Win a Family 4-Pack to WinklePicker Festival Afternoon Mardi Gras Ball

Family-Friendly Afternoon Mardi Gras Ball
At WinklePicker Festival in Ashfield, MA
Saturday, February 16th at 2pm

The Primate Fiasco

Win a family 4-pack of tickets and shake off the winter blues at the Ashfield Town Hall during a winter afternoon of family-friendly creole fun! Deadline to enter to win: 02/12/13 by 11:59pm (EST). More details below.

Parents aren’t the only ones who can have a ball at the WinklePicker Mardi Gras Festival!  Kids have their own Mardi Gras Ball planned too!  Families can two-step during an afternoon family-friendly Mardi Gras Ball on Saturday, February 16th at 2pm with The Primate Fiasco, and Hilltown Families has three family 4-pack of tickets to giveaway!

Win a family 4-pack of tickets and shake off the winter blues at the Ashfield Town Hall during a winter afternoon of family-friendly creole fun! Deadline to enter to win: 02/12/13 by 11:59pm (EST). More details below.

ABOUT THE PRIMATE FIASCO

The Primate Fiasco, the Pioneer Valley’s own New Orleans street band (Sousaphone, banjo, brass, woodwinds, drums, etc), plays music that you wouldn’t expect. They can keep a dance party pumpin’ on a sidewalk or from a stage. High energy arrangements and improvisation mix with fascinating lyrics and curveball cover decisions. From their Grammy nominated kids album, “Wheels on the Bus,” to their cult following of Hippies and Hipsters to their gray haired jazz lovers, the Fiasco scene is open to all music lovers, especially those who love to dance. Whether you see them on stage or parading through a festival campground, you’ll be smiling and moving your feet. The Primate Fiasco has shared the stage with Classic Rock legends, Jazz greats, Jam Band giants, and random people from the audience. –  www.theprimatefiasco.com

Dadnabit, the “Dads writing about kids’ culture” blog, summed up The Primate Fiasco live concert experience perfectly, “Trust me: You’re a Primate Fiasco fan. You just don’t know it yet.”

HOW TO WIN

Your chance to enter to win a family 4-pack of tickets to the family-friendly afternoon Mardi Gras Ball  at WinklePicker Festival in Ashfield, MA on  Saturday, February 16th at 2pm, is as easy as 1-2-3 (4)!

To enter to win simply:

  1. CONSIDER SHARING ON FACEBOOK by selecting the Facebook icon below;
  2. TELL US HOW HILLTOWN FAMILIES HAS CONNECTED  YOU WITH YOUR COMMUNITY OVER THE YEARS  below (one entry per household); and be sure to tell us your
  3. FULL NAME and where you
  4. LIVE (TOWN/STATE), Must include your town to be eligible.
  5. ACCURATE EMAIL IN THE EMAIL FIELD BELOW (we never share your email address with a third party).
  6. We’ll randomly draw the names of three winners and will share the results below.

IT’S THAT SIMPLE! — Deadline is Tuesday, 02/12/13 by 11:59pm (EST) – Laissez les bons temps rouler!

If you don’t win, you should take yours sprouts anyway! Tickets will be available at the door, beginning at 1:30pm, and are $5/children, $10/adults, or $20/family of four. For more information, visit WinklePickerFest.com or call Elmer’s Store at 413-628-4003.

PARENTS’ NIGHT OUT! Win Tickets to Mardi Gras Ball at Ashfield Town Hall

Mardi Gras Ball at Ashfield Town Hall
with Steve Riley & the Mamou Playboys
Saturday, February 16th at 8pm

Steve Riley and the Mamou Playboys

Win a pair of tickets for a Parents’ Night Out to the WinklePicker Festival Mardi Gras Ball with music by Steve Riley and the Mamou Playboys and special guests, The Primate Fiasco, on Saturday, February 16th at 8pm at the Ashfield Town Hall. Deadline to enter for a chance to win: 02/12/13.

Continuing our Parents’ Night Out promotions, Hilltown Families and Winklepicker Festival have partnered up to offer two pairs of tickets to the 2nd annual WinklePicker Festival Mardi Gras Ball at Ashfield Town Hall on Saturday, February 16th at 8pm with multi-Grammy nominee Steve Riley and the Mamou Playboys!

