The Amherst College?owned Emily Dickinson Museum preserves the memory and work of the poet and hyphen master by maintaining the estate where she lived and composed many of her nearly 1,800 poems. The museum includes The Homestead, her birthplace and longtime residence, which stands near The Evergreens, where her brother, Austin, lived with his family. Emily and her siblings were all avid gardeners, cultivating flowers and hedges throughout their 3-acre estate. Emily herself maintained a conservatory for her collection of exotic plants, and she drew endless inspiration from her natural surroundings for her work.
The Emily Dickinson Museum welcomes field trips for groups of students and schedules events throughout the year to celebrate her poetry and role in American literary history. Interactive poetry discussion groups meet at various Amherst locations, keeping Dickinson's style relevant by communicating only in rhyming quatrains.
The University Club’s New England roots are evident not just in its creamy, New England-style clam chowder, but in its very building. Nestled in two colonial-era farmhouses, one of which is the oldest, most wrinkly house in Amherst, the eatery is a venerable institution to the history of Massachusetts. The Boltwood-Stockbridge house contains the Daniel Chester French room, named for the Lincoln Memorial Statue sculptor who lived there as a child, and the Tory room, where nine loyalists hid during the American Revolution.
Today, the loyalists have given way to diners feasting on fare that changes with the seasons. Dinners consist of upscale proteins such as new york strip steak, braised lamb shank, and pan-seared salmon complemented by a farmer’s-market risotto loaded with fresh local produce. Alternatively, lunchtime visitors—or diners sampling the bar’s lighter fare menu—can nosh on a Black Angus burger or a jalapeño crab-cake po' boy.
Each summer, as stars glitter in the sky, Hampshire Shakespeare Company illuminates the crowd below with open-air renditions of the Bard's greatest hits. As showgoers lounge on their blankets, chairs, or elephants, the company stages interpretations of Shakespeare's plays that prize intelligibility and entertainment. In addition to its main-stage shows, the Hampshire Shakespeare Company also puts on a youth theater production each year to give youngsters a taste of the stage, and buoys playwrights from throughout the Valley with workshops and readings.
Actor and comedian Russell Brand frees chortles from belly prisons with his unique style of manic, irreverent humor. Riffing on the nature of fame and celebrity, Brand regales audiences with edgy observations and outsized characters to delight audiences grown bored with tamer comedians and telephone time-of-day services. Visiting a series of colleges, the tour filters the eccentricities of American universities through Brand's singular wit. George Mason University's recently renovated Patriot Center contains the glee in arena-style seating, ensuring everyone has a clear view of both Brand and the cricket whispering jokes in his ear.
Spanning more than 30 acres of scenic pasture on conservation land, Sycamore Stables offers horseback riding lessons for students of all skill levels. The highly trained and friendly staff of Sycamore Stables teaches hunter, jumper, and equitation riding and training. Equestrian novice and bronco-busting veterans alike can enjoy some horsetime with private lessons—each one-hour private lesson is packed with personalized, hands-on instruction for improving human-horse relations. Riding lessons allow people to connect with a majestic, intelligent animal, take part in three millennia of equestrianism, and appear much, much taller on a first date. Equine tutelage is offered in Sycamore Stable’s state-of-the-art indoor and outdoor riding arenas, allowing for year-round horseback access.