known him, Kevin has been writing me poems for our anniversary, yet somehow I totally forgot to expect a poem from him on Saturday. I was so surprised to find it sitting under my coffee cup at the breakfast table! Obviously, I cried when I read it. But I prettymuch cry about anything, so there’s no surprise there.
After breakfast we walked down to the Amherst Farmer’s Market. I know I’m biased because I just love the Pioneer Valley so, so much, but farmers’ markets in Eastern Massachusetts pale in comparison to the ones out in the Valley.
I loved walking through and looking at all the beautiful produce and talking with the farmers. Since we weren’t leaving til the next day and had limited fridge space, I only bought some blackberries and sugar snap peas to snack on, and a little bouquet of lavender to bring home. The blackberries didn’t even make it back to our B&B- I ate them all on the walk back.
After the Farmers’ Market, we packed sandwiches for lunch and drove up to Brattleboro to visit the Retreat Farm. They just re-opened after completely rebuilding and renovating their farm, and it was incredible. There were definitely fewer animals, but the space was so much cleaner and more spacious. We rubbed the goats’ ears, fed the piglets, had serious conversations with the new calves, and snuggled the chicks. We loved seeing that Carlos, the giant ox, has his own covered spot outside now! After visiting the animals we walked through a few of their new trails behind the farm, then headed next door to Grafton Village Cheese.
If you’ve never been to Grafton, you really have to go. Their cheeses are all handmade with raw milk from their cows, and are so delicious. They also stock their store with tons of Vermont products, including beer and wine, maple products, and artisan cheeses from other VT farms. When we lived nearby, we didn’t always buy lots of cheese to take home with us, since we could buy their products at our local markets. Now that we’re across the state, though, I made sure to stock up on my favorite cheeses.
On our drive back to Amherst we stopped at Mount Sugarloaf, which is where we had our wedding celebration last year, and hiked up to the top. I have walked up Sugarloaf hundreds of times (we used to live down the street from it), but never, ever get sick of it. I know it’s strange to miss a geographical feature, but I really do miss that little mountain that I called home for so many years.
Saturday afternoon we mostly lounged around the B&B, then walked into town for dinner. Kevin’s stomach was bothering him again, so we decided to just go to Whole Foods and get dinner from their hot bar/prepared foods section instead of going to a restaurant. It ended up being great, anyway, and we grabbed a few breakfast ingredients for Sunday while we were there.
After dinner we parked at UMass and walked around campus, reminiscing about our college years. Kevin and I met while were were both students at UMass, so it was fun to walk around campus together again.
Sunday morning I woke up early again and walked through Amherst. I stopped to visit Emily Dickinson’s grave- which totally gave me the chills because instead of saying “DIED” like every other gravestone, it says “CALLED BACK”. Something about those two words just shook me on Sunday morning.
I left the graveyard and walked up the hill to UMass again, then headed back to the B&B for breakfast with Kevin. We had a small breakfast because we knew we wanted to stop at The Black Sheep for pastries before we left town. Kevin picked out a giant blueberry muffin and I got the most tender, flaky, buttery almond croissant ever.
We also got a chocolate donut, just because.
We packed up our room, checked out, and headed to Whately to visit Quonquont Farm to stock up on blueberries. Kevin and I have been visiting Quonquont Farm for years to pick blueberries, peaches, and apples, and we couldn’t pass up the opportunity to go blueberry picking while we were in the area. We ended up picking six quarts of blueberries in about an hour (which, by the way, was mostly all me because Kevin is prettymuch the world’s slowest fruit picker), and left with our hearts and stomachs full.
Our last stops of the day were at Thomas Farm in Sunderland and Atlas Farm in Deerfield to get a gallon of maple syrup, a quart of raw honey, and as much produce as I though could fit in my cooler bag (read: too much). We came home with beets, radishes, zucchini, pickling cucumbers, broccoli, salad greens, napa cabbage, yogurt, and eggs. Oh, and all the blueberries, of course.
Despite being a weekend full of ‘normal’ activities, it was such a perfect way to celebrate our anniversary. Nothing fancy, just two people being in love in the places we first fell in love. To me, that’s where the magic is.
Today I’m making pickles and kimchi, bagging all the blueberries that we stuck on sheet pans in the chest freezer last night, and hopefully photographing a few recipes for the blog with all the produce I brought home!
I hope you all had a great weekend!