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MeetUps bring people together to play music or just laugh

In a Northampton apartment, we played jazz standards on a Monday night. Jeff plays the G horn, used in marching bands. Serendipity brought me something on Facebook that turned into something by email that lead me last night to a group of musicians who play jazz in a Northampton apartment every Monday night. It was a Meet Up ,and I now realize that I have former Vermont Governor Howard Dean to thank for that. I read a story about the origins of MeetUp.com and found 0

Dr Samuel Gladstone: serving Amherst with distinction for decades

Samuel Gladstone MD I've been lucky in life to have had a steady hand looking over my health since 1991. That's when I began to visit Dr Samuel Gladstone as my personal physician. I can look at my chart every visit, much of it hand written in Sam's unique style of penmenship. I got a letter from the good doc announcing his retirement from practicing in Amherst. I have always felt confident and well taken care of, as I bet his hundreds of patients all 0

Eating the Republic of Georgia: some of the country’s finest dishes

   Georgia is a fantastic food destination, it's full of fresh locally grown vegetables and the chefs don't feel the need to use a heavy hand with sauces or dunk everything in frying oil. Here are some of the highlights of Georgian cuisine that we tasted during our journey and some of the things that are always set in front of diners during most meals.  A salad of tomatoes and cucumbers has never failed to appear at the table. Also, fresh baked bread, salty feta cheese, sort 0

A visit to the hometown of the world’s most wanted terrorist in Georgia

 I love picking up local newspapers when I travel. Today I found a remarkable story in the Georgia Journal about meeting the father of the world's most notorious terrorist, Omar al-Shishani, who was born Tarkhan Batirashvili in a small town of Birkiani in Pankisi, Georgia. Temur Batirashvili lamented in what the interviewers said was a sad and lonely rant about how terrible it is to have a terrorist for a son. "You ruined me, Tarkhan," he told the team from the Journal.   The intrepid reporters 0

Stalin Museum in Gori, Georgia: an awkward remembrance to a native son

Stalin Museum Guide. Stalin's private rail car at the Stalin Museum in Gori Georgia. Even before we reached the grim industrial city of Gori, my friends on the bus were talking about how much they wanted to see the museum there dedicated to its most infamous son, Iosif Vissarionovich Dzhugashvili. When we got there, Joseph Stalin's light green private rail car was what we saw first. He was afraid of flying and used this to travel everywhere. The railcar, though, has none of the grandeur 0

Mtskheta’s church from 603 and a feast at Iago and Marina’s house

A friendly accordian man outside Mtskheta Church. Our day of travel and exploring across western Georgia began at the home and winery of Iago and Marina Bitarishvili in rural Mtskheta. This consonant-heavy small town is also the home of one of the country's oldest churches, which was built high on a hill around the year 603. Seeing a church built in a year with three digits is pretty spectacular, as is the view from atop this protected sanctuary, which is also a World Heritage site. 0

At the crossroads of the Caucasus, Georgia’s been an invasion target for centuries

Grapes ready to pick in eastern Georgia. The street vendors sell mostly the same items, including a candy made of grapes, oats and wine in a long tube. We woke up in Sighnaghi and outside men were playing backgammon while a small dog sat majestically atop a stone step in the town square. Young men sat outside our hotel strumming on a four-stringed small guitar. I asked them if they Lush green hills outside of Sighnaghi, Georgia. could play any Rolling Stones, Dylan or Led 0

Georgia on my mind

Monastery in Alaverdi Georgia. Georgia: some random thoughts as we drove from the center of the country, Tbilisi, to the east: Along the road, we came to a detour, with two policemen directing our bus shunting us off to a dusty rutted road. We were driving through the remains of an old Soviet factory, one of hundreds that have been dismantled or left to rot. Everywhere along the roadside is litter--bottles mostly--it's a depressing site to look out on gorgeous fall foliage in the distance 0

Georgian Hospitality: "God Tests You By Sending You Guests"

John Wurdeman talks about toasting and his wines. [ John and Luarsab, owners of Azarphesha Restaurant in Tblisi,Georgia. "God tests how much you love him by sending you guests," said John H. Wurdeman V. We were seated at a long table, shoe-horned into a narrow establishment in downtown Tbilisi called Azarphesha Restaurant, and before us was the first course of a long, long dinner of mezze plates. He spoke with an American accent, and we later learned that he had lived all over the world 0

Georgia, The Republic, is coming up!

A priest at Sveti Tskhoveli Cathedral in Mkskheta, Georgia. Photos by David Rich On Friday I am flying to Tbilisi, the capital of the Republic of Georgia, with a group of 10 journalists to tour the country and get to know what travelers can find there. We will spend a long layover in Munich before we hit Georgia's capital city on Sunday October 12. Georgia is located next to Armenia, between the Black and the Caspian seas, to its north is all Russia. I'm always 0