South HadleyPioneer Valley area of Massachusetts. It is home to Mount Holyoke College.
Route 116 is the central artery through most of the Pioneer Valley and the most useful for travelling between its cities. Route 47, which runs from South Hadley to Hadley, is picturesque but easy to get lost on. For travel across a broader area of Massachusetts I-91 is recommended.
Five College buses run between Mount Holyoke, Amherst, UMASS, Hampshire and Smith. While the service is nominally free only to Five College students, IDs are rarely checked and anyone who appears to be college-aged will likely be able to ride for free. If travelling to Smith you may need to change buses at Hampshire; be sure to pick up a schedule at the Mount Holyoke campus center beforehand.
Pioneer Valley Transit Authority (PVTA) buses provide fixed service to other areas of the valley.
Peter Pan buses travel from South Hadley Center to most major cities, but you may need to change buses several times during your trip. Tickets can be purchased at Crazy Moon Fashions in South Hadley Center. Unlike the Five College buses, you will have to show a student ID to get the student rate on Peter Pan bus tickets.
Amtrak provides train service from nearby Springfield to other major cities. Once in Springfield you can hire a taxi or catch a bus to South Hadley.
The nearest major airport is Bradley International Airport (BDL) in Windsor Locks, Connecticut.
The biggest sightseeing attraction in South Hadley is Mount Holyoke College's beautiful campus. Filled with trees and seasonal flowers, a stroll through Mount Holyoke can be a good way to kill an hour. Many of the buildings also have beautiful and unique architecture, most notably the library. Be sure to visit the art museum, which showcases the art of both current students and classical masters.
- Mount Holyoke College regularly offers plays, open lectures and art exhibitions for free or at low cost. Of particular note is Vespers, a joint concert put on by all of Mount Holyoke's music groups around Christmas time.
- Tower Theater in the Village Commons is a small two-screen movie theater. Performances of The Rocky Horror Picture Show and Repo! The Genetic Opera with shadow casts are given weekly.
South Hadley is home to a number of good restaurants, including:
AutenticaFeaturing a wide variety of Mexican dishes, including vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free options.
Dockside RestaurantOffering excellent seafood, and a view of the Connecticut River.
Food 101A fusion restaurant with an extensive wine list.
IchibanIt features a range of Chinese, Japanese and Malaysian dishes. In-house fare includes free tempura ice cream for dessert, while deliveries come with a free drink.
Johnny's Bar and GrilleMost famous for its make-your-own personal pizzas, with dozens of available toppings.
Tailgate PicnicPopular among the local college students for its inexpensive sandwiches and deli-style fare, and for its gelato and baked goods.
For those on a tight budget, meals can be had at Mount Holyoke's Blanchard Cafe, or in any of the dining halls for guests of Mount Holyoke students. While eating at Blanchard can be cheaper than paying $10 per meal in the dining halls, you get what you pay for. You will get better food (and as many helpings as you like) if you have a friend at Mount Holyoke who can get you into the dining halls.
- The Thirsty Mind, offering coffee, tea and custom Italian sodas (soda water with any combination of flavored syrups added) and a selection of beers and wines.
- Rao's Coffee, inside the Mount Holyoke College library. This little shop has a huge variety of unique offerings, including loose leaf tea and, around Christmas, drinks made with eggnog.
Willits-Hallowell CenterThe only hotel in South Hadley, operated by Mount Holyoke College; rooms are few and are frequently difficult to get. Staying at the Marriot Inn in Chicopee is likely a better bet, although if you are visiting Mount Holyoke it is worth checking Willits-Hallowell first.
If you have a friend at Mount Holyoke who is willing to share her room with you, be aware that guests at Mount Holyoke are limited to seven consecutive days and are not allowed to move between floors in the dorm without a student escort. In addition, there is at least one female-only bathroom in every dorm, so male guests may need to use a bathroom on a different floor. Enforcement of these rules varies from dorm to dorm and from year to year, but as being caught could land your host in a lot of trouble, it's generally better not to risk it.