Wanda Mooney


Explore the Geology of Franklin County Massachusetts

salmon falls shelburne massachusetts glacial potholesThe story of how the land where Franklin County sits was formed can be told through the incredible rock formations you can actually see! The Franklin County Chamber of Commerce’s Visitor Guide has a wonderful and informative summary of the geology of Franklin County, written by Richard D. Little. 

Richard Little works at Greenfield Community College, teaching and studying the geology of the Connecticut River Valley. He believes that Franklin County is the best place to study geology - and you can get out and see why for yourself! Included in the article are select places of interest to witness geological phenomenon and to have a scope of the formation of the lands around. Go explore these places and see for your own eyes the products of millions of years of erosion. Below is the excerpt from the Franklin County Visitor Guide which lists these spectacular places: 

“Whether you are a visitor or a resident, I have selected a few spectacular places to start your explorations. Exact directions and information are found in the new “Exploring Franklin County” book or you can “Google” for directions.

A “START HERE” DESTINATION: Greenfield Community College Geology Path (by parking lot F). There is a Guide in the metal box. Rare armored mud ball specimens are on display.

GREAT VIEWPOINTS: Poet’s Seat, Greenfield; Mt. Sugarloaf, South Deerfield; High Ledges, Shelburne Falls

WATERFALLS: Listed according to height. Tannery Falls, Savoy; Turners Falls, Barton Cove (abandoned falls), Gill; Chapel Falls, Ashfield; Roaring Brook, Sunderland.

FOSSILS: Beneski Museum at Amherst College….not in Franklin County, but “world class”; Barton Cove’s historic footprint quarry, Gill; Note: insects and other invertebrates left lots of tracks, trails, and burrows in our Jurassic sedimentary rocks. While these are not spectacular like a reptile print, they are fossils and these pits, bumps, and scratches are commonly seen along the Mesozoic red rock bedding planes. Also, search riverbank rocks below the Turners Falls Dam.

LAVA: Highland Park, Greenfield; Rte. 2 Factory Hollow, Greenfield.

UNUSUAL AND DRAMATIC ROCK OUTCROPS: GCC Geology Path; Erving, Rte. 2; Brush Mt., Northfield; Shelburne Falls Potholes; Marble Natural Bridge, N. Adams; Highland Park’s Sachems Run Trail, Greenfield.

CAVES: Catamount, Colrain; Mt. Toby, Sunderland

GLACIAL FEATURES: Drumlins (Gill, drive through them along Turners Falls Rd.); Esker, Old Vernon Rd, off Rte. 142, Northfield; Glacial striations and roche moutonnee, Brush Mt., Northfield; Kettle Ponds: Green Pond & Lake Pleasant, Montague; Cranberry Pond, Sunderland.

RIVER TERRACES: Deerfield Main St.; W. Northfield rte. 142 – Caldwell Rd.

LAKE HITCHCOCK FEATURES: Sunderland Delta (“Delta Gravel Co.”) Rte. 116, Sunderland; Rte. 142, W. Northfield, delta and lake bottom deposits

RIVER TRIP: SEASONAL -- Heritage Riverboat Cruise from Northfield to Barton Cove and return. Sponsored by First Light Power Company. Seasonal. Check online for contact information.”


Check out the full history and guide to Franklin County geology here and enjoy learning and exploring new places right in your own backyard. 

Picture Above: Salmon Falls and Glacial Potholes in Shelburne Falls, Massachusetts


For more information about community happenings and real estate news visit Wanda's Blog at www.wandamooney.com/blog

Donate to Franklin County Non-Profit Community Organizations

donate nonprofits organizations communityThe Franklin County community has always been there to support our local non-profits. Local community members volunteer their time, attend events, and donate money to support our local organizations which better our community and provide invaluable resources. This past year, with the Covid-19 pandemic, many local non-profit organizations have been hit hard financially. The organizations have had to cancel or restructure fundraising events which meant they received less proceeds than in past years. Plus, this year has been tough financially on most households, and therefore people have not been able to donate as much money as they had in past years. 

