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

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

Whately ... Williamsburg ... Worthington
Photo of Wachusett Mountain in the Five College Area / Pioneer Valley in Western Massachusetts

Photo: Wachusett Mountain

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
Whately

When faced with a petition to make Whatley a town, there was no mention of a name. Massachusetts Governor Hutchinson named the town in honor of Thomas Whately -- the son of the director of the Bank of England, who was an ardent horticulture expert and the first member of his family to become a member of Parliament. Ironically, the town's namesake never set foot in America, though, and died a year after Whately was incorporated, never having formally acknowledged the honor.

Williamsburg

Williamsburg is home to the famous Searsville Bridge, which was built in 1761 as part of a military highway to facilitate the movement of troops and equipment to help the Colonists stave off attacks from the French and Indians.

During the next century, Williamsburg evolved into a thriving industrial town dependent upon the aptly named Mill River to power its sawmill, grist mill, and other manufacturing interests. Spanning Mill River, the Searsville Bridge and Searsville village within Williamsburg is named in deference to Nathaniel Sears, who operated a custom dressing, fulling, and dyeing mill from 1819 until 1862. The industrial character of the town forever changed after the Mill River Disaster, a flood on July 4, 1874 which destroyed not only Searsville but also several nearby villages.

Although the old Searsville Bridge -- once known as the Schoolhouse Bridge -- was condemned for safety reasons in the late 1980's, it reopened in 1999 and has now been commemorated by the Williamsburg Historical Commission.

Worthington

This is a town that got robbed by its own stagecoach.

As the story goes, Worthington grew up along a stagecoach route, but never received train service, and that proved detrimental to the town's growth. By 1810, Worthington's population had reached about 1,400, but thereafter, it began to dwindle as folks headed west in search of gold and fertile land. The unreliable and unpleasant service of the stagecoach made matters even worse, and by 1945, Worthington could claim only 363 residents. The population finally began to recover during the 1950's, and today there's about as many people in Worthington as there was during the little farm community's 19th-century heyday.

The Five College Area
Bed & Breakfast Association
P.O. Box 3252, Amherst, MA 01004
______________________________
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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