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My UMass Bucket List: 8 Things I Want To Do in the Pioneer Valley This Year

As a native to Burlington, Vermont, I’ve never lived outside of Vermont. As a “COVID sophomore,” (a sophomore who has never been to campus) this year has been big. I’ve always loved adventuring in Vermont, so why wouldn’t I do the same in western Massachusetts? I know Vermont like the back of my hand (hmu if you ever go to visit), so a goal of mine was to become more familiar with the Pioneer Valley.

The Amherst Farmers Market

Saturday mornings 7:30 am-1:30 pm on the Amherst commons. I’ve been meaning to give this one a go! Considering the agriculture in the area, I’m sure these vendors won’t be ones to miss. I sure am a sucker for raspberries by the carton, cut flowers, and fresh squeezed lemonade!

The eric carle museum

I didn’t even realize there was an Eric Carle Museum until my boyfriend, and then my mom, pointed it out. Renowned picture book author, Eric Carle died in May of this year. Considering I was raised on The Very Hungry Caterpillar, this museum is a must.

Downtown coffee shops

I haven’t spent much time in the downtown area since moving. At home, I would spend hours in the cutest coffee shops downtown, meeting friends, doing homework, etc. I’m excited to explore the coffee shops in downtown Amherst as soon as I get the chance. Send your recs my way ;)

emily dickinson museum

I feel as though I can’t live in Amherst and never set foot in the Emily Dickinson Museum. Not only did I spend significant time in high school reading her work, I love “homestead” museums. It feels as though I’m stepping through history. Unfortunately, renovation project has closed the museum doors until spring 2022.

Cook Farm and Flayvors

From what I can tell from their website, Cook Family Farm is a working dairy operation and farm store selling milk, ice cream, and lunch foods. Cows and ice cream? Sign me up!

Shelburne Falls, MA

While this isn’t necessarily a singular thing to do, I still feel it warrants a spot on this list. A village of about 2,000 people, Shelburne Falls was once part of Deerfield. I’m dying to make a day trip and walk the Bridge-of-Flowers, ride Trolley #10, and visit the Magic Wings Butterfly Conservatory.

Beneski natural history museum

Part of Amherst College, the pictures alone remind me of the huge natural history museums in New York, Boston, and Washington, D.C. Right here in Amherst, why wouldn’t this be on my list?! Like the Emily Dickinson Museum, this visit will have to happen at a later date. It is currently closed to non-Amherst College visitors due to COVID-19.

West cemetary

Can you tell I’m a bit of a history buff yet? Just a stone’s throw to the UMass campus, the West Cemetery is the final resting place of Emily Dickinson and several other historic Amherst residence. Originally laid out in 1730, it was the only cemetery in Amherst for 90 years.

Did I miss anything major?? PLEASE let me know, all you Massachusetts folks. In the last few weeks, I’ve done a lot (see: taking the train, going to the Montague Bookmill and Lady Killigrew Cafe, visiting the Dr. Seuss Museum) and I’m excited to keep checking things off my list. Anyone want to be a part?



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Abigail Grimm

U Mass Amherst '24

Abby is a current sophomore honors student at UMass Amherst studying Public Health. Outside of HerCampus, she spends time outside on her bike or with her dogs (especially in her home state, Vermont), playing music, and drinking absurd amounts of coffee. Find her on instagram at https://www.instagram.com/abby_324/
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