Nestled in the heart of western Massachusetts lies the quaint town of Amherst, a hidden gem that is often overlooked by travelers.
Despite its small size, Amherst boasts an impressive array of attractions that cater to all types of visitors. Whether you’re a nature lover, history buff, foodie, or simply looking for a fun weekend getaway, there’s plenty to keep you entertained in this charming New England town.
In this article, we’ll highlight 20 of the top things to do in Amherst, so you can plan the perfect trip and discover all that this vibrant community has to offer. So pack your bags and get ready to explore Amherst – you won’t be disappointed!
1. Emily Dickinson Museum
The Emily Dickinson Museum is a historic house museum dedicated to preserving the legacy of Emily Dickinson, one of the greatest American poets. The museum comprises two houses, the Dickinson Homestead and the Evergreens, both of which were owned by the Dickinson family.
The Dickinson Homestead, built in 1813, was Emily Dickinson’s birthplace and lifelong home. It was where she wrote most of her poems and lived an unconventional life, choosing to live as a recluse and avoiding public appearances. The house is a classic example of New England architecture and has been carefully preserved to reflect how it looked during Emily Dickinson’s lifetime. Visitors can take a tour of the house and see the room where Dickinson did most of her writing.
The Evergreens, constructed in 1856 by Emily Dickinson’s brother, Austin, as a wedding gift for his wife, Susan, is considered one of the finest examples of mid-19th-century architecture in Amherst. The house was designed by the renowned architect Edward Tuckerman Potter and served as the center of social life for the Dickinson family, hosting numerous gatherings and parties. Visitors can tour the house and see the art and artifacts collected by the Dickinson family.
The Emily Dickinson Museum offers various tours and programs suitable for visitors of all ages. These include guided tours of the Dickinson Homestead and the Evergreens, as well as self-guided tours of the grounds. Visitors can also take part in special programs such as writing workshops, poetry readings, and lectures.
The museum also houses an extensive collection of Emily Dickinson’s manuscripts, letters, and personal belongings. The collection includes over 1,100 letters and more than 900 poems, as well as books, furniture, and clothing. The archives are a valuable resource for scholars and researchers interested in the life and work of Emily Dickinson.
The Emily Dickinson Museum is a must-visit destination for anyone interested in American literature and poetry. It provides a unique opportunity to explore the life and work of one of America’s greatest poets, as well as the history and culture of New England in the 19th century. Whether you are a scholar, a writer, or simply a lover of literature, the Emily Dickinson Museum is a fascinating and inspiring place to visit.
2. Amherst College
Amherst College is a highly regarded liberal arts college located in the charming town of Amherst, Massachusetts. Founded in 1821, the college is renowned for its academic excellence and rigorous curriculum.
Spread across an impressive 1,000 acres, the Amherst College campus boasts 35 major buildings, including a state-of-the-art science center, an impressive art museum, and a fantastic music center. Students can also take advantage of the stunning outdoor spaces, such as the Wildlife Sanctuary and the Book & Plow Farm, which provide opportunities for hands-on learning experiences.
The college offers a comprehensive undergraduate education, with over 40 majors and minors in various fields of study, ranging from the humanities and social sciences to the natural sciences and mathematics. With its strict liberal arts curriculum, Amherst College emphasizes critical thinking, problem-solving, and interdisciplinary learning. The college requires students to take courses in various disciplines, providing them with a well-rounded education that prepares them for a wide range of careers and graduate programs.
One of the most significant draws of Amherst College is its world-renowned faculty, known for their expertise and dedication to teaching. With a student-to-faculty ratio of 7:1, students have ample opportunities to interact with their professors and receive personalized attention. The college also offers numerous research and internship opportunities, providing students with hands-on experience in their field of study.
In addition to its academic offerings, Amherst College provides a lively campus life with over 175 student organizations and a diverse range of cultural, athletic, and social events. Students can participate in 27 NCAA Division III varsity sports teams, as well as various intramural and club sports teams. The campus hosts many cultural events, including concerts, theater performances, and lectures, providing students with opportunities to engage with their peers and explore new interests.
Amherst College is also notable for its commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion. With a long history of advocating for social justice and promoting inclusivity on campus, the college has implemented several initiatives to support underrepresented students and faculty. These include need-blind admissions policies and various programs to increase diversity and inclusivity on campus.
Overall, Amherst College offers a top-tier liberal arts education with a vibrant campus life and numerous opportunities for hands-on learning experiences. Its strong emphasis on interdisciplinary learning, critical thinking, and inclusivity makes it an ideal choice for students looking for a well-rounded and challenging undergraduate experience.
3. Hampshire College
Hampshire College is a small liberal arts college that stands out for its progressive and unconventional approach to higher education. Established in 1970, Hampshire College is widely recognized for its innovative academic program that places a strong emphasis on self-directed learning and student-centered education.
