Late-Night Eats In Western Mass: Our Guide To Post-Midnight Grub
Aug14

Late-Night Eats In Western Mass: Our Guide To Post-Midnight Grub

Whether you’re pulling an all-nighter cramming for a test, pub crawling with friends, working the graveyard shift, or just woke up in the middle of the night with the sudden urge for a slice of pizza, there are restaurants, diners, joints, and donut shops in the Pioneer Valley that will answer your call for nourishment beyond midnight. And we don’t mean fast food drive-thru. If you’re hungry after 1 a.m. the Valley has a handful of...

Read More
Beerhunter Roadtrip! The Hudson Valley
Aug04

Beerhunter Roadtrip! The Hudson Valley

The thing to remember about summer in the Valley — aside from which SPF to use and which local farm stands sell the best corn — is that it will be over before you know it. Sure, the swimming holes don’t really warm up until September, and the cows at Cook Farm gamely enable our ice cream habit into the chillier months. But that special windows-down, afternoon road trip is a fleeting thing. With that in mind, I’m putting the August...

Read More
Pour Man: This Fair Trade Wine Might Be The Cheapest Thing At Your Co-op
Aug09

Pour Man: This Fair Trade Wine Might Be The Cheapest Thing At Your Co-op

Riojana; Rosé, 2016; La Rioja, Argentina, $6.99 Not only is Riojana rosé a very good wine that sells for an incredibly low price, but it is also a wine that you can feel good about drinking. Riojana wines are produced by La Riojana, a certified Fairtrade cooperative of more than 500 families in the Rioja region of northwestern Argentina. All of the owners are equal partners, a group of small- and medium-scale farmers, who grow the...

Read More
Western Mass Missed Connections — 1st dates SUCK
Jul24

Western Mass Missed Connections — 1st dates SUCK

The Missed Connections forum on Craigslist is a wasteland of terrible poetry, dick pics, and whining, but among the detritus are some truly fascinating, funny, and occasionally sweet entries. The following are highlights from the Western Mass Missed Connections forum, sans detritus. 1st dates SUCK — m4w (eastside grill) Yeah, I texted you too soon after it ended. I seemed desperate probably. Whatever. I just thought you were cool and...

Read More
O, Cannabis: Getting Into The Weeds On Massachusetts’ Pot Bill
Jul24

O, Cannabis: Getting Into The Weeds On Massachusetts’ Pot Bill

We’re no Nevada, but last week Massachusetts took two rippin’ steps toward weed legalization and protection in the state. First the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court ruled that a business cannot fire an employee for being a medical marijuana patient — a decision that is causing headaches in HR offices around the state who claim it will be difficult to maintain drug-free workplaces. Then the Legislature passed a compromise bill on...

Read More
Where You Can U-Pick In Western Mass Farms
Jul24

Where You Can U-Pick In Western Mass Farms

Why should the farmers have all the fun harvesting the fresh fruits and vegetables from their own farms? U-pick farms abound in the Pioneer Valley. Strawberry season has mostly gone by, but blueberries are ripe for the pickin’, and it won’t be long before apple season hits us. Below is a list of farms where you can grab your own produce. These farms have pick-your-own that is open to the public, but some area farms allow members...

Read More
Missed Connections: Loving You Leering At Me
Jun19

Missed Connections: Loving You Leering At Me

Compiled by Kristin Palpini The Missed Connections forum on Craigslist is a wasteland of terrible poetry, dick pics, and whining, but among the detritus are some truly fascinating, funny, and occasionally sweet entries. The following are highlights from the Western Mass Missed Connections forum, sans detritus. You look over the fence — m4w (Springfield) I don’t mind really. Caught you a few times. It’s okay. I kind of like...

