Where We Are: Recreation & Relaxation

Want to hike or bike? Have an urge to catch a late-night film? Whether you're seeking adventure or just want to kick back, the Pioneer Valley is for you. The scenery is spectacular, the attractions are acclaimed, and, yes, you can get a good cup of coffee.

Photo grid (top left to bottom right)

Shopping in Thornes Marketplace
Thornes Marketplace, located in nearby Northampton, is the lively home to more than 30 eclectic shops and restaurants, as well as a performing arts space.
(Photo: The multi-storied front entrance is highlighted by a bright green awning.)
Two shopping malls in Hadley
Whole Foods Market, the world's largest wholesaler of natural and organic foods, has a store in nearby Hadley. Adjoining it are two malls, which include a roller skating rink and a 12-theater cinema.
(Photo: entrance to Whole Foods Market)
Holyoke Mall at Ingleside
The Holyoke Mall at Ingleside is western New England's largest shopping destination with more than 190 shops and restaurants.
(Photo: entrance to the mall via Target)
Bookstores around the valley
Located across from the campus gates, the Odyssey Bookshop is the largest independent bookstore in western Massachusetts.
(Photo: the entrance and patio adjacent to the Odyssey)
Snowboarding at Berkshire East
Berkshire East, Southern New England's largest ski and snowboard mountain, offers 45 trails from beginning to extreme. It's located just about an hour from campus.
(Photo: A young woman snowboards high above the Berkshire hills.)
Rail Trail
The scenic Norwottuck Rail Trail spans ten miles and is a popular route for cyclists, skaters, walkers, runners, and cross-country skiers. It follows the path of the former Boston and Maine Railroad, connecting Northampton and Belchertown.
(Photo: The Northampon trail entrance utilizes the steel railway bridge that spans the Connecticut River.)
Take a hike
Skinner State Park spans 390 acres on top of Mount Holyoke and is where the MHC community goes to celebrate Mountain Day.
(Graphic: illustrated map of the trails of Mount Holyoke)
The Notch is just up the road
The Notch Visitors Center, located on Route 116 in Amherst, is the starting point for exploring the Mount Holyoke Range State Park.
After-hours eating
The Miss Florence Diner, affectionately known as the Miss Flo, is listed on the National Register of National Places. Since opening in the 1940s, the diner has been a valley favorite and one of several after-hours eateries.
(Photo: the classic 1940s diner exterior)
A Mount Holyoke favorite
The Black Sheep Deli and Bakery, located in Amherst, is beloved for its European-style baked goods, freshly brewed coffees, and an eclectic range of soups, salads, and entrees. It's also a favorite place to study, read, or visit with friends.
(Photo: the pastry-filled front window of the deli)
Good coffee, including our very own Rao's
The valley is home to at least a half dozen coffee houses. One of the best is located in the atrium of MHC's library. Rao's offers fair-trade coffee brewed however you choose, as well as teas and pastries.
(Photo: students at the café's counter)
Try the banana bread French toast!
If you're looking to go off-campus for brunch, you have plenty of choices. Popular brunch spots include Sylvester's Restaurant in Northampton—it's housed in the former home of Dr. Sylvester Graham, the inventor of the graham cracker.
(Photo: the redbrick exterior of Sylvester's)
Movies across the street at Tower Theatres
The Tower Theatres is a first-run movie house just steps from campus. It's known for offering a student discount—and for screening The Rocky Horror Picture Show every Saturday at midnight.
(Photo: looking up at the exterior of the Tower Theatres)
Not in the mood for stadium seating?
The funky Pleasant Street Theater (there's a video store, too) and the historic Academy of Music, both in Northampton, are known for showing foreign and arthouse films.
(Photo: the front of the Pleasant Street Theater video store)
Five College sporting events, home and away
The Five Colleges have a full calendar of sporting events that you can attend. UMass Amherst has 23 NCAA Division I intercollegiate sports teams to cheer on!
(Photo: cheering fans at a UMass men's basketball game)
A free bus ride away
Neighboring Amherst, with its bookstores, cafes, restaurants, and shops, is the quintessential college town—and a great place to hang out.
(Photo: looking down North Pleasant Street in Amherst)
Peace Pagoda
The New England Peace Pagoda in Leverett was built in 1985 by a group of American and Japanese Buddhists committed to peaceful activism. The grounds offer trails for walking meditation and numerous spots for quiet reflection.
(Photo: The large white dome of the pagoda is a popular local landmark.)
Quabbin Reservoir
Quabbin Reservoir is one of the largest man-made public water supplies in the United States. Created in the 1930s by the construction of two huge earthen dams, the reservoir has 181 miles of shoreline. The New Salem and Enfield overlooks offer magnificent views of the reservoir.
(Photo: the Enfield overlook in fall)
Historic Deerfield
Situated on a 330-year-old, mile-long street, Historic Deerfield preserves the architecture, artifacts, and lifestyle of an early New England town.
(Photo: the exterior of an historic Deerfield home)
Mary Lyon's grave
The grave of Mount Holyoke's founder, Mary Lyon, can be found on campus. It's the site of an annual Founder's Day celebration and the place where seniors gather at the conclusion of the beloved Laurel Parade on commencement weekend.
(Photo: a close-up of the inscription on the headstone)

Find Out More

(Links to related sites outside this tour)

About This Site

This transcript is a companion to the Mount Holyoke College Tour, a multimedia site presenting the Mount Holyoke experience through photos, audio clips, and video clips. The corresponding page on the multimedia tour is Recreation & Relaxation. If you have suggestions about how to improve the accessibility of this site, please contact us.