Wanda Mooney

Western Mass

Asparagus Valley Pottery Trail: The Show Must Go ON-Line!

Steve Earp potter western Massachusetts The Asparagus Valley Pottery Trail is an annual event in Western Mass, which draws pottery lovers from around the region and even the country to experience firsthand where and how the potters craft their one-of-a-kind pieces. Trail-goers are welcomed to grab a map and guide themselves door to door to 9 different studios where the artists and their guest artists are ready to proudly demonstrate their techniques and offer sales on their pieces of work. 

This year’s Asparagus Valley Pottery Trail has a new slogan: The show must go on...line! Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, unfortunately the potters cannot open their doors to the public this year. However, the artists did what they do best - they used their creativity to create something new, different, and wonderful! They have brought the pottery trail to the public through virtual tours and online shopping. 

While some of the artists already had existing online stores, many had to create new ones to cope with these times of social distancing. All of the potters have been working hard to boost up their online stores in time for the new Asparagus Valley Pottery Trail online event. From May 30 at noon to May 31 at midnight, the 9 artists and their guest potters will offer sales through their online stores. So you can still purchase locally, handcrafted pottery straight from the makers. The potters are accustomed to shipping their fragile products, so they can safely send you your purchases. If you are local, some may be able to leave your package on their front step for curbside pickup.

Molly cantor Shelburne falls pottery Massachusetts To make up for the studio tours, the team of potters have recorded 9 different videos of the 9 studios, so you can see the spaces where the creativity happens and demonstrations of how the products are made. Check them out on their Facebook page

In past years, there has been a mug giveaway for one person who visits 7 or more of the studios. Instead, this year anyone who purchases a piece from Lucy Fagella during the event, will have their name entered into a drawing for a free mug. 

The Asparagus Valley Pottery Trail normally draws in thousands of dollars to these potters, who count on this boost in sales once a year. Other local businesses usually benefit from this event as well through all of the visitors who come from near and far and usually spend the weekend shopping, going out to eat, and staying at local accommodations. Let’s all support the potters this year through this adaptive online event so that they may continue their craft and reopen their doors to us all again next year. 

Visit asparagusvalleypotterytrail.com for more information!

Asparagus valley pottery trail western Massachusetts

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If you are interested in learning more about the area and what each town has to offer click here to explore Franklin County or search for homes for sale by checking out Wanda's search page here

Greenfield Farmers' Market Opens With COVID-19 Safety Protocols

Start Saturdays Fresh!

The Greenfield Farmers’ Market is opening in a different way this year. In order to keep the community safe while still offering local and fresh products, the Market has created important rules and guidelines for market goers. They feel that the measures they have put in place are above and beyond what other shopping options have installed. Right now, it is so important that everyone stay safe. However, people still need to purchase food and agricultural products and the GFM has worked hard to cater to both. 

Located next to the Greenfield Commons, The Greenfield Farmers’ Market plans to make things as safe as possible. They have mapped out the entry and exit points for market goers. At the entrance, customers will pass through a hand washing station. All customers will be required to wear masks. They will then be guided through the market, always maintaining 6 feet from vendors and other customers. Volunteers will be stationed throughout the market to instruct customers and ensure everyone is following the protocols correctly. A menu of all the items for sale will be available for customers to ease the flow through the market.

While this is not the usual way we shop at farmers’ markets, the Greenfield Farmers’ Market is providing the opportunity for local vendors to earn money and move their products, and for shoppers to still find their favorite local items, all while keeping the community safe. Now more than ever, we need to support our community and shop local. 

Visit the Greenfield Farmers’ Market every Saturday now through October at Court’s Square in downtown Greenfield from 8 am to 12:30 pm.

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For a list of vendors and safety protocols, go to greenfieldfarmersmarket.com.

If you are interested in learning more about the area and what each town has to offer click here to explore Franklin County or search for homes for sale by checking out Wanda's search page here

 

March Pioneer Valley Single Family Home Sales Report 2020

Single Family Homes Western MassSales of single family homes in Franklin County were up 33.3% and median price up 7.3% in March 2020 compared to March 2019. The sales were up in Hampshire and Hampden County. Median price was up in both Hampden and Hampshire Counties. 

The average days on market was down 2.3% from 82 days in March 2019 compared to 80 days in March 2020. Listings that are pending (under agreement to sell) were up 4.2% from 529 listings pending in March 2019 to 551 listings pending sale in March 2020.

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

Information provided from the REALTOR Association of Pioneer Valley

Western Mass Real Estate Wanda MooneyPioneer Valley Real Estate Western MassSingle Family Homes Western MassWanda Mooney Western Mass Homes

November 2019 Sales Report of Single Family Homes in the Pioneer Valley

Single family homes western MassachusettsSales of single family homes in Franklin County remained the same and median price increased 8.9% in November 2019 compared to November 2018. The sales were down 1.4% in Hampden County and 24.1% in Hampshire County. Median price was up in both Hampden and Hampshire Counties.

The average days on market was up 1.8% from 69 average number of days in November 2018 compared to 70 days in November 2019. Listings that are pending (under agreement to sell) were up 20.3% from 384 listings pending in November 2018 to 462 listings pending sale in November 2019.

November Sales Report Pioneer ValleyPioneer Valley Real Estate Sales MassachusettsLocal market update Pioneer Valley Real Estate

 

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. 

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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.
 

