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Jul 2, 2007 08:01 PM

anniversary dinner in amherst/northampton

We'll be coming to MA next month to bring our daughters out for their freshman year of college. We're from SoCal, our accomodations are in Hadley, and we are not familiar with the area at all. The first day of the trip coincides with our 20th wedding anniversary.

Can anyone suggest a place appropriate for the occasion? I've done a search of the board and many of the raves appear to be for places that no longer exist. I'd appreciate it if it's not too far or complicated of a drive as we'll be spending most of the day picking up/shopping for last minute items for their dorm rooms.

No Italian or Mexican. No Brewhouses/Pubs.

Thanks for any help you can provide!

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  1. The fine dining options in Amherst are limited, you might try Blue Heron in Sunderland (www.blueherondining.com), about 15 minutes down route 116. Northampton otherwise might be a better bet.

    1. That's not true about Amherst. We have some of the finest dining in the area. Chez Albert just won the highest honor from TV Diner: the Platinum Plate. We also have a new art movie theater. Northampton is over-rated. Tabella Restaurant in Amherst also gets high marks. Here's the video on Chez Albert.:

      5 Replies
      1. re: OverTheHill

        Thanks for the suggestions! Here is my shortlist. I've distanced them on mapquest and listed them from closest to farthest:

        Chez Albert
        Blue Heron

        Blue Heron's menu looks like it would appeal most to all family members. But I'm up for any of them. Any thoughts on my choices? Comparisons of food/service/physical space?

        Also, this may sound stupid, but as I said, we're not familiar with the area --- what is traffic like? A fifteen minute drive doesn't deem like a big deal --- is there such a thing as rush hour there? Mapquest sends us up the 91 to Sunderland, not along surface streets, so I was curious.

        1. re: ehere

          The closest restaurants to Hadley hotels, and the easest drive, is to Amherst. The traffic over the bridge (Conn. River) to Northampton can be awful especially due to an ongoing construction project. It's an easy drive to Sunderland or S.Deerfield via 116.

          1. re: ehere

            I used to live in Hadley, went to school at UMass, and know all the back roads around there. If you're going to the Blue Heron in Sunderland or Siena in South Deerfield, do NOT go up rt. 91. To get to 91 you have to drive along rt. 9 and cross the often congested bridge over the Connecticut River and that can be a real drag.

            Instead, do yourself a BIG favor and drive north on rt 47 (you pick it up off rt. 9 in Hadley - if in doubt, ask anyone local, they'll tell you). Rt. 47 is one of the most beautiful roads you're likely to travel upon - it parallels the Connecticut River and passes through exquisite Hadley farmland. Take note of the unique tobacco barns along the way. Absolutely beautiful.

            Heck, even if you don't end up eating up there, I strongly recommend that drive. It's wonderful. Takes about 20 minutes from hadley to Sunderland. Enjoy!

            Oh, and you have the good fortune of being in "the Valley" when the schools are out - that always lessens traffic.

            1. re: ehere

              I haven't been to Chez Albert, but Blue Heron is one of my favorites in the area, plus as mentioned you get a nice view of the countryside on the way up. A little more remote, so it's possible it's too inconvenient, is the Night Kitchen at the Montague Bookmill -- converted mill with used bookstore, cafe, and fine dining restaurant (make reservations). I had a great meal there a few weeks ago. Service is good at both the Blue Heron and the Night Kitchen.

              1. re: ehere

                Thank you everyone for your help! The drive sounds wonderful, and the place looks charming, so Blue Heron it is.

                Thanks also for the warnings about bridge traffic. I'll keep that in mind for our general travels.