As we headed out towards Amherst, the weather got steadily nicer; as it turns out, today was a bit cool around here, but got pretty sunny and warm in the middle of the state. By the time we got to Mom's place the temperature was in the mid-60s; by the time we got into Amherst for lunch, it was 70-something, and we doffed our coats as we walked.
Mom is in fine shape. Just as she retired, she was diagnosed as getting slightly diabetic. This proved fortuitous timing: since she was already making major lifestyle changes, she dealt with that at the same time, losing a considerable amount of weight and starting to exercise regularly. (She points out that getting in shape is much easier when one is retired.) When she moved to Amherst, she could barely walk three blocks; today, she led us on a good three-mile walk into town and back. In some ways, I think she's in better shape than I've ever known her to be.
The walk itself was fabulous. Her condo complex overlooks the main bike path that runs through the Northhampton/Amherst area, so that's how we walked in. With the leaves coming in, isolating us from everything but nature and a few other pedestrians and bicycles, it was positively bucolic; on the way home, the shade was most welcome, since the sun was getting quite strong.
Amherst itself was in the middle of a town carnival. Somehow, a carny just feels right in Amherst: it's the kind of smallish town where that feels totally natural on the town square. And since it wasn't *actually* Mother's Day, the restaurants were mostly empty (I expect them to be kind of jammed tomorrow). We tried out the Indian restaurant on the main square, which was a fine choice -- Indian food is probably the best compromise between tasty and healthy one can find.
On the drive home, we finally got around to trying the "northern" route, along Route 2 and 202 on the north side of the Quabbin Reservoir. Again, a major win: while it's probably a smidgeon slower than going back the Pike, it's far prettier. We'd never been through the Reservoir reservation before, and it is surely one of the most scenic stretches of Massachusetts -- endless forest land surrounding a lake the size of some counties. We'll have to remember that for the future: on a pretty day like today, it's absolutely the right way to get home...