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Amherst, MA the perfect region for any age

Updated on June 5, 2020

To give you some backstory, I attended Umass Amherst in the fall of 2017. It was a rough time for me, and I left after a semester. Of course, now I regret that and wish I stayed and pulled my grades up instead of bailing out. Well, hopefully, I'll make it back someday in the future. There were positives to come out of the experience though and one was exploring the Amherst area.

One reason I was drawn to Umass was the setting, a large, lively campus in an area defined as 'rural', though seemingly more suburban with Amherst and Northhampton within several miles. The landscape is beautiful with the rolling hills of the Berkshires to the west and open farmland of the pioneer valley all around you. Not to leave out the Connecticut River, miles of hiking trails, and 4 other colleges in the area.

In terms of Amherst itself, the town of over 37,000 sits right in the center of the pioneer valley, in the center of town, less than a mile from UMass, you will find restaurants of every kind, whether its a pizza shop, farm-fresh food, upscale bars, Indian restaurants, many Chinese food options, even authentic bubble tea, which I've only seen otherwise in Chinatown! Many students can be seen in town hanging out and socializing, as well as the town's people. The center of town also is home to Amherst College and is so diverse, you will see people from all over the world there.

But that's not all, it's not just the center of Amherst and then all farms and backwoods, once out of the center of town you will see open farm fields, apartment complexes, shopping areas, and neighborhoods. For example, about a mile south of Umass, is an indoor mall, with many stores and places to eat, around that are stores like The Home Depot, Lowes, Wholefoods, trader joes, Walmart even a movie theatre, just to name a few, but take a left out of the mall parking lot, and within a few hundred feet, you feel like you're in the middle of Iowa or the midwest. As you enter miles of open farmland, with the Hloyole range mountains in the background. Many of these farms have ice cream stands, fruit stands, and small markets. I love this about the area, its rural in nature but has all the amenities of a large suburb, everything you'd even need is within miles.

Being located north of Springfield, Amherst, and the surrounding area is relatively close to the mountains in Western Mass, and even Vermont. For instance, I took a car ride of around 50 miles up to Mount Greylock in North Adams (MA's highest point), going there on MA's route 2 by raging rivers, dense forests, and climbing to over 2000 feet before descending into North Adams. But the location isn't just great for natural beauty, it’s a great central location in New England. Boston and the coast are 2 hours away, New York City isn't too much further than that, in a 2-hour trip you could also be in the Catskills, and if you want to venture to the Adirondacks, it can be done within a weekend. You also don't have to deal with city traffic which is magnificent. If you wanna experience the city though, Springfield MA, Worcester MA, and Albany NY are not too far at all, Springfield is about 35-40 minutes from Amherst.

Every time I go back to Amherst I get a certain feeling, and it always brings me back, I truly love the area and it's a unique picturesque setting that has a great aurora around it. Whether your a student, adult, or senior, Amherst is a great town to visit and live in, so check it out for yourself, you won't be disappointed.


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    • bdegiulio profile image

      Bill De Giulio 

      14 months ago from Massachusetts

      HI Ben. You are hitting close to home with your very accurate take on Amherst. I live in western Mass and we do love the area. We are particularly fond of Amherst and Northampton. In addition to a great place to live it's a really great place to be a student.

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