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Register Now for the 2018 Hilltown Youth Theatre Summer Workshop

The Pioneer Valley is a hub for the creative arts. It’s a place where many musicians, artists, performers, and creatives come to gain inspiration for their work and to find an artistic community where they can thrive. This is not only true for adults, but for children and teens as well. There are many opportunities in the Valley for kids to follow their artistic intuitions and to gain experience working as a team to create something wonderful. One opportunity in particular is right here in Franklin County, specifically in Charlemont. Since 2010, the Hilltown Youth Performing Arts Programs has been running their Hilltown Youth Theatre Summer Workshop. Their mission is to build a supportive community for youth to develop personally and artistically and to train and collaborate on theatrical productions at a high level, therefore giving them an appreciation for hilltown life and a passion for the arts.

This program, for youth aged 10-18 years old, is an intensive arts experience for aspiring actors, musicians, dancers, and set designers. Guest artists and master teachers, direct participants to create performances which incorporate movement, puppets, mask making, voice work, circus arts, and work on large apparatus such as stilts, aerial fabrics, spools, flying trapeze, and more. At the end of the workshop, the performance takes to the streets, or rather the mountains for audiences to enjoy. This year’s production of Avatar: The Last Airbender will be hosted by Berkshire East Mountain Resort in Charlemont.

The 2018 Summer Workshop runs from July 16 to August 8, Monday through Friday, 9 am to 4 pm. Registration is open now and financial assistance is available. No previous experience is necessary but the ideal candidates will be artists, musicians, athletes, or any other active creative types. For more information, visit their website here.

You're Invited to an Open House This Saturday in Northfield!

This Saturday, June 9th, join me for a special open house for a spacious contemporary style home located on a dead end street in a desirable area of Northfield. The interior has a great floor plan with light filled rooms, beautiful maple floors, vaulted ceiling with skylight, and an attached 2 car garage. The first floor features a kitchen with attractive maple cabinets and breakfast bar; dining room; sitting/dining area that has sliding glass doors to the back deck; large living room; and a half bath. The second floor has a fabulous master suite with lots of closets and full bath and there is a bonus room with washer and dryer hookup that could be used as a large bedroom, exercise or family room. In addition there is a bedroom, full bath and another room that is perfect for office or playroom. This home has a full usable basement, 4 zone Buderus heating system, and the 1.15 acres has a great yard with plenty of room for gardens. This is a great location near the golf course and not far from the charming downtown.

The Open House is from 12 to 2 pm, Saturday, June 9th, at 25 Hidden Pond Lane, Northfield, MA 01360.

Get directions.

View the full listing. 

Contact Wanda today at 413-768-9848 or Wanda@WandaMooney.com

 

Come to an Open House This Saturday for 94 S Deerfield Road in Conway MA

You’re invited to view this charming antique Farmhouse this Saturday, June 2 from 12-2 pm.  Admire the recently completed renovations. Well-known Integrity Builders rebuilt one end of the home and constructed a fabulous second floor bonus room that features a beautiful staircase, wood floors, cathedral ceiling and westerly views. This wonderful space is bright and cheery and perfect for a studio, bedroom, or home office. In addition a 1 car attached garage was added with new entry including a laundry area and tile floors. The main house has a large eat-in kitchen with Ashfield stone countertops, vintage sink, and new appliances. Dining room with built-in cabinet, 3 bedrooms one with walk-in closet, 1 ½ baths, wood floors, updated electrical panel, Buderus heating system and Comcast internet. It has a picturesque back yard, surrounded by nice landscape and lovely flowers. Conveniently located near downtown, library, park, bank, town swimming pool and less than 20 min to I-91 and Shelburne Falls.

View the full listing!

Contact Wanda today at 413-768-9848 or Wanda@WandaMooney.com

 

April Real Estate Sales Report for the Pioneer Valley

Franklin County sales were down 11.8% and the median price went up by 9.7% in April, 2018 compared to April, 2017.  The sales were also down and median price up in both Hampshire and Hampden County. 

Inventory of single family homes fell in Pioneer Valley 31.3 percent from 1,832 single family listings at the end of April 2017, to 1,258 single family listings at the end of April 2018.  

The average days on market dropped 18.5% from 95 days in April 2017 to 78 days in April 2018. Listings which are pending (under agreement to sell) are up 16.6 percent from 578 in April 2017 to 674 in April 2018.

The sale reports are provided from the Realtor Association of Pioneer Valley.