However, now more than ever is when our community needs the work of these nonprofits to help everyone through these incredibly tough times. Below are four Franklin County non-profit organizations whose work is crucial to the wellbeing of our community. I encourage you to take the time to learn about these organizations and if you can donate any money to them, even if just a small amount, please do so. If we support them, then they can support our community. 


childrens advocacy center franklin county massachusettsChildren’s Advocacy Center of Franklin County and North Quabbin Area

Efforts to contain the Covid-19 Coronavirus and to protect global health, such as lockdowns, social distancing, and staying at home, have consequently exposed children and adolescents to an increased risk of family violence. At the same time, these victims have been isolated from the valuable people and resources that could help them in these situations. 

The mission of the Children’s Advocacy Center (CAC) is to prevent and end child abuse in our community by providing education, safety, healing and justice. By working with the Child Abuse Unit of the Northwestern District Attorney’s Office, CAC is dedicated to minimizing secondary trauma to child victims by streamlining the handling of cases of child sexual abuse, serious child physical abuse, and child exploitation. They envision a community in which children are respected and free from harm and their services can make that happen. Learn more about CAC on their website and donate to the CAC here.


hilltown food pantry goshen massachusettsHilltown Food Pantry

The Covid-19 pandemic has led to a deep economic crisis in the country. Millions of Americans are facing hunger due to lack of access to sufficient food. The Hilltown Food Pantry has been serving the Northern Hampshire Hilltowns since 1990, and this year especially, their services are needed. The pantry is located in Goshen and serves eligible residents of the surrounding towns. Over 350 individuals from over 150 families share in the monthly distribution of emergency supplemental foods. 

The Hilltown Food Pantry is a program of the Northampton Survival Center. In normal times, the Center could accept items of unopened and undamaged non-perishable food and fresh produce. Due to the Covid-19 Pandemic, they can currently only accept financial donations. These donations are used to buy items on sale and in bulk, pay salaries, maintain the buildings, and keep the refrigerators running. Donate however much you can here. One donation of $50 provides monthly groceries plus weekly supplements of fresh produce to one person for two months. Learn more about the Hilltown Food Pantry here


dakin humane society massachusettsDakin Humane Society

The Dakin Humane Society is a community-supported animal welfare organization that provides shelter, medical care, spay/neuter services, and behavioral rehabilitation for more than 20,000 animals and people each year. They provide veterinary services such as spay/neuter, vaccines, and humane euthanasia as well as pet services such as grooming and pet food aid. Their mission is to deliver effective, innovative services that improve the lives of animals in need and the people who care for them. They operate under the belief that when people are provided with information and resources they will make good decisions for their animals.

The Dakin Humane Society is reliant solely on contributions from individuals and the dedication of nearly 600 volunteers who work alongside their staff to help care for the animals, deliver their programs, and govern the organization. If you care about animals and wish to be a supporter of this wonderful organization, you can make a donation of whatever amount you can here. A donation of $25 provides 20 meals for 20 animals. Learn more about the Dakin Humane Society at dakinhumane.org.


united way of franklin county massachusettsUnited Way of Franklin County

United Way of Franklin County is part of the largest privately-funded nonprofit in the world with more than 2.8 million volunteers and 9.3 million donors in 41 countries. Locally, United Way of Franklin County is dedicated to improving the quality of life in Franklin County through the mobilization of people and resources to strengthen our communities and advance the common good. They operate many programs throughout the year which support the building blocks for a good quality of life: education, financial stability, and health. These programs provide books and school supplies to local children and adolescents, diapers to families with babies and young children, prescription medication to families who cannot afford their medications, and more. United Way of Franklin County also acts as a voice for other local agencies which are in need of support or supplies. Donate today to the United Way of Franklin County here and learn more at uw-fc.org.


For more information about community happenings and real estate news visit Wanda's Blog at www.wandamooney.com/blog

Greenfield's 99th Winter Carnival Iceolation Celebration

Greenfield’s 99th Winter Carnival looks a little bit different this year than in past years. The Greenfield Recreation Department has cleverly themed this year’s carnival as an “Iceolation Celebration.” The Winter Carnival will run from February 5th through 7th and includes a series of socially distanced and virtual events which the community can participate in either from their home or around Greenfield, Mass. 

