Amherst Life Blog

Welcome to the Amherst Life Blog! Here we will be posting information on activities, events, arts, community concerns, local business, and a variety of other topics related to life in Amherst, Massachusetts. If you are new to the area and looking for housing, please check out our other blog too ------------>> Amherst Housing Blog ::.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Welcome Back Students!!!

We just wanted to welcome back students and families to the area. The town is in full-transition and it is exciting to see!

We also wanted to remind folks to buy local! You think you might save by shopping for back-to-school stuff at Walmart, Target, CVS, and Staples, but we have done our math and all of the paper supplies and office supplies are cheaper at Hastings in downtown Amherst. You just have to fnd it and it's not hard. Be adventurous! Hastings is just 1 block from the main intersection in the center of town (where Main Street crosses Pleasant St.). They have everything you need and more. And cheap! And not in huge bulks that people end up throwing away anyways.

Also, consider shopping at Maple Farms in Hadley and at Atkins Farms in Amherst-- better food, better quality, better prices too, and you are supporting local business-owners. Stop and Shop, Big Y, and Whole Foods are overrun with customers anyways.

So, have a good transition, check out local goods, and post here with other local-business recommendations!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Music Festival in Holyoke! Saturday the 23rd!

This is going to be a great event! Check it out in Holyoke, only a 20 minute ride from Amherst!

2nd Annual Pioneer Valley Latin Jazz Festival

"Saturday, August 23, 2008 • 11:00 am – 5:00 pm
La Finca
24 Jones Ferry Road/Main Street
Holyoke, MA
Handicap access available
Directions & Parking
Admission: Donation $10
Event web site
Contact: Yvonne Mendez,, 413-218-1353
Music, as a universal language can bring together cultures and generations in celebration and appreciation. The 2nd Annual Pioneer Valley Latin Jazz Festival presents the best of latin jazz and supports local artists in the Valley.

Featured performers include Arturo O'Farrill, Jose Gonzalez, Markamusic and Conjunto de Bomba.

This event takes place at the 30 acre river front Nuestras Raíces Farms - a "green-friendly" community farm-home to locally-grown foods, produce store, a new restaurant, horse rides, and an outdoor stage. The PV Latin Jazz Festival offers a family-friendly space, good music, in a natural environment - offering world renowned entertainment while supporting the local community of the Main Street corridor in Holyoke.

Presented by CENA-Centro de Artes, in collaboration with Nuestras Raices Inc, El Festival de la Familia Hispana, Massachusetts Cultural Council, WEIB 106.3 Smooth FM, Mount Holyoke College, and the UMass Amherst Fine Arts Center."

Monday, August 04, 2008

Tourism Boom in Amherst?

Our writers have been around for quite some time now and never have we seen such an active summer in Amherst. Gas prices leading to more local vacation trips? Better marketing of Amherst sites, Amherst things to do, Amherst culture? Eco-friendly business ventures? What is it? We want to know!! We see entire families going to Judie's restaurant (an Amherst Life pick), Freshside Cafe is booming (we recommend the outside seats to "people-watch" -- almost a Southern France vibe... Montpellier style...), and the local coffee shops (Rao's and Amherst Coffee) seem to be bustling with conversation, hard-working bloggers, writers, professors, film-makers and much more.

Thouhg we do not know the cause of this boom (post comments if you know any reasons please!), we thought we'd recommend a few places off the beaten path that visitors might like (Amherst sites to see, Amherst rivers, Amherst mountains, and much more)

So here it is:

Check out "the Notch" -- a beautiful mountain that overlooks the whole valley (you can stop at Atkin's Farms on the way -- great local food, sandwiches, groceries, best cinnamon donuts and pies on earth!). Yes, we reserve the right to exaggerate slightly. Just take 116 South and you'll get there.

Check out the Robert Frost Trail -- take Main street down the hill, heading towards Pelham. Beautiful rivers and woods and walking trails. Dog-friendly.

Take a ride into farm-country in Hadley -- beautiful mountain views, Connecticut river (yes, you can rent a canoe there, just go down route 9, next to the bridge, close to the i-91 ramps). Just take a ride and get lost, heading south, especially around Atkin's Farms...

Check out the great views from the beautiful campus of Amherst College -- it overlooks the mountains and is a great place to walk around

Check out Puffer's Pond! Head to the North Amherst lights, take a right, and then follow Pine Street all the way in to the Pond area. Very nice, though we are not sure if swimming is recommended in August (lots of bodies, small body of water...)

And let us know what you think! Any suggestions, feel free to post!

Best Massage in Amherst, MA

This just in... We have reports of a thriving little massage center run by Susan Zarchin, right here in Amherst and close enough to the center of town to go for a nice walk down the hill -- a meander down historic Main street and you'll be there in 10 minutes or less.

Susan Zarchin :: 592 Main Street :: 413-253-5476

And a great consultant for "alternative medicine": homeopathic remedies, especially!

Here is the link with a map:

Send her our regards!