At Hampshire College, students have the freedom to design their own academic programs based on their interests and passions. The college’s flexible curriculum allows students to choose from a variety of courses in various disciplines, conduct independent research projects, and engage in experiential learning opportunities. Unlike traditional colleges that require a set of core courses, Hampshire College encourages students to create a personalized academic plan that fits their unique needs.
One of the defining features of Hampshire College is its interdisciplinary approach to education. Students are encouraged to explore connections between different fields of study and find creative solutions to complex problems. The college offers majors in arts and humanities, social sciences, natural sciences, and interdisciplinary studies. Furthermore, students can create their own majors by choosing courses from a range of disciplines to craft a program tailored to their interests.
Hampshire College is also renowned for its commitment to social justice and activism. The college has a long-standing history of promoting diversity and inclusivity on campus and encouraging students to engage with social and political issues. Students can join a variety of student-led organizations that strive to create positive change in their communities. For instance, the Hampshire College Climate Justice League advocates for environmental sustainability, while the Hampshire College Queer Community Alliance promotes the rights of the LGBTQ+ community.
Despite its small size, Hampshire College boasts a vibrant and diverse student community. The college attracts around 1,200 students from across the United States and around the world. There are numerous student-led clubs and organizations on campus, such as a student-run radio station, a literary magazine, and a theater group. These clubs provide ample opportunities for students to explore their interests and connect with like-minded individuals.
Hampshire College has faced financial difficulties in recent years, which led to significant changes on campus. In 2018, the college announced that it would not admit a new class of students that fall and would consider merging with another institution. However, the college has since stabilized its finances and resumed admitting new students.
Hampshire College offers a unique and innovative approach to higher education that places a premium on self-directed learning, interdisciplinary studies, and social justice activism. Despite the financial challenges it has faced, the college remains a dynamic and diverse community that attracts students who want a personalized and unconventional educational experience.
4. Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art (The Carle)
The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art is a remarkable museum dedicated to celebrating the art of children’s picture books. Founded in 2002 by acclaimed children’s author and illustrator Eric Carle and his wife Barbara Carle, the museum showcases Carle’s artwork as well as works from other celebrated picture book artists.
The museum’s mission is to inspire a love of art and reading through picture books, and it has an extensive collection of over 10,000 objects including original artwork, manuscripts, and prints from some of the world’s most beloved picture book artists. The museum provides visitors with an opportunity to delve into the intricate details and creative processes that go into creating a picture book, making it a valuable educational resource for children and adults alike.
One of the museum’s main attractions is the Eric Carle Gallery, which features rotating exhibits of Carle’s original artwork. Visitors can see how Carle created his iconic works, such as “The Very Hungry Caterpillar,” and gain insight into the techniques and styles that influenced other artists. The gallery is an immersive experience that enables visitors to appreciate the creativity and talent of the artists featured.
In addition to the gallery, the museum boasts a children’s book collection with over 30,000 books from around the world. Visitors can browse through the collection and read some of their favorite stories or discover new ones, making it a great place to foster a love of reading in children. The museum also offers a range of educational programs and workshops for children and adults, including art classes, storytelling sessions, and bookmaking workshops.
The museum’s beautiful campus also offers visitors the chance to enjoy landscaped gardens and outdoor sculptures. Visitors can take a relaxing stroll through the gardens or enjoy a picnic on the lawn. The museum’s cafe offers light snacks and refreshments, providing visitors with the perfect opportunity to relax and reflect on the beauty and wonder of picture book art.
In conclusion, the Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art is a unique and inspiring destination that celebrates the art of children’s picture books. Whether you are a fan of Eric Carle’s work or simply love children’s books, the museum offers something for everyone, making it a must-visit destination for anyone looking to appreciate and enjoy the beauty and creativity of picture book art.
5. UMass Amherst
Nestled in the beautiful town of Amherst, Massachusetts, UMass Amherst is a top public research university in the United States. Established in 1863 as the Massachusetts Agricultural College, it has grown to become the flagship campus of the University of Massachusetts system, welcoming over 30,000 students from all over the world.
With over 90 undergraduate majors and 70 graduate programs, UMass Amherst offers an extensive range of fields, from business and engineering to humanities, social sciences, natural sciences, and mathematics. The university is particularly renowned for its exceptional programs in computer science, environmental science, public health, and sociology. Besides, it provides students with numerous interdisciplinary programs, such as the Commonwealth Honors College, which offers an enriched academic experience for high-achieving scholars.
UMass Amherst is known for its impressive research facilities, including more than 50 research centers and institutes, such as the Center for Data Science, the Center for Personalized Health Monitoring, and the Institute for Applied Life Sciences. Its faculty and students are engaged in cutting-edge research activities across various fields, from developing new cancer treatments to designing sustainable transportation systems.
