Wanda Mooney

Recreation

Halloween At Highland Park in Greenfield: A Drive-Thru Experience

halloween trick or treat massachusettsThe Greenfield Recreation Department has saved Halloween! Alongside businesses and agencies throughout Greenfield, they have planned a socially-distanced drive-thru Halloween experience at Highland Park. Load up your household into a vehicle and enjoy a ¾ mile drive full of fun and scary Halloween sights, including ghosts, goblins, zombies, witches, and skeletons! 

Enter Highland Park via Highland Avenue and continue through the display, driving at 5 mph. Once you’ve reached the finish, exit via Crescent Street. Attendees are encouraged to dress up and masks are required. 

Plus, the first 2000 children through the entrance will receive a free Halloween Treat Bag full of goodies! 

This special Halloween event is happening Friday, October 30th from 4-6 pm. Visit franklincc.org for more information and RSVP to the Facebook event!

Happy Halloween!

--

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

halloween highland greenfield

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

--

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.

--

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.

Zoar Outdoor 5th Best Rafting Company in the US

zoar outdoor rafting deerfield riverRecently, Zoar Outdoor was named the 5th best rafting company in the nation by a USA Today readers’ poll. An expert panel chose 15 rafting companies around the country to vote from, and then readers voted, placing Zoar Outdoor in Charlemont at number 5. This is a great accomplishment, not only for Zoar, but for our area too. It shows how Franklin County is a place with top outdoor companies and natural attractions worth visiting.

Zoar offers a variety of activities on the Deerfield River. They have rafting trips for small children and first-timers on the river, to adrenaline junkies seeking a thrill. The float trip is a great way to experience the scenery and enjoy the river in a relaxed way. The Zoar Gap rafting trip is a nice way to experience more intermediate whitewater and the Dryway rafting trip is for those ready to paddle as a team and hit bigger features on the river. Guests can also experience the river from a kayak for an afternoon on the Guided River Kayaking tour or learn to whitewater kayak in one of their instructional clinics. Off the river, Zoar has tours on the first Zipline Canopy Tour in Massachusetts and rock climbing tours.

Two other outfitters also operate on the Deerfield and offer a great customer experience. Crabapple Whitewater offers rafting and inflatable kayak tours, and Berkshire East has their own whitewater rafting team, as well.

The Deerfield River is also enjoyed by fly fisherman. The river has a mix of wild and stocked trout. Due to the scheduled water releases, the water stays cold through the summer. However, the river requires a skilled navigator to maneuver around rocks and through sections of whitewater rapids. Fortunately, there are plenty of guide services operating on the Deerfield river, ready to show fishermen the best spots to find fish:

Deerfield River MassachusettsJonathan Bunker – http://squaretailanglers.com/

Mike Didonna – http://www.deerfieldflyshop.com/

Walt Geryk – http://neffguide.com/ma.html

Eric Halloran – https://fishtalefabricators.com/

Dan & Tom Harrison – http://www.harrisonanglers.com/

Chris Jackson – http://www.flyfishthedeerfield.com/

Brian Lynch – http://www.pheasanttailtours.com/

Overwatch Outpost, Charlie Ricko  – http://overwatch-outpost.com

The Deerfield River can also be enjoyed just as much from shore. There are several great swimming spots along the river. Shunpike rest area in Charlemont has a nice small beach and great rocks for lounging. The river is also relatively shallow in that spot, making it nice for wading out into the water (depending on the water release level). The Zoar Picnic Area in Charlemont is also a great spot for setting up a picnic. There are plenty of tables and camping grills to have a BBQ and hang by the river. 

--

Sources: http://deerfieldrivertroutunlimited.com/local-fly-shops-and-guide-services/
http://franklincc.chambermaster.com/news/details/news-release-8-6-2019-30
https://www.flyfisherman.com/editorial/the-deerfield-river/151807

Photo Credit: Bob Story Photography

Local State Forests Worth Visiting in Franklin County

Living in Franklin County, Massachusetts, we don't have to go far to find pristine waters, gorgeous landscapes, and remote places to relax in nature. In fact, we don't even have to leave the county! Check out these local state forests which offer hiking, canoeing, fishing, camping, and more! 

