Mount Holyoke College

Pioneer Valley

The nation's oldest women's college, founded in 1837, is in the center of South Hadley, the southernmost and sleepiest of the Five College towns. The great American landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted laid out the center of the park-like 800-acre campus and it is often listed as one of the most beautiful college campuses in the country. Bucolic and small, Mount Holyoke College has an enrollment of just 2200 students.

Among Mount Holyoke's 19th-century legacies is a hand-crafted organ in the chapel, one of the last built by New England's master organ maker, Charles B Fisk. The campus maintains a half-dozen gardens, as well as the glass Talcott Greenhouse, dating back to 1898. To reach South Hadley, head south from Amherst on MA 116. Pioneer Valley Transit Authority ( routes 38, 39 and B43 run between all five colleges, including Mount Holyoke.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Pioneer Valley attractions

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2. Skinner State Park

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This mountaintop park, at the summit of Mt Holyoke, peaks out at a rather modest-sounding height of 942ft. But that's high enough to earn the visitor…

3. Summit House

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At the summit of Mt Holyoke, a former hotel dating from 1861 is now a museum and visitor center. Old photographs show Summit House as it was in its heyday…

4. Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art

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5. Hampshire College

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6. Smith College Museum of Art


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7. Smith College


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8. Lyman Conservatory

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Visitors are welcome to explore Smith College's collection of Victorian greenhouses, set opposite Paradise Pond, which are packed to the brim with odd…