Doctor & vet recommendations for Northampton, MA
May 13, 2013 4:56 AM   Subscribe

I am moving to Northampton, MA. Can you recommend good doctors for me and my cat? I am looking for an OB/GYN, a veterinarian for cats, a dentist, and a primary care doctor.

Yelp and Google have not been that helpful on this question. Can you recommend good providers? Ideal providers would be located in Northampton or very nearby (like Hadley, not Holyoke). I will have the MA state health plan, at least at first. The cat has some health issues and I want to make sure I have a good vet lined up before we move in case something happens right when we get there.

Any other recommendations for stuff not to miss would be great too! I am familiar with the area but have not lived there before. Thank you.
posted by john_snow to Health & Fitness (12 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: The Cat Hospital! Dr. Ricksgers is absolutely wonderful. You will never want to bring your cat to a mixed dog-and-cat practice again after going to the Cat Hospital.
posted by southern_sky at 6:22 AM on May 13, 2013

Best answer: I live in Northampton and go to The Valley Dentists just across the river in Hadley and I like them a lot. I haven't had any work done there (haven't needed any) but everyone there is just lovely. The dentists are new (the dentists who used to run the practice retired last year and new dentists took over) but the front office and hygienists are the same and, like I say, they're just delightful. They have free wifi in the waiting room but I've never had a chance to use it because they always see me within about 90 seconds of my arrival.

Also it is right next door to The Donut Man, which I also highly recommend.
posted by mskyle at 6:32 AM on May 13, 2013

Best answer: Northampton Veterinary Hospital for your cat, specifically Dr. Ksiazek. I would never ever go back to The Cat Hospital (recommended above) after my own terrible experience there and other experiences I've heard about.

Dr. Ksiazek at Northampton Vet was fabulous with our last cat, who had diabetes and other issues, and the entire practice went so above and beyond with their compassion when we had to let him go. MeMail me if you want additional details on my experiences with Northampton Vet and/or The Cat Hospital.

For GYN, I like Dr. Maura Keene at WomanCare (at Cooley Dickinson Hospital, but they also have a Hadley location).
posted by dayintoday at 6:39 AM on May 13, 2013

Best answer: Seconding Dr. Ricksgers. She is awesome.

For dentist, I see Mark Klepacki who is also in Hadley, not far from the Donut Man (not that I ever stopped there after a cleaning...).

I don't have lady parts, but Hadley Family Practice has been my main provider and Dr. Robert Weitzman has been my main doctor - he's fabulous - treats you like you have a brain of your own and makes you feel like you're part of the process instead of a passive recipient.

Welcome to the area! Stay a while and if you play a musical instrument, I can set you up with a fun community band...

Also, in the summer, there's a summer concert series in Florence on Thursdays nights near the civic center. There is also a Cruise Night Thursdays from 5:30-dusk at the Elk's lodge.

You can swim in the mill river near the Arts and Industries building on Pine St when it's hot.

There's a nice Tuesday farmer's market in NoHo in the late spring through late fall.

If you have kids, try the Rag Shag parade on Hallowe'en night in Florence.

Keep your eyes open on the Calvin theater schedule - they get some get performers.
posted by plinth at 6:43 AM on May 13, 2013

Best answer: My faves have already been mentioned! Amazing. My vet is The Cat Hospital, my OB/GYN is at WomanCare (the Cooley-Dickinson location), my dentist is The Valley Dentists in Hadley. The latter two have taken all of the various crappy insurance plans I've been on over the years (including the state ones). The vet managed to diagnose and pretty much cure my cat's allergies. They were also very compassionate when I had to let a cat go a few years ago.
posted by chowflap at 6:58 AM on May 13, 2013

Best answer: I also see doctors at WomanCare OB/GYN who have an office in Hadley on Rte 9 and at Cooley Dickinson Hospital (as mentioned above). They've always been fantastic (all of them!)

My vet, dentist, and PCP are in Amherst, which is probably farther than you want to go from NoHo. If you'd like their names MeMail me.

Welcome to the Happy Valley and enjoy your stay behind the Tofu Curtain! If you're moving here during the summer you're in for a treat; summers here are gorgeous. Things to do on that side of the river include what's been mentioned above, plus the numerous art museums (Amherst College, Williams, and Smith all have fantastic art museums. Small, but perfect for an hour or two followed by some ice cream or frozen yogurt!)

There is a nice strong cycling culture here (that isn't too jerky, either). Check out the Northampton Cycling Club for events (from novice to experts, road biking to mountain biking and everything in-between.)

Keep an eye on local schedules (I like Hilltown Families) in autumn for harvest festivals. You can't beat fresh cider doughnuts with hot cider on a crisp autumn morning.

