Wanda Mooney

Franklin County

View the Peak Foliage in Franklin County Massachusetts

Foliage Western Massachusetts Franklin CountyMany people’s favorite time of year in Massachusetts is autumn. The leaves turn and the trees become bursts of reds, oranges, and yellows. Now is the perfect time to get outside and enjoy the fresh autumn air and epic views of the foliage. There are many ways to witness the natural beauty of fall in Franklin County - by car, bike, foot, or even canoe! Now is the time for peak foliage so be sure to get outside and take in the views!

The Franklin County Chamber of Commerce has a list of Nine Franklin County Foliage Destinations, which you can view at franklincc.org. All of these places are amazing at any time of year, but especially right now! Be sure to check out their article and browse the list of great places for foliage in Franklin County. If that’s not enough, here are some of my personal favorite spots around Franklin County in the fall:

 

Kenneth Dubuque Memorial State Forest, Hawley

Kenneth Dubuque Memorial State Forest is a rich forest with over 35 miles of mixed-use hiking trails. Park your car across from Hallockville Pond and walk or mountain bike through this 7,882 acre woodland. Along the way, you might see relics from the abandoned village of South Hawley, such as cellar holes, a rare fieldstone “beehive” charcoal kiln, and the remains of a mill at Hallockville Pond. Find more information on the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation website.

 

Foliage October Hikes State ForestsCatamount State Forest, Colrain

Catamount was once a village in Colrain, whose claim to fame was that its schoolhouse was the first to fly the American flag in 1812. The village was abandoned in the early 20th century and today it is a beautiful state forest with trails for mountain bikers and hikers. Fishers and canoers are also drawn to the forest for McLeod Pond. Unfortunately, there is not too much information on the web about Catamount State Forest. However, you can easily search for the directions to get there. Once there, it is easy to follow the old logging roads up to the pond. 

 

Mohawk Trail State Forest

Mohawk Trail State Forest is a very popular destination in the summer, with camping available right next to the Deerfield River. However, in the fall it becomes a wonderful place to enjoy the foliage around the river and to take in the sights and smells of the season. The Mohawk Trail State Forest covers 6,000 acres of mountain ridges, gorges, and woods. While camping is no longer available past Mid-October, it is still a great place for a day visit to hike around and enjoy the scenery. Find more information about Mohawk Trail State Forest here

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

October 2020 Outdoor Almanac from Mass Audubon

blue moon halloween 2020 mass audubonEach month, Mass Audubon posts the Outdoor Almanac with a list of things to look out for in the weeks ahead. Here is the Outdoor Almanac for October. There are a lot of interesting animals and happenings in the sky to keep an eye out for this month.

A truly exciting event happening this month is the full moon on Halloween. This full moon is also considered a blue moon because it is the second full moon in a calendar month. We won't have another blue moon on Halloween until 2039! See below for more tips on what to find this month in the outdoors.

Outdoor Almanac October 2020 Mass Audubon

Information taken from Mass Audubon's website, www.massaudubon.org.

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

Explore the Franklin County CiderDays Cider Trail 2020 All Season Long

headwater cider hawley massachusetts New England is known for its delicious varieties of apples - and New England cider is one of my favorite ways to enjoy these magnificent fruits. This year’s Franklin County CiderDays might not have cider salons or workshops, but you can still enjoy the regions’ wonderful ciders by hopping in your car and visiting all the great spots on the CiderDays Cider Trail. The event has been extended through the end of the season this year, so you have more time to stop by every point on the trail. 

All of the venues on the trail can be found at ciderdays.org/venues. Most of them are found in Franklin County. However, a few are found in the surrounding areas, such as Berkshire Cider Project in North Adams. Opened in July of this year, Berkshire Cider Project is a new craft cidery focused on dry sparkling ciders, located in a beautiful former textile mill with adjacent café and distillery. They are open Fridays and Saturdays from 12 to 6 pm. Check out their website for special CiderDays events!

Hawley’s own Headwater Cider Company is also on the list of cideries participating in CiderDays. Headwater prides itself on doing every step of the cider-making process (growing, pressing, and bottling) all right there at the orchard. With over 2000 apple trees in the orchard at 1800 feet elevation, Headwater has a short but ideal growing season, with plenty of sunlight. This makes for perfect apples for hard cider with lots of flavor and natural sugars. Headwater is open on the weekends starting October 10 to November 8 from 10 am to 5 pm.  Check out their website for more information! (Photo right taken from Headwater Cider Company's Facebook Page.)

west county cider shelburne massachusettsDid you know that the oldest running cider house is located right here in Shelburne, Massachusetts? West County Cider was started in 1984 by the Maloney family. Today, they continue to make small-batch ciders using local apples, working with the variety of flavors that come from each year’s distinct apple harvest. The community is welcome to their tap room and bottle shop, located on Peckville Road, and as well to wander along their hiking trails and picnic grounds with an incredible tri-state view.  For their open hours, directions, and to check out their different styles of cider, head to their website. (Photo left taken from West County Cider's Facebook Page.)

