{short description of image} 1st Traveler's Choice

Photo of ... in the Five College Area / Pioneer Valley in Western Massachusetts

Destination:
The Five College Area
/ Pioneer Valley
of Western Massachusetts

Northampton ... Pelham ... Plainfield
Introduction

Lodging

Location

Norwottuck Rail Trail

Museums, Galleries, and the Arts

Attractions

Recreation

University of Massachusetts at Amherst

Smith College

Amherst College and Hampshire College

Mount Holyoke College
Northampton

The culturally innovative Northampton sits along the scenic Connecticut River in the heart of the Pioneer Valley's Five College Area. Those in the know have often described it as the "best small arts town in America" and the "place where New England meets Manhattan."

In fact, the locals claim that Northampton is home to more artists, writers, and musicians per square foot than any other community between Soho and Montreal. In any event, Northampton certainly claims fame for its eclectic downtown and all the many gourmet restaurants, outdoor cafes, galleries, art houses, unique bookstores, chic boutiques, and classic theaters that line its pedestrian-friendly streets.

This avante-garde community also is home to Smith College, which is widely regarded as one of the best liberal arts colleges in the United States. The Smith College Museum of Art houses works by Picasso and his contemporaries, and the Center for the Arts in Northampton annually hosts more than 250 performances and gallery exhibitions.

Pelham

Pelham, originally named Lisburn, was incorporated under its new name in 1743 by an act of the Governors Council and the House of Representatives.

The residents of Lisburn decided to name their city Pelham in honor of Lord Henry Pelham, a Whig who served as prime minister for 11 years until his death in 1754. What did Pelham do to earn such an honor? Nothing really. The townspeople were just inordinately impressed when he stopped through town during his visit to the Colonies.

As an historical footnote, Pelham's first town meeting was held in 1743 in an unfinished meeting house that today stands as the nation's oldest continuous-use town hall.

Plainfield

As one might expect, Plainfield borrows its names from the "plain fields" that at one time made up the landscape, some of which still remain. Prior to becoming incorporated in 1785, the area that now comprises Plainfield was a part of Cummington.

The breakaway community quickly gained a foothold, though, and in the early 1800's, the Reverend Moses Hallock operated a classical school out of his home on Main Street. Hallock's students included the likes of William Cullen Bryant and John Brown and ultimately fed nearby Williams College with some of its brightest students.

Towns
Amherst
Ashfield
Belchertown
Bernardston
Chesterfield
Conway
Cummington
Deerfield
Easthampton
Goshen
Granby
Greenfield
Hadley
Hatfield
Huntington
Leverett
New Salem
Northampton
Pelham
Plainfield
Shutesbury
South Hadley
Southampton
Springfield
Sunderland
Westhampton
Whately
Williamsburg
Worthington
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Introduction ..... Lodging .... Norwottuck Rail Trail ..... Museums, Galleries, and the Arts ..... Attractions ..... Recreation ..... University of Massachusetts at Amherst ..... Smith College ..... Amherst College and Hampshire College ..... Mount Holyoke College


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