The town of Amherst is located in the lovely Pioneer Valley of Western Massachusetts, about 90 miles from the state’s capital city, Boston. It is a charming small town of quiet and beautiful rural surroundings, but also has a lively student life, as it is host to Amherst College, Hampshire College, and the University of Massachusetts Amherst. The surrounding parks and forests are particularly beautiful in October, when the leaves change color. The University of Massachusetts Amherst is located about 1.2 miles from downtown Amherst, about a 15 minute walk.
There are a limited number of hotel rooms available at the Campus Hotel for $145 per night. The Campus Hotel is adjacent to the conference venue. You can make a reservation either by calling the hotel directly (877-822-2110) or by booking online using the group code NES16C at the hotel website.
In addition, this website as well as Airbnb provide many alternative lodging options. Bear in mind that some of these are not within walking distance from the conference venue at UMass. In many cases, however, it is possible to commute to UMass by public bus transportation. You can check the different lines and schedules here and here. Most bus lines within Amherst are free and frequent. They are also indexed in Google Maps.
Alternative lodging options also include hotels in Hadley and Northampton. Hadley is accessible to UMass via the B43 bus, and Northampton via the B43 and M40 buses. Bus fare for the B43 and M40 is $1.25 each trip.
Graduate students are welcome to email us to ask for crash space. Since availability is limited, it will be distributed on a first-come, first-serve basis.
By plane & bus
The closest airport to UMass Amherst is Bradley International Airport, located outside Hartford, CT. The easiest way to travel from Bradley to UMass is to book a shuttle. For available transportation services, check here. Rates are usually around $60 per person, but discounts are offered if multiple people are travelling together.
The closest big international airport is Boston Logan Airport. You can easily travel from Boston to Amherst by bus. You can check schedules and purchase tickets on Peter Pan Bus’s website. The bus takes around 3 hours to get to Amherst. Tickets usually range between $30 and $40 each way. If you choose to travel with Peter Pan Bus, it is necessary to print your ticket before you travel. (Peter Pan representatives will often be able to print your ticket at the station.) In most cases you will be able to purchase a direct bus to UMass. All the buses depart from Boston’s South Station, which is easily accessible from Logan with a free bus shuttle (the Silver line). If you cannot find a direct ticket to campus, you can come through Amherst or Northampton, in which case you will have to take an additional local city bus.
If you decide to come through any of the airports in the New York City area (JFK, LaGuardia or Newark), you can still travel to Amherst using Peter Pan Bus. Bear in mind, however, that this will take much longer: you must first go to the Port Authority Bus Terminal, and then get on a 4.5 hour long ride, though the buses has WiFi and electric outlets.
Driving directions can be found at the campus information pages for transportation. Parking on campus is free on Saturdays and Sundays, and usually there is plenty of space on weekends. The parking lots that are closest to the venue are lots #62 and #63. On Friday, you can park in the campus garage ($1.75/hour). To help locate parking lots, you can use the interactive map.
If you plan to travel to the US in order to participate in NELS 47, we urge you to check whether you require a temporary visitor’s visa. The wait-time for a visa may vary depending on your country of origin. Basic information about visa programs can be found at the travel website of the US State Department. Nationals of certain countries (e.g., Australia, Austria, Belgium, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, South Korea, Spain, Switzerland, United Kingdom) can enter the US for short-term visits under the Visa Waiver Program. Anyone wishing to gain entry into the US via the Visa Waiver Program should fill out an on-line form prior to checking in for their flight to the US.
To facilitate a visa application, conference participants may find a letter of invitation from the NELS 47 organizers helpful. Please email us if you need such a letter.