noho . . .

by mulberryshoots

zinnias from the farmers' market in noho . . .

zinnias from the farmers’ market in noho . . .

“Noho” is an affectionate nickname for Northampton, a college town in western Massachusetts. It also happens to be where one of the state’s largest yarn/knitting outlets called WEBS is located. Every Tuesday between April and November, there’s also a farmers market that opens at 1:30 – 5 pm in a courtyard in the center of town.

At Webs, I find a lichen colored tweed yarn that I exchange for some yarn that I had tried knitting with last week. It was too stark for my eye and required smaller needles (and more time) than I wanted to give to a project. Pleased with this lovely new yarn, I drive to the center of town, looking for a shady parking space and buy myself an hour and a half more time to wander about.

While waiting for the market to open, I do some window shopping and then treat myself to a light sushi lunch at the Osaka, just up the hill from the farmers market. The softshell crab tempura appetizer is a specialty there: plump, tender and crispy, dipped in a clear light broth.

Although the restaurant serves Japanese food, I’m amused to hear Mandarin spoken by the sushi chefs and by Johnny, the maitre d’ who says he remembers me from ten years ago when he was working as one of the waiters. It’s a special place that I feel most at home even though it’s located over an hour’s drive from where I live.

The vegetable sellers were setting up their tables as I passed them to do some window-shopping in Thorne’s. This is an indoor marketplace with a bookshop featuring unusual greeting cards, a shoe shop with interesting clogs, boots and heather merino knee socks and other commissaries of boutique clothing, vintage jewelry and flowers.

The second-hand bookshop on the side street around the corner featured a small outdoor display of five different volumes by the author, Henning Mankell, who died this past week. He was the mystery writer who created the Swedish series, “Wallander.” I’m a huge fan of the “Wallander” Swedish films featuring Krister Henriksson, much preferring them over the UK-produced series with Kenneth Branagh. For $3.50, I purchased a hardback (Knopf Borzoi edition) of “The Troubled Man,” Mankell’s most famous novel.

It was a dry, sunny day just on the edge of being warm and my sojourn to Noho was an enjoyable respite from my usual routine. Tomorrow, I’ll be taking another jaunt, this time to New Hampshire to visit an antique dealer friend and to have lunch together near her group shop outside of Concord, New Hampshire.

These soft days of late summer weather in the beginning of October with vibrant morning glories still in bloom on our 2nd floor landing are a gift of Mother Nature.

Soon, it will begin to chill with the first frost and we’ll batten down the hatches in preparation for colder weather. But today has been a halcyon day and fruitful besides, coming home with yarn, a book and some greeting cards with hand-painted birds decked out in finery that will come in handy when celebrating some family birthdays this weekend.

A perfect day in a perfect New England autumn.