Amy's Top 7 Tips for Being Newly Retired in Amherst


In early 2022, Amy Anaya retired as the Jones Library’s Head of Borrower Services. Over her 30+ years at the Jones, she could often be spotted buzzing through the library’s glass-roofed atrium, warmly greeting friends and neighbors, or fast-walking the streets downtown listening to a podcast on her lunchbreak. Now – in her retirement – she’s directing her boundless energy into pursuits old and new. Here are a few of Amy’s tips for being newly retired in Amherst:

1.  Listen to locally created podcasts

  • Going Deeper features terrific interviewer Marcie Sclove who asks thoughtful questions to a variety of interesting local residents whose answers inspire, educate, and offer great storytelling. I love the wonderful opportunity Marcie gives me to learn about our neighbors and their dedicated spirits.
  • Another podcast I listen to is Cider Chat hosted by Ria Windcaller. If you love drinking cider, or enjoy armchair travel, or have an interest in how apples grow, or are intrigued by the craft of making cider, want to learn about the history of apples and all things cider, and love a warm and curious host, who lives right here and happens to be an award-winning cidermaker, and who obviously has fun interviewing cider makers around the world and sings us a lovely song about loving cider, you might want to tune in, too.

2.  Listen to local music

3.  Visit the Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art

4.  View online art experiences

  • I broke my wrist on day 11 of my retirement so found some great online viewing. The New York Times digital edition publishes A Close Read, which elaborates the meaning of a single work of art, detail by detail. The presentation is often mesmerizing and always engaging. I watch Masterpiece Moments on the Bank of America website, too. [Editor's note: get unlimited access to the New York Times Digital Edition with your Jones Library card.]

5.  Take long walks, especially by water

  • I walk on the trails in Amherst around Puffer's Pond and the Atkins Reservoir. Leaving town, there’s the Leverett Pond’s trails, and walks along the Connecticut River in Hadley, Deerfield, and Hatfield. When in Northampton, I set out on the path along the Mill River. I use my free birdsong ID app, Merlin, to learn who’s serenading me.

6.  Grow things

  • Back in May, we registered for an Amherst Community Garden plot. I’ve started growing kitchen scraps — celery, garlic, bok choy, and sweet potatoes, in my house. Some of these will remain as pretty houseplants, but I am hoping I can plant the celery outside and watch it become a whole new bunch. To get an idea about how to start cluttering up your window sill with vegetable parts that you hover over and will to grow, check out the book Don’t Throw It, Grow It! by Deborah Peterson, available at the Jones.

7.  Coffee!

  • Before retiring I wished to be part of Amherst’s café culture, jealous of people who hung out in the mornings catching up with friends in the coffee shops, able to drink their coffee while it was still hot. I had to take coffee back to my office and drink it cold. I am so happy to be able to sit for an hour and enjoy my hot coffee, often in a real mug.