Getting Here: Transportation

Where in the world IS Amherst, Massachusetts? 42.340382, -72.496819

Located in the bucolic Pioneer Valley of western Massachusetts, Amherst offers an attractive jumping off point for SHARPists wishing to conduct research elsewhere on the east coast or simply to enjoy the natural and cultural beauties of our New England summers.

  • American Antiquarian Society, Worcester: 56 miles / 90 km
  • Harvard: 85 miles / 137 km
  • Boston: 93 miles / 150 km
  • Yale: 89 miles / 143 km
  • New York City: 167 miles / 269 km
  • Tanglewood, summer home of the Boston Symphony: 62 miles / 100 km

Although Amherst has no airport of its own, it is served by Bradley, the regional airport covering the Springfield, Massachusetts-Hartford, Connecticut area, approximately an hour away by ground transportation. 
Boston’s far larger Logan International Airport, approximately twice as far away, has many more air connections, though requiring correspondingly longer travel by ground. We are looking into the possibility of arranging group ground transportation reservations for SHARPists arriving at these two airports.

Amtrak national rail serves both Springfield, Massachusetts (approximately an hour away by bus; about half that by shuttle van or personal auto) and–though only twice a day (once in each direction)–our nearby county seat of Northampton, an easy 15 minutes (8 miles/ 13 km) by taxi, Lyft, or Uber (approximate cost $20-25).

The following sites, hosted by area colleges, provide a comprehensive overview of transportation options from major destinations: 

Amherst College Transportation Information 
International Students and Scholars | Getting to UMass Amherst

By Air

“High Times at the M.A.C.” (Massachusetts Agricultural College: the forerunner of the University of Massachusetts), 1915 fantasy postcard featuring the iconic Old Chapel

Bradley International Airport, Hartford-Springfield

The closest air link is the somewhat misleadingly named Bradley International Airport (Hartford-Springfield), with connections to many US cities and major airport hubs. At present, Ireland’s Aer Lingus provides the only direct transatlantic international service. It offers direct flights to Dublin, and thus also a convenient connection to and from the UK and continental destinations. (Another advantage of this route is clearing immigration during the changeover in Dublin, which can save time compared with larger and busier airports on either side of the Atlantic.) For Canadians, Hartford has direct connections to Montreal and Toronto. In fact, travel between Hartford and London, Paris, and other European destinations via Montreal can also be a convenient and cost-effective option (again, with advantage of expedited progress through immigration).

Ground transportation to and from airport

Bradley is approximately 46 miles / 74 km from the University. There is no bus service to our region of Massachusetts, but Valley Transporter and, on weekends, VanGo, offer shuttle service by van (reservations required), and there are also ample car rental opportunities.

Logan International Airport, Boston

A greater number of national and international flights come in to Boston’s Logan airport, the primary airport for New England. Naturally, because Logan is approximately twice as far from Amherst as Bradley, this choice requires correspondingly longer ground transportation time. 

Ground transportation to and from airport

Amtrak rail service is an option but not an especially convenient one: one needs to take a bus into Boston and then take trains westward again, with limited schedules. Better options: Peter Pan bus offers regular service, and as in the case of Bradley Airport,  Valley Transporter and, on weekends, VanGo, offer shuttle service by van (reservations required), and there are also ample car rental opportunities.

(As noted above, we will look into the possibility of arranging shared transportation for SHARPists arriving around the same time.)

Ground Transportation

By Rail

Passenger rail service is not as prevalent in the US as it is in many countries from which SHARP members will be coming. The good news is that the eastern corridor of the United States is one of the best-developed Amtrak routes.  Additional service to the Pioneer Valley is supposed to begin in 2019. Please check this page for updates as the conference date approaches. (Note: Rail travel here can be convenient and pleasant but domestic travel by air may actually be cheaper, so it pays to do your research carefully.)

Although Amherst no longer has Amtrak service, Amtrak’s “Vermonter” does stop in nearby Northampton, but only twice a day (once in each direction: traveling south around 2 p.m., traveling north, arriving shortly before 4 in the afternoon). The advantage of the Vermonter is that you can travel all the way between Northampton and Washington, D.C. (approximately 8 hours) without needing to transfer.

If one doesn’t mind changing trains and then disembarking in Springfield, Massachusetts, there are more options: major points of connection are New York City and New Haven. Thanks to the new Connecticut Rail Hartford Line (inaugurated June 2018),  service between Springfield and New Haven has increased: an attractive option for travelers coming from New York.)

From Springfield, there are two main options for travel to Amherst:
(1) Peter Pan Bus line, which stops in the center of Town at Amherst College and at the University of Massachusetts. Note: the UMass bus stop is approximately .6 miles / 1 km from the Campus Center Hotel (map/directions) and .9 miles / 1.5 km from North Apartments (map/directions).
(2) Valley Transporter, with door-to-door service.

Reminder: Rail travel in the US can be convenient and pleasant but travel by air may actually be cheaper. It pays to do your research carefully. Additional rail service to our Pioneer Valley region is supposed to begin in 2019. Please check this page for updates as the conference date approaches.

Amtrak: general information, routes, & schedules
Amtrak and Springfield
Amtrak and Northampton

By Bus

Peter Pan Bus provides regular service between Amherst and other locales in Massschusetts, but also offers service to other major urban areas on the eastern seaboard: Providence (including Green Airport), New York, Philadelphia, Washington, Baltimore.

Driving Directions by Car

Directions to Hotel UMass/Campus Center Hotel (use “Locate Us” “Driving” button in sidebar)
Directions to University of Massachusetts North Apartments

Check back here in the coming months for updates as well as information on group ride-shares, etc. We’ll also be adding a page with links to various apps that can enhance the ease of travel.