Read More
The Beerhunter: The Eight-Day Cheers, Western Mass Beer Week is Upon Us
Jun05

The Beerhunter: The Eight-Day Cheers, Western Mass Beer Week is Upon Us

Any out-of-towner who would guess Western Mass has a quiet craft beer scene is bound for a rude, brewed awakening. But even locals may be surprised at the scope of the second annual Western Mass Beer Week, which runs June 10-17. Last year’s series of events at breweries, bars and restaurants around the Valley attracted 35 businesses, which hosted (by my count) 52 events. This year, more than 50 businesses are participating in 70...

Read More
Western Mass Missed Connections: Snow White and the dwarves
May30

Western Mass Missed Connections: Snow White and the dwarves

The Missed Connections forum on Craigslist is a wasteland of terrible poetry, dick pics, and whining, but among the detritus are some truly fascinating, funny, and occasionally sweet entries. The following are highlights from the Western Mass Missed Connections forum, sans detritus. Snow White and the dwarves — m4mw (Athol-ish Gardner?) The title has something permanent to do with one of you. We used to meet along route 2 a few years...

Read More
Western Mass Missed Connections: To The Welcoming Hippies Who Generously Dosed Me…
May22

Western Mass Missed Connections: To The Welcoming Hippies Who Generously Dosed Me…

The Missed Connections forum on Craigslist is a wasteland of terrible poetry, dick pics, and whining, but among the detritus are some truly fascinating, funny, and occasionally sweet entries. The following are highlights from the Western Mass Missed Connections forum, sans detritus. Berkshire co-op deli bar — m42 (Great Barrington) Incredible lady. I think you noticed me seeing you as you were ordering at the deli/sandwich bar in the...

Read More

Western Mass Missed Connections – A Cute House Painter

If you’ve never checked out Craigslist’s Missed  Connection forum, you really should. The following is a sample from the Western Mass forum. Post dates have been added. Federal St, You were painting your house — m4w (Greenfield) About 3:45, I drove down federal street, saw you painting your homes exterior. You looked pretty darn cute. 🙂 If you need a hand or wanted some help, let me know what you were standing on so I know it’s...

Read More
Advocate taste-off: Finding the perfect cheesecake
Apr18

Advocate taste-off: Finding the perfect cheesecake

Cheesecake is one of the most decadent and delightful treats of all the sweets. A cheesecake should be fluffy and creamy, sugary and buttery, fresh and delicate. Because when it’s not, it’s a damn waste of calories slathered onto your hips. Being one of the best desserts also means cheesecake is one of the worst for you in terms of calories, fat, and sugar (it’s wonderful for you in terms of soul-boosting). So, it’s important when...

Read More
Beerhunter: Turnpike Two-Stop
Apr10

Beerhunter: Turnpike Two-Stop

Two worthwhile breweries off exit 9 The naturalist John Muir once observed that “when one tugs at a single thing in nature, he finds it attached to the rest of the world.” I’m no bearded environmental philosopher, but I do like to kick back with a pint sometimes and dwell on our interconnectedness. In the realm of craft beer, brewers and buyers often muse on the national and international history of the craft — but that must square,...

Read More
MISSED CONNECTIONS: ‘you are sooooooo attractive’
Apr10

MISSED CONNECTIONS: ‘you are sooooooo attractive’

If you’ve never checked out Craigslist’s Missed Connection forum, you really should. The following is a samples from the Western Mass forum. Post dates have been added. RR Restaurant 3/26 — m4w (Spfld) You are soooo attractive! We exchanged glances multiple times. I don’t want to get into details because that might be embarrassing. I was with … Oops. Well, just though, if anything, you should know how hot you are. We can talk...

Read More
The Pour Man: Transitional Weather Needs a Transitional Wine
Apr03

The Pour Man: Transitional Weather Needs a Transitional Wine

Les Hauts de Lagarde, Rouge Bordeaux, France; 2015. $12.99 This is a period of transition on many fronts.    There still may be snow on the ground and temperatures in the teens, but the warm spring sun is a clear signal that it’s time to start trimming down, putting away rich food, and switching from heavy, higher-alcohol red wines to something lighter and brighter. Oh, there are still days left to finish off those thick Cabs,...