 

Northfield Drive-In Celebrates 70 Years

As a lifelong resident of Franklin County, I always appreciate seeing older businesses that are still running strong. One in particular is the Northfield Drive-In, located on the Northfield, MA/Hinsdale, NH line. In August of 1948, the Northfield Drive-In began showing their “movies under the stars.” Now, they will celebrate 70 years of business with their opening for the 2018 season. This Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, May 25th, 26th, and 27th, Northfield Drive-In will be showing Solo at 8:50 pm and Avengers: Infinity War at 10:50 pm.

This drive-in is 1 of only 20 drive-in theaters still in operation in New England, and the only one remaining of the 15 that the original owner, Carl Nilman, owned. Although the original screen was damaged by a hurricane in 1951, the second screen built kept the same dimensions and is still the one that exists today. In 1967, Northfield Drive-In changed ownership to the Shakour family, who still operate it today. They pride themselves in having a family-run business, where even the children would lend a hand at the snack stand and ticket booth on summer nights.

So take a drive out this weekend to the Northfield Drive-In and support this locally-owned gem. They are located in a beautiful scenic area and have a variety of delights at their snack bar. Plus, the rates are much lower than any indoor movie theater. Tickets are only $12 for adults and $7 for children (cash only). Visit their website for more information and to see what other films they will feature throughout the season.

 

Bridge of Flowers Annual Plant Sale This Saturday

Franklin County is home to Shelburne Falls, a tiny village on the banks of the Deerfield River, composed of parts of the towns of Buckland and Shelburne. There, you can walk across the world famous Bridge of Flowers, an old trolley bridge turned garden. A wide variety of plants and flowers bloom there, planted and cared for by volunteers. Walking across the bridge is a magical experience, seeing all of the brilliant flowers and the views of the Deerfield River.

The Bridge of Flowers Committee, initiated by the Shelburne Falls Area Women’s Club, manages and fundraises for the bridge. This Saturday, May 19, the Bridge of Flowers Committee will host their annual plant sale. From 9 am to noon, stop by the Village Green at the corner of Water and Main Streets in Shelburne Falls and browse the annuals and perennials for sale. There will also be other local vendors. All of the proceeds benefit the Bridge of Flowers. So come out and support this beautiful landmark of Shelburne Falls.

Visit the Bridge of Flowers website and like them on Facebook!

Wood-Smoked BBQ on the Scenic Mohawk Trail Now Open for the Season

Now that the weather is finally feeling like spring (and even summer!), I think all of us New Englanders are excited about warm summer days sitting outside enjoying some delicious food, especially BBQ. One of my personal favorite spots to eat homemade BBQ is at locally-owned Smoky Bro’s BBQ. Smoky Bro’s is now open for the season so you can head over there and enjoy their mouth-watering BBQ.

Try one of their wood-smoked meats such as pork spare ribs or chopped chicken accompanied with classic sides like mac-n-cheese or coleslaw. Order it as a sandwich or try a rack of ribs. All of their meat is slow-smoked with 100% apple wood, hickory, and oak - they never use gas or electric. Plus, whenever possible, they use local produce for their sides and sauces.

The owner, Brolin “Smoky Bro,” started the business in 2010. With the help of a friend, he designed and built his own massive, commercial-grade smoker. After getting married, him and his wife decided to open their own BBQ business and have been a hit ever since!

Smoky Bro’s BBQ is conveniently located on the Mohawk Trail in Shelburne. You can order from the counter and take it to go or sit at one of their picnic tables and enjoy the beautiful scenery while you eat. Smoky Bro’s BBQ is open Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays and holiday Mondays from May through October.

Check out their website for the full menu and like them on Facebook to see updates throughout the summer.

 

Local Western Massachusetts Potters Open Their Doors to the Public This Saturday and Sunday

Living in the Upper Connecticut River Valley, we are so fortunate to be able to take a short drive and visit a bunch of different talented artists right in their studios. This Saturday and Sunday, you can take advantage of this when 9 local potters will open their doors to the public for the Asparagus Valley Pottery Trail. The artists will also be hosting 13 guest potters from as far away as North Carolina.

From 10 am to 5 pm on Saturday, April 28 and Sunday, April 29, this free event will feature sales and demonstrations right at the artists’ studios. In the beautiful village of Shelburne Falls, two local potters are participating in the trail. Molly Cantor of Molly Cantor Pottery will have her doors open to the public and is featuring guest potter Liz Rodriguez from Rockland, MA. You can also stop by Stephen Earp’s studio and see the work of his guest, Evelyn Snyder of Florence, MA. Down the road in Greenfield, Lucy Fagella will be showing off her work along with her guest potter, Martha Grover of Bethel, MA. View the full list of participating potters here.

