Massachusetts Best Bargains 2011
Amherst Chinese Food, Amherst
Long before the current farm-to-table rush, “AmChin” began serving delectable dishes (minus the MSG) with organic veggies from its own nearby farm. Entrées: from $9.95. Lunch specials (including soup or salad and a pot of tea): from $5.50. 62 Main St. 413-253-7835
Upland Meadows Farm, Cummington
Judi Bogart’s beautifully restored 18th-century farmhouse offers long views of hills and valleys and an uncluttered feel. Three comfortable guestrooms have private entrances. Children are welcome, and there’s no charge for dogs. Animals in residence include sheep and goats. Rates: from $80, including full breakfast. 338 West Cummington Road. 413-634-8884; uplandmeadowsfarm.com
Coney Island Lunch, Worcester
It’s hard to say whether people flock to this landmark to see the 60-foot neon sign of a hand holding a hot dog–or for the franks on buns with the “secret” chili sauce. They’re both unique. Hot dogs: from $1.50. 158 Southbridge St. 508-753-4362; coneyislandlunch.com
New England Mobile Book Fair, Newton Highlands
With discounts starting at 20 percent (and up to 40 percent on some titles), it’s easy to fill a tote bag with beach reads. You’ll also find help with your garden bounty: The cookbook section is one of the best anywhere. 82-84 Needham St. 617-964-7440; nebookfair.com
TO THE BEACH!
Ipswich-Essex Explorer, Ipswich
Both wallet- and eco-friendly, this inexpensive (and frequent) shuttle bus from the Ipswich Train Station parking lot connects all the dots in these maritime towns–from fried clams at Woodman’s of Essex to the broad sands of Crane Beach. 4 Topsfield Road (station). 978-283-7916 (schedule info); ipswichessexexplorer.com
Please Note: This article was accurate at the time of publication. When planning a trip, please confirm details by directly contacting any company or establishment you intend to visit.