The Winter Carnival Sleigh Bell Run will be held virtually this year. Runners can register online at runreg.com. Then choose your own route and walk or run anytime during Carnival weekend. Upload your time to RunReg and share photos and videos of your run on the Greenfield Winter Carnival 2021 Facebook event page

Many of the other usual events have been altered this year to accommodate safe social distancing. Instead of the usual cardboard sled contest, this year the contest will be held virtually and be based purely on design. While the Keg Pull contest will be put on hold this year, people can still upload photos of their dogs pulling a keg and submit it to the photo contest. Other events include a Paper Snowflake Contest, a city-wide scavenger hunt, downtown ice carvings, and more. 

Check out the rest of the events and more information about the Greenfield 99th Winter Carnival at greenfieldrecreation.com/wintercarnival.

greenfield winter carnival 2021 massachusetts


For more information about community happenings and real estate news visit Wanda's Blog at www.wandamooney.com/blog


6 Relaxing Winter Activities

Winter is a time to slow down and relax. On the cold wintry days when you’d rather stay cozy at home, warm by a fire - here are some relaxing activities you can do at home, either alone or with your household.

winter reading cozy1. Read a Book

There is nothing better than cozying up under a blanket with a cup of hot tea or chocolate, and diving into a good book. Many people today use E-books to read. However, you can support our local bookstores by purchasing hard copies from them. Here are some local favorite bookshops:

Shelburne Falls Booksellers, Deerfield Ave in Shelburne Falls 

Boswell's Books, Bridge Street in Shelburne Falls

Nancy L. Dole Books & Ephemera, 20 State St, Shelburne Falls, (413) 625-9850

Zoar Books and Gallery, 399 Zoar Road, Charlemont (413) 339-6611

World Eye Bookshop, Main Street in Greenfield

Federal Street Books, Federal Street in Greenfield (online shopping only until March 5th)

Roundabout Books, Kenwood St in Greenfield

2. Get Crafty

Pick up a new hobby like knitting, sewing, painting, jewelry making, or any other creative outlet which speaks to you. Franklin County has long been a place of inspiration for artists and creatives. Let it inspire you too! These shops have some items to help get you started on your next project:

All About Beads in Greenfield has a complete selection of beads, findings, tools, and books to help you start beading. 

Check out Loot Found + Made in Turners Falls for “piles of cool stuff” which may be part of your next work of art or project.

Plum Boutique in Greenfield also has a few crafty kits such as a Paint by Numbers Kit and Complete Embroidery Kit.

You can also browse online stores for any other tools or craft items you may need and hop on YouTube for millions of how-to videos.

3. Family Movie Night

Set aside a night of the week for the whole house to come together and watch a movie. Make it a truly unique experience by rearranging the furniture to make it more theatre style, make a batch of fresh popcorn, and create ticket stubs for everyone to use to enter the theatre.

4. Do a Puzzle

For some, it's easy to lose track of time and become totally absorbed in a puzzle. Puzzles are great to tackle alone or get the whole house involved in a large one. 

Greenfield Games on Main Street in Greenfield has lots of puzzles, board games, and more to entertain for hours on end. 

Flora! The Shop on Bridge Street in Shelburne Falls sells puzzles, including ones with magnetic pieces.

stew cooking winter5. Cook a new recipe

Wintertime is a great time to cook and try new recipes. The house is warmed by the stove and oven, and the air is filled with pleasant aromas from the food. Try a new recipe or remake your classic favorite dish. I especially love to cook soups and stews during winter because they warm you up and can feed you for several meals. 

6. Keep a Journal

The new year is a great time to pick up a good habit of journaling daily. Keeping a journal helps you to organize your daily life amongst a long list of other benefits. Journaling has been shown to relieve stress, boost your memory, and enhance creativity. It can also help you to set and achieve your goals, improve your writing, and allow for self-reflection. Pick up a journal and start today!


I hope these ideas inspire you to spend some quality time relaxing in your home this winter. Enjoy!