Win a pair of tickets and take your spouse, partner or good friend for a night out. Deadline to enter to win: 02/12/13 by 11:59pm (EST). More details below.

ABOUT THE WINKLEPICKER MARDI GRAS FESTIVAL

The 2nd annual WinklePicker Mardi Gras Festival — When New Englanders Go Barnyard Crazy – will heat up the town of Ashfield, MA., February 15- 17, 2013. WinklePicker stirs all the warmth of music, dancing, community, eating and drinking up together in one big, roiling pot, celebrating warmth and fun in the coldest, plainest days of the year. www.WinklePickerFest.com

ABOUT THE MARDI GRAS BALL

Headlining the Saturday, February 16th Grown Ups Mardi Gras Ball at Ashfield Town Hall (412 Main Street, Ashfield, MA) at 8pm, will be multi-Grammy nominee Steve Riley and the Mamou Playboys.  This is the ball for grown-ups who want to dress up and get down as the band works its magic with a hot two-step, then turns on a dime and deliver an a cappella ballad, followed by something that sounds like Howlin’ Wolf fell in lust with a Creole girl.  Costumes and masks are welcome!  After the concert, revelers can head next door to Elmer’s Store where The Primate Fiasco After Party will keep you dancing.

ABOUT STEVE RILEY & THE MAMOU PLAYBOYS

Steve Riley and the Mamou Playboys will be rolling out their brand new songs in the Hilltowns of Western MA in Ashfield, just before heading into the studio to record their 14th CD.  And they will have just returned from the Grammy Awards on February 10th, where their last recording, “Grand Isle,” is nominated for a Grammy in the “Best Regional Roots Music Album” category.  Best of luck to the Playboys! www.mamouplayboys.com

Steve Riley and the Mamou Playboys began over twenty years ago with a reputation for excellence. Their stunningly clean and cohesive performance of Cajun French music from the backwaters of Southwest Louisiana propelled them into the world music limelight early on, and by their third release, Trace of Time, had garnered them a Grammy nomination in the worldwide field of traditional folk music, another in 2004 for Bon Reve, in 2009 for Live at the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival and again in 2011 for their latest release, Grand Isle.

In this video below, “Steve Riley and his Mamou Playboys make sweet Cajun music together: music steeped in the French heritage of southwestern Louisiana and driven by accordion and fiddle. Watch the Grammy-nominated Cajun band play an upbeat yet bittersweet set from the NPR Music offices.:”

HOW TO WIN

Your chance to enter to win a pairs of tickets for a Parents’ Night Out to the WinklePicker Festival Mardi Gras Ball with music by Steve Riley and the Mamou Playboys and special guests, The Primate Fiasco, on Saturday, February 16th at 8pm at the Ashfield Town Hall, is as easy as 1-2-3 (4)!

To enter to win simply:

  1. CONSIDER SHARING ON FACEBOOK by selecting the Facebook icon below;
  2. TELL US HOW HILLTOWN FAMILIES HAS CONNECTED  YOU WITH YOUR COMMUNITY OVER THE YEARS  below (one entry per household); and be sure to tell us your
  3. FULL NAME and where you
  4. LIVE (TOWN/STATE), Must include your town to be eligible.
  5. ACCURATE EMAIL IN THE EMAIL FIELD BELOW (we never share your email address with a third party).
  6. We’ll randomly draw the names of two winner sand will share the results below.

IT’S THAT SIMPLE! — Deadline is Tuesday, 02/12/13 by 11:59pm (EST)

If you don’t win, tickets are on sale at www.signaturesounds.com/winklepicker2013 and at Elmer’s Store in Ashfield ($25/person)… and at the event ($30/person).  Doors open at 7:30 pm.  Complete details and ticketing information is available at www.WinklePickerFest.com and at Elmer’s Store 413-628-4003.

Weekly Winter Hike Series in the Hilltowns with the Trustees of Reservations

Weekly Hike Series This Winter with the Trustees of Reservations

Families with younger children and homeschooling families are welcomed to join in a new winter hiking series with the Trustees of Reservations on Thursday mornings in Ashfield, MA.

Even though it’s cold outside, and the snow and ice will be here soon, walking in the woods is a great way to get some exercise and fresh air, and stay fit and healthy this winter.  Join the Trustees of Reservations for a new weekly walk series on Thursdays at the Bullitt Reservation, Chapel Brook, and other destinations in and around Ashfield, MA.  The walks will be easy to moderate guided group hikes in the woods.  Come look for signs of winter wildlife, meet  some new neighbors or catch up with old friends, get your blood pumping, all while enjoying some new and familiar places!

