Hampshire County is located in the center of the Pioneer Valley in Western Massachusetts. It is dominated by the Five Colleges, Smith,Hampshire, Mount Holyoke, UMass Amherst and Amherst College. The county is known as a politically and socially liberal area with a large community of artists, writers, activists, hipsters and a large and open LGBT Community. Northampton, Easthampton, Amherst, Williamsburg and Hadley are some of the most liberal towns in Hampshire County due to this influx of residents surrounding the area.
Getting around the outer edges of Hampshire County require a car, however between Northampton and Amherst along route 9 the Pioneer Valley Transit Authority provides hourly service until 12:00 am most days and runs until 3:00 am on the weekends when school is in session. The PVTA bus system also connects the main towns of Hampshire County, Easthampton, Williamsburg, Florence and extends down to the Greater Springfield area hourly several days a week. The Franklin Regional Transit Authority provides weekday service to Franklin County and Greenfield a few times a day. The towns of Northampton, Easthampton and Amherst have several taxi companies, such as Freaky Cab and Go Green Cab which provide 24/7 services for flat rates. Northampton and Amherst are easily accessible towns via bike paths for biking and walking in the center of town.
Hampshire County has some of the lowest crime rates in the state, however general precautions should always be taken at night and in unfamiliar areas. The town of Amherst during the school year is known for having lots of drunk people walking around and causing trouble after the bars close in large part due to UMASS Amherst. If you feel unsafe walking around drunken crowds its best to steer clear of Downtown Amherst between 10 pm and 3 am Thursday through Saturday or walk in a group. Crimes against the LGBT Community are low, but do happen from time to time despite it being a very gay friendly area. Caution should be taken at night as with anyone being out late at night. However, most people will have no issues in Hampshire County.