Wanda Mooney

Recreation

Socially Distant At-Home Activity Ideas

Social distancing can be tough this time of year, when it's cold outside and you're running out of ideas for indoor activities. If you're looking for some creative ways to occupy some time, check out this list of activities compiled by Mass.gov. Take virtual tours of far away landmarks, read stories, learn something new with free lessons, and more. Enjoy!

kids computers tablets learningGeneral Resources

Tour Yellowstone National Park 

Explore the surface of Mars on the Curiosity Rover 

Discover virtual tours of farms 

Take a digital fieldtrip and see the Louvre in Paris 

Visit the Great Wall of China virtually 

Take a trip around the British Museum online 

Read, play games, and hang out with Dr. Seuss 

Learn some history in these online classes 

Learn some biology with these online lessons 

Explore this digital history archive 

Explore musical concepts with these games 

Learn new things with these free lessons from universities and companies 

Explore Scholastic's "Learn at Home" Resources :

        - Leisure and Learning at Home (MCB/DDS Focus) — PDF (PDF 100.54 KB)

        - Leisure and Learning at Home (MCB/DDS Focus) — RTF (RTF 363.71 KB)

Audio Resources

Podcast: Assistive Technology Update (Easterseals Crossroads) 

Podcast: Ouch! (BBC) 

Podcast: The Far Meridian (The Whisperforge) 

Free Public-Domain Audiobooks (Librivox) 

Audiobooks: Rakuten Overdrive 

NOTE: Requires a library card at a supported library

 

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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

Greenfield's 99th Winter Carnival Iceolation Celebration

Greenfield’s 99th Winter Carnival looks a little bit different this year than in past years. The Greenfield Recreation Department has cleverly themed this year’s carnival as an “Iceolation Celebration.” The Winter Carnival will run from February 5th through 7th and includes a series of socially distanced and virtual events which the community can participate in either from their home or around Greenfield, Mass. 

The Winter Carnival Sleigh Bell Run will be held virtually this year. Runners can register online at runreg.com. Then choose your own route and walk or run anytime during Carnival weekend. Upload your time to RunReg and share photos and videos of your run on the Greenfield Winter Carnival 2021 Facebook event page

Many of the other usual events have been altered this year to accommodate safe social distancing. Instead of the usual cardboard sled contest, this year the contest will be held virtually and be based purely on design. While the Keg Pull contest will be put on hold this year, people can still upload photos of their dogs pulling a keg and submit it to the photo contest. Other events include a Paper Snowflake Contest, a city-wide scavenger hunt, downtown ice carvings, and more. 

Check out the rest of the events and more information about the Greenfield 99th Winter Carnival at greenfieldrecreation.com/wintercarnival.

greenfield winter carnival 2021 massachusetts

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


 

Snow Tubing and Sledding in Franklin County Western Mass

With its beautiful rolling hills and wide expanses of open land, Franklin County is full of amazing winter sledding, snow tubing, cross-country skiing, and snowshoeing spots. Here a few local favorites to enjoy on a snow day:

Snow tubing western massachusetts winter sledding Berkshire East Snow Tubing Park

Our local ski resort in Charlemont also offers tubing! Berkshire East has three 500-foot well-groomed lanes, along with a magic carpet to bring you back up for your next ride. Snow tubing will be available starting January 16th, with reservations required. Go to berkshireeast.com/winter/snow-tubing-park for more information.

Ashfield Community Golf Course

For classic New England sledding and tubing, head over to the Ashfield Community Golf Course. Located on Norton Hill Road, just off of Route 116 in Ashfield, there are plenty of hills and open space to adventure in a winter wonderland.

Greenfield Community College (GCC)

The fields in front of Greenfield Community College have some desirable hills for sledding and tubing. Plus, it’s located centrally in Greenfield on College Dr near Downtown Greenfield, so it’s easy to get to if you live in Greenfield

Beacon Field Greenfield

Another great spot in Greenfield is Beacon Field on Beacon Street. There you’ll find a great hill and an open field, perfect for a snowy day of sledding and tubing!

Rowe Elementary School

For those who live further west in Franklin County, check out the hill behind Rowe Elementary School for sledding and tubing. Just to be sure to check with the school hours for parking and restrictions on entering the property.

Savoy Mountain State Forest

For scenic snowshoeing and cross-country skiing trails, head over to Savoy Mountain Forest. There you can immerse yourself in a natural winter wonderland, surrounded by a calm, wintry forest. For directions and more information go to mass.gov/locations/savoy-mountain-state-forest

Northfield Mountain Recreation Area

As mentioned in a previous blog post, Northfield Mountain Recreation Area has lots of trails for cross-country skiing and snowshoeing. While the trails will not be groomed this year, the public is still welcome to use the trails while snow cover is adequate. Check out my previous blog post for more information.

 

Other than Berkshire East, all of these are unpatrolled locations for use at your own risk, so please use caution and go prepared for the weather. 

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

 

Get Outside for Winter Skiing at Berkshire East in Western Mass

Berkshire East Mountain Ski Resort Charlemont MassWinter is here and with the arrival of beautiful fresh white snow, everyone is itching to get out and play! Getting outside and playing in the snow is a great way to cure the winter and Covid blues. Plus, it’s easy to social distance and keep everyone safe while doing so. Check out these local beautiful spots where you can bask in a winter wonderland!

Berkshire East Mountain Resort

Berkshire East Mountain Resort in Charlemont opened on December 17. The mountain crew has been working hard to make snow and keep the trails maintained for excellent riding conditions. This season, things will be different due to Covid, but Berkshire East has been preparing new systems and amenities to make the season safe and fun. For example, they are asking that all non-season pass holders book their tickets in advance so that they can control the number of skiers on the mountain. For dining, they ask that reservations for dining inside at Crazy Horse be made in advance. Or you can check out their new outdoor dining service. Order online from an even larger selection of food than in the past, and then pick up your order from the window when it’s ready. Plan ahead for your day at Berkshire East by reading their information online related to Covid-19. This will help to make it a safe and enjoyable season for all.


Northfield Mountain

As of December 14, Northfield Mountain announced that they will not be selling trail passes or renting equipment. But the good news is, if you have your own gear, you can still access the trails when the snow cover is sufficient. Just note that the trails will not be groomed or patrolled, so know your limits and plan ahead because there will be no restroom or warming facilities. When the snow cover is thin, the public will be allowed to use the trails for hiking or cycling on fat bikes. All trail users must wear face masks at all times. Check their Facebook page or website for any updates around this. 

Happy trails!

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

Two Meteor Showers for December 2020 Outdoor Almanac from Mass Audubon

meteor shower night skyThe December Outdoor Almanac from Mass Audubon has some exciting natural events listed for this month! The most interesting events include two meteor showers. First, December 13-14 will be the peak of the Geminid Meteor Shower. As many as 120 shooting stars will be visible in the dark sky between midnight and dawn. Then on December 21-22, the Ursid Meteor Shower will originate from the Little Dipper (Ursa Minor). The Ursid Meteor Shower generally has about 5 to 10 meteors per hour, but in rare instances could have bursts of 100 or more per hour. 

 

Check out the full December Outdoor Almanac from Mass Audubon below:

december 2020 outdoor almanac mass audubon

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

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!

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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

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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 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.

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