The Pioneer Valley's "Five
College Area" is aptly known as New England's "Knowledge
Five of the nation's most
prestigious liberal arts schools are within mere minutes of one
another. The University of Massachusetts-Amherst, Hampshire
College, Smith College, Mount Holyoke College, and Amherst College
dot this region of Western Massachusetts. Together, they form an
incomparable consortium that is as rich in its cultural offerings
as it is in its unadulterated academia.
The Pioneer Valley's "knowledge
corridor" actually stretches all along the Connecticut River
Valley and into the hills on either side from north of Springfield
to just south of the Vermont border. The corridor flanks the
Connecticut River as far east as the quaint little communities of
Leverett, Belchertown, and New Salem and extends out west to
places like Florence, Haydenville, and Shelburne Falls.
Here along the Corridor,
you will find Historic Deerfield, an outdoor museum whose
antebellum homes showcase more than 20,000 objects used by
pioneering families between 1650 and 1850. To the north, you'll
meet up with the Mohawk Trail and its breathtaking views, and
along the way, you'll encounter a slew of craft and antique shops,
as well as some rather formidable white-water rafting venues.
In the heart of the Five
College Area lies the cultural riches of Northampton, a town rich
in fine ethnic restaurants and the most eclectic of art galleries.
But while the area may be most famous for its cultural offerings
and its forays into higher education, you'll also find it offers
plenty of places to play in between your visiting all of its
In fact, Routes 5 and 10
are both flanked by woods, hills, and waterways that practically
beg you to come out and play. The pastoral setting surrounding
Amherst offers the perfect setting to go hiking or fishing along
the Norwottuck Rail Trail and Connecticut River.
During the wintertime, the
Quabbin Reservoir and Northfield Mountain Recreation Area
challenge snow enthusiasts with alpine and Nordic trails alike,
while up north, between Williamsburg and North Adams, you can
witness all of the Pioneer Valley's beauty with a climb to the top
of Mount Greylock, the highest peak in Massachusetts.
Beyond the natural beauty
both physical and of the mind, The Five College Area of
Massachusetts is blessed with warm, friendly people who extend
their hospitality in charming and comfortable Bed &