In addition to academic excellence, UMass Amherst is dedicated to sustainability and environmental protection. The campus has received numerous accolades for its green initiatives, including a platinum rating from the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education. The university has also pledged to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050, and it has taken significant strides in reducing its greenhouse gas emissions by adopting renewable energy sources and energy-efficient buildings.
Besides academics, UMass Amherst boasts a lively campus life, featuring over 200 student clubs and organizations, including fraternities, sororities, and student government. The university is also home to NCAA Division I athletics, with 21 varsity teams competing in the Atlantic 10 Conference. UMass Amherst emphasizes civic engagement and encourages students to participate in community service and social justice initiatives.
Overall, UMass Amherst is a remarkable institution that provides students with a world-class education, cutting-edge research opportunities, and a dynamic campus community. Whether you are interested in pursuing a degree in engineering, business, or humanities, UMass Amherst is an excellent choice for students looking for a top-notch education and a fulfilling college experience.
6. Amherst Center
Amherst Center is a charming town that is famous for its bustling commercial and cultural hub. With a population of approximately 40,000 residents, Amherst Center is home to Amherst College, one of the most prestigious liberal arts colleges in the country.
At the heart of Amherst Center is the Amherst Town Common, a picturesque public park that serves as a gathering place for both residents and visitors. Surrounded by historic buildings such as the First Congregational Church and the Amherst History Museum, the Common offers a glimpse into the town’s rich history.
One of the most notable aspects of Amherst Center is its thriving arts scene. The town boasts several art galleries, including the Amherst Arts Night Plus Gallery Walk, which takes place on the first Thursday of every month. This popular event features live music, art exhibits, and refreshments and is an excellent way to experience the town’s vibrant arts community.
For food enthusiasts, Amherst Center is home to numerous restaurants, cafes, and bars that offer an array of culinary options. Local favorites include The Black Sheep, which features a rotating selection of craft beers and mouthwatering comfort food, and Johnny’s Tavern, a popular sports bar that serves up delicious pub fare and cold beverages.
Outdoor enthusiasts will appreciate Amherst Center’s proximity to a range of recreational opportunities. The nearby Mount Holyoke Range State Park boasts miles of scenic hiking trails with stunning views of the Connecticut River Valley, while the Norwottuck Rail Trail offers a scenic route for bikers and walkers.
Visitors to Amherst Center can also take a guided tour of the Amherst College campus, which features an array of stunning Gothic-style buildings and lush green spaces. Other notable attractions in the area include the Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art, which features an extensive collection of original artwork by beloved children’s book author and illustrator Eric Carle.
In conclusion, Amherst Center is a vibrant and exciting community that has something to offer everyone. Whether you are interested in exploring the town’s rich history, experiencing its diverse arts and culture scene, or simply enjoying the great outdoors, Amherst Center is a must-visit destination.
7. Yiddish Book Center
The Yiddish Book Center is an institution dedicated to the preservation and celebration of Yiddish language and culture. Established in 1980 by Aaron Lansky, a Yiddish scholar, and activist, the center has evolved into a prominent organization that promotes Yiddish literature and education.
The center’s mission is rooted in rescuing and safeguarding Yiddish books. In the early days, Lansky and his team combed the country to collect thousands of books that had been discarded in attics, basements, and even garbage dumps. These books were often the only surviving copies of works by Yiddish writers who had been forgotten or marginalized in their own time. Today, the center boasts over one million volumes, making it the world’s largest collection of Yiddish books.
Beyond the library, the Yiddish Book Center also serves as a cultural hub for Yiddish-speaking communities, as well as those interested in Jewish culture and history. The center hosts lectures, concerts, and other events that showcase Yiddish language, music, and literature. The center’s website is a treasure trove of resources for learners and scholars of Yiddish, including online courses, podcasts, and digital archives of Yiddish books and audio recordings.
One of the Yiddish Book Center’s most innovative programs is the Steiner Summer Yiddish Program. This seven-week immersion program gives college students the opportunity to delve deeply into Yiddish language and culture. The program is named after Joseph Steiner, a Yiddish scholar, and educator who played a pivotal role in preserving Yiddish culture in the United States. The Steiner Summer Yiddish Program is often life-changing for participants, who come away with a deeper appreciation for Yiddish culture and a stronger connection to their Jewish heritage.
The Yiddish Book Center’s impact extends beyond the United States, with partnerships in countries such as Ukraine, Lithuania, and Poland. These countries were once home to vibrant Yiddish cultures but were devastated by the Holocaust and the Soviet regime. Through these partnerships, the Yiddish Book Center is helping to revive interest in Yiddish language and culture in these countries and to connect Jews around the world through their shared cultural heritage.
The Yiddish Book Center’s commitment to preserving Yiddish literature has not only saved a literary treasure trove but also preserved a language and culture that might otherwise have been lost to history. In a world where cultural diversity is increasingly threatened, the Yiddish Book Center is a shining example of how an organization can make a profound difference in preserving and promoting a unique and valuable cultural legacy. The center is a testament to the power of culture to connect us to our past and inspire us to build a brighter future.
