Wanda Mooney

Western Mass

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.

 


 

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.

May 2020 Pioneer Valley Single Family Home Sales Report

monthly sales report pioneer valley realtorsSales of single family homes in Franklin County were down 43.4% and median price down 17.6% in May 2020 compared to May 2019. The sales were down in Hampden County and up in Hampshire County. Median price was up in Hampden County and down in Hampshire County. 

The average days on market in the Pioneer Valley was down 16.9% from 71 days in May 2019 compared to 59 days in May 2020. Listings that are pending (under agreement to sell) were down 3.2% from 653 listings pending in May 2019 to 632 listings pending sale in May 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

single family sales report pioneer valley real estatereal estate sales report western massachusettslocal market update franklin county massachusettsreal estate statistics massachusetts pioneer valley

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.

Greenfield farmers market western Massachusetts

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.

 

 

 

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