Before you take the drive along the Pottery Trail, be sure to pick up a Trail Passport. Bring it with you to any of the participating studios and have it stamped. If you receive at least 7 stamps, you will have the chance to win a piece from one of the potters on the trail.

Plan your route ahead of time using the trail map. Don’t forget to make your last stop the 2nd Annual Pottery Trail After Hours Party, Saturday 5:30-8:30 pm at Snow Farm in Williamsburg. Check out some more potter demos, a kiln opening, and enjoy food catered by Local Burgy and the Pottery Trail Ale made special for this event by Lefty’s Brewing Company. Tickets are $30 in advance and $35 at the door.

For more information about all the happenings this weekend, visit the Asparagus Valley Pottery Trail website.

See you on the trail!

5 Staging Tips Before You Show Your Home

Did you know that a staged property usually sells for more money and in less time than an unstaged property? In a recent article by House Logic, “81 Staging Tips That Helps Buyers Fall in Love,” an example of this is shown with two condo listings. Both units were in the same complex and were the same size and layout. One of the units was staged and the other was not. The staged unit sold for $30,000 more than the unstaged one. While staging your home does not guarantee you more money, putting that extra effort in before showing your home can go a long way.

The article continues on to share some helpful tips to prepare each room of your house for showing. Here are some tips that I found to be most important:

1. Depersonalize your home.

It is important that buyers can envision themselves living there. Remove family portraits, refrigerator decorations, and other memorabilia around the home. Instead, hang interesting artwork on the walls or set out a tea set or a board game in the living room so that buyers see what life would be like in your home.

2. Declutter.

This can be a great way to start packing up the house! Clear all countertops, tables, and other surfaces, leaving only one or two decorative items such as a vase. Take away a few pieces of furniture, especially in the living room. Clean out the cupboards, leaving only one matching set of dishes and a few glasses. Clean and organize the pantry. The goal is to make the rooms feel larger and to show the full potential for storage areas such as cabinets and closets.

3. Scrub.

Deep clean your entire home or hire a cleaning service to do it for you. Be sure to remove all dirt and grime from walls, backsplashes, and cabinets, especially in the kitchen and bathrooms. If you have a pet, remove all pet hair, stains, and odors. Make your home so clean it shines!

4. Repair and Refresh.

Replace any old tiling or use paint instead. Fix leaky faucets or running toilets. Fill in nicks or holes in walls and add a fresh coat of paint. Replace any broken or torn window screens and any damaged or aging hardwood floors.

5. Don’t forget about the exterior!

Most buyers drive by houses first before setting up showing appointments. Make sure that their first impression is a positive one. Mow the lawn, trim the shrubs and trees. Power-wash the outside of your home, driveway, and porch. Store any yard equipment or toys out of sight, but leave out something welcoming such as porch furniture or a hammock. Revive the grass with fresh sod or new seed. Brighten up the yard with colorful flowers. Then take a step back and look- make sure things look clean!

Then on the day of showing, add some seasonal touches, such as sizzling cinnamon in the fall or flowers during the spring and summer. Tidy up whatever else may be lingering and then take off while potential buyers admire your beautiful, clean home.

As an accredited staging professional, I have received specific training in staging homes. I work with all my clients to make sure their home is staged properly before it hits the market. 

Read the full article on House Logic.

More tips by me for making a positive first impression.

 

 

Attend the Auction, Support Your Local Businesses!

As a former board member of the Greater Shelburne Falls Area Business Association (GSFABA) and a resident of the hilltowns, I love to support this association. The work they do benefits the hilltowns of West Franklin County, by boosting tourism, exposing businesses, and working together with the towns to make it a great place to live.

That is why I am excited that this Saturday, April 7, GSFABA will host their 22nd Annual Auction. Attend the auction and bid on exciting items donated by local businesses such as getaways, glass by Josh Simpson, and bike passes to Berkshire East’s Thunder Mountain Park. There will also be a variety of local food and beverage gift baskets and restaurant gift certificates.

The evening starts at 6 pm at the Shelburne-Buckland Community Center with a silent auction, followed by an exciting live auction. Plus, enjoy live music and local food, beer and wine while you bid.

Tickets are $15 in advance and $20 at the door. The proceeds from the auction will go towards GSFABA’s non-profit subsidiary, West County Arts & Culture, which supports the region’s creative economy. Contact Angela Varilly at 413-775-8281 for more information or visit shelburnefalls.com.