Solid Sound 2024 [MASS MoCA, North Adams MA]

Hello from cloudy/soon-to-be rainy Solid Sound where the weather is always dreadful—they even make merch for it (“It always rains at Solid Sound”). We’ve got our rain gear and there’s always the huge museum to explore. Frankly, I’ll take any escape from the current reality that I can get.

We tried out Hope & Olive instead of our usual, People’s Pint and had a very pleasant lunch. We had a nice time talking with the owner/manager (?) Jim, who was headed to SS after lunch service. Very crowded, but they take reservations for all party sizes. Sizable falafel pita for me (tasty overall on a good pita and a tangy tahini dribble, but a little more paste-y interior than my ideal, which is more textured). Rather large fried chicken thigh sandwich for B, which he loves but started falling apart towards the end so it became a knife and fork situation. Spring Onion loved his kids bacon cheeseburger. Friendly service, as expected. We would definitely come




B and SO grabbed large bratwursts (do you sense a portion trend here?! :joy:), SO’s first because the Rotary Club hot dog stand is not here this year. He liked it and B concurred (forgot to take a photo). I got a veggie Vietnamese spring roll which was meh but healthy and the wrapper was quite nice (thin but held together) and the peanut sauce packed a kicky punch. Treehouse is handling all the alcohol sales this year. On our drive, B quizzed me about the beer prices. We both thought $10, maybe $12 tops. We were both wrong—$14/beer, which is robbery but judging by the lines, they are not suffering. B might as well just hand his wallet over to them.


Long food lines and remembering our experience from 2022, we made an early dinner reservation at Freightyard Pub for Saturday. It’s a short walk from the museum and with the rain and long day, it’s good to take a break away.


We listened to the Deep Cuts set last night on New England Public Media. It was cool that it was livestreamed, and I thought of you guys! We’ll make it one of these years before Tweedy throws in the towel!


We made it to the end, which made for a late night. I still woke up at 6 am. :face_with_symbols_over_mouth:

Jeff always plays a “Jeff and Friends” show to close out the festival. I have a sneaking suspicion the mystery guests this year will be R.E.M. They just got inducted to the Songwriters Hall of Fame, vowed that they would never perform together again on CBS This Morning, and then promptly performed at the induction ceremony. A few festivals ago, Peter Buck and Mike Mills performed together in a different band. Oh, and Jason Isbell played a fun rendition of “The One I Love” at his set (which we enjoyed more than we expected). :face_with_monocle:


Well, no R.E.M. but the rain stayed mostly away, save for an intense downpour/thunderstorm Sunday afternoon (canceling 1 band’s gig, which must have been a big bummer for them). So without further ado, here’s the final installment of our exciting Solid Sound eating adventures (I think you all know me well enough to know that I’m being wicked sarcastic).

Late lunch of pepperoni slice for SO. B and I held off until an early dinner at Freight Yard Pub so we could catch sets that we wanted to see. Simple pub food—cheese, mushroom, and peppers quesadilla for me; chicken tenders for SO; big messy jalapeño and cheese burger for B. It was nice to sit and chill for an hour.




We saw a great multimedia exhibit before heading into the festival, The Plastic Bag Store where nearly everything is made of plastic. The grocery store portion is incredible and sad at the same time. It’s exactly the way I feel when I walk into a grocery store…all I see is an ocean of plastic, even poor veggies and fruit encased in plastic. :cry:







Another late night meant another late lunch. More bratwursts for B and SO (forgot to take a photo). As soon as I saw a short-ish line for the Broccoli Bar from Burlington VT, I made a beeline. These guys crack me up while churning out delicious vegan food. I got the small-sized “Big Sexy” (their only offering). Piled high with dumplings, deep fried and not fried broccoli, curry sauce, coconut rice, pickled cabbage, savory yum yum sauce, more fun $#!T that I can’t recall. It somehow works. B had several tastes (he LOVES his broccoli and loved his food from them at the last Solid Sound so I wasn’t sure why he didn’t get his own).


Dinner was a sad late night affair back at Freight Yard. But SO liked his cheese quesadilla so that’s what counts.

We checked out at 11 am and headed east towards home, stopping in Shelburne Falls to see the glacial potholes and then in Turners Falls for lunch (many places closed for lunch on Mondays in those parts). I’ve passed by this town a million times but may have stopped once when I was a kid. Lunch was at The Rendezvous which was a hoot. Lots of veggie options, fun space and service. As a added element of excitement, the Board of Health showed up for a surprise inspection (2 pleasant young adults with clipboards, not white guys in suits, as I imagined), which freaked out the lone server. I started with a cup of the delightful Ethiopian-influenced dal (ginger, garlic, warm spices) and got the veggie tofu bowl, which I loved (took home 2/3 of it). The tofu cubes were awesome. SO got a pepperoni bar pizza, of which he scarfed down 3 slices (including the cornicione, so I know he liked it) and B had the banh mi fries, which is exactly as it sounds (I think he wasn’t bowled over by it), and some pizza. They had interesting new-to-us beers. B enjoyed one from Stoneman Brewery, the “Vert Frisson.” Next door was an interesting sounding place (closed on Mondays). The falls were cool but the discovery center is closed on Mondays (it’s a DCR property). Cute shops, including this one which was also closed. This town has become our new favorite small town out here.







It all sounds really nice (except for the sad plastic exhibit). Personally, I think “exciting” is sometimes overrated! :grinning:


Great report, thanks! We were in Shelburne Falls for 3 nights during the eclipse. We very, very much enjoyed Le Peacock, a new restaurant in Shelburne Falls, for dinner one evening. Outstanding and very interesting place. No website, but we were able to peruse the menu posted in the window while enjoying a visit at the small, delightful independent bookstore Boswell’s Books, which is right next door and features a lovely resident cat, Boswell, who sleeps in a picnic basket in the front window.

We had a lunch that was ok for our son and my husband and quite sad for me at the Freight Yard, after enjoying a visit to MassMOCA. It was made much more pleasant when our server shared her protective eye gear with our son during the eclipse. Not much in North Adams; years ago there used to be a good Latin American restaurant at Mass MOCA.

Several good orchards/farm stores nearby and we had our first taste of maple soft serve ice cream. Momma’s in North Cambridge offers it and we’ve enjoyed it there several times since we got back.

Our stay at the newish Shelburne Springs boutique hotel was good for the most part, enhanced by the high quality breakfast cooked to order, included with the room rate. Fortunately as usual we brought our own coffee and brewed it in the lodging. Buckland Pizza in town was expensive and horrible.