Community

It's Cold Outside: Fun Things To Do Indoors in Franklin County

As the days get shorter and darker, many of our favorite outdoor activities become less appealing. Fortunately, we live in an area with a variety of things to do, even when it’s dark and cold outside.

Candle Villages

With the holiday season fast approaching, Yankee Candle Village and The Shoppes at Kringle Candle, are both packed with great gifts, holiday decorations, and holiday-themed events. Starting now through December 23, you can have photos taken with Santa and Mrs. Claus at Yankee Candle Village, located in South Deerfield. Then, meander through the various shops and eateries, which spans over 90,000 square feet.

At Kringle Candle in Bernardston, there is plenty to see and do, as well. Pick out your favorite scent of their brand of candle, Country Candle. Visit the Shoppes at Kringle Candle to find unique gifts, home decor, toys, gourmet foods, and more. Then, sit down for a nice meal at The Farm Table, a gourmet restaurant which serves brunch, lunch, and dinner.

Galleries

Now is a great time to check out the many local artist galleries in Franklin County. Shelburne Falls boasts several great artists shops and galleries, including Salmon Falls Gallery, which sells Josh Simpson glass planets, amongst other local works of art. The Shelburne Arts Co-op, which is run by local artists, is constantly rotating the works for sale, and features different exhibits monthly. Also, in Shelburne Falls, you can find beautiful handcrafted art in Ann Brauer Quilt Studio, Wandering Moon, A Heart for Art, and more.

If you find yourself in Greenfield, take a walk through the Greenfield Gallery, a boutique art gallery featuring fine art and collectibles. You will also find great local works of art at Artspace Community Arts Center, a non profit educational and creative space or people of all ages. Their gallery shows off the works of local artists and has rotating exhibits. Down the road in Montague, is Sawmill River Arts Gallery, a quaint gallery on the Sawmill River, by the waterfall and next to the Montague Book Mill.

Bowling and The Movies

Of course, there’s always the classic favorite way to spend time indoors - bowling and the movies! In Franklin County, you can still support local businesses while you do. In Erving, visit the French King Bowling Center, or go to the second oldest bowling alley in the country, the Shelburne Falls Bowling Alley! This alley uses duck pins and you keep your own score. Around the corner from the bowling alley in Shelburne Falls is Memorial Hall, where Pothole Pictures has some great films lined up over the next few months, including Julie and Julia, Ratatouille, and Babette’s Feast. Arrive early for some live music before the film starts. For new releases, go to the Greenfield Garden Cinemas in Greenfield.

So, although it is getting colder and the days are getting shorter, remember there is still plenty to do and ways to get out of the house and enjoy all Franklin County has to offer!

 

Historic Deerfield Hosts Fun Fall and Holiday Events for All

With Thanksgiving and the holiday season right around the corner, now is the perfect time to head over to Historic Deerfield. They have a variety of upcoming events and demonstrations that are great for the whole family and for the cold weather. Located in South Deerfield, Mass, Historic Deerfield is an outdoor museum that exhibits life and culture of early New England and the Connecticut River Valley.

Every weekend, there is something exciting to do at Historic Deerfield. This weekend and next (November 10-11 and November 17-18), their Open Hearth Cooking Demonstration will be all about pie. Come and learn about savory and sweet pies, a fall/winter treat since early New England. While you’re there, you can also check out the hands-on workshop about brooms. Learn about brooms and broom making, try sweeping with a handmade broom and even make your own whisk broom to take home. You can drop in to this workshop, titled A Clean Sweep, any time between 12 and 4:30 pm and entry is included with the price of admission.

Later on this month, Historic Deerfield has even more awesome events planned. On Friday, November 23 from 10 am to 4 pm, see live historic trade demonstrations by local artists. Learn about redware pottery with Stephen Earp and paper marbling with Regina St. John from Chena River Marblers. There will also be a lot of great events for the holidays in late November/early December, such as wreath making, gift making, horse drawn wagon rides, and make your own hot chocolate mix.

But that’s not all there is to do at Historic Deerfield. Go any time of the year and take a tour through twelve preserved antique houses dating from 1730 to 1850 with authentic furniture, art, textiles, and other original decorative pieces on display. You can also view exciting exhibits at the Flynt Center for Early New England Life and do some research of your own at the Henry N. Flynt Library, which has over 21,000 volumes on the history and culture of the region.

For the calendar of events and more information on Historic Deerfield, visit their website.

 

Drive Off the Beaten Path to Crafts of Colrain Open Studio Tour

Franklin County is a wonderful place to explore a variety of art and handmade crafts, since it is home to so many artists and creatives. Colrain, specifically, is a very concentrated area of talented artists and craftspeople, since it is such an inspiring place, with beautiful rolling hills, and preserved natural areas. Every year, the artists of Colrain open their doors to the public for a self-guided open studio tour. This year, Crafts of Colrain will take place Saturday and Sunday November 10 and 11 from 10 am to 5 pm both days.