Kenneth Dubuque State Forest PlainfieldKenneth Dubuque Memorial State Forest

Located on West Hawley Road in Plainfield, Kenneth Dubuque Memorial State Forest (pictured right) offers 35 miles of mixed-use trails. Hiking, mountain-biking, and snowmobiling are all permitted activities in the state forest, as long as you remain on the marked trails. You can also relax and fish at Hallockville Pond, where you will find the remains of an old mill. Other remains of the past include cellar holes from abandoned village of South Hawley and a rare fieldstone "beehive" charcoal kiln. More information here.

Catamount State Forest

Catamount State Forest is a part of the former village of Colrain, Catamount. Catamount was the site of the first schoolhouse to fly the United States Flag in 1812. Now, much of Catamount is public land, although part of it is private property so beware of no trespassing signs. The former roads of Catamount are no mostly accessible by foot, mountain bike, or snowmobile. Trails lead up to a beautiful pond, not suitable for swimming, but great for canoeing to its islands. More info here.

Erving State Forest

Erving State Forest is a beautiful forest and campground located on Route 2 in Erving. The park supports a variety of outdoor recreational activities. You can hike, bike, or snowmobile along the 8-miles of forest roads and trails, go boating, swimming, or fishing at the pristine Laurel Lake, and camp at the easily accessed campgrounds. Camping is $17/night for Massachusetts residents and $27/night for non-residents. Parking fees (only applicable Memorial Day through Labor Day) are $8/day for Massachusetts residents and $15/day for non-residents. More info here.

Mohawk Trail State Forest

Also on Route 2/Mohawk Trail, but on the other side of Interstate 91, lies 6,000 acres of mountain ridges, gorges, and woods that compose the Mohawk Trail State Forest. Right along the Deerfield River, there are plenty of great swim spots and miles of river to canoe and kayak. Bring your own tent to camp or stay in one of their cabins. There are grills, a pavilion, and picnic areas on site. More information here.
 

Run, Bike, and Swim at the Greenfield Lightlife Triathlon in Greenfield, Massachusetts

greenfield lightlife triathlonThis coming Sunday, August 4th, 2019 is the 36th annual Greenfield Lightlife Triathlon in Greenfield, Massachusetts, the longest running triathlon in New England! There is still time to register for the race - so come out and challenge yourself on this beautiful course. The course meanders through the back roads of Greenfield, passes through the Historic Eunice Williams Covered Bridge, and features swimming in the Green River. You can sign up as an individual or as a two or three person team. Find out more information on registration and fees at https://www.greenfield-triathlon.com/register.php. All proceeds from the Greenfield Lightlife Triathlon benefit the Greenfield Recreation Department. Over the years, this triathlon has raised thousands of dollars to support programs and events for the community. 

After the race, there will be a celebratory lasagna lunch and awards ceremony. Awards go to the overall male and female winners, relay team finishers, and top finishers by age group. There are also two special awards - the Nook Burniske Award and the Patrick Bell Award. The Nook Burniske Award goes to somebody who embodies the spirit of sportsmanship and has contributed to the Greenfield Triathlon or Greenfield sports in a significant way. The Patrick Bell Award goes to the youngest finisher of the Greenfield Triathlon.

If participating in the triathlon is not for you, you can still be a part of the event by volunteering or spectating. The race runs on 80+ volunteers to fill jobs from serving food to site preparation to finish line assistant and more. Register to volunteer hereYou can also support the runners by cheering them on from the sidelines. There are several designated parking areas for spectators throughout the course and plenty of great spots to watch and cheer. For specific information on these locations, click here.

If the 2019 triathlon doesn’t seem feasible for you, consider participating next year. The triathlon has a training program for participants that goes for 7 weeks on Sundays from mid-June to the end of July. There is also a free one-day triathlon clinic to familiarize participants with the course and discuss best practices for preparing yourself for the race. It is also a great opportunity to meet other triathletes. 

Go to greenfield-triathlon.com for more information. Good luck to all the triathletes!

greenfield triathlon massachusetts bikinggreenfield triathlon massachusetts swimming

Photos from Greenfield Lightlife Triathlon / greenfield-triathlon.com 

 

Celebrate the River at Deerfield Riverfest!

