Area Updates

Register Now for the 2018 Hilltown Youth Theatre Summer Workshop

The Pioneer Valley is a hub for the creative arts. It’s a place where many musicians, artists, performers, and creatives come to gain inspiration for their work and to find an artistic community where they can thrive. This is not only true for adults, but for children and teens as well. There are many opportunities in the Valley for kids to follow their artistic intuitions and to gain experience working as a team to create something wonderful. One opportunity in particular is right here in Franklin County, specifically in Charlemont. Since 2010, the Hilltown Youth Performing Arts Programs has been running their Hilltown Youth Theatre Summer Workshop. Their mission is to build a supportive community for youth to develop personally and artistically and to train and collaborate on theatrical productions at a high level, therefore giving them an appreciation for hilltown life and a passion for the arts.

This program, for youth aged 10-18 years old, is an intensive arts experience for aspiring actors, musicians, dancers, and set designers. Guest artists and master teachers, direct participants to create performances which incorporate movement, puppets, mask making, voice work, circus arts, and work on large apparatus such as stilts, aerial fabrics, spools, flying trapeze, and more. At the end of the workshop, the performance takes to the streets, or rather the mountains for audiences to enjoy. This year’s production of Avatar: The Last Airbender will be hosted by Berkshire East Mountain Resort in Charlemont.

The 2018 Summer Workshop runs from July 16 to August 8, Monday through Friday, 9 am to 4 pm. Registration is open now and financial assistance is available. No previous experience is necessary but the ideal candidates will be artists, musicians, athletes, or any other active creative types. For more information, visit their website here.

April Real Estate Sales Report for the Pioneer Valley

Franklin County sales were down 11.8% and the median price went up by 9.7% in April, 2018 compared to April, 2017.  The sales were also down and median price up in both Hampshire and Hampden County. 

Inventory of single family homes fell in Pioneer Valley 31.3 percent from 1,832 single family listings at the end of April 2017, to 1,258 single family listings at the end of April 2018.  

The average days on market dropped 18.5% from 95 days in April 2017 to 78 days in April 2018. Listings which are pending (under agreement to sell) are up 16.6 percent from 578 in April 2017 to 674 in April 2018.

The sale reports are provided from the Realtor Association of Pioneer Valley.

 

Northfield Drive-In Celebrates 70 Years

As a lifelong resident of Franklin County, I always appreciate seeing older businesses that are still running strong. One in particular is the Northfield Drive-In, located on the Northfield, MA/Hinsdale, NH line. In August of 1948, the Northfield Drive-In began showing their “movies under the stars.” Now, they will celebrate 70 years of business with their opening for the 2018 season. This Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, May 25th, 26th, and 27th, Northfield Drive-In will be showing Solo at 8:50 pm and Avengers: Infinity War at 10:50 pm.

This drive-in is 1 of only 20 drive-in theaters still in operation in New England, and the only one remaining of the 15 that the original owner, Carl Nilman, owned. Although the original screen was damaged by a hurricane in 1951, the second screen built kept the same dimensions and is still the one that exists today. In 1967, Northfield Drive-In changed ownership to the Shakour family, who still operate it today. They pride themselves in having a family-run business, where even the children would lend a hand at the snack stand and ticket booth on summer nights.

So take a drive out this weekend to the Northfield Drive-In and support this locally-owned gem. They are located in a beautiful scenic area and have a variety of delights at their snack bar. Plus, the rates are much lower than any indoor movie theater. Tickets are only $12 for adults and $7 for children (cash only). Visit their website for more information and to see what other films they will feature throughout the season.

 

Local Western Massachusetts Potters Open Their Doors to the Public This Saturday and Sunday

Living in the Upper Connecticut River Valley, we are so fortunate to be able to take a short drive and visit a bunch of different talented artists right in their studios. This Saturday and Sunday, you can take advantage of this when 9 local potters will open their doors to the public for the Asparagus Valley Pottery Trail. The artists will also be hosting 13 guest potters from as far away as North Carolina.

From 10 am to 5 pm on Saturday, April 28 and Sunday, April 29, this free event will feature sales and demonstrations right at the artists’ studios. In the beautiful village of Shelburne Falls, two local potters are participating in the trail. Molly Cantor of Molly Cantor Pottery will have her doors open to the public and is featuring guest potter Liz Rodriguez from Rockland, MA. You can also stop by Stephen Earp’s studio and see the work of his guest, Evelyn Snyder of Florence, MA. Down the road in Greenfield, Lucy Fagella will be showing off her work along with her guest potter, Martha Grover of Bethel, MA. View the full list of participating potters here.

Before you take the drive along the Pottery Trail, be sure to pick up a Trail Passport. Bring it with you to any of the participating studios and have it stamped. If you receive at least 7 stamps, you will have the chance to win a piece from one of the potters on the trail.

Plan your route ahead of time using the trail map. Don’t forget to make your last stop the 2nd Annual Pottery Trail After Hours Party, Saturday 5:30-8:30 pm at Snow Farm in Williamsburg. Check out some more potter demos, a kiln opening, and enjoy food catered by Local Burgy and the Pottery Trail Ale made special for this event by Lefty’s Brewing Company. Tickets are $30 in advance and $35 at the door.

For more information about all the happenings this weekend, visit the Asparagus Valley Pottery Trail website.

See you on the trail!

Attend the Auction, Support Your Local Businesses!

As a former board member of the Greater Shelburne Falls Area Business Association (GSFABA) and a resident of the hilltowns, I love to support this association. The work they do benefits the hilltowns of West Franklin County, by boosting tourism, exposing businesses, and working together with the towns to make it a great place to live.

