Everyone I know back home in New Jersey thinks that I go to school in Boston. In reality, UMass Amherst is located about two hours west of the Massachusetts capital. UMass is its own city in the middle of basically nowhere. Although we are surrounded by farms, trees, and more farms, the area boasts a multitude of unique spots. My personal favorite is the Montague Bookmill. The 1834 gristmill was re-opened as a bookstore in 1988. The property also houses a café, restaurant, music store, and art gallery.
Despite the Bookmill’s motto being “books you don’t need in a place you can’t find,” it is an easy drive from campus. It is located about twenty minutes north of Amherst. The bookstore sells books starting at only ninety-four cents! Their books are ones you wouldn’t find at a Barnes & Noble. They house an eclectic collection of literature on all different subjects. I once bought a book about Jewish history in Eastern Europe for $4!
Attached to the bookstore is the Lady Killigrew Café. They offer bagels, sandwiches, pastries, coffee, as well as some alcoholic beverages. Their bagels are excellent, and this is coming from someone born & raised in New York City. They definitely have the best bagels around UMass!
Free wifi makes the Bookmill a perfect study location. It is usually quiet and peaceful, unlike the packed library around midterms and finals. If you’re not there to study, eat, or pick up some new reads, there is still plenty to do. Their music store has a large collection of CDs and DVDs that you probably haven’t seen in 10 years. The art gallery has beautiful paintings, photographs, and jewelry all created by local artists. It is slightly pricey but definitely a good place to find someone a present. My favorite activity to do at the Bookmill is to take photographs! The mill and the surrounding area are extremely scenic.
Despite its close proximity to campus, only a small percentage of the student population knows of its existence. I try to visit the Bookmill at least twice a semester and hope to make it a regular homework location. I could spend hours sipping on coffee and taking in the views of Western Massachusetts.
The Bookmill is located at 440 Old Greenfield Rd. Montague, MA 01351.
Do you have a favorite spot near your campus?