'Fall' in Love with Amherst and Its Surrounding Towns with These Fall Sites and Activities

Tis’ the season for pumpkin spice, knitted sweaters, apple pie and hiking trails! It’s necessary, if not an important part, to embrace Western New England during the fall season. Whether you’re a first-year student, or haven’t yet gone to these places yet, you may just find your new favorite fall activity!

Hiking trails nearby. 

Bring out the hiking boots, leggings, a flannel shirt, and mini backpack because it’s hiking season here in New England! My all-time favorite outdoor activity to do with friends is hiking around the Amherst area while either grilling food or taking photos at the summit of the mountains. Before the weather gets too cold for it, check out these favorite hiking trails of mine in your next hiking adventures:

Mount Holyoke Range State Park

  • Location: Amherst, MA
  • Offers free parking!
  • 30 miles of trials!
  • What you’ll see: Streams, wetlands, woods, and thickets

Mount Sugarloaf State Reservation

  • Location: South Deerfield, MA
  • May be small parking fee
  • Grilling and picnic area with scenic views at its summit!
  • What you’ll see: Connecticut River Valley

Mount Tom State Reservation 

  • Location: Holyoke, MA 
  • Parking fee
  • Grilling, picnic areas, and nature center!
  • What you’ll see: Scenic view of the Pioneer Valley  


UMass Cold Spring Orchard (Belchertown, MA)

This is not only an orchard of apples from McIntosh and Red Delicious, to Cortland and McCoun to name a few, it is also a research center and educational facility for scientists studying the ways in which to grow more trees in less space, analyzing the ability for fruit to resist diseases and insects, and ways to reduce the amount of chemicals used to grow fruit. This environmentally friendly fruit production facility also has amazing views of the fall leaves. When you buy fruit here, you are supporting this research and facility to make changes in fruit in a healthy way. I loved going here with friends to pick apples, and later make our own apple pie.

"NoHo" (Northampton, MA)

Shopping, shopping, and more shopping! Northampton has many galleries, boutiques, and gift shops along the walkable street of Main Street! It's nice to spend time with visiting family or friends to take up time in your afternoons going in and out of these cute little stores. Some places include the Artisan Gallery, Essentials (a DIY type of store), Urban Outfitters, LimeRed Teahouse (bubble tea!), and many more!

Emily Dickinson Museum (Amherst, MA)

If you enjoy poetry, English, or if you're a history buff like me, then you may know that the acclaimed American poet, Emily Dickinson, lived in Amherst, Massachusetts, just near Amherst Center. I toured her house just last year for an article I was writing for her 188th birthday celebration, and was so fascinated in the way she loved to write, her role as the family baker, and the inspiration she felt from nature (often translated into her writing). I have accrued my own information from asking my tour guides about the house and Dickinson herself, but there’s nothing like being there to really understand her life story for yourself!

Atkins Farms (Amherst, MA)

Atkins Farms in Amherst is my fall go-to spot. With locally produced and privately labeled goods, as well as conventional and seasonal products, Atkins is a healthier option for food with plenty of variety! I would suggest trying the popular apple cider donuts…they are amazing.

If any of these places interest you, go explore them further! Amherst and its surrounding towns have plenty of variety in its scenery and activities, so you could never go wrong with trying something new!

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