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Explore Western Massachusetts Via Its Seven Scenic Byways

scenic byways western massachusettsYou may have noticed while driving around Western Mass that the views are breathtakingly beautiful. In fact, these drives have special designations as Scenic Byways. Each one offers a chance to explore the most picturesque parts of our region, while also leading you to areas of arts and culture, agricultural and industrial heritage, natural wonders, and recreation. There are 7 scenic byways in total which stretch across Western Mass, reaching many towns and points of interest. 

 

Mount Greylock Scenic Byway

Starting in open farmland in Lanesborough, this byway runs through the forested Mount Greylock State Reservation, and to the contemporary arts mecca of North Adams. You can reach the summit of Mt. Greylock at 3,491 feet elevation by car! This quick elevation gain means that you’ll experience a variety of climates and ecological systems. Be sure to check the road conditions before you go - this byway is most accessible from late May to mid-October. However, the 70 miles of trails are open year-round. Click here for more information about Mount Greylock Scenic Byway.

 

Jacob’s Ladder Trail Scenic Byway

This byway, also known as the “first of the great mountain crossovers” runs between Lenox and Russell, traversing unspoiled and historic landscapes. In 1910, Jacob’s Ladder Trail was celebrated as the country’s first auto road over a mountain range. Today, driving along Jacob’s Ladder Trail you can access the Wild and Scenic Westfield River, the Appalachian Trail, October Mountain State Forest in Lee, and other places to explore outside. If you are a train enthusiast, you’ll want to check out the Keystone arches, or stone railroad bridges in Middlefield, Becket, and Chester. Click here to see what else you’ll find along Jacob’s Ladder Trail.

 

Route 116 

At the western end of Route 116 is the lovely town of Adams with artists’ galleries, small boutiques, and cafes. Then as you drive along, this byway seems more like a country road, travelling through open spaces. On the eastern end is South Deerfield, with many historic buildings and monuments paying tribute to the settlement era and early European immigrants. South Deerfield is also home to Yankee Candle’s flagship store with restaurants, a Christmas shop, and hands-on demonstrations. Find out what else is accessible from Route 116 here.

 

Route 112

Route 112 runs North to South, with one end at the Vermont border in Colrain and the other in Huntington, Mass. Along the way, you can stop at plenty of farms for fresh produce and other agricultural products. Some farms even offer the chance to pick-your-own. Be sure to stop in Shelburne Falls and check out the thriving art scene. There are plenty of artists’ galleries and shops, as well as restaurants and cafes offering delicious farm-to-table food.

Route 112 is also a challenging yet beautiful route for road cyclists. Mountain bikers can explore the extensive network of trails running through the DAR State Forest, Charlemont, Ashfield, and Knightville Dam recreation area in Huntington. Click here for more information about Route 112.

 

Connecticut River Scenic Byway

The Connecticut River Scenic Byway is part of the National Scenic Byway with the Massachusetts stretch running along family farms, through historic town centers, and offering picturesque views of forests, rolling hills, and pastures. The Connecticut River Valley has long drawn people to its rich soil. The Norwottuck peoples farmed the land before the Colonial era, which then drew even more farmers to the area. Today, the area continues to host an active farming community. Along the Connecticut River Scenic Byway, you’ll find plenty of farm stands, farm stores, as well as shops and restaurants which sell the local products. 

Along this route you’ll also find plenty of outdoor recreational opportunities such as hiking up Mount Holyoke, Mount Sugarloaf, and Mount Toby to take in the stunning views. You can also launch a canoe or kayak from several easy points of access to the Connecticut River in Sunderland, South Hadley, and Hadley. 

At the southern end of the byway is Mount Holyoke College, part of the Massachusetts’ Five College Area. With so many colleges in one area, there is always a vibrancy of culture and education, as well as many opportunities to enjoy the arts created at these institutions. 

Find out more about the Connecticut River Scenic Byway here.

 

Mohawk Trail Scenic Byway

The Mohawk Trail is a 69-mile scenic byway whose history dates back 10,000 years when Native Americans first began hunting and trading along this same route. The trail as we know it today opened in 1914 as one of the first auto-touring roads in the country. Today it continues to be a popular destination for a scenic daytime drive and a way to reach some wonderful places across the region.