For more information about community happenings and real estate news visit Wanda's Blog at www.wandamooney.com/blog



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    Easy Projects to Improve Your Home During Winter

    During this time of year, many of us spend a lot of time at home. If you're starting to experience cabin fever, here are some easy projects to freshen up your home in the middle of winter:

    bathroom makeover home winter projectsThe Closets

    Winter time is perfect for decluttering and cleaning out your closets. Organize your clothes and eliminate ones that you haven’t worn for years. Dig deep into the back of your closet and see what's been hiding out of sight. Then you can donate any unwanted items to the local Salvation Army or Goodwill.

    The Bathrooms 

    The bathrooms can be a place where a lot of scum and germs build up. Take the time deep clean your bathrooms. Go through the linen closet and vanities to see what unwanted items are filling up the space. You might also consider painting the walls, freshen up with new towels and bath mats and add a plant to give your bathrooms some life. 

    The Laundry Room

    It's easy for dust to build up in the laundry room and for the space to become untidy. Give your laundry room a thorough dusting and cleaning. Organize the linens to make it easy to access the ones you need. Add some shelving or wall art to give it a fresh new look.

    home office organization winter cleaningThe Home Office

    Most of us are working out of our home right now. If the space where you do most of your work is cluttered, it can be uninspiring and difficult to be productive. Freshen up your work space by decluttering table tops and organizing items and paperwork in draws or cabinets. Then add some inspiring artwork or a plant to make the space feel calm and appealing. An organized space will make it easier to work on your goals for the upcoming year.

    The Walls

    There is nothing better than a fresh coat of interior paint to make your rooms feel new again. Choose some new colors that appeal to you and then have fun painting the walls. Once it has dried, you can freshen up the rooms by adding matching pillows and wall decor. Update your photos with new frames or recent photos. You can also place candles on some of the furniture to make the house feel cozy and warm.  

    Smart Homes

    You might want to explore incorporating smart home devices into your living space.  There are various thermostats, alarms, light switches and interesting gadgets that you can get to make your home work smarter! This can help you save money, make your home more energy efficient, and make your house more appealing down the road when you may want to sell. Check out my blog posts on smart homes and smart home devices for more information.

    Energy Efficiency

    Lastly I would contact MassSave and have an energy audit done on your home. They will contribute to having your home insulated and you can also take advantage of their interest free loans and rebates!


    For more information about community happenings and real estate news visit Wanda's Blog at www.wandamooney.com/blog

    Snow Tubing and Sledding in Franklin County Western Mass

    With its beautiful rolling hills and wide expanses of open land, Franklin County is full of amazing winter sledding, snow tubing, cross-country skiing, and snowshoeing spots. Here a few local favorites to enjoy on a snow day:

    Snow tubing western massachusetts winter sledding Berkshire East Snow Tubing Park

    Our local ski resort in Charlemont also offers tubing! Berkshire East has three 500-foot well-groomed lanes, along with a magic carpet to bring you back up for your next ride. Snow tubing will be available starting January 16th, with reservations required. Go to berkshireeast.com/winter/snow-tubing-park for more information.

    Ashfield Community Golf Course

    For classic New England sledding and tubing, head over to the Ashfield Community Golf Course. Located on Norton Hill Road, just off of Route 116 in Ashfield, there are plenty of hills and open space to adventure in a winter wonderland.

    Greenfield Community College (GCC)

    The fields in front of Greenfield Community College have some desirable hills for sledding and tubing. Plus, it’s located centrally in Greenfield on College Dr near Downtown Greenfield, so it’s easy to get to if you live in Greenfield

    Beacon Field Greenfield

    Another great spot in Greenfield is Beacon Field on Beacon Street. There you’ll find a great hill and an open field, perfect for a snowy day of sledding and tubing!

    Rowe Elementary School

    For those who live further west in Franklin County, check out the hill behind Rowe Elementary School for sledding and tubing. Just to be sure to check with the school hours for parking and restrictions on entering the property.

    Savoy Mountain State Forest

    For scenic snowshoeing and cross-country skiing trails, head over to Savoy Mountain Forest. There you can immerse yourself in a natural winter wonderland, surrounded by a calm, wintry forest. For directions and more information go to mass.gov/locations/savoy-mountain-state-forest

    Northfield Mountain Recreation Area

    As mentioned in a previous blog post, Northfield Mountain Recreation Area has lots of trails for cross-country skiing and snowshoeing. While the trails will not be groomed this year, the public is still welcome to use the trails while snow cover is adequate. Check out my previous blog post for more information.