The first walk will be on Thursday, December 13th at 10am, for 1-2 hours at the Bullitt Reservation (332 Bullitt Rd.) Ashfield. The next two hikes will be on Thursday, December 20th at 10am at the Chapel Brook (Williamsburg Rd.) Ashfield, and Thursday, January 10th at 10am at Bear Swamp (Hawley Rd.) in Ashfield. We will meet every Thursday, weather permitting, through the winter.

The hikes are free and open to all, but please register to be notified of inclement weather cancellations, directions to hikes, and for more information by calling Ryan Pennesi at 413-628-4485 x1 or emailing rpennesi@ttor.org

This series is sponsored in part by The Trustees of Reservations and the Student Conservation Association.

- Submitted by Wendy Sweetser.

PARENTS’ NIGHT OUT: Mardi Gras Ball with Buckwheat Zydeco in the Hilltowns!

Winklepicker Festival
Mardi Gras Ball w/ Buckwheat Zydeco
& After-Party w/ The Primate Fiasco
Saturday, Feb 18th @ 7pm in Ashfield, MA

Winklepicker Festival's Mardi Gras Ball with Buckwheat Zydeco at the Ashfield Town Hall (412 Main Street), followed by an after-party with The Primate Fiasco, happens on Feb 18th! Deadline to enter to win: 2/15. Details below.

Continuing our Parents’ Night Out promotions, Hilltown Families has a pair of tickets to giveaway to one very lucky couple to the Winklepicker Festival Mardi Gras Ball with Buckwheat Zydeco at the Ashfield Town Hall (412 Main Street), followed by an after-party with The Primate Fiasco next door at Elmer’s, in Ashfield, MA on Saturday, February 18th at 7pm. Deadline to enter to win: 2/15. Details below.

WHAT IS WINKLEPICKER?

Italy has Carnivale, Brazil has the same. Germany has Fasching, New Orleans has Mardi Gras… Ashfield has Winklepicker! – And while those other festivals are all tied to the last possible blow-out moments before the contemplative days of Lent, out here in the Protestant hinterlands, Winklepicker is tied to the hardest part of the year – when the novelty of winter has worn off, warmth is still half a globe-turn away and you’d like something to do besides plow snow and rake roofs.

Winklepicker stirs all the warmth of music, dancing, community, eating and drinking up together in one big, roiling pot. Winklepicker celebrates warmth and fun in the coldest, plainest days of the year. This inaugural year, the third weekend of February also turned out to be the weekend that precedes the above celebrated festivals, and the theme of Mardi Gras in New Orleans was picked as the inaugural theme for the weekend.

This year’s festival includes: Creole Cooking Workshop; Exhibit of Mardi Gras costumes; Mardi Gras Kids Music Camp; Concert with Chris Smither; Gospel Brunch; and a Mardi Gras Ball with Buckwheat Zydeco (after-party with The Primate Fiasco). Find out more at www.winklepickerfest.com.

MARDI GRAS BALL WITH BUCKWHEAT ZYDECO

Grammy Award-winning American musical legend, Louisiana vocalist, and accordion and organ master Buckwheat Zydeco is the preeminent ambassador of Louisiana zydeco music. The New York Times says, “Stanley ‘Buckwheat’ Dural leads one of the best bands in America. A down-home and high-powered celebration, meaty and muscular with a fine-tuned sense of dynamics…propulsive rhythms, incendiary performances.” This high-energy band will lead a night of dancing and Mardi Gras revelry that you won’t want to miss, so put on your dancing shoes and join Buckwheat Zydeco as he heats up Ashfield Town Hall. Then stay for the After Party with The Primate Fiasco. The Ball begins at 7pm; after party at 9:30pm. – Not familiar with Buckwheat Zydeco, sample his music here… but be sure to put on your dancing shoes first!

