Northampton in Massachusetts is known as “Paradise City” due to its beautiful setting, nestled within mountains, farmland and forests near the Connecticut River. This city also has a few other nicknames, including The Happy Valley, the Emerald City, the Most Liberal City in the USA and the Best Small Arts Town in the USA. The atmosphere here is LGBT friendly, open minded, creative artistic and welcoming, and it is a very peaceful and relaxing place to live and learn.
There is a lot to discover in Northampton, including a great music scene, gorgeous historic buildings, excellent local coffee shops, friendly young students, superb art galleries, museums and more. There are more than 50 restaurants to choose from in a three-block radius, and the city is home to several great cultural events and festivals. During the summer the weather is beautiful, and in the winter it is lovely for snowshoeing, skiing and ice skating. And in the fall, you get to enjoy the stunning red and gold foliage of New England.
There’s plenty to do in Northampton, whether you like the arts, culture, history, the outdoors, food or music or all of these! It’s an educational hub and a wonderful place for outdoor activities, from rafting to hiking, being located in the foothills of the Berkshire mountains.
Music fans will love the excellent performances at the Academy of Music or at the Iron Horse Music Hall – a small café and performance space that attracts many big name performers. The Parlor Room at Signature Sounds is also a great place to hear live music: it is an intimate space in downtown on Masonic Street. Art lovers should check out the Smith College Museum of Art, which houses a collection of 25,000 works of art. It includes stunning works by the Great Masters, such as Degas, Whistler, Winslow Homer and Picasso.
Living in Northhampton, it’s fun to spend your time just wandering down the streets and checking out the many great little local businesses selling unique and quirky items. Then sit at a café on the main street with friends and people-watch. If you are hungry, grab a slice from the locally famous Joe’s Pizza.
Have you seen the movie “Cider House Rules?” The Old State Mental Hospital grounds are where it was filmed. Some people find it beautiful, others find it creepy – but it’s a very interesting place to walk around and admire the wild and overgrown boarded-up buildings.
The scenery surrounding Northampton is incredibly gorgeous and there are many places to visit. Only four miles away you will find the small town of Easthampton, which is home to the Park Hill Orchard. Take a self-guided walk down the path past 16 different sculptures, and try the delicious fresh fruit grown there - 36 apple varieties as well as raspberries and blueberries.
For those seeking a unique and very American study experience, Northampton is just perfect!
The IALC 2017 Workshop will take place in Boston, 23-26 March 2017 - a chance to experience the USA as a study travel destination.