Western Massachusetts is famous for the Berkshire mountains and its rich cultural history; but it's hard to appreciate any of these on an empty stomach. Fuel up at one of these can't-miss breakfast joints.
Western Massachusetts may be famous for Emily Dickinson's poetry, or (more likely) the droves of New Yorkers who spend their summers there, but it should also be known for its breakfast. The most important meal of the day is treated with the reverance it deserves in the mountains and farmlands of the Bay State's other half. With the region's leaves going multicolor this fall, now's the perfect time to indulge.
The Brass Buckle
Right off Interstate 91 and Route 2 is the town of Greenfield, and on its small but charming main street, The Brass Buckle holds sway everyday until 3 p.m. They have the best biscuits you're likely to get in all of New England and stick-to-your-ribs specials—chorizo and egg tacos, banana bread French toast—that will keep you full well past lunchtime. A bacon milkshake is a breakfast food, too, right?
Gould's Sugar House
Right outside of Shelburne Falls, Gould's Sugar House Restaurant serves the veritable ideal of New England breakfasts. This 50-year-old restaurant is located inside a 150-year-old barn, on a farm that provides both the maple syrup as well as the fruit, vegetables, and meat that make up your meal. The 25-cent maple softserve is available all year round, but the restaurant's special "sugar on snow" menu item (literally thick maple syrup poured over just-fallen snow) only appears if and when there's fresh powder.
Northampton is one of Western Massachusetts's largest towns, and Jake's is its best breakfast. Whether you're there to see a show at the Iron Horse Music Hall, visit Smith College, or brush up on your history of the First Great Awakening, you'll find witty scrambles that will ease any hunger. Order The Coolide (three eggs with roasted tomatoes, kale, roasted garlic, and goat cheese) or The Baystate (with Monterey Jack, crumbled jalapeno corn bread, pico, and black beans).
The Wagon Wheel
One of the best parts of The Wagon Wheel is the drive there. This kitchy roadside restaurant is just east of Route 2's spectacular French King Bridge (there's parking and a pedestrian walkway that make it an easy and worthwhile stop) and the dining space is decorated with commemerative plates and dishtowel curtains. They make their own ice cream and offer a large, eclectic menu: order the Big Wheel pancake, which come with apples, cheddar cheese, camelized onions, and sausage baked right in.