Read More
O, Cannabis! How to Taste the Nuances of Marijuana Like a Pro
Mar27

O, Cannabis! How to Taste the Nuances of Marijuana Like a Pro

Now that marijuana is legal, the perception of the drug is changing. We’re on the road of cannabis no longer being thought of as some seedy contraband in a sandwich bag tossed through a car window to potheads, but a varied, quality — and dare I say, refined — hobby. With the ability to purchase and grow identified strains with known THC and other compound levels, weed smokers can zero-in on the buds they like and sample the best of...

Read More
The Pour Man: Prosecco Has it Over Cava
Mar13

The Pour Man: Prosecco Has it Over Cava

Lunetta Prosecco is one of the hottest sparkling wine brands on the American market, and there’s a good reasonta why — it’s well-made, inexpensive and widely available, an excellent wine to celebrate. It also is lower than many wines in alcohol, about 11.5 percent, so it’s a pleasant companion to take to a party and, unless you over indulge, it won’t give you a headache in the morning. In the past, sparkling wines weren’t my go-to...

Read More
The Beerhunter: Vanished Valley Brewing Company in Ludlow
Mar06

The Beerhunter: Vanished Valley Brewing Company in Ludlow

Local homebrewer Josh Britton scales up with a low-key launch On quiet winter days between reports of Valley craft beer happenings, your friendly neighborhood Beerhunter has been wandering a bit further afield. Over the past few months, I’ve written articles about my stop-ins at breweries in Worcester, Hartford, and northern Connecticut. But home is where the heart is. So on Instagram the other day, my scrolling thumb paused, hovering...

Read More
The Pour Man: What a Character, Estancia Chardonnay
Feb13

The Pour Man: What a Character, Estancia Chardonnay

Legendary winemaker Agustin Huneeus started Estancia Estates at the old Paul Masson winery near Soledad, California, in 1986 with the idea of producing top quality wines at reasonable prices. And since Huneeus is a pretty smart guy with a sophisticated palate and a keen sense for business, it didn’t take him long to turn Estancia into a respected and successful label. Although the Chilean-born Huneeus, who also rescued Concha y Toro...

Read More
Our Favorite Dive Bars Part II: Arkham, City Line, Cabot Pub II, The Vic, and One Surprise
Jan16

Our Favorite Dive Bars Part II: Arkham, City Line, Cabot Pub II, The Vic, and One Surprise

Everyone has a favorite dive bar — a place you can go in your old jeans and sweater, have a beer for under $3 and watch some Jeopardy! with townies looking to unwind. Dive bars — and we use the term lovingly — tend to be physically and metaphysically secluded. Signs are minimal and the website, if it even exists, barely functions. The good ones are tucked away like unpolished backstreet gems. Last week, Advocate writers took the...

Read More
The Pour Man: Kim Crawford and Nobilo Keep it Real — and Deliciously Dry
Jan16

The Pour Man: Kim Crawford and Nobilo Keep it Real — and Deliciously Dry

For more than three decades, New Zealand winemakers have been known for producing some of the best Sauvignon Blanc in the world. Until recently, however, the Kiwi producers haven’t been bringing home international accolades for their Pinot Noir. The country’s Burgundy-style wines are only just starting to receive high praise for having the complex qualities of their French cousins with a price tag that’s modest in comparison. The...

Read More
Missed Connections: Jan. 5 – 11, 2017
Jan03

Missed Connections: Jan. 5 – 11, 2017

If you’ve never checked out Craigslist’s Missed Connections section, you really should. Like all geographic designations on the forum, the Western Mass list is full of wistful near-meets and longing. Below is a compilation of “missed connection” items from craigslist.org. Entries include post date.   Greenfield Rite Aid Parking Lot — m4w We made eyes a bunch. Hit me up l. Tell me something I was wearing or what car I was in so I...

Read More