Amherst, Massachusetts, is located in the Connecticut River Valley and in what is referred to “The Knowledge Corridor” as it is home to three colleges- University of Massachusetts Amherst, Amherst College, and Hampshire College. Located in Hampshire County, the town is also surrounded by abundant farmland and local farms providing fresh vegetables and several crops, which makes Amherst not only a college town, but a supported agricultural community. The town’s diverse population of close to 40,000 residents includes a large percentage of college students which brings the median age down to 21. The vibrant town offers many cultural and sporting events, is a walkable and biking community with a nice balance of academia and farmland, and has been recognized by Money Magazine as one of the top ten places to retire. Emily Dickinson was born and lived in Amherst and Robert Frost who taught at Amherst College retired here. Photo of Johnson Chapel at Amherst College, taken in December 2005, courtesy of Wikipedia and Qin Zhi Lau (public domain); photo of Goodell Hall at UMass at Amherst, courtesy of Wikipedia and Lion Hirth (public domain). Watch this short Youtube video prepared by UMass:
Where to Retire in Amherst and Home Prices
As a town with thousands of college students, you may want to choose your neighborhood wisely. Zillow reports the median home value to be $365,653 in late 2020.
Amherst is divided in three census-designated places which include Amherst Center, the most populated, and is where all the action is with downtown Amherst and the colleges located here; North Amherst has beautiful old homes and the North Amherst Center Historic District is on the National Register of Historic Places. There are many housing developments in this neighborhood, along with cohousing and several large apartment buildings that house college students; South Amherst offers single-family residential developments in all price ranges along with apartment complexes and a town common area.
What is Special about Amherst
With three colleges located here, there are many cultural events, exhibits, sporting events and musical performances. The University of Massachusetts offers many activities, concerts, and lectures which residents can attend, and it works together with the city on economic development and planning projects.
Amherst has parks, green spaces and is bicycle friendly. Seen on bumper stickers and on T-shirts is the town's local saying "Only the 'h' is Silent", which refers both to the pronunciation of Amherst and to the liberal town's politically active population.
What is Not Special about Amherst
The largest percentage of the population are college students, and winters are long and cold.
Who Will Like Retirement in Amherst
Retirees who want to live in a college town with many cultural and sporting events, but also want a rural setting may find Amherst to be a nice fit. It is home to three colleges and nearby farms with roadside vegetable stands and farmers markets; Amherst's library is top notch with events, exhibits, lifelong learning, and homebound delivery; the Senior Center is very active and offers senior health services, lunches, workshops, exercise classes, and special events.
Local Economy is Driven by
Amherst is a town of professionals and service providers, with the colleges being major employers
Climate and Physical Environment
January's average temperature is 27 degree and July's average is 74. Winters here are cold and snowy with an average annual snowfall of close to 40 inches.
Restaurants & Cultural Scene
Amherst is home to over 100 restaurants including pizza shops, upscale dining choices, cafes, bakeries, and pubs. The cultural scene is varied and ongoing with the many cultural activities and sporting events hosted by the schools.
The crime rate in Amherst is below the national average.
Cooley Dickinson Health care and University Health services are offered in Amherst.
The Pioneer Valley Transit Authority and the Five College Consortium provide public transportation in the area; Amherst is also part of a Bike Share Program; the closest international airport is Bradley International Airport in Windsor Locks, Connecticut, about an hour away.
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