HOW TO ENTER WIN

Your chance to win a pair of tickets to the WinklePicker Festival Mardi Gras Ball with Buckwheat Zydeco at the Ashfield Town Hall (412 Main Street),  followed by an after-party with The Primate Fiasco next door in Ashfield, MA, on Saturday, February 18th at 7pm is easy & simple!  To enter to win simply:

  • CONSIDER SHARING ON FACEBOOK by selecting “Like” below
  • TELL US HOW HILLTOWN FAMILIES HELPS YOUR FAMILY SHAKE OFF THE WINTER BLUES below (one entry per household) and be sure to tell us your
  • FULL NAME (first/last) and where you
  • LIVE (TOWN/STATE) must include your town to be eligible.
  • ACCURATE EMAIL (we never share your email address).
  • We’ll randomly draw a winner and will share the results below.

IT’S THAT SIMPLE! — Deadline to enter to win is Wednesday, 02/15/12 @ 7pm (EST)

Tickets at Turn It Up!, World Eye Books, Boswell’s Books, Elmer’s Store & online at mightyalbert.com. For more info call 413-628-4003.

Big Dance Party Tonight in the Hilltowns for All Ages!

Big Dance Party Tonight for All Ages!

(Photo credit: Sienna Wildfield)

Last night I dreamed that we were all set up at Elmer’s for a huge and gorgeous birthday party for one of our customers. (I think it was for Nancy Dunne, but I can’t remember for sure.) Gretchen had made a bee-youtiful birthday cake—large and white with pink roses that said, “Happy Birthday!” and it sat among the festoons as we got ready.

Suddenly I looked up and saw someone eating a piece of cake. I ran back to the birthday cake and saw that indeed, a huge—AND SLOPPILY CUT!—piece was missing from the cake and the customer was sitting down eating their big-ass piece of somebody else’s birthday cake!

I was so mad that I was yelling myself hoarse that “THIS IS SOMEONE’S BIRTHDAY CAKE! YOU CAN’T JUST EAT IT! ARE YOU OUT OF YOUR MIND???!!!”

And no one cared.

What does this mean?

DANCE PARTY TONIGHT!

Hey! Tonight (Tuesday, 2/22/11) is Elissa and Brian’s Happy Dance Party at Elmer’s from 7-9pm (396 Main St. in Ashfield, MA). Open to everyone! Tall people! Short people! Really short little tiny people who can barely dance yet! People who can dance really well! People who can’t dance but just like to go out and move around where no one cares about their dancing ability! People who just want to go someplace and have dessert! People who want to work up a sweat! People who like music! (I guess you would have to want to hear music to come.) But if you just wanted to hang out and have dessert, you could sit with your friends in the side room while everybody else danced!

It’s free to come and dance! Desserts, coffee, beer and stuff costs money, but you don’t have to buy anything if you don’t want to. It’s for everyone! Whole families to singles! All are invited!

7 pm – 9pm

TONIGHT!


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Nan Parati - Elmer's StoreNan Parati

Nan is the proprietor of Elmer’s Store in Ashfield, MA. A New England transplant from the Deep South, Nan shares her southern wit, wisdom and charm in her column, “Notes from Nan.”  nanparati@aol.com

Chocolate in the Hilltowns

Night of Love and Chocolate!

GRANDPARENTS AS FACEBOOK FRIENDS

I just got friended by my dad on Facebook. Me, I got nothing to hide that I would show on Facebook anyway, but then I thought about the nieces who may. I know that one of my nieces told me not to judge her when I friended her, and so I don’t; the stuff she’s doing is way less dangerous than what I was doing at her age!

So then I started thinking that all grandparents should sign up for Facebook and friend all of their grandchildren. I’m thinking that if every kid had their grandpa as a filter for everything they thought about posting, they would probably keep themselves out of trouble later on when they apply for jobs and wish they hadn’t put those stupid naked pictures of themselves at the last office party on their page. So that’s my thought; I’m still trying to find goodness in Facebook.

LAND OF TINY STREETS

Welcome to the Land of Tiny Streets! The more it snows the less space there is for the snow to go and the streets get narrower and narrower up here! My own street in Ashfield, I believe, only passable by one and a half cars at a time. Fortunately we don’t have many cars on this street so we haven’t had a stand-off yet. But even Main Street is down to the two lanes, only, no room for swerving. The other snow-wonder is how icicles know what to do—which way to do. You’ll have all these icicles going straight down and then, all of a sudden you get three snaggle-tooth ones that jut out from the building. Why did they do that? Are they just making a statement? I have one outside my door that suddenly has a curvaceous twist to it. It didn’t have that day before yesterday; what is it up to?