The route crosses and parallels five major rivers - the Millers, Connecticut, Green, Deerfield, and Hoosic. The Millers and Deerfield River offer some exciting sections of whitewater. There are several local outfitters who offer tours on the river, including Zoar Outdoor, Berkshire East, and Crabapple. 

At the western end of the route, you can reach the town of North Adams, home of the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art. You can also check out the other art galleries in town and grab a bite at one of the local eateries. Learn more about the Mohawk Trail here.

 

Route 122 Scenic Byway

Route 122 is the Western-most route which links the towns of Orange and Paxton. This route passes the northern end of the Quabbin Reservoir and consists mostly of back roads driving through quiet, pristine lands. Along the way lies many opportunities for camping, hiking, biking, kayaking, and many other ways to get outside and explore nature. 

You’ll find a lot of historical landmarks along Route 122. Check out the historic town of Orange at the northwestern end of the route with its many 19th and early 20th century homes and mill buildings. Then head to Paxton on the southeastern end of the route and explore Moore State Park, which was once the site of grist and sawmills from 1747 through the early part of the 20th century. Find out what else is on Route 122 here.

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

Scarecrow in the Park Raises Funds for Bernardston Kiwanis Scholarship Fund

scarecrow park cushman bernardston fall With the cooler weather, beautiful fall foliage, and the sound of leaves rustling outside, you’re probably in the mood for fun Fall activities. This weekend, you can head to Bernardston for the annual Scarecrow in the Park competition. All are invited to enter the contest to create a scarecrow to stand in Cushman Park. The scarecrows are judged based on certain categories which this year will be Scariest, Funniest, Prettiest, Most Interesting Use of Materials, and the rotating category will be Science. 

Come to Cushman Park this Saturday, October 16th and Sunday, October 17th to view all the scarecrows and enjoy live music, artists’ booths, delicious food, children’s activities, and the tractor parade. Follow Scarecrow in the Park on Facebook to preview the variety of artists and craftspeople who will sell their crafts at the event.

Scarecrow in the Park is a fundraiser for Bernardston Kiwanis Scholarship fund, so come out for a fun day at Cushman Park while supporting this wonderful local cause. 

Click here for more information about Scarecrow in the Park or email scarecrowinthepark@gmail.com.

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

 

Crafts of Colrain Comes to Shelburne Falls

crafts of colrain pop-up eventEvery year, the artists of Colrain open up their doors to the public for gallery viewings, demonstrations, workshops, sales, and to meet and greet. Studio-goers are invited to print a map, hop in the car, and drive around to the various artists over the course of the weekend. This year, the Crafts of Colrain is coming to Shelburne Falls with a special pop-up event on Saturday, October 9th and Sunday, October 10th from 10 am to 4 pm. 

Go to Shelburne Falls this weekend to check out the works of various participating artists. The following artists will be included in this special pop-up event at 50 State Street in Shelburne Falls: Carole Adams, Peggy Davis/Joe Kurland, Kevin French, Cynthia Herbert, Jim/Jill Horton-Lyons, Inge Jockers, Jen Kapitulik, Al Ladd/Marilyn Beal, Bob/Helen Olson, Tony Palumbo, Sarah Schoedel, and Olga Solomita. Check out the variety of hand-crafted works made from new and reused materials, including woodburning, hand-crafted jewelry, lamps and lights, planters, accessories, and more.

If you love the pop-up event, you’ll really love the open studio tours next month - November 13-14. Check out the event website for more details at craftsofcolrain.com. Follow Crafts of Colrain on Facebook for event updates and to preview some of the artists' works.

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

The 6th Annual Great River Challenge Off-Road Triathlon in Northfield

great river challenge triathlon kayakingWith cooler weather and beautiful autumn foliage, now is the best time of year to enjoy the wilderness in Western Mass. There are many ways to get outside and enjoy, including running, kayaking, and mountain biking. Why not do all three at the 6th Annual Great River Challenge Off-Road Triathlon in Northfield, Massachusetts! This event is happening this Saturday, October 9th, so act fast to get involved. 

Drawing its name from the longest river in New England, the Great River Challenge Triathlon starts with a paddle down a scenic stretch of the Connecticut River, followed by a run on single track trails and in the woods, and finished by a mountain bike ride on mixed single track and open trails. There are options for short or long courses which can be done either solo or as a relay team. 