8. Beneski Museum of Natural History
The Beneski Museum of Natural History is a unique and fascinating place that offers visitors a chance to explore the natural world in a way that is both educational and entertaining.
The museum was founded in 1855 and is currently part of Amherst College. It is named after Amherst College alumnus and trustee, Joseph W. Beneski, who made a generous donation to the college to support the museum’s expansion.
The museum’s collection is impressive, with over 1,700 specimens on display. It covers a range of topics, including geology, paleontology, mineralogy, and biology. The exhibits showcase a diverse array of natural wonders, including dinosaur fossils, gemstones, taxidermy animals, and rare minerals.
One of the museum’s most notable exhibits is the world-famous dinosaur trackway, which is believed to be the largest collection of dinosaur tracks in the world. The trackway was discovered in 1802 in Holyoke, Massachusetts, and is estimated to be around 190 million years old. The exhibit includes a life-size model of a Dilophosaurus, a theropod dinosaur that lived in the Jurassic period.
Another highlight of the museum is the mineralogy exhibit, which features a stunning array of colorful and rare minerals from around the world. The exhibit includes specimens such as azurite, rhodochrosite, and the state gemstone of Massachusetts, rhodonite.
In addition to the permanent exhibits, the museum also hosts temporary exhibits and special events throughout the year. These events include lectures, workshops, and guided tours, which provide visitors with a deeper understanding of the natural world and its complexities.
The museum is also committed to education and outreach, offering programs for schools and community groups. These programs include hands-on activities, presentations, and field trips, all designed to inspire a love of science and nature in young people.
Overall, the Beneski Museum of Natural History is a must-visit destination for anyone interested in the natural world. Its impressive collection, world-class exhibits, and commitment to education make it a valuable resource for the community and a fascinating place to explore for visitors of all ages.
9. Mead Art Museum
The Mead Art Museum is located at Amherst College in Massachusetts and is a fantastic cultural attraction. It has an impressive collection of over 19,000 objects spanning five thousand years of history. The museum was established in 1949 and has since become a favorite spot for art enthusiasts and students alike. It is named after William Rutherford Mead, an Amherst College graduate from 1867 and a founding partner of the architecture firm McKim, Mead & White.
The Mead Art Museum’s collection is diverse, with works from different cultures and time periods. Visitors can view ancient Egyptian artifacts, European paintings, American furniture, and contemporary art. Some of the most notable pieces in the collection include a portrait of George Washington by Gilbert Stuart, a sculpture of a seated Buddha from ancient China, and a painting by Claude Monet, the famous Impressionist.
The museum offers a unique feature of using art as a tool for education. There are a variety of educational programs for visitors of all ages, such as workshops, lectures, and guided tours. These programs aim to help visitors understand art better and its role in society.
Aside from its permanent collection, the Mead Art Museum also hosts rotating exhibitions that showcase the work of contemporary artists and explore different themes in art history. Some recent exhibitions include “New York Cool: Painting and Sculpture from the NYU Art Collection” and “The Art of Devotion: Panel Painting in Early Renaissance Italy.”
The Mead Art Museum is open to the public for free, which makes it an accessible and inclusive cultural institution. The museum’s operating hours vary depending on the season, so visitors should check the museum’s website for the most up-to-date information.
Whether you’re an art lover or just looking for a unique cultural experience, the Mead Art Museum is definitely worth a visit. It has a world-class collection, a focus on education, and free admission, making it a treasure for the Amherst College community and beyond.
10. Mount Holyoke Range State Park
Nestled in the beautiful Pioneer Valley of western Massachusetts lies the majestic Mount Holyoke Range State Park, where visitors can immerse themselves in the beauty of New England’s natural landscapes. The park spans over 3,000 acres of protected land and is home to a diverse range of wildlife, boasting some of the most stunning views in the region.
The Seven Sisters, a series of seven distinct peaks that traverse the length of the park, is a major attraction. As part of the Appalachian Mountain range, they offer hikers and outdoor enthusiasts an incredible challenge and stunning vistas at every turn. The highest of these peaks is Mount Holyoke, providing an impressive panoramic view of the surrounding countryside from its summit.
The park offers a plethora of outdoor activities for visitors to enjoy, including hiking, mountain biking, horseback riding, cross-country skiing, and snowshoeing, depending on the season. Its vast wilderness area is also a favorite destination for birdwatchers and nature enthusiasts, with a wide variety of species to observe throughout the year.
For those seeking a more leisurely outdoor experience, the park offers several picnic areas and open fields for recreational activities such as frisbee, volleyball, and kite-flying. Visitors can also check out the park’s visitor center, a great resource for information on the park’s history, wildlife, and recreational opportunities.
One of the park’s unique features is the historic Summit House, which dates back to the 19th century. Initially constructed as a hotel, it now serves as a popular destination for visitors looking to experience a bit of history and enjoy a spectacular view of the valley below.
