Pot tourism is a brand new industry here. Tourists can now find marijuana in several cities across the state, and suddenly people are traveling hours to places they might know next-to-nothing about. So what else do you do once you’re there? Where do you stay? Where do you eat? Here’s some help to get you started.
There is so much more to the Witch City than Halloween. After your stop at Alternative Therapies Group, (50 Grove St. 978-594-5728) explore the Peabody Essex Museum, a gem of an art museum with an extensive permanent collection. You might catch “Nature’s Nation: American Art and Environment” showing through May 5, or “Wild Designs” through August, among other exhibits. 161 Essex St. 978-745-9500.
Stroll Salem’s historic waterfront downtown — all beautiful brick walkways, cobblestone, public art, charmingly lined with boutiques and galleries. Must-stop: Oak + Moss for house plants and handmade pottery in a clean, California-chic aesthetic. 143 Washington St. 978-594-1498.
When the munchies strike, you’ve got options. Salem is a foodie paradise.
For authentic Italian — think pappardelle ragu’e funghi made with ground beef and imported wild mushrooms to gnocchi gorgonzola e noci, made with potato gnocchi, gorgonzola, and toasted walnuts — head to Tuscan trattoria Firenze (2 Lynde St., 978-219-1188.) For creative Mexican — think bacon-wrapped jalapeños stuffed with cream cheese and chorizo, apricot-glazed steak tip burritos — beeline to Howling Wolf Taqueria (76 Lafayette St., 978-744-9653). Flying Saucer Pizza Co. boasts a “nerd-vana” vibe, offering locally-sourced vegan and gluten-free slices like Vegan Nick Fury and Space Invader. For dessert, try Groot: gluten-free brownie, vanilla gelato with whipped cream, caramel, and chocolate. 118 Washington St. 978-594-8189.
For rustic sandwiches and more in a creative, old-school art-coffeehouse vibe: Gulu-Gulu Cafe. Pair your brew with the Duck Yeah! — house smoked duck pastrami, gruyere cheese, apricot jam, and arugula grilled on rye — or the Sasquash — roasted butternut squash, pesto, and manchego cheese. 247 Essex St. 978-740-8882.
A fun foodie breakfast joint: The Ugly Mug Diner. Start your day with duck confit and brisket hash; a fried egg, smoked salmon, caramelized onion, and cream cheese sandwich; or the Elvis waffle, which is topped with chunks of peanut butter cups, bacon, banana, and whipped cream — should the craving strike. 122 Washington St. 978-745-6844.
Don’t leave Salem without a stop at Gen X and Y heaven: Bit Bar. Here, the ’80s and ’90s are brought back to life in all their pixelated glory: “Donkey Kong,” “Ms. Pac-Man,” “Tetris,” “NBA Jam,” “Mortal Kombat II,” “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles,” and more, plus pinball. Creative-comfort fare is the adult version of dishes your 11-year-old self would have dreamed up: mac and cheese bites made with Cheeze-Its and parmesan, an elk burger with smoked cheddar and bacon on a doughnut-croissant, and open barbecue chicken tacos served on Fritos. 50 St. Peter St. 978-594-4838.
Stay at one of two eye-popping sister boutique hotels: the Hotel Salem (209 Essex St. 978-451-4950) and the Merchant (148 Washington St., 978-745-8100). Both boast a diligent eye to detail and keen playfulness with color. A fast ferry through Boston Harbor Cruises starts in May. 617-227-4321.
Go west to Theory Wellness, in the Berkshires, almost to the New York border. (394 Stockbridge Road, 413-650-5527.) Pack your hiking shoes and mountain bike to explore the greens of Beartown State Forest, East Mountain State Forest, the Appalachian Trail, and more. AllTrails offers a comprehensive guide of the many trails in the area: www.alltrails.com/us/massachusetts/great-barrington.
Hit the slopes at Ski Butternut Resort, with 22 trails (380 State Road, 413-528-2000). Take in a show or film at Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center (14 Castle St. 413-528-0100). There’s also Cove Bowling Lanes (109 Stockbridge Road. 413-528-1220).
Hungry? Grab an artisan sourdough slice at Baba Louie’s. Perhaps a slice of Isabella Pizzarella (roasted sweet potatoes, roasted parsnips, caramelized onions, roasted garlic, fresh mozzarella, and shaved fennel, drizzled with reduced balsamic vinegar and parmesan) or Puttanesca (shrimp, anchovies, roasted garlic, capers, fresh mozzarella, green olives, parmesan and fresh oregano). 286 Main St. 413-528-8100. Craving Mexican? Donaji Mexican Restaurant serves authentic Mexican street food, from carne asada on warm corn tortillas to roasted chicken fajitas. 389 Stockbridge Road. 413-717-4220.
Barrington Brewery and Restaurant, located at, yes, 420 Stockbridge Road, offers every cozy winter food you could crave — from brewhouse wings and baked potato jackets with crumbled bacon, to grass-fed burger with avocado, chicken pot pie, baked sea scallops with butter, house-made crab cakes, plus house-brewed ales. 413-528-8282.
Sleepy? You’ve got options, including two hotels near Theory Wellness: Fairfield Inn & Suites by Marriott (249 Stockbridge Road. 413-644-3200) and the Holiday Inn Express & Suites (415 Stockbridge Road. 413-528-1810).
Northampton has long held a name as a hippie haven and cultural hub, and it boasts a vibrant downtown as unique as you’d expect.
After your stop at New England Treatment Access (or NETA, 118 Conz St. 413-727-8415) stroll the curated boutiques, galleries, and eateries downtown. Two must-stops: Broadside Bookshop (247 Main St. 413-586-4235) and eye-for-style outerwear Port (202 Main St. 413-341-0495).
Breakfast is served all day at Belly of the Beast, offering from-scratch seasonal goodness like cornbread, fried eggs, scrapple, bacon and biscuits, or pastrami toast. Lunch and dinners are also hearty, plus local brews and — should the craving strike — pork fat brownie bites and peanut butter marzipan. 159 Main St. 413-727-3040.
Bring your bike and cycle the scenic Norwottuck Rail Trail (446 Damon Road). Browse exhibits at Smith College Museum of Art (20 Elm St. 413-585-2760) then wander the college’s Botanic Garden, where colorful plant life pops and thrives even in February. 413-585-2740. Time your trip to coincide with a show at Calvin Theater (19 King St.) or Iron Horse Music Hall (20 Center St. 413-586-8686).
Stay at the historic Hotel Northampton and wake to Sunday brunch buffet. Par for the course: sliced smoked salmon, eggs Benedict, omelets, quiche, fruit blintzes, French toast, waffles, home fries, bacon, sausage, and more. 36 King St. 413-584-3100.