If you want to be part of the fun but don’t want to participate, you can also register to volunteer. Volunteers help with parking, registration, water stations, and more. Sign up to volunteer here.

For 6 years, the Great River Challenge Triathlon has promoted the Upper Pioneer Valley’s cultural and natural resources, as well as a healthy and active lifestyle in our local community. This event benefits the signature programs of the Northfield Kiwanis Foundation for area children and families.

To learn more about the Great River Challenge Triathlon and to sign up, go to greatriverchallenge.com.

Photo credit: greatriverchallenge.com/gallery

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

The Big E is Back!

the big E fair western massachusettsThe Big E is back! Also known as “New England’s Great State Fair,”  the Big E is the sixth largest fair in the nation. The events kick off Friday, September 17 and will run until October 3rd at the Eastern States Exposition in West Springfield. 

There are so many fun activities at the Big E - you’ll find something for everyone. Originally created as an agricultural fair, the Big E stays true to its history by continuing to host agricultural events. These events include livestock shows, 4-H demos, and craft/skill demonstrations. View the agricultural events schedule here.

Many people love to travel to the Big E for the exciting activities and entertainment it has to offer. The midway rides have all sorts of thrilling experiences. Check out the Big Parade, the Circus Spectacular, live concerts, and more. 

You can’t have a fair without delicious food and the Big E does not fall short. Of course there is the classic fried food, baked potatoes, and corndogs. But you can also find a variety of cuisine from around the world and some sit-down venues to dine as well. Then go for a drink at one of the several bars, saloons, beer garden, and cocktail bar.

Check out all the Big E has to offer at thebige.com

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

 

Help Care For Our Rivers at the Franklin County Rivers Cleanup

deerfield river franklin county cleanupOne of the benefits of living in Franklin County is having so many beautiful rivers to enjoy locally. Unfortunately, these rivers often suffer from pollution. Walking along the rivers or paddling down them can reveal certain areas where trash and debris has accumulated, interrupting the natural beauty of the river banks and harming wildlife. It is up to us as members of the community to take care and protect our rivers by removing this litter and cleaning them up.

Franklin County Rivers Cleanup

The Green River Cleanup has been an annual event to gather volunteers from the area to clean up the Green River. This year, the event has been renamed as the Franklin County Rivers Cleanup, to include other river systems in Franklin County. This expansive, volunteer-run cleanup is happening Saturday, September 25, 2021 in conjunction with the Connecticut River Conservancy Source to Sea Cleanup

Source to Sea Cleanup

As part of the Source to Sea Cleanup, groups are encouraged to organize a cleanup of their own local rivers within Franklin County. If you would like to organize a group or join an existing group, you can register on the Source to Sea Cleanup website. The website also has useful information around group organization, cleaning supplies, proper waste disposal, safety considerations, and more. After the cleanup, you can share your progress via their social media or website form. Visit ctriver.org for more information.

Green River Cleanup

The Green River portion of the cleanup will be held at the Green River Swimming and Recreation Area on Nash’s Mill Road in Greenfield. This all-day event begins at 9 am and ends at 5 pm, with breakfast, lunch, and music provided for the volunteers. To donate, volunteer, report a site needing cleanup, or to find out more information, call 772-2020, ext. 211.

Greenfield City Cleanup

Plus, there is still time to participate in the second Greenfield City Cleanup, which is happening all of September. Greenfield residents are invited to help clean up the city. All you have to do is get a blue trash bag from the Department of Public Works on Wells Street, from 9 to 5, Monday to Friday, and the John Zon Community Center on School Street, Monday to Friday, 9 to 4 pm.  Fill the blue trash bag with litter found around the city. Then, put your full blue trash bags on the curb for free disposal!

 

Let’s all make an effort to keep our rivers and our city clean! 

 

These events are coordinated by the Deerfield River Watershed Association and the Connecticut River Conservancy.

For more information go to deerfieldriver.org/greenriver.