MR. CHRISTMAS TREE

Update on Mr. Christmas Tree who I threw out last week: So, he was lying there in the snow at the back door, trying to get back in, looking sad and desperate, when all of a sudden a roof-alanche slid off and buried him! He just has a few plaintive little branches grasping at the air, frozen in time. Poor guy, this whole thing is my fault: I brought him inside, I made him the toast of the living room, I took him out of his natural habitat and warmed him up with lights, made him feel safe and warm and then I PUSHED him out into the snow! Just PUSHED him! I feel bad.

NIGHT OF LOVE & CHOCOLATE IN THE HILLTOWNS

Okay! It’s almost Valentine’s Day! And we’re celebrating it this Friday night (2/11/11) with Elmer’s Night of Love and Chocolate (there are so few events that we actually do more than one year that you know if we’re bring it back it’s because it was so good the first time!)!

And this just in: Chef Jim Dion is coming back to make the dinner portion of our evening! Mary will be out of town this weekend, and so our old buddy Jim is coming back to make the dinner hors d’hoeuvres! (I have no idea how to spell that word and neither does Spellcheck. If you do, let me know before it drives you crazy.)

Elmer’s Second Annual Night of Love and Chocolate this Friday, Feb 11th beginning at 5pm at the Inn: hors d’houvres and tapas-sized dinners; whatever you want, as much as you want – made by Chef Jim Dion!  Then, Chocolate: Chocolate Mousse Roullade Cake; Flourless Chocolate Layer Cake; Raspberry Ganache Tort; Espresso Ganache Tort; Vanilla Ginger Ganache Tort; Strawberry fondue; Pretzels & cookies fondues; Dark Chocolate Truffles; Habanero Truffles; and Hot Pepper Toffee Popcorn. ($$) – You don’t have to be in love to enjoy this-you can just love chocolate and good company. Call 628-4003 for reservations.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Nan Parati - Elmer's StoreNan Parati

Nan is the proprietor of Elmer’s Store in Ashfield, MA. A New England transplant from the Deep South, Nan shares her southern wit, wisdom and charm in her column, “Notes from Nan.”  nanparati@aol.com

PARENTS’ NIGHT OUT: Chris Smither in Ashfield

Chris Smither in Concert
Ashfield Town Hall in Ashfield, MA
Saturday, January 15th @ 8pm

Concert & dinner in the hilltowns this Saturday! Enter to win a pair of tickets to the concert. Deadline is Wednesday, Jan. 12th by 7pm (EST).

Continuing our Parents’ Night Out promotions, Hilltown Families has two pairs of tickets to giveaway to two lucky couples to see Chris Smither in concert, at Ashfield Town Hall in Ashfield on Saturday, January 15th at 8pm - right in the heart of the Hilltowns!

Win a pair of tickets and take your spouse, partner or good friend for a night out. Deadline to enter to win: Wednesday, January 12th, 2011 at 7pm (EST). More details below.

ABOUT CHRIS SMITHER

Chris is an acclaimed acoustic roots singer-songwriter whose music draws deeply from the blues, modern poets & philosophers. His most recent CD is Time Stands Still (Signature Sounds). He has released 13 albums and 3 DVDs and tours clubs, concert halls, and festivals across the US, Canada, Europe, and Australia. His songs have appeared in films & TV and have been covered by Bonnie Raitt, Emmylou Harris & Diana Krall. www.ChrisSmither.com

DINNER IN THE HILLTOWNS

Enjoy a full night out with a pre-concert dinner cooked up by Elmer’s from 5-6:15pm.  On the menu, BBQ Pulled Pork Po’ Boys from Skippy & Wanda Walker of New Orleans. This pulled pork po’ boy was named one of the top sandwiches in America by Esquire Magazine in 2008 and their daughter, Shayne Walker, will be at Elmer’s doing all the roasting and cooking. (There will be a vegetarian option as well.) Nan Parati of Elmer’s points out, “We served the Walkers’ po’ boy last summer at our bluegrass festival and at Fall Festival and people were literally fighting over the food (and I’m not making that up).” Dinner includes dessert and coffee which will be served at the Ashfield Town Hall. Dinner reservations are highly recommended, call Elmer’s at 628-4003.