5 Amazing Hiking Trails in Franklin County, MA

I always appreciate living in Franklin County because of its natural beauty. There are so many places where you can immerse yourself in nature and take in the magnificent views around the valley. Plus, with so many hiking trails around, you can get all the exercise you need without having to go inside. Take a look at some of my favorite places in Franklin County to hike and explore:

High Ledges, Shelburne

High Ledges is a wildlife sanctuary in Shelburne. A series of looping trails allow you to make your hike as short or as long as you’d like. Stop by the vernal pool in the spring time and watch the salamanders grow. Originally the site of Dutch and Mary Barnhardt’s home, the fireplace structure still remains, right next to the viewing point of the village of Shelburne Falls. If you continue on the long trail, you can see the wolf dens, where supposedly the last wolf in the area was exterminated. Visit the Mass Audubon website for more information on High Ledges.

Rocky Mountain Poets Seat Tower, Greenfield 

If you find yourself in downtown Greenfield with just a few hours to spare, Rocky Mountain is the perfect quick hike. This is a 2.4-mile loop, great for all abilities, and moderately trafficked. At the top, you can climb the Poets Seat Tower, a reconstructed stone tower which was built in 1912. From the tower, you can look out over the Town of Greenfield, the Connecticut River Valley, and Montague. Find out more at Greenfield Recreation Department’s website.

Chapel Brook, Ashfield

 Chapel Ledges Brook Ashfield MassChapel Brook in Ashfield offers hiking, swimming, and rock climbing all in one place. Its rugged beauty and tranquility makes it a perfect place to escape for an afternoon or a day. Hike to the top of Pony Mountain and gaze at the top of the hills in Ashfield. There is a direct, steep hike, or another more moderate trail that winds around the side of the mountain. Both trails end at the top of Chapel Ledges, a tall rock face which draws rock climbers from around the area. On hot days you can cool off in the brook, which has a series of small waterfalls with beautiful pools below, perfect for taking a dip. Visit The Trustees website for more information.

Bears Den, New Salem

Bears Den is another spectacular place in Franklin County that offers a great reward with little work. It is located where the middle branch of the Swift River drops off into a woodland pool in a gorge on its way to the Quabbin Reservoir. Hike along the short, quarter-mile trail and then decide - left or right. Go left and be enchanted by the beautiful waterfall or go right and hike along the stream, past large boulders, ending at the site of an Old Mill. Get directions to Bears Den at the Trustees website.

Gunn Brook Falls, Sunderland

Another great waterfall that we are lucky to have close by is Gunn Brook Falls in Sunderland. The trail to get there is only 0.2 miles, which makes it great for families with small children. However, if you’re looking for more hiking, you can continue on the trail up Mt. Toby. At the top of Mt. Toby, you can climb the tower if your fear of heights allows, and get an awesome 360 degree view of the area. Learn more about Gunn Brook Falls here.

 

 

 

Burnt Hill Farm Shares Their Delicious Blueberries With Western Mass

Burnt Hill Blueberry Farm Heath MassachusettsBurnt Hill Blueberry Farm in Heath, Massachusetts is excited to share their delicious blueberries with their neighbors of Western Mass. Last year, the Nartowicz Family, which has been in Heath for over a hundred years, purchased the farm. Now, they are growing low bush wild blueberries high in the hills of Heath. 

Their first blueberry season is already off to a great start, with all of their pick-your-own appointments already filled! You can still get some blueberries of your own, by ordering pre-picked boxes of blueberries on their website, burnthillfarm.com. You can pick them up in July and August. Prices are $38 for a 10 lb box and $68 for a 20 lb box.  

You could also run into them at a local farmers’ market or farm stand, selling pints and quarts! Stay up to date on what they’re up to this summer by following them on Facebook

Happy berry season!

burnt hill blueberry farm heath massachusetts bushes

 

 

4th of July Celebrations in Franklin County Massachusetts

Western Massachusetts 4th of JulyWestern Mass is a great place to be on the 4th of July. Communities all around come together to celebrate Independence Day and enjoy summer. Check out these events happening for July 4th, right in our area:

Independence Day Jazz Concert

The Federated Church on Main Street in Charlemont is hosting an afternoon Jazz Concert with Kamaya Diggs, vocalist, and her combo from 4 to 5:30 pm.

COOP Concert

Every Thursday, this free summer music series attracts enthusiastic audiences to its family friendly downtown location by presenting a variety of talented Franklin County performers whose styles include Folk, Country, String Band, Singer/Songwriter, Bluegrass, Americana, Celtic, Comedy, Rock and Pop. Bring a blanket, lawn chair, picnic, or grab a quick "to go" at one of our nearby food establishments. 

For Thursday, July 4, 2019, from 6-8 pm, the series presents Jim Eagan and Dennis Avery, Joe Graveline and Nina Gross, and The frost heaves and hales.

All shows are at Greenfield Energy Park, 50 Miles Street, Greenfield and presented by the Franklin County Musicians Cooperative, a non-profit of over 40 musicians, and supported by local businesses.

Shelburne Falls Cub Scouts Parade and BBQ

The Shelburne Falls Cub Scouts, Pack 85, will host a parade through the village of Shelburne Falls at 11:30 am on Thursday, July 4th. The Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 8503 will provide the color guard during the parade. The parade will end at the Buckland Shelburne Elementary School, 75 Mechanic Street, for a chicken barbecue, a fundraiser for the cub scouts. During the barbecue, there will also be a military band concert to entertain while you eat. 

Independence Day Community Celebration and Fireworks

Greenfield is hosting it's celebration and fireworks on Friday, July 5 at 4 pm to 10:30 on Beacon Field with music, vendors, food and more. See the flyer below for the full-lineup!

Happy 4th of July!

Greenfield's Independence Day Celebration and Fireworks

 

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

 

 

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