The Deerfield River is a beautiful landmark of our area. It draws people from all around to take advantage of its majestic waters, abundance of fish, and relaxing shorelines. Celebrate the Deerfield River this weekend with Zoar Outdoor and American Whitewater at the Deerfield River Festival in Charlemont, MA. 

All weekend long, Friday, June 28 through Sunday, June 30, Zoar Outdoor is offering free mini clinics for paddlers with some experience, seeking to improve their skills. This is a great opportunity to connect with other canoeists and kayakers and to pick up some tips from the Zoar instructors. Various outdoor sales representatives will be hanging out too, showing different boats and gear. You can pre-register for the clinics at Zoaroutdoor.com/demofest.

Then, on Saturday night, there will be a big party at the Charlemont Fairgrounds in celebration and appreciation of the Deerfield River. Enjoy live music, beer, and food, while you bid on auction items to support American Whitewater, the primary advocate for protecting whitewater rivers throughout the United States. You can also watch raft guides compete in the raft guide olympics, a series of rafting themed competitive events. Pitch a tent and camp at the fairgrounds after the festival. 

More information at americanwhitewater.org.

zoar outdoor demofest deerfield river american whitewater

 

 

Be Transported to Medieval Times at the Mutton and Mead Medieval Festival

Joust Mutton Mead Medieval FestivalDo you want to be transported to medieval times? This weekend you can at the Mutton and Mead Medieval Festival in Montague, Massachusetts. Started in 2011, the Mutton and Mead Festival is a highly anticipated annual event, where medieval England comes alive in Western Massachusetts. Once a year, the fictitious Mutton and Mead Tavern hosts their town’s summer festival and festival goers are brought back to the 13th century.

Children and adults alike are bound to find something that intrigues them at the Mutton and Mead Festival. The schedule is filled with events for Saturday and Sunday, June 15 and 16 from 10 am to 6:30 pm. See the joust where brave knights on horseback compete on the field of honor. Play games of skill and shoot a round of archery. Meet medieval characters such as Robin Hood and Maiden Marion. Explore the enchanted forest. Plus, enjoy many more comedy, stunt, and Shakespeare acts. View the full lineup here.

Local vendors from around the valley will be there as well, selling artisanal crafts, costumes, art, body products, tarot card readings, and more. Come hungry because there will also be lots of food for sale, and of course ales and mead too. See the full list of vendors here.  

The Mutton and Mead Festival is a project by the Knighten Guild. For directions to the festival, to purchase tickets, and for more details, visit their website.

Mutton and Mead Medieval Festival Montague Mass

Compete, Volunteer, or Cheer at the Berkshire Highlands Pentathlon

This is an amazing time of year where Winter and Summer overlap in our area. You can be skiing in the mountains in the morning and biking on the roads or kayaking the rivers in the afternoon. This makes it the perfect time of year to hold a pentathlon, combining five outdoor activities into one event. The 8th Annual Berkshire Highlands Pentathlon is this Saturday, April 6, starting and finishing at Berkshire East Mountain Resort.

The race has five legs- a 4 mile trail run, 16 mile road bike, 2 mile river paddle, 2 mile obstacle course run, and finally a climb up Berkshire East to a ski/snowboard down to the finish line. Participate in the pentathlon on your own as a “Braveheart” or as part of a team of two or five people. There is a special category for family teams, as well! The pentathlon is a fun way to challenge yourself in a variety of sports in the same race. After the race, all participants are welcome to a free meal at Berkshire East and a free beer from Berkshire Brewing Company!

You can also be part of the fun as a volunteer! The Berkshire Highlands Pentathlon is still seeking volunteers to help time and monitor the course. Volunteers are crucial to making this event happen and receive a free T-shirt and meal to say thanks for their help. Sign up for a volunteer role here.

Of course, supporters are always needed to boost up the participants. Come out and cheer on the participants as they challenge themselves. There are several great viewing areas for different legs of the course. Check out the best places to spectate here. Participants will meet at 10:15 am and the race starts at 11:00 am.

For more information and to register for the Pentathlon, click here.

Good luck to all the racers!



 

Lake View

Recommended Searches