Local Atmosphere

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3 College Sophomore

Local Atmosphere: Kind of a sleepy town.

4 College Senior

Local Atmosphere: The local area is very small and limited. There are different places to be here and there. If you want a more city life, going off campus to other nearby colleges is your best bit. Periodically, the town has community tag sales or a race to support some causes. There's a farmer's market in the fall which is nice to attend. Once the year starts up there will be concerts/plays you can attend as well. There is one movie theater nearby and a couple of restaurants.

1 person found this useful Report
3 College Sophomore

Local Atmosphere: I love my school and its location as a student but as a graduate it would be far too rural and isolated for me.

1 person found this useful Report
3 College Sophomore

Local Atmosphere: It's nice to have 4 other colleges around you to interact with others. Not much to do in the towns. Hard to have fun going out. Hard to go out

3 College Freshman

Local Atmosphere: The school is incredibly isolated. Mount Holyoke is part of a five-college consortium with nearby colleges; Smith College, Amherst, UMass Amherst, and Hampshire. Students from each college can easily travel to each of the five college through transportation provided for by the schools. Overall, the local interaction that goes on occurs at social gatherings on the weekends. If you are looking to get out of campus, you must be willing to take a 30 minute bus ride to one of the nearby colleges, which takes up nearly an entire afternoon. But I can assure you that you will be making this sacrifice often because Mount Holyoke's local area is just so isolated.


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Student Author OverviewWhat's This?

Alessandra Hickson
Philadelphia, PA
Art History
View all previous student authors

Since the College’s immediate setting is suburban, when students think of places to go and do something, they often think beyond South Hadley. As a result, the local area is not confined to a single city, but, instead, spans a section of towns in western Massachusetts known as the Pioneer Valley, which is a great area for hiking and other outdoor pursuits. The Skinner Mountain Range runs right through the Five College area and is easily accessible via the free bus. Amherst and Northampton provide pockets of culture that cater to college students, and you can always attend an event held at one of the other Five Colleges. Students tend to stay on campus and create their own fun or take advantage of the free bus known as the “PVTA” to travel between schools and find something to do in the valley.

There is certainly a rural charm in this part of the state, but for those hungry for city life, Northampton and Amherst are ready and willing to satisfy. Of course, it’s not Boston, but it is a place rich with history, a place where a drive of less than an hour will bring you to the heart of farmland. Even if you don’t develop a taste for rural life, you will develop a knack for discovering and appreciating the little things, such as a night in the Thirsty Mind, the coffeehouse across the street; dinner at Johnny’s, a restaurant in the Village Commons; or even a late-night movie with friends in the cozy and quiet Tower Theatres.


Facts & Statistics

Fun Local Trivia
  1. The Gaylord Memorial Library, across the street from the College, was constructed on the site of a former graveyard. However, the family of the first settler to be buried there, John Preston, refused to move his gravestone, and it can still be seen under an old tree behind the library.
  2. The Five College area is also known as New England's "Knowledge Corridor" because of the high concentration of prestigious liberal arts colleges.
  3. Hampshire College houses the world's largest museum of Yiddish literature and culture.
  4. The town of Northampton is supposedly home to more artists, writers, and musicians per square foot than any other community between Soho and Montreal.
  5. Both basketball and volleyball were invented here-most people know that basketball was invented in Springfield, but did you know that volleyball was invented in Holyoke?
Notable Natives
  • Susan B. Anthony
  • Dr. Virginia Apgar
  • William Cullen Bryant
  • Elaine Chao
  • Calvin Coolidge
  • Emily Dickinson
  • Daniel Chester French
  • Robert Frost
  • Dr. Gloria Johnson-Powell
  • Herman Melville
  • Suzan-Lori Parks
  • Dr. Seuss
  • Wendy Wasserstein
  • Edith Wharton
Points of Interest
  • Academy of Music
  • Amherst
  • Atkins Farms Country Market
  • Emily Dickinson Homestead
  • Iron Horse Music Hall
  • Magic Wings Butterfly Conservatory and Gardens
  • Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame
  • Nash Dinosaur Track
  • Northampton
  • Skinner Park
  • Summit House
  • UMass Fine Arts Center
  • Village Commons
  • Yankee Candle Factory and Candlemaking Museum
Shopping Centers
  • Hampshire Mal
  • Holyoke Mall
  • Thorne’s Marketplace
Movie Theaters
Academy of Music Theatre
274 Main St.
(413) 584-8435
Movie Theaters
Amherst Cinema
28 Amity St.
(413) 253-2547
Movie Theaters
Cinemark (at Hampshire Mall)
367 Russell St.
(413) 587-4233
Movie Theaters
Pleasant Street Theatre
27 Pleasant St.
(413) 586-0935
Movie Theaters
Tower Theatres
19 College St.
(413) 532-3456
Major Sports Teams
  • Boston Bruins: hockey
  • Boston Celtics: basketball
  • Boston Red Sox: baseball
  • New England Patriots: football
Distances to Nearest Major Cities
  • Boston: MA: 1 hour, 30 minutes
  • New York City: NY: 3 hours

Student Polls

Rate the local atmosphere on the following topics    Based on 43 responses

Very poor
  • Cost of living
  • Dining
  • Friendliness of locals toward students
  • Museums/cultural attractions
  • Nightlife
  • Parking
  • Parks and recreation
  • Professional sports
  • Safety
  • Scenery
  • Shopping
  • Transportation

What is the local atmosphere like at your school?    Based on 42 responses

  • 43% Painfully remote.
  • 0% In or near a big city, but there's not much to do off campus.
  • 45% Small town with plenty of charm.
  • 10% Vibrant college town. There's no big city, but there are plenty of things to do off campus.
  • 2% City living at its finest. There's always something fun and interesting going on.

What is the proximity to other universities? Is there much interaction?    Based on 45 responses

  • 2% There aren't any nearby schools.
  • 4% There are nearby schools, but students do NOT interact much.
  • 93% There are nearby schools that students often interact with.

Can you see yourself living here after graduation?    Based on 43 responses

  • 65% No way.
  • 30% Maybe, if I could find a good job.
  • 5% Totally.


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