Overall, Mount Holyoke Range State Park is an excellent destination for anyone seeking to experience the natural beauty and serenity of New England’s landscapes. With a wide range of recreational activities and breathtaking views to enjoy, this park is a true gem of the region and a must-visit for anyone traveling through western Massachusetts.
11. Amherst Farmers’ Market
The Amherst Farmers’ Market is a cherished institution located in the Western Massachusetts town of Amherst. Open between May and November each year, the market serves as a bustling hub for local farmers, artisans, and food producers. Patrons of the market can find an impressive variety of offerings, including fresh fruits and vegetables, artisanal bread and cheeses, and handmade crafts accompanied by live music.
One of the primary objectives of the Amherst Farmers’ Market is to bolster the local economy and agriculture. By providing small farmers and food producers with a direct avenue to sell their wares, the market ensures that money stays within the community, and viable markets exist for local farmers. Additionally, the market promotes sustainable and environmentally-friendly practices. Many of the vendors adhere to organic or sustainable farming methods, and the market places a strong emphasis on minimizing waste and encouraging recycling.
The market is open on Saturdays from 7:30 am to 1:30 pm, rain or shine. It is situated in the Amherst Common, a historic public square located in the heart of downtown Amherst. Visitors can conveniently reach the market on foot, bike, or on public transportation, and ample parking is available nearby.
Visitors to the market can expect to discover a vast assortment of fresh, locally-grown produce such as fruits, vegetables, herbs, and flowers. Vendors also sell meat, poultry, eggs, and dairy products, as well as baked goods, jams, and other artisanal foods. Many of the vendors provide samples of their products, allowing visitors to experience the fresh, local flavors of the region.
Besides food and agricultural products, the Amherst Farmers’ Market is an excellent venue to find handmade crafts and gifts. Local artisans offer a diverse selection of handmade goods, including pottery, jewelry, clothing, and home goods. The market also features live music and other entertainment throughout the day, making it a delightful and festive destination for families.
Overall, the Amherst Farmers’ Market is a remarkable demonstration of how local communities can unite to support sustainable agriculture, local businesses, and the environment. Whether you are a long-standing resident of Amherst or just passing through, the market is undoubtedly worth a visit. Join us to support local farmers, savor delicious food, and relish the vibrant community spirit of the Amherst Farmers’ Market.
12. The Norwottuck Rail Trail
If you’re looking for a beautiful and scenic trail to explore in western Massachusetts, the Norwottuck Rail Trail is an excellent choice. Stretching for over 11 miles, this trail offers a range of activities for visitors of all ages and abilities to enjoy. Originally used as a railway to transport goods and passengers, the trail was converted into a recreational space in the 1990s.
Starting in Northampton, Massachusetts, the Norwottuck Rail Trail winds its way through the towns of Amherst and Hadley before ending in Belchertown. Along the way, you can take in the stunning views of the Connecticut River, the Mount Holyoke Range, and the picturesque New England countryside.
One of the best things about the Norwottuck Rail Trail is how accessible it is. The trail is mostly flat and paved, making it easy for walkers, runners, and cyclists of all skill levels to enjoy. The trail is also wheelchair accessible, with several designated parking areas that have accessible spaces.
If you’re a cycling enthusiast, you won’t want to miss out on the Norwottuck Rail Trail. The trail is part of the larger Connecticut River Greenway, which offers over 80 miles of scenic cycling routes along the Connecticut River. The trail is also popular with rollerbladers, skateboarders, and scooter riders.
Along the trail, you’ll find several amenities such as restrooms, water fountains, picnic tables, and benches. Families will love the several playgrounds and open spaces to enjoy. You can even stop at the Atkins Farms Country Market in Amherst, which is located directly on the trail and offers delicious snacks, baked goods, and other refreshments.
One of the most exciting parts of the Norwottuck Rail Trail is the opportunity to explore the natural areas that surround it. The trail passes through several conservation areas and wildlife habitats, giving visitors a chance to observe local flora and fauna. Additionally, the trail passes by several historic sites, including the site of the Battle of Bloody Brook, which took place during King Philip’s War in 1675.
Beyond being a popular destination for outdoor enthusiasts, the Norwottuck Rail Trail is an essential transportation corridor. The trail connects several towns and cities, providing a safe and convenient route for commuters and students to travel between their homes, schools, and workplaces.
Overall, the Norwottuck Rail Trail is an excellent destination for anyone who loves the outdoors. Whether you’re looking for a leisurely stroll, a challenging bike ride, or a family picnic, the trail offers something for everyone. With its stunning scenery, accessibility, and abundance of amenities, the Norwottuck Rail Trail is a must-visit for anyone traveling to western Massachusetts.