Find out who else is on the CiderDays Cider Trail, plus more information about the 2020 Franklin County CiderDays at ciderdays.org

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

Get Lost in These Franklin County Corn Mazes!

The annual corn mazes are back in Franklin County, with new designs! Every September, people from around the region love to get lost in these fun creative mazes. This year will be a little different with covid regulations but will still be a fun experience for all.

Mike's Maze Warner Farm Sunderland MassachusettsMike’s Maze at Warner Farm

Over the years, Mike’s Mazes have gained national attention for their creativity and intricacy. Every year is a different thematic experience, with games, activities, and amusements to pair alongside the design of that year’s maze. Mike’s Maze spans 8-acres with installations and trivia along the way. Located in Sunderland, Massachusetts, the idea for Mike’s Maze was born over 20 years ago at a Christmas party. Farmer Mike Wissemann and artist Will Sillin teamed up to create incredible corn art. In 2015, Mike’s son David Wissemann and his wife, Jess Marsh Wissemann, took over for Will, and have since created mazes that have gone viral, such as “Alice in Sunderland.” 

This year’s theme is “Vote 2020: The Stalks Have Never Been Higher.” They will be celebrating democracy with a variety of games and rides, including the voting game, pedal carts on the “Presidential Election Racetrack” and the “Election Landslides.” Mike’s Maze is open September 11-November 1 on Thursdays (starting in October), Fridays, Saturdays, and Columbus Day from 9 am to 5 pm. The rates of entry are $15 for adults, $12 for kids under 12, and kids aged 4 and under go free! 

For more information about the exciting events at Mike’s Maze, visit mikesmaze.com.

 

Hick’s Family Farm & Corn Maze in Charlemont

Hick’s Family Farm also hosts an annual corn maze which is a Franklin County Favorite. Their farm is conveniently located on the Mohawk Trail/Route 2 in Charlemont. The corn maze is open September 5 through October on weekends and holidays from 10 am to 5 pm. Entry is $8.00 for adults and $5.00 for children 12 and under. Check out their haunted weekends in October starting October 10th and get ready for a scare! If you scare easily, you can enjoy a milder nighttime version of the maze with their Flashlight Fridays on September 18 and October 2. Go to their website for more information on the Hick’s Corn Maze at Hick’s Family Farm, www.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.

Brick & Feather Brewery in Turners Falls Places 4th of Top-Rated Breweries in Massachusetts

Brick Feather Brewery Turners Falls MassachusettsA few weeks ago, Boston.com released a list of top-rated breweries in Massachusetts. They used data from BeerAdvocate, a national beer-reviewing site based in Boston, to determine which Massachusetts breweries are most loved by consumers. With over 200 breweries in Massachusetts today, it is a great achievement that Franklin County’s own Brick and Feather Brewery in Turners Falls placed 4th in the list!   

Brick and Feather Brewery, Turners Falls

Brick and Feather has been brewing beer in Turners Falls since 2015. Their team uses a manual 7-barrel system to brew their beer mostly by hand. Their fine selection of brews has been found in restaurants and shops around Western Mass and beyond. However, you can also purchase their beers online through their website and pick them up directly from the brewery. They ask that you please order ahead so they can have the order ready for you. Their online store has a variety of canned brews and apparel. So, browse around and find something that suits your taste! Visit them online - www.brickandfeatherbrewery.com - or follow them on Facebook.

(Photo source: Brick and Feather Brewery's Facebook Page)

Floodwater Brewery, Shelburne Falls

Many other local breweries have spruced up their online stores recently. Floodwater Brewery in Shelburne Falls is one of them. To quote their online store -- “The end is not here if you can still drink beer.” While you unfortunately cannot enjoy a brew in their taproom overlooking the Deerfield River, you can still purchase one of their tasty brews to enjoy at home. Visit their website to place an order - floodwaterbrewing.com.

