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Getting Away

  Yes, the Happy Valley is wonderful, but sometimes you want to get away from it all. For real peace, head north to Vermont or New Hampshire, or even to the nearby Berkshires. Otherwise, Boston, New York, and Montreal are not far, and the the Interstate Highway System, trains, buses and planes for the rest...

Driving distance: cities

Boston (see Yahoo's guide ) is a very nice city, with amenities that rival New York, and yet the manageability that comes with one-tenth the size. For example, Boston's Museum of Fine Arts has an excellent collection of painting and sculptures and is a stop for any worthwhile itinerant exhibit. A favorite place near Boston, where you can see art outdoors, is the De Cordova Museum and Sculpture Park. It takes about two hours to drive the 90 miles there (hint: from Amherst use Rt. 202 then Rt. 2, except in poor weather, when I-90 is safer). If you go for the day and use Rt. 2 you can park in the Alewife station of the MBTA (Boston's mass transit system, aka the T) and take the train into town from there. Or you can ride the monopolistic Peter Pan bus there, but it takes a good three hours, unless you catch the rare express ones (usually only Fridays and Sundays; check).

New York is... New York: all kinds of things, all kinds of people. It is about 150 miles from Amherst, and you can drive (hint: avoid I-84), take the bus, or take a train from Amherst (the once-a-day Vermonter ), or, cheaper and more frequent, from Springfield . For a a little European flavor, Montreal is about five hours by car, but better yet is Quebec City just another hour or two farther north. It still has the fortified old city with its narrow streets, beautiful views of the St. Lawrence river, and excellent food.

Farther Away: the logistics

To fly within North America, Bradley airport (BDL) (on I-91 between Springfield, Mass., and Hartford, Conn.) is the most convenient airport. It is about an hour from Amherst, parking is cheap, and its medium size makes getting in and out very easy. However, there are limited nonstop flights. Southwest Airlines will begin operating out of BDL end of October 1999, hence fares to/from there are expected to fall across all carriers. Other nearby airports where Southwest's presence has already pushed down airfares are Manchester, NH (MHT), and Providence, Rhode Island (PVD). It is usually worthwhile to compare fares from Boston's Logan and from the three New York airports as sometimes the fare differences with Bradley are substantial. Most of the time it does not make sense to fly from Bradley to Boston or New York: it is expensive and you may miss your connection, so it is best to go by surface. You may drive (I-90) to and park in Logan, but traffic can be very bad in the airport access (a tunnel); instead, you may want to park in Framingham (on I-90) and take the Logan Express there. For the New York airports there is a relatively expensive but reliable service (Connecticut Limo ) that takes you from Hartford (Union Station, exit 48 on I-84) to JFK , La Guardia , or Newark without getting into the city.

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