13. Amherst Cinema
Amherst Cinema is a nonprofit movie theater situated in Amherst, Massachusetts, which opened its doors in 2006. The theater is renowned for featuring independent and foreign films, as well as cult classics and timeless favorites.
Located in the heart of downtown Amherst, just a short walk away from both Amherst College and the University of Massachusetts, the building has a rich history, dating back to 1913 when it was originally a vaudeville theater. After undergoing extensive renovations, the theater reopened in 2006, striking a balance between its historic appeal and modern amenities.
Amherst Cinema boasts two screens, each equipped with state-of-the-art digital projection and surround sound, showcasing an eclectic array of films, from the latest indie hits to retrospective series of classic movies. The theater also plays host to a variety of film festivals, such as the Pioneer Valley Jewish Film Festival and the Out! For Reel LGBTQ+ Film Series.
A key aspect of Amherst Cinema is its strong focus on community involvement. The theater’s membership program offers discounts on tickets, concessions, and special events, as well as exclusive screenings and events. Moreover, the theater has formed partnerships with local organizations and businesses, like the Amherst Farmers’ Market and the Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art, to offer special programming and events.
Amherst Cinema also prioritizes education, offering film classes and workshops for all ages. These classes cover diverse topics, ranging from film history and screenwriting to documentary filmmaking. The theater’s education program further provides resources and support for local filmmakers, including equipment rentals and access to editing facilities.
Beyond its dedication to film, Amherst Cinema is committed to sustainability, using environmentally friendly cleaning products, composting food waste, and implementing energy-efficient lighting and HVAC systems. The theater also collaborates with local organizations to promote environmental awareness and education.
Overall, Amherst Cinema is a treasured institution in the community, providing a space for film enthusiasts to gather and engage with cinema in all its forms. With its diverse programming, emphasis on community involvement, and commitment to sustainability, Amherst Cinema transcends being just a movie theater; it’s a cultural hub for the Pioneer Valley.
14. Puffers Pond
Puffer’s Pond, located in North Amherst, Massachusetts, is a beloved and beautiful natural area that offers a variety of recreational activities such as fishing, birdwatching, nature walking, canoeing, picnicking, and swimming. It is the largest open water body in Amherst and a prominent attraction for residents, students, tourists, and visitors.
However, due to its popularity, the pond is facing several environmental and ecological problems such as erosion along the pond’s shore and nearby stream banks, degradation of the beach area, and declining water quality. The lack of regulation and management has made it difficult to address these issues in a sustainable and long-term way.
To tackle these problems, citizens, volunteer committees, and Town staff have discussed a management plan for Puffer’s Pond for years. However, the challenge lies in balancing the conservation goals of the area with the recreational needs of the visitors. The Town acquired the pond and surrounding landscape for conservation purposes, but even before that, it was a popular destination for recreation.
To maintain the conservation habitat of Puffer’s Pond, it is essential to develop a management plan that addresses issues such as public use, environmental concerns, and long-term goals. This plan should be carefully designed to strike a balance between conservation and recreation. Regular maintenance, safety, and public outreach efforts should be coordinated to ensure that the pond remains sustainable for future generations.
Puffer’s Pond and the surrounding Mill River corridor are highly valued by the public, and it is essential to work collaboratively to develop a management plan that considers the needs of both conservation and recreation. This will require careful consideration of the impact of public use on the environment and the pond’s surrounding landscape.
In conclusion, Puffer’s Pond is an integral part of North Amherst’s identity and a cherished natural amenity. A sustainable management plan is crucial to preserving its conservation habitat while also providing recreational opportunities for visitors. By working together, we can ensure that Puffer’s Pond remains a beloved natural area for generations to come.
15. Atkins Farms Country Market
Atkins Farms Country Market is a family-owned and operated business that has been serving the Western Massachusetts community for over 50 years. The market is located in South Amherst, Massachusetts, and is known for its high-quality produce, bakery items, and deli offerings.
The market was originally established in 1952 as a small roadside stand selling fresh fruits and vegetables grown on the family farm. Over the years, the business grew and evolved into the full-service market that it is today. Atkins Farms Country Market now offers an extensive selection of locally sourced produce, fresh-baked goods, gourmet cheese and meats, and a wide range of specialty foods and gifts.
One of the most popular features of Atkins Farms Country Market is its bakery. The bakery produces a wide variety of fresh-baked bread, pastries, cakes, and cookies daily. Everything is made from scratch using only the finest ingredients. The bakery also offers gluten-free and vegan options to accommodate customers with dietary restrictions.
The market’s deli is also a popular destination for customers. The deli features a wide range of freshly made sandwiches, salads, and hot entrees. The meats and cheeses used in the deli are of the highest quality, and many are sourced from local farms and producers. The deli also offers a selection of prepared foods, including soups, stews, and casseroles.
Atkins Farms Country Market is committed to supporting local farmers and producers. The market sources as much of its products and other products as possible from local farms and businesses. This commitment to local sourcing not only supports the local economy but also ensures that customers are getting the freshest, highest-quality products available.
