Massachusetts proves to be simply hospitable—almost beyond belief. We boogied about of the Boston area on Route 2, bound for the Amherst area. I have a morbid fascination with the bigoted scoundrel who created the Dewey Decimal System, Melvil Dewey. He invented/stole his idea for library classification whilst at Amherst College back in the day and I was curious if there was any sort of legacy there.
But then I saw signs for hard cider. I can’t resist a good hard cider. If I were to come upon a box propped up by a stick with a string attached and a bottle of hard cider under the box, I wouldn’t think twice. So we followed these apple-shaped signs for some miles through the rolling hills of Western Mass until we came to this little farm with a red barn overlooking a pasture. The farm owner, Carol—the woman who has owned and operated this farm for decades—was the person serving up all four varieties of cider. The place is called New Salem Cider.
Friends, I have drank ciders far and wide, many varieties from many sorts of apples. This ranks at the very top. Crisp, tart, dry, and delicious. We talked with Carol and she showed us some more of her operation—how the apples are processed and where she makes crabapple juice (also a delicious beverage that I never knew existed). If you’re anywhere within 80 miles of New Salem, you must stop by her farm for a glass of world-class cider.
So Miracle and I are imbibing our cider and talking to Terry, one of the farm employees. Even in our brief chat with Terry, we could tell he cares a lot for this farm and for Carol. He asked us how we go about finding a place to stay each night and we told him our usual spiel. Tonight, we told him, we are using Hipcamp and staying just outside of Amherst. Miracle holds up her phone to show him Hipcamp, when we realize that our host for the night had, in fact, said we could not stay there. Without blinking, Terry offered us his driveway. We followed Terry to his house, where he and his family continued what I now recognize as Massachusetts hospitality.
The next morning we shoved on to Amherst where I was pleasantly surprised to learn that no one knew of Melvil Dewey and they have zero places named for him. (Great—now on to getting Jackson off the twenty dollar bill please.) Two Amherst staff, Dean and Dave, directed us to Three Sisters Sanctuary—an outdoor sculpture garden. It was meditative, surreal, and fun.
Then it was onward to Vermont.