The former farming community of Amherst is perhaps best known as a hub for education, home to Massachusetts’ flagship state university, UMass, as well as private Amherst and Hampshire colleges. The downtown area is also known for its brick-faced theaters, shops and eateries, and historic sites such as the Emily Dickinson house/museum. Our running tour covers the “main drag” of North Pleasant Street in addition to the town common, the Amherst College campus, and other noteworthy centralized sites.
DIRECTIONS: Start at the Amherst Common (plenty of parking), cross College Street, and head south through the Amherst College campus. Pass between “The Octagon” building and Johnson Chapel, then wrap left (east) around Appleton Hall to the Quadrangle. Run by the Robert Frost Library then east downhill towards the Beneski Museum of Natural History. Turn LEFT onto East Street, and cross College Street again onto Dickinson Street. This residential side street cuts north to Main Street. Take a LEFT at the lights and you will pass the yellow-faced Emily Dickinson Museum and homestead on the right. Shortly after, pass the silhouetted sculpture of Robert Frost and Emily Dickinson in Sweetster Park. At the lights at the top of Main Street, turn RIGHT onto North Pleasant Street, enjoying the sights and smells of some of downtown’s best eateries. When you reach the Post Office, turn RIGHT onto Kellogg Street and continue uphill to Triangle Street. Turn LEFT onto Triangle and run downhill past the playing fields and a historic cemetery to the roundabout at Kendrick Park. Cross North Pleasant Street into the park, then turn LEFT to run through the other side of downtown back to Amherst Common. A final LEFT down Spring Street and RIGHT on Seelye Street tack on a tour of the Amherst College residential areas before turning RIGHT up College Street back to the Common.