Jump to content
judith

Amherst, MA

Recommended Posts

Guest brandeis alum

...though not for very long. I did not attend school there so I can't tell you much about that, but I do now that the public transportation there is not great but actually pretty good considering it's a small town out in the boonies (lots of dairy farms in the area). There are buses that run every 15 minutes even relatively late at night, and they are free to the public at large during the school year, not just UMass students. The bus system, I believe, is run and funded almost entirely by UMass and its students - which would explain why it ran more like every 20 minutes rather than every 15. I'm pretty sure it is part of the larger PVTA transit system though, not that it really matters.

Housing is dirt cheap compared to Boston which is 2 hours away by car, and there are always buses leaving from "The Mall" on the UMass cmpus to go to Boston on the weekends. In fact I believe those buses ran more often than the weekend shuttles to Boston on th Brandeis campus, though they weren't free. It is even cheaper if you live a bit farther south like anywhere between Hadley and Springfield, though I think the latter is a bit far and a little ghetto. The problem with housing is that the local vacancy rate is REALLY low, like 2% tops when I was there.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest guest

Live in Northampton if you go to Amherst.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest Debating

Anyone have a rough idea of what the cost of living is like in Amherst? I' planning on sharing a one or two bedroom with my fiance and we'll be making around 48k before tax between the two of us. Thanks!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest Debating

I'd ideally like to walk/bike/ride the bus to campus (the UMass campus that is). Where would you recommend living? Where's a good place to find housing online?

Thanks!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest guest

There is a major bike path that runs through Northampton all the way to Amherst. Granted it will take 45 mintues + considering how fit you are. But it's supereasy, and Northampton is the loveliest, crunchy college town. A little expensive though. Try Easthampton. It's all within the 5 college area.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest Debating

Or Hadley or Sunderland? 45 min would be alright when the weather's good, but that's hardly always the case...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest Vicki

Hi, I'm also considering going to U Mass, however I'm not recieving any funding, so I'm really tight on budget. Can anyone tell me about the rental rates at Northhampton? Or any other area that I could consider living? Thanx

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest Debating

Vicki,

check this out: http://www.cshrc.org/housing.php. I talked to several people when I went to visit and it seemed that the ones who shared a house with other people were paying the least. On the website, search for 1 individual bedroom; you might have to share a bathroom with someone else or not but you can find cheap places. Unfortunately, there aren't very many apt's listed, which is what I need..

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest Vicki

hi debating, I checked it out, it seems to be pretty useful, but not a lot of apts. I thought maybe sharing a house with others will be ok, but how will I find housemates? Any thoughts?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest Debating

Vicki,

most of the people who post on there only have a room or two available, so they would be your housemates. That way you could at least get in touch with them and find out more about how much to expect to pay for utilities, what their lifestyles are, etc... Apartments are very expensive in Amherst from what I have been able to find, but if you have someone to live with it might end up being the same as sharing a house. I'll probably be going over there some time in May to sign a lease, where are you moving from (if you don't mind me asking)? I'm in NY. Good luck!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest brandeis alum

I went through the UMass Office of ________ (can't quite remember the name, but it was something like Student Housing). They have these huge binders with all sorts of vacancies listed, and I remember spending days in that office just going through each listing. The vast majority of the numbers I called said their opening was already filled, many of them filled within a day of listing the vacancy. I called mainly house and apartment shares as they are the cheapest. They also have a bunch of iMacs where you can search on their website, and they have a list of possible websites that are helpful. The 5-College Area is just that - a huge college town, and there will be plenty of people like you in the same boat.

I ended up living just outside of the town of Amherst in a spare bedroom in a small house owned by a married couple, who were my roommates. It worked out well, the area around is really scenic. The cost was $350 inclusive of utilities. I commuted to work using the bus system everyday, and that worked out well. The absolutely annoying part was getting groceries, since I had to go into Hadley, Amherst, or Noho to do that, and the free UMass bus system doesn't run on the weekends, if I remember correctly, or it runs only once every 2-3 hours. My frozen food was always melted by the time I got home from grocery runs.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest Vicki

Hi Debating, your suggestion seems like the best way to go about it, but unfortunatly, I'm currently working abroad (Hong Kong), and my contract doesn't end until July. So I'm really quite at a loss as to how to find myself a place to live, especially only one month before classes start. I'm rather worried that by the time I'm back in the States, it'll be hard to find satisfatory living quarters.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest Vicki

brandeis alum, do you think getting a car is a better idea than using public transportation? I'm kinda deliberating on that.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest Debating

Vicki,

I think that if you can get in touch with several of the people who are renting out through email you migh have good chances of finding a place remotely before you get back from Hong Kong. That is pretty much what I'm doing--in May I just plan on stopping by for a couple of days to look at the place I've decided on and sign a lease.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest Debating

Vicki,

I think that if you can get in touch with several of the people who are renting out through email you migh have good chances of finding a place remotely before you get back from Hong Kong. That is pretty much what I'm doing--in May I just plan on stopping by for a couple of days to look at the place I've decided on and sign a lease.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest JOUR

I went to Amherst for undergrad, and can tell you a few things about living:

1 - Northampton is a nice place to shop and eat, but with the ongoing bridge construction you might be stuck in the WORST traffic of your life as you drive to and from school.

