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amherst area / umass mamas?

405 Views 2 Replies 3 Participants Last post by  snugglebug14
Hey there,

I'm hoping some of you pioneer valley mamas can give me some info/advice about the area that will help with a major decision. My partner has been accepted to graduate programs in political science at Umass Amherst and UT Austin and we're trying to decide where to go. Many things are pushing us in the direction of Amherst -better funding from the school, closer to my family, and from what we've seen and heard (we live in boston now and visit occasionally) the area seems perfect for our little queer family -us and our 2 1/2 yo son. But the program at Austin seems like a much better move for her career, so we're really torn.

So here's what I'm hoping you can tell me -is the pioneer valley really as great as it seems? do you love raising kids there? is it really hard to find affordable housing and daycare? how about jobs? (i'm graduating from art school with a lot of event production and curatorial experience, but not sure how far it's gonna get me).
Anything you can tell me about your experience with the area would be great. Or any words of wisdom about this decision at all! Also if there's any Umass grad students out there I'd love to hear about your experience with the school, in any department, but especially political science.

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Ok, just did a whole answer to this question, here...

Teh Pioneer Valley is esp good for lesbian familes. (I'm straight, BTW). Loads fo families like your own, Health food stores abound, Whole Foods in Hadley, AP/NFL is the norm.

Jobs are tough. I don't know about daycare, housing depends on the town. (Rents on two bedroom apts run $600 to 1500, with expceptions in both directions. Houses are more. )

Honestly, check out Shutesbury, Leverett, Pelham, Hadley.
I think the pioneer valley is amazing place to raise a family there are soooo many resources here! I live in Hadley and am a student at Hampshire college (one of the "five colleges" in the area, its also in Amherst)

I don't know much about rent and how it would compare to other areas. I do know that the house we live in (previously owned and rented out by my grandma) was a one bedroom and it rented for $700 a month (amazing location though, right on the ct river. close to everything we needed but secluded and surrounded by farms) I really love the area

As far as Daycare, Hampshire College has an AMAZING day care program. It's open to all five college students/faculty (it is also open to the general community but they have the least priority and it usually fills up first) we pay $365 a month for three morning a week. They are extremely ap/nfl friendly as well as gay/lesbian friendly. one of the families in my son's class is a lesbian couple and they so warmly accepted. They are so helpful with ap/nfl issues too. one of my son's teacher uses cloth diapers on her child so has been a great resources and both of his teachers offer great advice on homeopathics and herbal medicine when issues arise. if you want more info on the daycare please let me know. we feel so blessed to have a found a daycare that supports our ideals and goals so well. the atmosphere is so warm and loving there. i feel like most parents send their kids to daycare out of necessity, but we would send him there regardless becuase it has been such a good experience for him.

also, i don't know if you will be looking for alternative school but the amherst/northampton/hadley area have a lot of great alternative schools! take care, and if you need and more specifics feel free to email me
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