Grab a map and drive through Colrain to as many as 18 artisans’ studios. You’ll see a wide variety of art, from craft beer to woodworking, fiber art to photography, and more. Kedalby Farm, home of Moonshine Design, raises angora goats to provide the mohair for their hand-dyed, hand-woven goods. Visit their farm and learn about this process, which takes place entirely on-site. See a variety of art in one stop at stop #17- Sarah and Hans Schoedel. Hans makes scratchboard illustrations and prints, wooden bowls using wood from local trees, and decorative and functioning fishing lures. While Sarah makes handwoven baskets and jewelry using recycled fence wire, copper, silver, and gemstones. If you’re a collector or even just an admirer of pottery and stoneware, you’ll want to check out Cliff Daniels’ studio. Cliff’s original and decorative designs uses a broad color palette and durable glazes.

Before you hit the road, be sure to print out a map, located here. You can also find all the participating artists, sponsors, and partners at craftsofcolrain.com. Support local artists and farms, while you enjoy the beautiful scenery of Colrain, hopping around to these open studios.

 

24th Annual Franklin County CiderDays

For a long time, cider has been the traditional drink of New England. Right here in Franklin County, we are lucky to be surrounded by wonderful orchards and cideries, who make this delicious fall drink. For 24 years, Franklin County has celebrated cider with their Annual CiderDays. This 3-day event, always occurring on the first full weekend in November, brings together cider lovers across the county. This year, CiderDays is happening November 2-4 and includes 19 participating venues.

From Friday evening to Sunday evening, there will be a wide variety of events all based around cider, but not necessarily just based around drinking it. There will be talks around cider and apples, demonstrations and cider-making workshops, orchard rides, cider and cheese pairings, and more. You can view the full schedule of events at CiderDays.org, but here are some highlights:

The Shelburne Buckland Community Center will hold talks, tastings, and workshops Saturday and Sunday for beginner through advanced cider lovers. The events at the Community Center will be FREE!

Check out the world’s longest-running hard cider tasting at the Cider Salon in Unity Park, Turners Falls. There will be two sessions on Saturday (3:30-5 and 5:45-7:15) where you can try 120 different ciders from across North America and Europe. Make sure you purchase your tickets for the salon soon because this event sells out.

Bring the whole family to the Cider and Apple Festival, hosted by New Salem Preserves and Orchards on Saturday and Sunday. Attend free workshops, child-friendly apple pressing, and browse local artisan exhibits and farm products.

For the full schedule of events and to purchase tickets for specific events, visit ciderdays.org.

 

Scarecrow in the Park: Happening This Weekend!

Looking for something fun and fall-y to do this weekend? Head to Bernardston for the 6th Annual Scarecrow in the Park, hosted by the Bernardston Kiwanis Club! This two-day event, happening Saturday, October 20th and Sunday, October 21st has become an annual tradition, where Cushman Park becomes filled with artists and craftspeople, live music, food vendors, a Halloween dance party, and of course, handcrafted scarecrows, on top of much more.

The scarecrow contest is a signature part of this event, where participants can pay $10 to enter their scarecrow and could win a cash prize. This year, scarecrows will be judged based on the categories of scariest, funniest, prettiest, most interesting use of materials, and best art. The radio station, Bear Country 95.3, also gives a prize to the best “Bearcrow.” Enter your own specially made scarecrow or simply walk around and enjoy viewing all of the amazing ones made by other people. For more information on the contest, click here.

Be sure to bring the whole family because there will be something for everyone to enjoy. Browse the artists’ booths, featuring fiber arts, preserves, gourd art, seasonal decorations, home adornments, and more. Listen to live music by local favorites Appalachian Still and enjoy a live performance by Celtic Heels, local Irish step dancers, as well as the Tractor and Rag Shag Parade. There will also be hay rides, a visit and demonstration with local canine police officers, and face-painting and balloon-sculpting by Melha Shriners clowns.

For more information on Scarecrow in the Park, visit their Facebook page. Don't miss this awesome event!



 

Fall Festivals in Franklin County!

It’s October! That means pumpkins, cider, foliage, and Fall Festivals! Next weekend, October 6 and 7, Ashfield’s main street will be filled with people for the Ashfield Fall Festival. Admission is free to this annual event, which started in 1970. Celebrate Ashfield and browse over 50 arts and crafts exhibitors, book sales, and tag sales. Enjoy locally-grown and prepared foods, live music, and dancing. There will also be plenty of kids’ events, including the annual Pumpkingames! For more information, visit www.ashfieldfallfestival.org.

