Moving to Amherst
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Moving to Amherst
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I am moving with my family (husband and two children - ages 9
and 5.5) to Amherst, Massachusetts. Does anyone have any
insights or comments on what it's like to live there? (I have
already checked and read the website comments.)
My oldest friend from school and her husband moved to Amherst
several years back and now have a toddler. And my husband went
to college nearby. Every time we visit I'm impressed with both
the charm and the friendliness of the town. They bought a lovely
3 story 6 bedroom house for $250k that's an eight minute walk to
work for dad. They've found good childcare and many fun
children's activities, and made many great new friends in the
area. I think the biggest challenge for my friend, aside from
being so far from her family in California, was surviving East
Coast winters. She hadn't had a chance to make any new friends
when they were effectively stuck inside all winter and she
became quite depressed for a period of time. She advises to get
your network started before the cold months set in and if
possible, plan a vacation to a warmer locale in the
February/March timeframe. Good luck with your move and enjoy!
I went to UMass Amherst, MA for grad school. It is a beautiful
place and we loved living there esp fall. THis was more than 7
years ago, so things may have changed, but my feeling was that
Amherst and Pioneer valley in general seemed very progressive.
In fact when I moved to the Bay Area, I thought Berkeley was
like AMherst with better weather conditions (at least winter :)
But on a more practical side here a couple of links collected by
students of CS dept -- hopefully you will find them useful:
I lived in Amherst while attending UMass quite a few years ago,
so I don't know what the current cost of living is there. I did
want to let you know about the weather. The winters can be
very, very cold. I grew up near the coast of Massachusetts, and
was not prepared for the weather inland in Amherst. You are
welcome to email me if you want any suggestions regarding
outfitting your family and your car for the winters.
I went to school in the Amherst area and lived there for some
time thereafter -- about 11 years all told. I loved it and
would move back there in a second. This was about 20 years ago
but I've been back to visit and it hasn't changed all that
much. There is a lot going there culturally, politically,
artistically, due to the academic communities (5 very good
schools in the immediate vicinity). You don't have to go too
far outside of town (whether that is Amherst or Northampton)
before you are in the country -- gentle hills, beautiful lakes,
rivers, and streams. You get real seasons, not just this
California greean and brown stuff. New York City and Boston are
both close, but not too close (Boston about an hour and a half,
New York about three hours). I think housing prices have spiked
a bit there (like anywhere), but not like here. A couple of
friends of mine recently bought a beautiful 3 bedroom farmhouse
a bit off the beaten track for something like 200K. I have heard
that the schools are very good, but I wasn't a parent at the
time so I wasn't really paying attention to that kind of stuff.
Good luck -- you will love it there.
My friend and her family relocated from the Bay Area to Amherst
last summer. Here are her thoughts on Amherst:
I moved to Amherst last August with 2 boys 3 and 7. The schools
here are wonderful! My son has a special teacher for art, music,
PE, plus a full time librarian. He goes to Wildwood which I
highly recommend. In general, it's a great place to raise kids.
It's very liberal -- not much different from living in Berkeley
in that sense -- the Amherst town meeting makes foreign policy.
Housing is of course loads cheaper than in the bay area -- we
live in a 4-bedroom house! But in Amherst prices are alot more
expensive than in the surrounding communities. The cost of
living otherwise seems about the same as the bay area.
Restaurants are a disappointment for anyone who has lived in
Berkeley -- but you learn to live with it.
The weather this year was simply beyond belief -- cold, snow,
followed by incessant rain during spring, followed by heat and
humidity. But everyone tells us that each of these seasons
Hi. My husband, 10 month old and I are seriously considering a
move to Amherst or Northampton to be closer to our East Coast
family. We would love any details on what living there is really
like for a thirty-something family. Thanks!
I went to UMASS Amherst about 15 years ago. The Amherst area is
an idyllic setting. It is the archetypal New England town.
There are 5 colleges in the area so there are heaps of cultural
events going on and big-name musicians will play there (I recall
REM and Joe Jackson way back then). The only down side is would
you be able to get a job there. No one wants to leave so there
are not alot of job openings at the University.
I have a 15-month-old and will be moving to Amherst, MA, in a
few months. Can anyone recommend fun things to do or places to
go with a toddler? Also, does anyone know of a similar parents
network there? I'd be grateful for any input. Thanks!
amherst and the surrounding areas are filled with
toddler/child/family friendly activities. one place to start is
the jones library in amherst center, there are listings for music
classes, play groups, etc., and they have a great children's
section, replete with a train table and activity boxes full of
toys, books, videos, and music that you can check out. there is
also a family center in n. amherst, that doesn't have summer
hours, but is open during the school year. it's considerably
smaller than the bay area, but there are many things to do and
there exists plenty of community there. enjoy.
this page was last updated: Aug 10, 2003
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