In addition to its market offerings, Atkins Farms Country Market also hosts a variety of events throughout the year. These events include cooking classes, wine tastings, and seasonal celebrations such as pumpkin carving and Christmas tree decorating. The market also hosts an annual Harvest Festival in the fall, which features live music, hayrides, and a pumpkin patch.
Overall, Atkins Farms Country Market is a beloved local institution that has been serving the community for generations. With its commitment to quality and local sourcing, its extensive selection of fresh and prepared foods, and its friendly and knowledgeable staff, it’s no wonder that customers keep coming back year after year.” Rewrite it to a more natural and native tone.
16. Amherst Public Library
The Amherst Public Library is a beloved institution in the town of Amherst, Massachusetts. It’s more than just a building with books. It’s a community center where locals can access a vast array of resources, including books, magazines, newspapers, and multimedia materials. The library’s commitment to education, inclusivity, and public service has made it an integral part of the town’s identity.
The library was founded way back in 1869 and has undergone several renovations and expansions since then. Today, it’s a state-of-the-art facility that covers over 30,000 square feet. With more than 200,000 items in its catalog, there’s something for everyone, from toddlers to seniors.
The library offers more than just reading material. They have a variety of educational programs and events, including book clubs, workshops, classes on topics like technology, arts and crafts, writing, and cultural celebrations. These events provide locals with a chance to connect with each other, learn new things, and have meaningful conversations.
Diversity and inclusion are also essential values at the Amherst Public Library. They actively seek to reflect on the community they serve by providing resources and programming that represents a broad range of perspectives and experiences. They’ve curated collections of books and media that highlight underrepresented voices, and they’ve created events that celebrate the diversity of the town.
The library has also embraced technology to enhance its offerings. They provide access to online databases, e-books, audiobooks, and streaming media. The library offers computer workstations, free Wi-Fi, and printing services, making it an excellent resource for anyone seeking to further their education, find employment, or stay connected in a digital world.
In conclusion, the Amherst Public Library is more than just a library. It’s a hub for community engagement, lifelong learning, and social connection. With its extensive collection, diverse programming, and commitment to inclusivity, the Amherst Public Library is a valuable resource for people of all ages and backgrounds in the town of Amherst.
17. Metacomet-Monadnock Trail
The Metacomet-Monadnock Trail, also known as the M-M Trail, is a 114-mile long-distance hiking trail that runs from the Connecticut border near Suffield, CT to the summit of Mount Monadnock in Jaffrey, NH. The trail passes through several towns in Massachusetts, including Amherst, a bustling college town located in the Pioneer Valley.
The M-M Trail is named after two prominent geological features in the region: the Metacomet Ridge and Mount Monadnock. The Metacomet Ridge is a narrow, linear traprock ridge that extends from Long Island Sound to the Vermont border, and Mount Monadnock is a 3,165-foot mountain in southern New Hampshire that is famous for its panoramic views.
The section of the M-M Trail that runs near Amherst is particularly beautiful and offers hikers a diverse array of scenery, from rocky ridges to lush forests. The trailhead for this section of the trail is located on the south side of Route 116 in South Amherst, just a few miles from the center of town.
From the trailhead, hikers will climb up to the top of Bare Mountain, a 1,604-foot peak that offers stunning views of the surrounding countryside. On clear days, hikers can see all the way to Mount Greylock, the highest peak in Massachusetts, and Mount Monadnock in New Hampshire.
After descending Bare Mountain, the trail continues through the woods and passes by several small streams and ponds. Hikers will cross over several rocky outcroppings before reaching the summit of Mount Norwottuck, which offers more breathtaking views of the valley.
The trail then descends into the Notch, a narrow valley that separates Mount Norwottuck from Mount Holyoke. Hikers will cross over the Holyoke Range, a series of rugged, forested mountains that offer some of the best hiking in the area. The trail then continues through the woods and eventually reaches the summit of Mount Holyoke, which is home to the historic Summit House, a popular tourist attraction that offers more stunning views of the valley.
From Mount Holyoke, the trail descends into the town of South Hadley and eventually ends at the Connecticut River. Along the way, hikers will pass through a variety of landscapes, from rocky ridges to dense forests to open fields.
Overall, the Metacomet-Monadnock Trail near Amherst is a must-see for any hiker or nature lover visiting the area. With its stunning views, diverse landscapes, and rich history, it offers a truly unique and unforgettable hiking experience. Whether you’re a seasoned hiker or just starting out, the M-M Trail has something for everyone.
18. Mullins Center
The Mullins Center, located on the University of Massachusetts Amherst campus, is a modern arena that’s perfect for all sorts of events. It opened its doors in 1993 and has since hosted a range of live performances, sports games, and concerts.