    Other than Berkshire East, all of these are unpatrolled locations for use at your own risk, so please use caution and go prepared for the weather. 


    For more information about community happenings and real estate news visit Wanda's Blog at www.wandamooney.com/blog


    Take an Online Course at Greenfield Community College This Winter

    online study classes greenfield ma community collegeDid you know that Greenfield Community College isn’t just for undergraduates? They also offer a wide variety of online non-credit courses, which are available to the public. These courses are part of their workforce development and community education program and are offered by GCC’s online education partner, ed2go. A new session begins monthly, so you can choose the session which suits your schedule. Plus, since these courses are not for credit, they are very affordable.

    Wintertime is a great time to take an online class and expand your knowledge in a certain subject or skill. Improve your daily life with classes like Conversational French, Mindful Relationships, or Everyday Math. If you are a small business owner or looking to boost your skills in your current employment, you could take classes like Accounting Fundamentals, Creating Web Pages Using HTML, or Discover Digital Photography.

    Browse GCC’s online course catalog at www.ed2go.com/greenfieldcc.


    For more information about community happenings and real estate news visit Wanda's Blog at www.wandamooney.com/blog

    Get Outside for Winter Skiing at Berkshire East in Western Mass

    Berkshire East Mountain Ski Resort Charlemont MassWinter is here and with the arrival of beautiful fresh white snow, everyone is itching to get out and play! Getting outside and playing in the snow is a great way to cure the winter and Covid blues. Plus, it’s easy to social distance and keep everyone safe while doing so. Check out these local beautiful spots where you can bask in a winter wonderland!

    Berkshire East Mountain Resort

    Berkshire East Mountain Resort in Charlemont opened on December 17. The mountain crew has been working hard to make snow and keep the trails maintained for excellent riding conditions. This season, things will be different due to Covid, but Berkshire East has been preparing new systems and amenities to make the season safe and fun. For example, they are asking that all non-season pass holders book their tickets in advance so that they can control the number of skiers on the mountain. For dining, they ask that reservations for dining inside at Crazy Horse be made in advance. Or you can check out their new outdoor dining service. Order online from an even larger selection of food than in the past, and then pick up your order from the window when it’s ready. Plan ahead for your day at Berkshire East by reading their information online related to Covid-19. This will help to make it a safe and enjoyable season for all.

    Northfield Mountain

    As of December 14, Northfield Mountain announced that they will not be selling trail passes or renting equipment. But the good news is, if you have your own gear, you can still access the trails when the snow cover is sufficient. Just note that the trails will not be groomed or patrolled, so know your limits and plan ahead because there will be no restroom or warming facilities. When the snow cover is thin, the public will be allowed to use the trails for hiking or cycling on fat bikes. All trail users must wear face masks at all times. Check their Facebook page or website for any updates around this. 

    Happy trails!


    For more information about community happenings and real estate news visit Wanda's Blog at www.wandamooney.com/blog

    Plum Boutique in Greenfield Seeks to Inspire and Enrich Local Community

    plum boutique greenfield mass shop localChristmas is almost here and if you’re doing any last minute shopping, remember to support our local shops! One local shop that I’m happy to support is Plum Boutique in downtown Greenfield. More than just a retail store, Plum carefully selects products made by mission-based organizations, women-owned enterprises, and local artisans. As a member of the downtown Greenfield family of shops, they seek to enrich the community and to provide us with an ever-evolving gallery of fashion, design, and art which inspires, nurtures, empowers, and delights.

    Check out their Perfect Holiday Gift Guide for inspiration on unique gifts for friends and family and get free shipping through the month of December on their website with code FREE2020.



    Visit their website, plum413.com, and follow them on Facebook to stay updated on what's in the shop! 

    Located at 281 Main Street in Greenfield, MA


    For more information about community happenings and real estate news visit Wanda's Blog at www.wandamooney.com/blog

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