Wanda Mooney

Things to Do in Western Mass

Escape the Cold at Magic Wings Butterfly Conservatory in South Deerfield

Magic Wings Butterfly Conservatory South DeerfieldDuring this time of year, in the middle of winter in New England, the cold can start to get to me a little bit. When that happens, I like to escape to an oasis from the cold in South Deerfield, Magic Wings Butterfly Conservatory. The conservatory is 8,000 square-feet and houses nearly 4,000 exotic and domestic butterflies. The butterflies can flutter among various tropical plants and flowers and small ponds which hold Japanese Carp, or Koi fish. If you’re lucky, a butterfly might even land on you! The best part is: they keep the conservatory at tropical temperatures, so you can enjoy the warmth, even when it’s wintry weather outside.

Magic Wings also has a gift shop to purchase some butterfly souvenirs, outdoor gardens for the warmer weather, and a food court. They offer the option to host events in their facilities, as well, such as weddings, birthday parties, meetings, or other private parties.

Magic Wings is open every day from 9 am to 5 pm. The cost of admission is $16.00 for adults and $10.00 for children under 17. They also offer discounts for seniors and students. So if you need an escape from winter without taking a flight, just drive to Magic Wings in South Deerfield.

Click here to check out their website. 

Magic Wings Butterfly Conservatory South Deerfield MA     Magic Wings Butterfly Conservatory South Deerfield

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


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

Historic Deerfield is Open for the 2021 Season!

historic deerfield massachusettsHistoric Deerfield has reopened for the 2021 season! Now through November 28, step into the past by touring one of their historic homes, attending a history workshop, or simply strolling the tree-lined streets of this 17th century village. Visit historic-deerfied.org for pricing and hours. Admission includes historic house tours, entry to the Flynt Center of Early New England Life, walking tours, the History Workshop, the Apprentice’s workshop, and any special programs scheduled during your visit. Purchase your tickets online here or at the Flynt Center of Early New England Life.

Deerfield’s first English settlers arrived in 1669, although Native Americans had inhabited the area for at least 8,000 years prior. The area was immediately attractive to settlers because of its fertile soil, due to its proximity to the Deerfield, Green, and Connecticut rivers. Over the years, the settlement was fought over many times, which is why the future generations took so much care in preserving the village’s history. Historic Deerfield, Inc. was founded in 1952 as an outdoor museum and the village has been on the National Register of Historic Landmarks since 1962.

Photo credit: facebook.com/HistoricDeerfield


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

Shelburne Falls Trolley Museum Reopens!

Last month, the Shelburne Falls Trolley Museum finally reopened its doors after skipping its 2020 season due to the Coronavirus Pandemic. The Trolley Museum is a staple of Shelburne Falls and the community is so overjoyed to see its return. 


shelburne falls trolley museumTour the Museum and Ride the Trolley

No trip to Shelburne Falls is complete without a visit to the museum. Browse the Trolley Shop museum store, Visitor’s Center, and stroll around grounds - all free to the public. There you can purchase tickets to ride the Trolley Car No. 10. Learn about the history of the trolley, the Bridge of Flowers and the Shelburne Falls and Colrain Street Railway while you ride the trolley car. Then take a ride on the Pump Car, which you will operate yourself! 


About Shelburne Falls Trolley Museum

The Shelburne Falls Trolley Museum is a non-profit organization, which is dedicated to preserving and operating Shelburne Falls & Colrain Street Railway trolley car No. 10. The trolley car was built in 1896 in Springfield and delivered to Shelburne Falls where it was operated to serve the towns of Shelburne and Colrain and then to cross the Deerfield River over what is now the Bridge of Flowers. After it was retired, it was used as a chicken coop, tool shed, and playhouse by a local farmer for 65 years. It was restored in 1999 and has been maintained by the museum ever since. 

Whether you were a fan of trolleys or not before your visit, you certainly will be after one visit to the Shelburne Falls Trolley Museum. Visit the museum, located at 14 Depot Street in Shelburne Falls on Saturdays, Sundays, and holidays from 11 am to 5 pm now through Sunday, October 31st. You can also go on Mondays in August from 1 pm to 5 pm. 

Tickets to ride the trolley car are $4.00 for adults, $2.00 for children ages 6-12 and children under 5 years old ride free. Support the museum and have unlimited rides through the season with one of their memberships. 

Visit their website for more info at sftm.org and follow them on Facebook.


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


Hicks Family Farm Corn Maze in Charlemont Opens September 4th

corn maze fall western massThe Hicks Family Farm Corn Maze will be open for the 2021 season on Saturday, September 4th! Corn mazes have long been a favorite fall activity in New England and we are lucky to have our own amazing local corn maze right here in Franklin County. You can easily find the Hicks Corn Maze on the Mohawk Trail/Route 2 in Charlemont, MA. 

A 5th generation farm in operation, Hicks will be celebrating its 11th year of the corn maze this year. Check out the scavenger hunt in the maze or play mini golf in the field. Plus, don’t miss the haunted weekends in October, Friday and Saturday nights from 7 to 9 pm. 

Visit the Hicks Family Farm Corn Maze Saturdays and Sundays from 10 am to 5 pm, September 4th through October 30th and the evenings during their haunted weekends. Tickets for the corn maze are $8 for children 12 and under and $10 for adults. 

For more information and to view aerial photos of past years’ mazes, visit hickscornmaze.com.


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

Come to the 172nd Franklin County Fair in Greenfield, Massachusetts

franklin county fair pie contestThis weekend marks the 172nd Franklin County Fair in Greenfield, Massachusetts. From Thursday, September 9 through Sunday, September 12 the Franklin County Fairgrounds will be filled with fun for the whole family. This year’s fair features a great lineup of entertainment events and agricultural and craft shows. Be sure to check out the parade, power wheel demo, and demolition derby. Also returning this year is the Coleman Brothers Midway which offers fun and thrills. 

The Franklin County Fair started in 1848 with the purpose of providing agricultural education to the community at a time when many immigrants were fleeing cases of famine in European countries. The fair offered a way to both demonstrate skills such as quilt-making, pie-baking, or cheese-making, as well as flaunt new agricultural innovations or breeds of sheep. Many of the events from the original county fair still continue today, with livestock shows and a display of handmade works at the Roundhouse and Youth Hall.

For the full lineup of events and to purchase your tickets, visit fcas.com.

Photo credit: Franklin County Fair Facebook Page


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


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