One of the best parts about going to school in Western Massachusetts are the towns: Amherst, North Hampton, Hadley. It's the cute restaurants, small coffee shops and local hang-outs that give these towns their Gilmore Girls "Stars Hallow" type scenery making you feel all warm and cozy on the inside.  

A photo posted by Marisa Freay (@mawisuh) on

I am making a conscious effort to explore all the best places in these towns before my stay at UMass is over in two years (yes, I have a bucket list) because these places are TOO good to pass up.

Whilst scrolling on Instagram I came across a fellow UMass student's picture of some avocado toast and a açaí bowl and the location of the photo was Nourish Wellness Cafe in North Hampton, MA. I don't know about you but those two foods together in one place that was 20 minutes away from my school  is literally a dream come true.

I grabbed my phone in excitement and went onto the cafe's website. As my eyes scanned the menu I was truly amazed at what I saw. Smoothies, açaí bowls, avocado toast, Buddha Bowls of kale, rice, cabbage, sauces and seeds, juices, overnight oats and even chia pudding all made from locally sourced and sustainable ingredients. As I shared the good news of Nourish with my roommate, we set a date to go before class and awaited our trip eagerly.  

When we arrived it was clear everything about this place is nothing less than what you would expect. The colorful, modern and warm decor and design matches the bright and fresh color and quality of the food. The service is fast and the staff and locals are kind and offer quaint conversation. 

broccoli, avocado
Jenna Carellini
Nourish Wellness Cafe or NWC, is a completely vegan and gluten-free joint, but nothing about their food makes it seem restricted or bland. Being someone who has Celiacs disease, I often find the gluten-free bread restaurants offer is crumbly, bland and expensive. The gluten-free bread NWC offers is made down the street at Woodstar Cafe and was no lie the best bread I have ever had (gluten or non gluten). It was thick, sweet, hearty and matched perfectly with the avocado, olive oil and salt it was topped with. The smoothies were no run of the mill, not-actually-healthy smoothies you get everywhere else. I ordered the Purple Prana with dates, almond butter, banana, blueberries and coconut milk (they very nicely let me sub almond milk)—that's it. It was thick and creamy with the perfect sweetness level. I forced myself to eat my meal very slowly assuring I would savor every bite of this delicious meal. I left feeling energized, satisfied and comfortable, the way you should feel after eating. 
avocado, guacamole
Jamie Caccavaro

If this place wasn't advertised as gluten-free and vegan I whole heartily swear you would have no idea. The food is just honest-to- goodness wholesome, healthy and sustainable food. You won't miss the meat, you won't miss the dairy and you really won't miss the gluten. This place is what more restaurants should be and I am so glad they opened their doors last year and blessed us with the greatness they offer.

Nourish Wellness Cafe is located at 10 Bridge Street Northampton MA, 01060 and Nourish Juice Bar is located at Thornes Marketplace, 150 Main St, Northampton, MA 01060.