Hitchcock Brewing Company, Bernardston MA

Hitchcock Brewing Company is another brewery that has been making it work despite Covid. They have been open Wednesday through Sundays, pouring beer and offering delicious food cooked by them or served by a guest food truck for their loyal fans. Originally opened in 2016 in Whately, Hitchcock moved north to beautiful Bernardston about one year ago. Follow them on Facebook for weekly updates on which food trucks will be visiting them and what beers are available. This Sunday (9/6), you can enjoy food by the Bistro Bus and a fresh batch of Mango Tart, a sour beer. They also recently released their Better Days Belgian White Ale. You can order their 4-packs of cans online and pick them up curbside, too! Visit their online store to purchase and or go to their Facebook page and click the “Shop Now” button.

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



 

Update on Broadband in the Hilltowns Western Massachusetts

The long-awaited arrival of broadband in Franklin County is finally here! New Salem, Rowe, and Shutesbury all have active fiber networks. Currently, about 80% of premises in Rowe are customers. If you have a premise in Rowe that you wish to sign up for broadband you can do so for $75 a month. You will receive free installation while funds remain available, plus free equipment and Wifi. You do not have to sign up for a contract and there is an optional full service phone for $19 a month. Visit Rowe’s town website for more detailed information and visit wiredwestfiber.com/rowe to sign up. 

Heath is in the process of building its fiber network. Once the main photo optic fiber cable is installed throughout town, the next phase of actually attaching the network fiber line to the poles along Heath roads will begin. This process should begin in September. Plus, on July 21st the Heath Municipal Light Board (MLB) approved the “Heath Drop Service Installation Policy”. The Policy incentivizes qualifying customers in Heath to subscribe to take broadband internet service during the startup period, by covering up to $3,000 toward the drop installation costs for subscribers with an eligible premises (defined in policy). To learn more and to ensure you are kept up to date on the latest broadband news contact heathbroadband@gmail.com and be added to Wired West's contact distribution list.

Here is the recently released schedule of the dates when each Fiber Service Area (FSA) will undergo construction of the network and installation to the premises.

FSA 2: 7/6/20-12/31/20

Branch Hill, 3 Colrain Stage, Dell, 81-291 Rte 8A, Judd, Knott, Ledges, Long Hill, Rowe, Royer (except #18 in FSA3), Sherman, W. Main, 1 E. Main

FSA 1: 9/21/20-4/6/21

AL Stetson, Bellor, Brunelle, 323-713 Rte 8A, Groll, Jacobs, Number 9, Sadoga, State Farm, Stone Hill, Sumner Stetson, Underwood Hill, W. Branch

FSA 3: 12/21/20-8/12/21

Avery Brook, Bassett, Bray, Burrington, Center Heath, Colrain Stage (except #3 in FSA2), E. Main, Flagg Hill, Flagg Hill ext., Hosmer, Ingraham, Ledges (remaining portion), Royer (#118), Schoolhouse, South, Swamp, Taylor Brook, Rown FArm, W. Hosmer

FSA 4: 4/26/21-9/31/21

Mohawk Estates

For more information and to stay up to date with the progress of Broadband installation in the hilltowns, visit wiredwest.net/towns or visit the town sites (Rowe and Heath)

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

 


 

Pick Your Own Peaches at Apex Orchards in Shelburne, Massachusetts!

Apex Orchards Fruit Pick Your Own MassachusettsApex Orchards, Shelburne

As of Saturday, August 15th, Apex Orchards  welcomed the community to come and pick their own peaches. Located in Shelburne, just off of Route 2/The Mohawk Trail, between Greenfield and Shelburne Falls, Apex Orchards offers stunning views of Western Mass and the borders of Vermont and New Hampshire. Experience the incredible scenery of the orchard while you stroll amongst the trees and pick your own delicious peaches. 

Pick Your Own Peaches is open to the public on weekends only from 11 am to 4 pm. However, you can visit the farm store daily from 9 am to 5 pm and purchase fresh-picked fruit and other local agricultural products. Currently, the Apex Farm Store has Lodi Apples, Methley Plums, Blueberries, and Garnet Beauty Peaches. Plus, as we move further into harvest season, this list will grow! Stay updated on what’s available in the store and which apples are ready for Pick Your Own by following the Apex Orchards Facebook Page or call the store before you visit at 413-625-2744

(Photo taken from Apex Orchards Facebook Page.)

