New England Vacation Vignette 3: Amherst MA and an educational overload.


The state of Massachusetts has its own set of problems, just like anywhere else. But it’s amazing to consider the brainpower in this one county.

Hampshire County is home to the “Five Colleges,” which comprises Amherst College, Hampshire College, Mount Holyoke College, Smith College, and the University of Massachusetts Amherst. The schools are a stone’s throw away from each other, so you can swing by them all in one day and see roughly 30,000 students milling about.

On our third visit to the vicinity, we’d yet to wander Amherst, which probably is better known for the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, a land grant university and flagship of a state-wide university system.

But first, before attempting to fathom this preponderance of knowledge, a man’s got to eat. Breakfast for me was an excellent “everything” bagel with lox and cream cheese.

Here is a pedestrian crossing in downtown Amherst with only two components: a painted crosswalk and a slender plastic sign in the middle. Cars yielded. Evidently there is something more to enforcement mechanisms in Massachusetts, as compared with New Gahania.

The Amherst College campus is situated atop a hillock, past the green, and boasts statues of abolitionist Henry Ward Beecher and poet Robert Frost, the latter a long-term faculty member.

It’s a gorgeous setting.

The life of the mind. Imagine that.