Another great fall festival that you won’t want to miss is the Great Falls Festival aka Pumpkinfest in Turners Falls on October 20th. From 2 to 9 pm, Avenue A in Turners Falls will be filled with over 150 food and craft vendors, 3 live music stages, 2 performance stages, a beer garden and of course, a pumpkin display! Bring your own pumpkin to add to the beautiful pumpkin display or carve one there for free. There will also be free kids activities. For more information check out their Facebook page.

Here are some other exciting fall festivals in Franklin County coming soon:

8th Annual Riverside Blues, Brews, and BBQs - October 6 - Greenfield

Old 78 Festival - October 6 - Orange

Scarecrow in the Park - October 20 - Bernardston

24th Annual Franklin County Cider Days - November 2-4 - Various locations throughout Franklin County

 

Painting for Bid to Benefit Bridge of Flowers in Shelburne Falls

If you stop by Salmon Falls Gallery this month, you will see a special painting on display. “Light Showers” a 42 by 64-inch pastel work has been donated by the artist Peter London for silent auction. The proceeds from the auction will benefit the Bridge of Flowers’ maintenance and upkeep. The bidding started at $500 but London estimates the work to be valued at $2,500.

London has had much success in his career as an artist, becoming internationally known and having his work exhibited in galleries across the country. Him and his wife, Marion, have a home in Shelburne, where she is also a volunteer gardener on the Bridge of Flowers. London has also taught workshops at Rowe Conference Center.

If you are an art lover/collector and want to support the beautiful Bridge of Flowers, Salmon Falls Gallery is accepting bids by telephone, email, or in person at the gallery, 1 Ashfield Street in Shelburne Falls. The bidding will close on Sunday, September 30 at a floral themed gala at the gallery. All are invited to attend and are encouraged to come dressed in “floral finery.” There will be refreshments and live music by Einstein’s Little Homonculus.

Contact Salmon Falls Gallery at 413-625-9833 or salmonfalls@megaplanet.com. Visit them online at www.salmonfallsgallery.com.

 

It's That Time of Year for Festivals and Fairs!

As summer winds down, fairs and festivals are popping up all over Western Mass. Last weekend, hundreds came out for the 101st Heath Fair. This coming weekend marks the 150th Cummington Fair in Cummington, MA. The Fair was started in 1868 but was initiated in 1883 as the Hillside Agricultural Society. Today, the Cummington Fair remains true to its agricultural roots with events based around livestock and tractors, such as the livestock shows, horse draws, and antique engine and tractor shows.

But that’s not the only reason to go to the Cummington Fair. This year’s 4-day event will include a bike stunt show, fireworks, a craft barn, demolition derby and more. The stages will fill with live entertainers such as Zoe Darrow, Presley and Taylor, Jose Duddy, and others. Plus, there will be all sorts of vendors selling food, crafts, and other items. The Cummington Fair starts Thursday, August 23 and runs through Sunday, August 26. Purchase tickets online and get more information at cummingtonfair.com.

Here are some other great festivals and fairs coming up soon:

 

The Heath Fair Returns for a Weekend of Community, Food, Music, and Agriculture

The Heath Fair is one of the few country fairs still around that stays true to its agricultural roots. For over 100 years, it has offered events such as the ox draw, sheep shows, and various trade demonstrations to teach the community about agriculture in an engaging way. Every year the residents of Heath and visitors from surrounding towns look forward to this end of summer event. This year, the 101st Heath Fair will take place this weekend, Friday, August 17th to Sunday, August 19th.

It is truly incredible to see how a large event like this with a variety of activities comes together in such an organized way. It is because of the commitment of volunteers who run each of the events that the Heath Fair is so successful. This year’s lineup of events include the antique tractor pull, rabbit show, goat show, horse draw, truck pull, and sheep show. Bring the kids because there will be so much for them to do too like the zucchini races, wagon rides, demonstrations, and the parade!

Make sure you come hungry because there will be plenty to eat! Join the organized meals such as the Church Ladies Ham and Bean Supper on Friday, the Heath Firefighters Association BBQ on both Saturday and Sunday, or the Blueberry Pancake Breakfast on Sunday. There will also be a great group of vendors selling food, including Lucia’s Latin Kitchen, Kailash Kitchen, and of course Hager’s Farm Market’s fried dough and maple cream.

A country fair needs music and this year’s artist lineup is spectacular. On Friday night, check out Upstate Rubdown and then join in on the square dancing, led by Doug Wilkins. On Saturday, the music starts at 11 am with The Uncles of the Pioneers and continues through the day with The Green Sisters, Li’l BeeDee & The Doo-Rites, and The Whiskey Treaty Road Show. On Sunday, the Ageless Waves of Rhythm will kick off the day with their drumming, followed by the Shelburne Falls Military Band, and Banish Misfortune.

For the full schedule of events, visit heathfair.org. The Heath Fair is presented by the Heath Agricultural Society. Admission is only $8 or $6 for seniors and free for children 9 and under. See you at the Heath Fair!

 

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.