Pine Hill Orchards, Colrain

You can compare peaches to peaches by visiting Pine Hill Orchards in Colrain and picking up some of their fresh-picked peaches as well! Currently, their farm store is open Wednesday through Sunday from 9 am to 6 pm, where they sell other fresh-picked fruit like plums and blueberries, as well. They also offer takeout from their restaurant Thursday through Sunday from 9 am to 2 pm. In just a few weeks, starting Labor Day weekend, Pine Hill will be running their Pick Your Own apples! Check their website or Facebook page for updates on which varieties are ready. 

Clarkdale Fruit Farm, Deerfield

You’ll also find juicy, fresh-picked peaches at Clarkdale Fruit Farm in Deerfield. Clarkdale is a fourth-generation family-owned fruit farm, whose farm store is open daily from 9 am to 5 pm. You can stay safe with their drive up ordering and never have to get out of your car. Visit them at 303 Upper Road in Deerfield for yellow-fleshed peaches now or visit them in a few weeks for apple season.  Find out what fruit is available on their website or Facebook page.

Happy Harvest Season to all!

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

Explore Western Mass Outside With These Activities in Franklin County

August is a wonderful time of year in Western Mass, when the days are still warm, but the nights start to cool down a bit more. While the usual country fairs will be missed this year, there are still plenty of ways to take advantage of all that Western Mass has to offer in the summer. ExploreWesternMass.com has compiled a list of experiences in our area that are COVID-safe, and many of them are here in Franklin County!

zoar outdoor rafting deerfield river massachusettsOne of the natural treasures to take advantage of in Franklin County is the Deerfield River. The Deerfield River winds its way down from Vermont through the beautiful Berkshire Hills until it reaches the Connecticut River in Deerfield. The river has varying sections of rapids with something suitable for everyone. There are three reputable companies who offer whitewater rafting tours on the Deerfield - Crabapple Whitewater, Berkshire East, and Zoar Outdoor.  Zoar also offers guided kayaking tours and whitewater kayaking clinics. The companies have all worked hard to maintain safety around the river and around COVID-19.  Book an experience on the river before the season is over!

You can also explore Franklin County by bike or on foot. There are plenty of hiking/walking trails in the area that take you to remote places with fresh air and beautiful views.  Check out this helpful map of trails in the area at bywayswestmass.com.

The Canalside Rail Trail in Turners Falls offers a mellow ride with epic views of the Connecticut River.  The trail is 3.6 miles long, making it an easy morning or afternoon activity.  Protip:  Pack a picnic lunch to enjoy along the way by the river!

While Northfield Mountain Recreation Area is unable to fully open for the 2020 season due to sanitization rules, you can still access the hiking and fishing areas. The facilities will be closed, meaning there is no access to bathrooms, pavilions, or the visitor center. However, you can plan ahead to carry out your own trash and bring your own picnic equipment to enjoy the area just the same.  Visit their website for detailed information on which areas are accessible.

Canalside Rail Trail Turners Falls Western Massachusetts

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

June 2020 Pioneer Valley Single Family Home Sales Report

for sale massachusetts homesSales of single family homes in Franklin County were down 1.6% and median price down 5.0% in June 2020 compared to June 2019. The sales were down in both Hampshire and Hampden Counties. Median price was up in both Hampshire and Hampden Counties. 

The average days on market in the Pioneer Valley was down 0.1% from 55 days in June 2019 compared to 55 days in June 2020. Listings that are pending (under agreement to sell) were up 24.2% from 615 listings pending in June 2019 to 764 listings pending sale in June 2020.

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

Information provided by the REALTOR Association of Pioneer Valley.

June Pioneer Valley Sales Report Single Family HomesPioneer Valley Western Mass Franklin CountyFranklin County Single Family Home Sales Reportlocal market update june 2020 realtor association

Order Delicious Native Blueberries From Burnt Hill Farm in Heath Massachusetts

burnt hill blueberry farm heath massachusettsPlace Your Blueberry Order Today!

It’s time to place your order for Burnt Hill Farm’s native low bush blueberries. Harvest will begin the last week of July and continue through August. This year’s prices are $40 for a 10 lb box and $70 for a 20 lb box. Order your blueberries online through Burnt Hill Farm’s website and they will let you know when your berries are ready for pickup. Don’t forget your mask when you go to pick them up!

 

About Burnt Hill Farm

Burnt Hill Farm is located in Heath, Massachusetts. In 2018, the Nartowicz family, which has been in Heath for over a hundred years, purchased the farm. They are grateful to be able to share these native low bush blueberries with their community. 

Visit www.burnthillfarm.com and follow them on Facebook for more info!

blueberries western massachusetts burnt hill farm

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

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