That is why I am excited that this Saturday, April 7, GSFABA will host their 22nd Annual Auction. Attend the auction and bid on exciting items donated by local businesses such as getaways, glass by Josh Simpson, and bike passes to Berkshire East’s Thunder Mountain Park. There will also be a variety of local food and beverage gift baskets and restaurant gift certificates.

The evening starts at 6 pm at the Shelburne-Buckland Community Center with a silent auction, followed by an exciting live auction. Plus, enjoy live music and local food, beer and wine while you bid.

Tickets are $15 in advance and $20 at the door. The proceeds from the auction will go towards GSFABA’s non-profit subsidiary, West County Arts & Culture, which supports the region’s creative economy. Contact Angela Varilly at 413-775-8281 for more information or visit shelburnefalls.com.

 

February Real Estate Sales Report for the Pioneer Valley

What a difference a year can make.  Inventory is at an all time low and average sales price is on the rise.

Franklin County sales were up 36.4% and the median price went up by 45.8% in February, 2018 compared to February, 2017.  The sales and median price also increased in both Hampshire and Hampden County. 

Inventory of single family homes fell in Pioneer Valley 31.1 percent from 1,668 single family listings at the end of February 2017, to 1,149 single family listings at the end of February 2018.  

The average days on market dropped 26.6% from 114 days in February 2017 to 84 days in February 2018. Listings which are pending (under agreement to sell) are up 17.2 percent from 361 in February 2017 to 423 in February 2018.

The following reports are provided by the Realtor Association of Pioneer Valley.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Get Motivated for Spring Cleaning at the North West New England Home Show

Spring is just around the corner, which for homeowners means time for spring cleaning. Before you start scrubbing, building, or make changes to your home, head over to the North West New England Home Show this weekend, March 17 and 18. Local businesses and contractors will be there for you to give advice and new ideas for your home and garden this year. Get inspired and motivated for your spring cleaning by attending the home show.

All of the exhibitors are local businesses, including Classic Kitchens, A.R. Sandri, and Yankee Home Improvements. There will also be a number of green and solar companies, including Pioneer Valley Squared, Greening Greenfield, and Valley Solar. Some of the exhibitors will offer workshops throughout the weekend. Norwex will present Chemical Crashers, a workshop on how to clean your home without harsh chemicals, only water. PV Squared will talk about Going Solar in Mass for Homes & Businesses, how to save money and have your solar project pay for itself. Click here for more details and to view the full list of workshops.

Admission to the North West New England Home Show is free! The show will happen at the Franklin County Technical School Gymnasium in Turners Falls. The show runs Saturday, March 17 from 10 am to 5 pm and Sunday, March 18 from 10:30 am to 5 pm. Visit their website for more information: homeshow.recorder.com

Davenport Maple Farm Restaurant Opens for the Season

It’s March! For New Englanders, this means sugaring season is upon us. One of my personal favorite places to visit in Franklin County for delicious maple syrup is Davenport Maple Farm Restaurant. I highly recommend taking a scenic drive there on the weekends to enjoy their homemade breakfast or lunch.

Fresh Maple Syrup

When you visit the restaurant, you can see the sap evaporation process first hand. Their sap comes from over 3,500 taps on their property. Once the sap is made into maple syrup, they use the syrup to make maple spread, maple covered nuts, maple sugar candies, maple lollipops, maple granulated sugar, and more. Of course you can also buy the pure maple syrup to take home or sit down for breakfast and enjoy it atop pancakes, waffles, or french toast.

Family-Owned and Operated

The farm dates back 200 years and has been in the Davenport family since 1913. Davenport Maple Farm was founded by Russell and Martha Davenport.  Today the farm is run by Norm and Lisa Davenport and their daughter Meagan and her husband Nate own and operate the restaurant business. 

Located down scenic Tower Road in Shelburne, the restaurant is now open every Saturday and Sunday 8 am to 3 pm through the end of April. So head over to Shelburne soon for delicious Davenport Maple Syrup.

Check out their website or follow them on Facebook!

 

 

Greenspace CoWork Brings a Collaborative Work Environment to Downtown Greenfield

Recently, I had the opportunity to tour Greenspace CoWork, Greenfield’s first co-working space. I was very impressed with the style and feel of this space, one which seems to me would allow someone to focus and work all day. Located on the third floor of Hawks and Reed Performing Arts Center in downtown Greenfield, Greenspace offers memberships for use of their open work environment, free WiFi, and free coffee. Its members are people in a variety of careers, who desire a secure place to work independently, while having the ability to interact with other professionals and meet with clients in a presentable space.

Jeremy Goldsher and Jeff Sauser opened the space in February of this year, with open tables, couches, and a kitchenette. They kept the industrial style of the building, preserving the 170-year old wood floors and brick walls, and adding decor that embellishes that style. Goldsher and Sauser received a $100,000 collaborative Workspace Program grant from Mass Development, which they will use to add a conference room, private office pods, and soundproof phone booths.

So if you are looking to get out of your home office or that crowded coffee shop and into a clean, quiet, open space, then take a free tour of Greenspace CoWork. Memberships cost $150 a month, or $125 a month with a 6-month commitment. You can also purchase a one-day membership whenever you want for only $20. Visit their website for more information: greenspacecowork.com

 

Real Estate Sales Report For January

Franklin County sales were up 27.0% and the median price was down 2.1% in January, 2018 compared to January, 2017.  The sales and median price went up in Hampshire and Hampden County. 

Inventory fell 32.6 percent from 1,725 single family listings at the end of January 2017, to 1,162 single family listings at the end of January 2018.  

The average days on market dropped 11.3% from 94 days in January 2017 to 83 days in January 2018. Listings which are pending (under agreement to sell) are up 8.9 percent from 360 in January 2017 to 392 in January 2018.

The following reports are provided by the Realtor Association of Pioneer Valley.