two girls at an ice cream shop

Why Location Matters When Choosing a Boarding School


When you think of boarding school, do you picture beautiful brick buildings on rolling greens? Tree-lined paths surrounding a grassy quad? A pastoral pond spanned by a majestic bridge? Most New England boarding schools check those boxes, but what differentiates campuses is the environment they are located in. A school set in the middle of farm fields is fine, but imagine being able to walk off-campus and find yourself in a thriving arts town, with converted mills anchoring you in history while hosting cool stores, restaurants, and studio spaces. Here are five reasons you will love Williston Northampton School’s location in Easthampton, Massachusetts.

1.) Terrific Food

There’s a Dunkin’ for coffee, a mom and pop bagel shop for noshes, a wicked good bakery, and a store where they sell homemade ice cream—not to mention restaurants that serve sushi, pizza, and cuisines from Mexico, Hawaii, China, El Salvador, Italy, and India, plus a James-Beard-Award nominee restaurant that transcends labels.

2.) Plenty of Options to Chill & Have Fun

When you walk around historic Easthampton, you can stop into the bookstore, the comic book store, the record store, and the stringed instrument store (seriously!). You can also shop for clothes, items to decorate your dorm room, or the perfect shade of nail polish. Or head to Eastworks, the reworked gigantic pair of factory buildings, for table tennis, minigolf, the Escape Room, a yoyo retailer, and an indoor park.

3.) Access to Higher Academic Communities

Our relationship with the Five College Consortium lets us tap the resources and faculty of the Amherst, Hampshire, Mount Holyoke, and Smith colleges, and the University of Massachusetts. This proximity provides Williston students and faculty with extraordinary opportunities for academic collaborations.

4.) Natural Escapes

Like to hike or bike? We’ve got trails for you! The Williston campus borders the Manhan Rail Trail, which runs through Easthampton and connects to other rail trails throughout the region. Or try a trek up beautiful Mount Tom to see campus from a whole new perspective.

5.) Being Part of a Quintessential New England Community

We regularly schedule trips to nearby Northampton and Amherst, where the shopping, eating, and recreation opportunities multiply. Though we are centered in town life we’re also a short ride from orchards with classic, sweeping New England vistas, so when that first autumn chill arrives, we’re off for apple picking, pumpkin selecting, and cider donuts!