Wanda Mooney

Franklin County

Buy Land and Build in the Western Mass Hilltowns!

Spring is the perfect time of year to explore the option of buying land and building your dream home.  Before you begin the search for finding the right parcel, I recommend meeting with a building contractor or architect to discuss the process of constructing a home in addition to knowing the costs associated with building.  You will want to make sure it is within your budget before you begin your search.

If you plan on getting a construction loan to finance your home, make sure you meet with local lenders to get pre-qualified.  The process and rates are different than if you were to buy a home already constructed. They will provide a timeline as to how the funds are distributed based on the status of the construction.    

Prior to searching for land, make a list of what is most important to you.  Is it having a brook or mountain view, having an open meadow so you can garden or raise a few animals or just having a private wooded setting?  Once you have identified some land for sale you will want to view the surrounding properties to see what is nearby.  How close are you to neighbors?  Is there any development potential or do you hear road noise or businesses?  If you are new to the area, check out the communities in the Western Mass area and make sure the land is in a convenient location and that you can get high speed internet! 

Once you have selected a parcel and have an agreement to purchase you will want to meet with your builder and various contractors to inspect the property and get a sense of what the site costs will be.  They will also make sure your home can be constructed within the requirements of the zoning bylaws. 

Building your home can be very stressful. But having the opportunity to create a place designed to fit your needs is so rewarding.  

Below are links to help you get started.  If you have any questions about the building process, you can contact Wanda Mooney at 413-768-9848 or email.  She has 28 years experience in selling land and also built her own home!  Learn more about Wanda here and review her credentials.

List of Builders, Contractors, Architects, and Engineers here

List of Local Lenders here

Search Land Listing here 

Explore the area here 

Burn Brush Safely This Season in Franklin County Massachusetts

brush burning open fire safetyMassachusetts allow residents to burn brush between January 15th and May 1st. However, there are certain regulations for where and how you can burn brush, as well as who is allowed to do it. You can apply for an Open Burn Permit through your local fire department. Many towns in Franklin County use the online system for residents to submit applications. This online application can be found at fcburnpermits.com. If your town does not use the online system, you can contact them by phone to inquire about how to obtain permission to burn brush. 

Go to fcburnpermits.com for a list of regulations around brush burning or for more specific information on how to get in touch with your local fire department. You can also go to mass.gov/service-details/open-burning-safety for more information on open burning and fire safety.

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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 Geology of Franklin County Massachusetts

salmon falls shelburne massachusetts glacial potholesThe story of how the land where Franklin County sits was formed can be told through the incredible rock formations you can actually see! The Franklin County Chamber of Commerce’s Visitor Guide has a wonderful and informative summary of the geology of Franklin County, written by Richard D. Little. 

Richard Little works at Greenfield Community College, teaching and studying the geology of the Connecticut River Valley. He believes that Franklin County is the best place to study geology - and you can get out and see why for yourself! Included in the article are select places of interest to witness geological phenomenon and to have a scope of the formation of the lands around. Go explore these places and see for your own eyes the products of millions of years of erosion. Below is the excerpt from the Franklin County Visitor Guide which lists these spectacular places: 

“Whether you are a visitor or a resident, I have selected a few spectacular places to start your explorations. Exact directions and information are found in the new “Exploring Franklin County” book or you can “Google” for directions.

A “START HERE” DESTINATION: Greenfield Community College Geology Path (by parking lot F). There is a Guide in the metal box. Rare armored mud ball specimens are on display.

GREAT VIEWPOINTS: Poet’s Seat, Greenfield; Mt. Sugarloaf, South Deerfield; High Ledges, Shelburne Falls

WATERFALLS: Listed according to height. Tannery Falls, Savoy; Turners Falls, Barton Cove (abandoned falls), Gill; Chapel Falls, Ashfield; Roaring Brook, Sunderland.

FOSSILS: Beneski Museum at Amherst College….not in Franklin County, but “world class”; Barton Cove’s historic footprint quarry, Gill; Note: insects and other invertebrates left lots of tracks, trails, and burrows in our Jurassic sedimentary rocks. While these are not spectacular like a reptile print, they are fossils and these pits, bumps, and scratches are commonly seen along the Mesozoic red rock bedding planes. Also, search riverbank rocks below the Turners Falls Dam.

LAVA: Highland Park, Greenfield; Rte. 2 Factory Hollow, Greenfield.

UNUSUAL AND DRAMATIC ROCK OUTCROPS: GCC Geology Path; Erving, Rte. 2; Brush Mt., Northfield; Shelburne Falls Potholes; Marble Natural Bridge, N. Adams; Highland Park’s Sachems Run Trail, Greenfield.

CAVES: Catamount, Colrain; Mt. Toby, Sunderland

GLACIAL FEATURES: Drumlins (Gill, drive through them along Turners Falls Rd.); Esker, Old Vernon Rd, off Rte. 142, Northfield; Glacial striations and roche moutonnee, Brush Mt., Northfield; Kettle Ponds: Green Pond & Lake Pleasant, Montague; Cranberry Pond, Sunderland.