One of the most striking things about the Mullins Center is how many people it can hold – up to 10,500! That means it’s one of the largest indoor venues in Western Massachusetts, making it ideal for big concerts and shows.
But that’s not all the Mullins Center is known for – it’s also home to the UMass Minutemen basketball and hockey teams. With a full-sized hockey rink and a basketball court, the arena is the perfect spot for both sports.
In fact, the Mullins Center has hosted a wide range of sports events over the years, including wrestling, gymnastics, and volleyball. It’s a flexible space that’s easy to adapt to different kinds of events.
What really makes the Mullins Center special, though, is its modern amenities. The arena boasts top-of-the-line sound and lighting systems that ensure every event held there is of the highest quality. And there are plenty of concession stands, restrooms, and other amenities that make attending events at the Mullins Center a comfortable and enjoyable experience.
The venue is also easily accessible, with ample parking and convenient public transportation options. All in all, the Mullins Center is an amazing spot for sports fans, music lovers, and anyone looking for a great night out. It’s a versatile, well-equipped, and welcoming destination that’s sure to make any event a memorable one.
19. Sweetser Park
Sweetser Park is a beautiful park located in the charming town of Amherst, Massachusetts. It’s a favorite destination for both locals and tourists because of its serene surroundings and various recreational activities.
The park is located in downtown Amherst and provides plenty of free parking spaces. It features a large grassy field that’s perfect for picnics, sports, and other outdoor activities. The park also has picnic tables and benches for visitors to relax and enjoy the natural beauty of the area.
The gazebo in Sweetser Park is a popular location for weddings, concerts, and other special events. It adds an element of charm and elegance to the park with its intricate design and picturesque location.
Children of all ages can enjoy the playground in Sweetser Park. It has various climbing structures, swings, and slides and is located near the picnic area for parents’ convenience.
Visitors can also explore the park’s natural beauty by walking on the well-maintained trails that wind through its wooded areas. The trails offer a peaceful and serene escape from the downtown area.
Sweetser Park hosts a variety of community events throughout the year, from concerts to holiday celebrations. It’s a hub of activity and a gathering place for the local community.
Overall, Sweetser Park is a hidden gem in the heart of Amherst. Its stunning natural beauty, recreational activities, and community events make it a must-visit destination for anyone in the area. Whether you’re looking for a peaceful escape or a fun-filled day with family and friends, Sweetser Park has something for everyone.
20. Osteria Vespa
If you’re searching for a place to dine and indulge in authentic Italian cuisine in Amherst, look no further than Osteria Vespa. This charming restaurant is located in the heart of downtown Amherst, Massachusetts, and is a favorite among both locals and tourists.
As soon as you walk into Osteria Vespa, you’ll be transported to Italy with its warm and cozy ambiance. The walls are adorned with delightful Italian-inspired artwork, and the comfortable seating arrangements create an intimate and inviting dining experience.
The food at Osteria Vespa is the real highlight, with the restaurant taking pride in using only the freshest ingredients to create delectable and authentic Italian dishes that will tantalize your taste buds.
You can begin your meal with a classic appetizer like Caprese salad, which features ripe tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, and fragrant basil, or go for the Antipasto Misto, a platter of cured meats, cheeses, and marinated vegetables that’s perfect for sharing.
For your main course, you’ll find an extensive selection of classic Italian dishes on the menu, ranging from homemade pasta to hearty meat dishes. The Tagliatelle Bolognese is a standout dish, featuring perfectly cooked pasta in a rich and savory meat sauce, while the slow-cooked veal shank served with creamy polenta, known as Osso Buco, is another must-try.
And of course, you can’t leave without indulging in a sweet treat. The Tiramisu is a crowd favorite, with layers of delicate ladyfingers soaked in espresso and creamy mascarpone cheese.
To accompany your meal, Osteria Vespa offers an impressive wine list, featuring both Italian and domestic wines. The knowledgeable and friendly staff are always happy to make recommendations to complement your meal.
Apart from offering delectable food and a warm atmosphere, Osteria Vespa also provides catering and private event services. The team at Osteria Vespa can help you create a customized menu that’s sure to impress your next birthday party or corporate event.
Overall, Osteria Vespa is a gem in the Amherst dining scene, providing authentic Italian cuisine in a warm and inviting ambiance. So the next time you’re in the area, make sure to stop by and experience it for yourself.
20 Best Things to Do in Amherst (MA)
- Emily Dickinson Museum
- Amherst College
- Hampshire College
- Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art (The Carle)
- UMass Amherst
- Amherst Center
- Yiddish Book Center
- Beneski Museum of Natural History
- Mead Art Museum
- Mount Holyoke Range State Park
- Amherst Farmers’ Market
- The Norwottuck Rail Trail
- Amherst Cinema
- Puffers Pond
- Atkins Farms Country Market
- Amherst Public Library
- Metacomet-Monadnock Trail
- Mullins Center
- Sweetser Park
- Osteria Vespa