Area Updates

Run, Walk, Volunteer, or Cheer at the 40th Annual Bridge of Flowers Races!

This Saturday, August 11, marks the 40th Bridge of Flowers Classic Races in Shelburne Falls. Mike McCusker started the races in 1978 and the 3K Walk/Run and 10K Run have been staple events in the village ever since.  Each year thousands of runners come out to compete on one of the toughest courses in New England. The infamous Crittenden Hill makes this course both a challenging and rewarding experience. For the first time ever, the 10K Run has been changed to an 8K, but the 3K Walk/Run remains the same. Online registration for the race has closed but you can register in person at the Friday night Spaghettifest at Buckland Shelburne Elementary School or Saturday morning before the race.

The race supports five local charities and is made possible by many local sponsors and the Greater Shelburne Falls Area Business Association. Hundreds of volunteers contribute their time and effort to make the race safe and fun, by directing traffic, serving food, handing out water to the runners, and more. The race can always use more volunteers so if you want to help, go to shelburnefalls.com to find open volunteer positions.

If you’re not running or volunteering, you can still be a part of the action by cheering on the runners. The course is a figure 8 loop, starting and ending on the Iron Bridge, making it a very spectator-friendly race. The 3K starts at 8:15 am and the 8K starts at 9 am. After the race, head down Deerfield Avenue to the Glacial Potholes for the Post-Race Party and awards ceremony. Runners will also get free pizza courtesy of Pondside Pizza and a free beer from the Blue Rock if they are over 21. Plus, don’t forget to purchase a race shirt to remember this special event.

The weather is forecasted to be perfect for race morning so come out to the village of Shelburne Falls and participate in the 40th Annual Bridge of Flowers Classic Races. For more information, visit the race page here.

Shop Local For Massachusetts Sales Tax Free Weekend

This Saturday and Sunday, visit your local shops and take advantage of Massachusetts Tax Free Weekend. On August 11 and 12, the state’s 6.25% sales tax will be eliminated for all retail goods. Exceptions to this include meals, motor vehicles, motorboats, tobacco products, and any single item over $2,500. After two years without this holiday, Gov. Charlie Baker has decided to sign a bill that brings back this tax exemption.

With schools starting up again in less than a month and autumn just around the corner, this weekend is the perfect time to get your shopping done. Check out Wilson’s Department Store in Greenfield for name brand clothing, shoes, accessories, makeup, houseware, toys, and more. Also in Greenfield is The Outlet Store, which carries heavy-duty work clothes and boots from brands like Carhartt and Dickies.

If you are looking for more unique, handcrafted items, there are several small boutiques and shops in Franklin County, such as Bridge Street Bazaar, Enjoy, Marjorie Moser Print & Dye Workshop, and A Heart for Art in Shelburne Falls. Turners Falls also boasts several small shops, such as Honey & Wine, a women’s clothing store, and Stenhouse Furnishings, a vintage consignment shop.

If you’re looking for something new for your home, the Greenfield area has several furniture and antique stores. Andy’s and The Oak Shoppe in Greenfield offers quality-made finished and unfinished wood, pine, and oak furniture. You can also score some incredible antiques at Whitney Hill Antiques in Greenfield, Freight House Antiques in Erving, and Arts & Antiques on 5 & 10.

Enjoy saving that extra money you would’ve spent on sales tax and buy yourself that extra little thing you wanted. Happy local shopping!

 

Celebrate Shelburne's 250th Anniversary this Weekend!

Celebrate with Shelburne as it turns 250 years old! There is a full weekend of events planned including dinner, dancing, farm tours, a parade, food and craft vendors, live bands, square dancing, children’s games, militia re-enactment, fireworks, book sale, and more. It is sure to be a great time for family, community members, and anyone else who wants to join in the celebration of this wonderful town.

Shelburne is located in Franklin County, west of Greenfield along the Mohawk Trail (State Route 2). It was first settled in 1756 as part of Deerfield, MA and was later incorporated as a town in 1775. Much of the history of Shelburne is based in the vicinity of Shelburne Falls, a small village composed of part of Buckland and part of Shelburne. Shelburne has been largely an agricultural town. However, the manufacturing industry thrived in Shelburne Falls due to the railroad through town and the existence of Lamson and Goodnow, a cutlery manufacturing company. Today, Shelburne Falls is geared more towards the tourism industry with a variety of shops, galleries, and eateries. The rest of Shelburne remains beautifully natural, with dairy farms, sugarhouses, orchards, and majestic rolling hills.

Don’t miss the chance to celebrate this milestone for Shelburne this Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. Here is the full schedule for the weekend:

Friday, June 22

5:15 p.m. Opening Ceremony, Baptist Corner Lot, Main Street

6-10:30 p.m. Reception dinner and dancing at the Shelburne-Buckland Community Center, tickets $25

Saturday, June 23

All day - self-guided tours of 100-year old farms

10 a.m. to 2 p.m. - crafts & skill from yesteryear on display, plus quilt show at First Congregational Church

1 p.m. - militia camp set-up at Shelburne Historical Society

3 p.m. Parade starting at Cricket Field and ending at Buckland Elementary School

4 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. Food & craft vendors, children's games, square dancing, live bands at Buckland Shelburne Elementary School

9:30 p.m. Fireworks

Sunday, June 24 (rain date for Saturday events)

10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Militia re-enactment - 10th MA Volunteer Infantry Militia Company C

11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Open House at Historical Society

Click here for the event flyer.

 

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