2 - Northampton is the seat of liberalism -- Smith college and countless members of the gay community live in this area, so if you are at all uptight... stay closer to Amherst.

3 - If you are planning on living in Amherst, the center of town (like Northampton) is the most expensive place to live. There are plenty of places to stay in the big developments in north amherst, like Sunderland and the like, that are designed for people just like you. Lots of students live in these places, so there is a bus that runs straight to the school on a regular basis. If you are active, it is bike-able. Just watch out, because undergrads often live in these areas as well and like to party like only Umass can.

The other option is a room in a house that is near campus, but not in a development. Look on dailyjolt.com for housing. Contact Umass and see if they have leads.

Hope that helps.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest Debating

JOUR,

thanks a bunch! I got that feeling from Northampton as well, and while it's a REALLY cool place to hang out I'd probably like to live closer to school. I looked at several apt complexes around Umass (mainly to the north since that'd be closer for me), but I'm apprehensive because I know some of them are full of undergrads and I'd like NOT to have to deal with that. Any tips on specific apt places/communities that are more targeted toward graduate students and/or young families?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest Lila

Nice to see this thread!

I've been admitted to a PhD program at UMass-Amherst. I've decided to go. Now I'm looking for apartments as well even though the program doesn't start until September.

I feel like I'll get along fine in Amherst even though it's not a big city. Its proximity to Boston and New York City is more than enough for me.

Can someone from the area recommend a few surrounding neighborhoods where a graduate student would want to live? I'm nearly married--one more week to go--so I am looking for a 2 bed/1 bath or 1 bed/1 bath apartment. Honestly, the rent itself doesn't seem that expensive. (I grew up in Los Angeles.) My maximum is $700. The problem is actually trying to find a nice apartment not more than twenty minutes from campus.

Also, my husband will be looking for a job in the area. He specializes in IT/Software but has a degree in Economics. How's the employment situation in Pioneer Valley? I'm worried that he may not have as many opportunities as he would in a big city. Can anyone name some software companies in the area? Are there any international companies? My husband is German, so if that would be of use in the area, then awesome!

Any help would be much appreciated!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest lds

Welcome to the thread, Lila! Congrats on your acceptance to UMass, and best wishes for your upcoming marriage. I will be visiting in a couple of weeks to get a feel for the area before I formally say yes.

My husband spoke with someone who works for the Amherst area school district, and she mentioned Hadley & South Hadley as possible places to live -- does anyone have any thoughts on these?

I think I would love to live in a town someone describes as "cruchy," though I wonder if I could afford Northampton. I need to see these places and talk to some landlords, etc. to really get my hands on all of this.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest brandeis alum

God, they are STILL working on that bridge??? I was there like 5 years ago and they had been working on it for some time even back then. The locals called it the Big Dig of Western Mass.

To the person living in HK and thinking about having a car - you can easily live in this area without one, however because you won't be able to look for apartments until at least a month before you program starts, having a car may make your housing search a little easier since you won't be limited to an area near a bus route. I started my housing search well before the school year began but was not physically in the area until a few weeks before classes, and that made it really difficult to find housing. I ended up couch (or rather, floor) -surfing for about two weeks before finding a place, and that was only because I was really REALLY lucky (the vacancy was posted around 10-11AM, and I happened to be the first person responding to the ad. By 4PM I had taken it).

Regarding places to live that would be good for graduate students - a lot of the apartments buildings in Amherst and Sunderland were populated by undergrads, so be sure to ask about this. Yes, Hadley and South Hadley are good places. Hadley sticks out like a sore thumb because it looks like typical American suburban sprawl, very much in contrast with surrounding historic/scenic/colonial areas. But it will be convenient to large supermarkets - I'm pretty sure there was a Walmart and/or Home Depot in the area (another reason why Hadley sticks out in this haven of anti-corporate granola). SOuth Hadley is a beautiful town with lots of old colonial homes, and is less expensive than Amherst but probably more than Hadley.

NoHo is definitely the most expensive area, followed by city center of Amherst (which isn't all that large). I knew some people who lived in Easthampton and Pelham, and the people who were quite far out lived in Deerfield, Conway, and Holyoke.

If you don't mind living with kids, there are quite a few families in the area looking to rent a spare bedroom to a young professional or grad student (they often specify "no undergrads!") - these setups are usually pretty inexpensive and the room often comes furnished. Even if you don't want to live with kids it might be worth considering if you don't anticipate being home that often.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest Debating

Anyone have any info on apt complexes in Sunderland that don't have that many undergrads?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest Vicki

Hi, thanx for the info about getting a car. I'm really worried about housing right now since I won't be in Amherst until early August. I see a couple of good housing options on the U Mass housing resource web, but it seems that they will be snapped up once summer starts. I wonder what most people do in a situation like this? Any ideas? Thanks

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest brandeis alum
Anyone have any info on apt complexes in Sunderland that don't have that many undergrads?

Sorry, that I really don't know, as I was living there as a young professional. It seemed like everywhere I went there were undergrads, although Sunderland in general is very quiet. You'll have to call up the apartment complex and ask.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

By using this site, you agree to our Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.