Around Amherst: Horse-drawn carolers will ply Sip and Stroll shopping event

At the 2022 Sip & Shop Stroll event in Amherst, customers chat with Josh Hannon, left, of Hannon Made woodcrafts, at a Makers Market. This year’s stroll is scheduled for Thursday night.

At the 2022 Sip & Shop Stroll event in Amherst, customers chat with Josh Hannon, left, of Hannon Made woodcrafts, at a Makers Market. This year’s stroll is scheduled for Thursday night. GAZETTE FILE PHOTO


Staff Writer

Published: 12-08-2023 1:04 PM

AMHERST — Free carriage rides through downtown Amherst, a makers market and stores open late will be part of the second Sip & Shop Stroll being put on by the Amherst Business Improvement District.

On Thursday, Dec. 14, from 5 to 9 p.m., carriages pulled by horses from Muddy Brook Farm, with high school carolers aboard, will serenade shoppers as they are transported to restaurants and shops.

Those who are 21 and over can get “sips” of alcoholic beverages when they drop by to shop at various stores, including Art of Intimates, The Toy Box, J. Austin Antiques & Jewelry, Zanna and Hope and Feathers Gallery and Frame Shop. Restaurants that will have specials include Bistro 63, Mexcalito, Osteria Vespa and Pasta e Basta.

A centerpiece of the event will be the makers market at 45 South Pleasant St., the former site of A.J. Hastings, curated by Liz Larson and Kristin Kelley, the former owner of Ode Boutique in Northampton. Set up there will be about 20 vendors selling pottery, jewelry, woodworking, textiles, clothes and sweet treats. Vendors include Allechant Macarons, Centered Vessel Pottery, M Sward Ceramics, Ms Green Jeanne and Planted Pigments. A bar will also be at the site provided by The Drake performance venue.

Meanwhile, throughout the holiday season, parking will be free in downtown Amherst on Saturdays.

Coordinated by the Amherst BID and the town manager’s office, all metered spaces and lots from College Street to Triangle Street and from North and South Prospect street to Seelye Street, including Main Street from the Dickinson Museum, and part of Amity Street, will be free.

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“We remain grateful to the town of Amherst for their continued support of small businesses in downtown Amherst,” Gabrielle Gould, executive director of the Amherst BID, said in a statement.

Universal Declaration of Human Rights

The Human Rights Commission is celebrating the rights that all are entitled to as human beings, regardless of race, color, religion, sexual identity, ability, language or other status during a reading of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, scheduled to be held at the Bangs Community Center Sunday at 5 p.m.

“Human Rights Day encourages our community to embrace every opportunity to reflect and embody the values of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in their work for the community, and urges Amherst residents to celebrate this day with a communal reading of the Declaration of Human Rights,” states a proclamation adopted by the Town Council.

Sanctuary upgrades

Amherst College is making a series of improvements to its Sanctuary, a 500-acre site that surrounds the campus that it has owned and managed since 1933.

The Conservation Commission recently approved the college’s notice of intent filing for the work, which includes culvert and bridge replacement and road reinforcement. An associated order of conditions drafted by Wetlands Administrator Erin Jacque is also part of the approval.

Darin Gray, capital project manager for the college, said officials will keep a close eye on construction and contractors to make sure that the project is done right and that biodiversity is protected.

Amherst College professor Kate Sims, who leads the college’s sanctuary stewardship committee, said officials will come back before the commission when bridges are being put in.

Drunken driving enforcement

A Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over campaign is underway by Amherst police.

Using grant funds from the Highway Safety Division of the Executive Office of Public Safety and Security, Amherst police will join State Police and other area departments in the mobilization. The campaign is urging drivers who have used alcohol, marijuana and other drugs to plan ahead and designate a sober driver, use a ride-hailing service or take public transportation.

Amherst police have investigated more than 330 motor vehicle crashes this year.

Stuff a cruiser

Amherst and UMass Police officers, in partnership with the Bridge Family Resource Center, will have cruisers outside the Walmart at Mountain Farms Mall in Hadley Saturday.

From 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., people can buy toys to place in the cruisers. Donations for the toy drive can also be dropped off at the police station at 111 Main St.


MONDAY: Town Council, 6:30 p.m., Town Room, Town Hall.

TUESDAY: Amherst Regional School Committee, 6:30 p.m., high school library

TUESDAY: Public Shade Tree Committee, 5:30 p.m., and CDBG Advisory Committee public hearing, 7 p.m.

THURSDAY: Zoning Board of Appeals, hearing for Gabe’s Underground restaurant and nightclub, 23-25 North Pleasant St., 6 p.m.