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

 

Browse Over 100 Artisans' Creations at the 45th Old Deerfield Fall Arts & Crafts Festival

The 45th Annual Old Deerfield Fall Arts & Crafts Festival is this weekend! This craft fair comes as one of a three-part series of fairs organized each year to benefit the Pocumtuck Valley Memorial Association and is the only outdoor show of the three. Head to the show this Saturday and Sunday, September 18th and 19th to browse the creations of over 100 artisans, and enjoy delicious specialty food under the food tent. You’ll also have a chance to create your own crafts at the free family craft table.

The Old Deerfield Fall Arts & Crafts Festival is located in Old Deerfield, just off of Route 5 in Deerfield, Massachusetts. Park your car for free and take a free shuttle bus from one of the marked lots off of Routes 5 and 10 at Yankee Candle Corporate Headquarters. Admission to the show is just $5 per person and children 12 and under go for free. Proceeds benefit the Pocumtuck Valley Memorial Association, a non-profit dedicated to the preservation of crafts and the history of our surrounding Deerfield area.

Follow the fair on Facebook for a chance to enter to win free tickets and shopping certificates. You’ll also see which artists are attending this year’s show on their page. 

For more information, visit deerfield-craft.org.

old deerfield falls arts crafts fair

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

Come to the 172nd Franklin County Fair in Greenfield, Massachusetts

franklin county fair pie contestThis weekend marks the 172nd Franklin County Fair in Greenfield, Massachusetts. From Thursday, September 9 through Sunday, September 12 the Franklin County Fairgrounds will be filled with fun for the whole family. This year’s fair features a great lineup of entertainment events and agricultural and craft shows. Be sure to check out the parade, power wheel demo, and demolition derby. Also returning this year is the Coleman Brothers Midway which offers fun and thrills. 

The Franklin County Fair started in 1848 with the purpose of providing agricultural education to the community at a time when many immigrants were fleeing cases of famine in European countries. The fair offered a way to both demonstrate skills such as quilt-making, pie-baking, or cheese-making, as well as flaunt new agricultural innovations or breeds of sheep. Many of the events from the original county fair still continue today, with livestock shows and a display of handmade works at the Roundhouse and Youth Hall.

For the full lineup of events and to purchase your tickets, visit fcas.com.

Photo credit: Franklin County Fair Facebook Page

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

 

Hicks Family Farm Corn Maze in Charlemont Opens September 4th

corn maze fall western massThe Hicks Family Farm Corn Maze will be open for the 2021 season on Saturday, September 4th! Corn mazes have long been a favorite fall activity in New England and we are lucky to have our own amazing local corn maze right here in Franklin County. You can easily find the Hicks Corn Maze on the Mohawk Trail/Route 2 in Charlemont, MA. 

A 5th generation farm in operation, Hicks will be celebrating its 11th year of the corn maze this year. Check out the scavenger hunt in the maze or play mini golf in the field. Plus, don’t miss the haunted weekends in October, Friday and Saturday nights from 7 to 9 pm. 

Visit the Hicks Family Farm Corn Maze Saturdays and Sundays from 10 am to 5 pm, September 4th through October 30th and the evenings during their haunted weekends. Tickets for the corn maze are $8 for children 12 and under and $10 for adults. 

For more information and to view aerial photos of past years’ mazes, visit hickscornmaze.com.

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

Beautifully Maintained Classic Colonial For Sale in Heath Massachusetts

antique colonial real estate western massBeautifully maintained classic c.1790 Colonial on 7.5 acres overlooking an open meadow and seasonal views of the hills beyond. This antique treasure has been loved and well cared for and represents the perfect balance blending the charm of yesteryear with modern convenience of today. Many renovations have been done, preserving the many period details complimented by a wonderful and spacious modern addition.

Upon entering you will find a welcoming entry, fabulous great room with cathedral ceiling and upper level sitting area, cheery eat-kitchen and an attached oversized two car garage. The main house features a dining room w/gas stove, living room with exterior access, master bedroom suite w/full bath, laundry, and sitting area, 3 additional bedrooms, 2 1/2 baths and office/den. High speed fiber optic internet is on its way! Listed in the National Historic Registry, conveniently located only 15 min to Shelburne Falls, 30 min to Greenfield, and near many recreational activities.

Tour the house virtually in the video below and check out the listing here for more photos and details.

Contact Wanda at 413-768-9848 or Wanda@WandaMooney.com for more information.

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

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