It’s no surprise that Western Massachusetts gets a bad rep among its more eastern counterparts, but it’s a mystery as to why — with amazing scenery, countless local businesses and a stress on art, nature, history and education, Amherst is the #HiddenSpot we chose to highlight because of all the wonderful things it has to offer.
Amherst was founded in 1658 and eventually gained township in 1759, making it one of the oldest towns in the United States. This town not only existed through both the Revolutionary War and Civil War, but played an active role in both — Amherst is known for citizens’ involvement in local government throughout its existence, and has maintained its traditional representative town hall meeting style since its founding.
Another thing that makes Amherst a #HiddenSpot is its location in nature. Amherst is home to many local farms, trails, ponds and forests, and its close proximity to Mt. Holyoke provides the perfect outlet for hiking, climbing, and any other outdoor activity.
Hitchcock’s Center for the Environment also allows locals and visitors to foster a grander appreciation for the wonders of the environment, and the Beneski Museum of Natural History is a great place to check out fossils and minerals collected by Amherst College students and professors.
Speaking of Amherst College, Amherst is also home to the Five College Consortium, or a partnership between five local colleges that work to foster a unified educational front (Amherst College, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, Smith College, Mount Holyoke College, and Hampshire College). Even famous poet Emily Dickinson grew up in Amherst and attended Mount Holyoke College, and now her Amherst home is a museum dedicated to her poetry.
Downtown Amherst is also full of local businesses and restaurants that would make any food junkie go crazy. Between breakfast at the Lone Wolf to lunch at Antonio’s Pizza to dinner at Pasta E Basta, you’ll hate choosing where to eat because there are so many tasty options. You’ll probably see UMass kids at any and all of these locations, which is just a testament to how tasty and reasonably-priced the food is downtown.
With so many things to do in Amherst, you’ll definitely want to visit for more than one day to get the full experience. While many are hesitant about making the drive out here since it’s about two hours west of Boston, trust that you will not be let down. With amazing scenery, history and food as an incentive, you’ll definitely want to take the time to check out all Amherst has to offer.
Interested in hearing about more #HiddenSpots in Masschusetts to visit? Check out our last #HiddenSpot, Swampscott!