RIVER TERRACES: Deerfield Main St.; W. Northfield rte. 142 – Caldwell Rd.

LAKE HITCHCOCK FEATURES: Sunderland Delta (“Delta Gravel Co.”) Rte. 116, Sunderland; Rte. 142, W. Northfield, delta and lake bottom deposits

RIVER TRIP: SEASONAL -- Heritage Riverboat Cruise from Northfield to Barton Cove and return. Sponsored by First Light Power Company. Seasonal. Check online for contact information.”

 

Check out the full history and guide to Franklin County geology here and enjoy learning and exploring new places right in your own backyard. 

Picture Above: Salmon Falls and Glacial Potholes in Shelburne Falls, Massachusetts

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

Donate to Franklin County Non-Profit Community Organizations

donate nonprofits organizations communityThe Franklin County community has always been there to support our local non-profits. Local community members volunteer their time, attend events, and donate money to support our local organizations which better our community and provide invaluable resources. This past year, with the Covid-19 pandemic, many local non-profit organizations have been hit hard financially. The organizations have had to cancel or restructure fundraising events which meant they received less proceeds than in past years. Plus, this year has been tough financially on most households, and therefore people have not been able to donate as much money as they had in past years. 

However, now more than ever is when our community needs the work of these nonprofits to help everyone through these incredibly tough times. Below are four Franklin County non-profit organizations whose work is crucial to the wellbeing of our community. I encourage you to take the time to learn about these organizations and if you can donate any money to them, even if just a small amount, please do so. If we support them, then they can support our community. 

 

childrens advocacy center franklin county massachusettsChildren’s Advocacy Center of Franklin County and North Quabbin Area

Efforts to contain the Covid-19 Coronavirus and to protect global health, such as lockdowns, social distancing, and staying at home, have consequently exposed children and adolescents to an increased risk of family violence. At the same time, these victims have been isolated from the valuable people and resources that could help them in these situations. 

The mission of the Children’s Advocacy Center (CAC) is to prevent and end child abuse in our community by providing education, safety, healing and justice. By working with the Child Abuse Unit of the Northwestern District Attorney’s Office, CAC is dedicated to minimizing secondary trauma to child victims by streamlining the handling of cases of child sexual abuse, serious child physical abuse, and child exploitation. They envision a community in which children are respected and free from harm and their services can make that happen. Learn more about CAC on their website and donate to the CAC here.

 

hilltown food pantry goshen massachusettsHilltown Food Pantry

The Covid-19 pandemic has led to a deep economic crisis in the country. Millions of Americans are facing hunger due to lack of access to sufficient food. The Hilltown Food Pantry has been serving the Northern Hampshire Hilltowns since 1990, and this year especially, their services are needed. The pantry is located in Goshen and serves eligible residents of the surrounding towns. Over 350 individuals from over 150 families share in the monthly distribution of emergency supplemental foods. 

The Hilltown Food Pantry is a program of the Northampton Survival Center. In normal times, the Center could accept items of unopened and undamaged non-perishable food and fresh produce. Due to the Covid-19 Pandemic, they can currently only accept financial donations. These donations are used to buy items on sale and in bulk, pay salaries, maintain the buildings, and keep the refrigerators running. Donate however much you can here. One donation of $50 provides monthly groceries plus weekly supplements of fresh produce to one person for two months. Learn more about the Hilltown Food Pantry here

 

dakin humane society massachusettsDakin Humane Society

The Dakin Humane Society is a community-supported animal welfare organization that provides shelter, medical care, spay/neuter services, and behavioral rehabilitation for more than 20,000 animals and people each year. They provide veterinary services such as spay/neuter, vaccines, and humane euthanasia as well as pet services such as grooming and pet food aid. Their mission is to deliver effective, innovative services that improve the lives of animals in need and the people who care for them. They operate under the belief that when people are provided with information and resources they will make good decisions for their animals.

The Dakin Humane Society is reliant solely on contributions from individuals and the dedication of nearly 600 volunteers who work alongside their staff to help care for the animals, deliver their programs, and govern the organization. If you care about animals and wish to be a supporter of this wonderful organization, you can make a donation of whatever amount you can here. A donation of $25 provides 20 meals for 20 animals. Learn more about the Dakin Humane Society at dakinhumane.org.

 

united way of franklin county massachusettsUnited Way of Franklin County

United Way of Franklin County is part of the largest privately-funded nonprofit in the world with more than 2.8 million volunteers and 9.3 million donors in 41 countries. Locally, United Way of Franklin County is dedicated to improving the quality of life in Franklin County through the mobilization of people and resources to strengthen our communities and advance the common good. They operate many programs throughout the year which support the building blocks for a good quality of life: education, financial stability, and health. These programs provide books and school supplies to local children and adolescents, diapers to families with babies and young children, prescription medication to families who cannot afford their medications, and more. United Way of Franklin County also acts as a voice for other local agencies which are in need of support or supplies. Donate today to the United Way of Franklin County here and learn more at uw-fc.org.

