Exploring Amherst, Massachusetts, for a day

School’s out, making it a perfect time to visit this college town and its museums and restaurants.

Amherst College.
Amherst College.Joanne Rathe/Globe Staff/Globe Staff


Sample your way through the town at the annual Taste of Amherst (413-253-0700; facebook.com/tasteofamherst) June 18 to 21 on the common. This local favorite showcases more than 20 restaurants and includes a beer and wine tent, cooking demonstrations, a petting zoo, and more.

Spend an afternoon touring the Beneski Museum of Natural History at Amherst College (413-542-2165; amherst.edu/museums/naturalhistory). It’s free, and highlights include the world’s largest collection of dinosaur tracks. While on campus, check out the Mead Art Museum (413-542-2335; amherst.edu/museums/mead).

Beneski Museum of Natural History.
Beneski Museum of Natural History. Joanne Rathe/Globe Staff/Globe Staff

Step into the colorful world of children’s literature at The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art (413-658-1100; carlemuseum.org) or the singular world of Emily Dickinson at her birthplace and home , now a museum (413-542-8161; emilydickinsonmuseum.org).


Emily Dickinson’s birthplace and home.
Emily Dickinson’s birthplace and home. Joanne Rathe/Globe Staff/Globe Staff


If being in a college town gives you the urge to eat like a student, try the stellar wings at The Hangar Pub and Grill (413-549-9461; facebook.com/hpg.amherst). A signature dish at Judie’s Restaurant (413-253-3491; judiesrestaurant.com) is the popover, which comes with apple butter, as a turkey “pop” pie, and as a chicken club. For dinner, consider Bistro 63 at the Monkey Bar & Grill (413-259-1600; bistro63.com), where you can enjoy a Gorgonzola-topped steak on the patio.

Judie’s Restaurant.
Judie’s Restaurant. Joanne Rathe/Globe Staff


As the name implies, The Mercantile (413-549-1396; facebook.com/pvmercantile) stocks a little bit of everything, including unique scarves and jewelry, novelty items such as Jane Austen mugs, and toys. Amherst Books (413-256-1547; amherstbooks.com) is the quintessential independent bookstore; don’t miss the titles by and about Emily Dickinson. B.Home (413-345-8998; b-homedecor.com) is bursting with one-of-a-kind refinished furniture, housewares, and gifts.