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Lisa Palumbo, Northampton Real Estate
Buying, Selling & Relocating in the Greater Pioneer Valley

Call: 413-320-7913

The Connecticut River Valley, also known as the Pioneer Valley, consists of three counties.

Hampshire County


Hampshire County is home to five prominent colleges: Amherst College, Hampshire College, Mount Holyoke College, Smith College and UMass Amherst.

Significant municipalities include Northampton and Amherst. Both communities feature a diverse mix of residents and college students. Northampton is a popular destination for tourists with a varied shopping and restaurant scene. Music venues, galleries, bookstores and performance spaces have made the city a nationally recognized arts mecca. The Hampshire Regional YMCA and the 150-acre Look Park, which features the beautiful Mill River, are just two of Northampton’s family-friendly attractions.

The historic, picturesque Amherst area, with its forested hills and river plains, features fine restaurants, comfortable inns and a thriving downtown. Its museums, arthouse cinema and performing arts center provide enjoyment for every taste.

Franklin County

Franklin County is the most rural county in Western Massachusetts. Home to Greenfield Community College, the Green River, the Pioneer Valley Symphony, Poets Seat Tower and a growing arts scene, Greenfield is the county’s largest municipality.

Known for its unspoiled open spaces, fertile farmland and quiet residential living, Franklin County is also home to cultural points of interest like Historic Deerfield, the New England Peace Pagoda in Leverett, the Bridge of Flowers in Shelburne Falls, and the scenic Mohawk Trail, which attracts leaf-peepers throughout the autumn months.

Hampden County

The mostly urban Hampden County is dominated by the cities of Springfield, Holyoke, Chicopee and Westfield. Notable suburban communities include Longmeadow and Ludlow. Among Springfield’s many attractions are the Springfield Symphony, the Dr. Seuss National Memorial Sculpture Garden, the Forest Park Zoo, the museums at the Quadrangle and the Basketball Hall of Fame.

Holyoke, whose 19th-century industrial base earned it the nickname the “Paper City,” is home to the Dinosaur Footprints, Gateway City Arts, the Holyoke Children’s Museum, the Massachusetts International Festival of the Arts, the Volleyball Hall of Fame and Open Square, a mixed-use urban community in the city’s canal district.



Valley residents share a love of the arts, and the area brims with fine art galleries, theaters, independent bookstores and performance spaces. Northampton-area venues like the Academy of Music, the Bombyx Center for Arts & Equity, the Calvin Theatre and the Parlor Room regularly host world-class musicians; across the river the Amherst Cinema screens independent arthouse films daily.

Noteworthy visual art spaces include the Emily Dickinson Museum and the Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art in Amherst, the Dr. Seuss Museum and the Museum of Fine Arts in Springfield, the Smith College Art Museum and Northampton’s R. Michelson Galleries, which represent many of the Valley’s renowned children’s book illustrators.

The Five Colleges program a broad range of performances, lectures, exhibits and literary readings, offering residents the kinds of cultural amenities more commonly associated with bustling urban centers.


Appreciation of the natural environment is a hallmark of Valley life. The area boasts numerous nature sanctuaries, parks, forests, mountain ranges and ponds.

One notable park is Mount Tom State Reservation, which joins lands held by the Massachusetts Audubon Society and forms a long corridor of wildlife stretching across the Connecticut River. Other beloved spaces include the 47-mile Robert Frost Trail, Arcadia Wildlife Sanctuary in Easthampton, the DAR State Forest in Goshen, Fitzgerald Lake Conservation Area in Northampton, the Holyoke Range, Mount Sugarloaf in South Deerfield, Skinner State Park in Hadley and the Norwottuck Rail Trail, which extends 10 miles through the towns of Northampton, Hadley and Amherst. Swimmers, hikers, bicyclists, ice skaters, kayakers, bird watchers and cross-country ski enthusiasts alike find much to relish in the Valley’s varied landscapes.

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