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

The Power of Kindness During Covid-19: Give Back to Franklin County

giving back covid 19 pandemic 2020Recently, I came across a blog post in Coldwell Banker’s blog, Blue Matter, about the Power of Kindness in the Age of Covid. Check out the post here. The post evoked the question that in a time of such uncertainty, what can we do to make the world around us a better place to live? 

One of the reasons I love living in Franklin County is because I constantly see the community supporting each other and boosting itself up. There are various opportunities and events throughout the year to give back. In times like these, I don’t think we need to wait for a particular day or event to give back, but rather that every day can be an opportunity to make our home a better place for all. 

One organization whose mission I really appreciate is Big Brothers Big Sisters Franklin County (BBBS). BBBS is the nation’s largest donor and volunteer supported mentoring network. The organization matches children in the area facing adversity with carefully screened and professionally supported mentors. 

The Covid-19 Pandemic has impacted them in many ways, from reducing their income from events and fundraising to causing layoffs within the organization. The pandemic has also sent local youth facing adversity further into isolation, poverty, and food insecurity. 

BBBS Franklin County has set a goal to reach $10,000 in donations to be able to continue their mission of keeping youth connected, to match waiting youth with mentors, to provide wrap around pandemic services to youth and families, and to avoid further layoffs within the organization. 

Visit their website to make a one-time donation or to join their Monthly Giving Program, which allows donors to decide what they can afford and spread it throughout the year. Your donation reduces juvenile delinquency and crime, improves school attendance and higher graduation rates, and helps local Franklin County youth achieve their full potential.

Donate to Big Brothers Big Sisters Franklin County today!

Big Brothers Big Sisters Franklin County Fundraiser

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

Light Up the Fairgrounds: Holiday Lights Drive Thru in Greenfield

The Franklin County Fairgrounds will host a festive display of lights this holiday season to spread cheer to the community and raise funds for three organizations. They are working alongside Big Brothers, Big Sisters of Franklin County and the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office Regional Dog Shelter to organize a light display lasting three weekends. Over 30 groups from the community of 4 people or less are putting together the various light displays and are competing for a cash prize of $1000. We have two weekends left, December 4-6, and December 11-13, for the public to drive through the fairgrounds and enjoy the light display. 

Each car is asked to donate a minimum of $5 and each night one of the three organizations will receive 100% of the proceeds. These local non-profits have been hit hard by Covid-19 due to canceling events to stay safe and this creative fundraiser is a way to recover some of those funds and spread joy to the local community. 

For more information about this event, visit the Franklin County Fairgrounds on Facebook!

light up fairgrounds franklin county holiday mass

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

Give a Franklin County Gift Card This Holiday Season

Franklin County Gift Card Greenfield MassachusettsEarlier this year, the Franklin County Chamber of Commerce released a new Franklin County Gift Card. Now, as the holidays approach, consider gifting one of these versatile gift cards to your friends and loved ones. They can spend it at the participating Franklin County business of their choice - so they are guaranteed to love their gift! Plus, you’ll be supporting our local small businesses and the local economy.

Here’s where you can purchase a Franklin County Gift Card:

Franklin County Chamber of Commerce, 395 Main Street, Greenfield
Franklin First Federal Credit Union, 57 Newton Street, Greenfield
Ciesluk's Market, 55 North Main Street, South Deerfield
ENJOY. 4 Deerfield Avenue, Shelburne Falls
Greenfield Savings Bank branches: Greenfield, Shelburne Falls, Turners Falls, Conway, South Deerfield, Northampton-King Street

More locations to purchase coming soon!

The Franklin County Chamber of Commerce Gift card can be used at the following locations:

Andy's and The Oak Shoppe
Baker Office Supply
Berkshire Brewing Company Tap Room
Berkshire East Mountain Resort
Centennial House Bed & Breakfast
Ciesluk's Market
Crumpin-Fox Golf Course
ENJOY.
Greenfield Community College Bookstore and Bursar's Office
Greenfield Farmer's Cooperative Exchange
Greenfield Games
Hamel's Creative Catering
Institute for Wilderness & Emergency Medicine
Ja'Duke Theater
Mesa Verde
Northfield Golf Course
Northfield Mountian Recreation Area
Plum Boutique
Richie Richardson FAB
Ryan & Casey Liquors
Thai Blue Ginger
Upper Bend Cafe & Bruncheonette
Zoar Outdoor

More locations coming soon!

For more information about the Franklin County Gift card, visit the Franklin County Chamber of Commerce online or follow them on Facebook!

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

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.

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