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Amherst and Northampton in west-central Massachusetts are the home to five colleges that have not only given the region a name — the Five College Region — but have enriched it as well. Amherst College, Hampshire College and the University of Massachusetts (Amherst) in Amherst and Smith College and Mount Holyoke in the Northampton area all contribute to the rich cultural ambiance of the region. Concerts, theater, recitals and literary events are happening somewhere almost any night, especially when the colleges are in session, and both towns have a busy café, nightlife and restaurant scene year-round. Ten college and local museums have formed ...

Amherst and Northampton in west-central Massachusetts are the home to five colleges that have not only given the region a name — the Five College Region — but have enriched it as well. Amherst College, Hampshire College and the University of Massachusetts (Amherst) in Amherst and Smith College and Mount Holyoke in the Northampton area all contribute to the rich cultural ambiance of the region. Concerts, theater, recitals and literary events are happening somewhere almost any night, especially when the colleges are in session, and both towns have a busy café, nightlife and restaurant scene year-round. Ten college and local museums have formed Museums10, a consortium that promotes collections that include great art from every period, historical sites, books, rocks and dinosaur bones that show the geologic history of the Connecticut River Valley. Not all the diversions revolve around the colleges. Nearby Historic Deerfield is an original colonial-era town featuring eleven restored museum houses, some of which survived a famed 1704 Indian raid. Extraordinary collections of early Americana, especially colonial furnishings, decorative arts and needlework, fill the houses and state-of-the-art museum building.

Stillman Rogers
About the Expert

Stillman Rogers has written more than two dozen guidebooks, including Adventure Guide to Canada's Atlantic Provinces, Guide to Eastern Canada, and Adventure Guide to the Chesapeake.

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Facts at a Glance

Climate

  • Best Time to Visit:

    Just about any time of year is a good time to visit but the performing arts are liveliest in fall, winter and early spring.