There is plenty of hiking in the area, and if you want something a little more exciting there's white water rafting in the hilltowns. Google Crabapple White Water rafting for some examples.

July and August bring blueberry season, and there are many PYO berry places in the hilltowns as well. Look to Benson Place in Heath for a wonderful farm up on the side of the hills. Breathtaking views (although it takes a little while to get there) and lots of low-bush wild blueberries to pick. There are also many orchards for apples in the fall, and there's the famous corn maze in Sunderland to keep you busy during Halloween.

If you're into more traditional fun-times, Six Flags is down by Springfield, and there is the Big E which happens late every summer. Noho has the tri-county fair and several art shows through the summer.

There's roller derby and rock climbing (both in the wild and in a gym) if that's your cup of tea. I've heard there's a strong contradance community here, but I'm not familiar with it. Exercise your google-fu for more info on that.

The same goes for music and dancing. There are plenty of both, but I'm not familiar with the communities, so Google will help you here.

Don't even get me started on food... CSAs are big around here, and there are plenty of opportunities for people to get locally grown food. At almost all the farmer's markets SNAP benefits are accepted, along with cash or credit.

If you can't tell, I love living here. It's quiet but has lots of small things to do if you look out for them. The local colleges and Universities provide great variety in terms of musical acts, food, shopping, and people watching. If you're coming from a large city, you will think all of this quaint and cute, and then in a year, you'll have a hard time imagining leaving.
posted by absquatulate at 7:41 AM on May 13, 2013

We've been taking our dog for the last eight years to Valley Vet in Hadley (we specifically see Dr. Kenworthy, but Dr. Watkins and Dr. Gatti have also seen her and they're really nice as well), and they have been nothing but excellent for us. They're very good with our nervous scaredy dog! They have great hours (until 8 M-R, open until 2 on Saturdays) and their office staff is fantastic. They have special "Feline First" days every month specifically for cats, too, which obviously my dog and I cannot recommend personally! :) You'll see them on Rte. 9 in Hadley -- they're the ones with the dog statue out by the road that they dress up for holidays/seasons (it's very cute). I highly recommend them!
posted by lysimache at 4:48 PM on May 13, 2013

Best answer: Also, be sure to check out the fantastic Montague Bookmill ("Books you don't need in a place you can't find").
posted by southern_sky at 5:44 PM on May 13, 2013 [2 favorites]

Response by poster: Thank you, everyone! This is super helpful. Clearly WomanCare is the place to go for OB/GYN and Valley Dentists for dental care, and it sounds like there are a few good vets in town. I appreciate all the additional recommendations too. I'll be marking everyone who answered the question as a best answer, but if you have any additional recommendations please post!

I knew I was forgetting to ask something, and maybe it's too late, but in case--are there any good blogs about the area? I haven't found any yet but it seems like the kind of place that should have at least one or two news/information blogs.
posted by john_snow at 4:23 AM on May 14, 2013

Best answer: What kind of blog are you looking for? Local events? Local news? The Daily Hampshire Gazette is probably your best bet for general news and information. There is also the Valley Advocate. Local news stations in Springfield (e.g. WWLP) do a good job of reporting newsy and weathery type stuff. All the local colleges have events calendars as do many local town governments.

If you're looking for one blog that summarizes everything, I haven't found that yet. My aforementioned Hilltown Families blog is the closest I've found thus far (although I haven't been looking that hard) but they focus on the hilltowns rather than Noho.
posted by absquatulate at 5:55 PM on May 14, 2013

Response by poster: Thanks! I'll check out everything you mentioned. I have already found the Daily Hampshire Gazette, and it looks like I'll end up subscribing so I can actually read stuff. My current city has a great blog that tracks events, new stuff opening, some local news, and other things of interest to residents; I was hoping for something similar. It may not exist for Northampton, though (current city is much larger).
posted by john_snow at 5:26 PM on May 15, 2013

I am clearly way behind on my reading....

If by "MA State health plan" you mean GIC/Unicare, I see a lot of doctors and have yet to encounter one in the area that doesn't accept it, what with UMass being a huge employer. (I can't say the same for dentists - my dental is separate.)

My PCP is at Northampton Family Practice, which is actually in Northampton (a lot of practices around here have offices in multiple towns, so that's not a given) - MeMail me for info, though as a family practice they're often booked to the gills and I have no idea if my doc is taking new patients right now.

I've been trying to think of where I hear about events because it feels like it's just osmosis. One thing I'm noticing a lot lately especially in Hadley and Amherst are those little lawn signs like the ones people put up during political campaigns being used as ads for various events.

Welcome to The Valley!
posted by camyram at 7:31 PM on May 16, 2013

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