HOW TO WIN

Your chance to win a pair of tickets to see Chris Smither in concert, at Ashfield Town Hall in Ashfield on Saturday, January 15th at 8pm is as easy as 1-2-3 (4)!  To win simply:

     

  1. SHARE THIS PAGE ON FACEBOOK BY SELECTING “LIKE” BELOW
  2. RECOMMEND A SONG FOR OUR COMMUNITY PLAYLIST and be sure to tell us your
  3. FULL NAME (first/last) and where you
  4. LIVE (TOWN/STATE) must include your town to be eligible.
  5. ACCURATE EMAIL (we never share your email address)
  6. We’ll randomly draw two winners and will share the results below.
  7.  

IT’S THAT SIMPLE! — Deadline to enter to win: Wednesday, January 12th, 2011 at 7pm (EST).

If you don’t win you should still go! This will be a great night out in the hilltowns!  Tickets for adults are $18 in advance or $20 day of show.  Tickets are also available at Elmer’s in Ashfield (628-4003) or online.

Hilltown Families Isn’t the Only One Turning 5!

Happy New Year & Happy Birthday

Now we are in the hammock week of the year. You start out the year in January and, well, the year is like an egg. You start out January first on the top of the egg, just off center, and you slide down it. June is at the bottom of the egg, and then you kind of climb back up it until you get to Christmas, back up at the top. Then you have one week that’s shaped like a hammock between Christmas Day and New Year’s Day. That’s the hammock you sleep in for that week, resting in the quiet, dark, wind-howling, snowy days of that week. Then you get to January first again and start a-skiing downhill again!

You know, this January begins Elmer’s fifth year in bidness after I came along. We have a lighting display in the side café room to commemorate it—it is a string of lights with cows, flamingos and palm trees. The cows, see, they represent Ashfield. The palm trees, they represent me coming from New Orleans, where we actually have palm trees, and the flamingos, they represent the flamboyant stuff I do here that makes people look at me sideways.

So happy five years to us!


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Nan Parati - Elmer's StoreNan Parati

Nan is the proprietor of Elmer’s Store in Ashfield, MA. A New England transplant from the Deep South, Nan shares her southern wit, wisdom and charm in her column, “Notes from Nan.”  nanparati@aol.com

The Further Adventures of Mr. Justin Jones

Back to Our Story…

And now it’s time to tell the further adventures of Mr. Justin Jones!

As you may recall, last year at this time, Justin was fourteen years old and living in a homeless shelter with his mother, Regina Jones, in New Orleans. I wrote of his plight and a very good many of you responded with deep-hearted wishes of a good life for him, and brought me money with which to aid him in having a good Christmas, and a level playing field upon which to build his life.

I opened a bank account for him and from it, bought him clothing, personal care items (very important to a fourteen year old in a homeless shelter) and some white folks’ Christmas food and sent him several packages, with which he had a very, very nice Christmas, and for which he was extremely grateful.

Then, in the late spring, when I was in New Orleans for my annual Jazz Fest job, I saw him and Regina, invited them to the Jazz Fest, and visited them at their shelter. Spent more of your money on them and we had a good and funny time. (Life with Regina is always filled with a lot of laughter, even in the worst times.)

The update on Regina and Justin is that they are no longer living in the homeless shelter; they got themselves a two bedroom house in Mid-City of New Orleans. Their house is very close to my old neighborhood there, and so I know that they are in a very good neighborhood! (Not a fancy neighborhood, but definitely a safe one.) I’m not sure how the house came about, but it seems to have come through some low-income housing program in New Orleans. I don’t think it’s Section 8 housing, though it may be.

Justin is going to school and doing well, recently had his fifteenth birthday and seems very well adjusted and happy. Regina isn’t doing as well with her health, as she has had blood clots in her legs and has a difficult time standing up for very long.

My plan with the money was to keep it and use it as necessary. I’ll send Justin and Regina gifts this year again, and help them out when ever they need it. They are grateful and happy people and I hope you get to meet them one day, although I doubt it, as the idea of a world where it’s cold and there is no public transportation is a repugnant one to Regina. “Huh uh, Baby,” she says. “I’m stayin’ RIGHT HERE! You come visit US!”

And so, I will.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Nan Parati - Elmer's StoreNan Parati

Nan is the proprietor of Elmer’s Store in Ashfield, MA. A New England transplant from the Deep South, Nan shares her southern wit, wisdom and charm in her column, “Notes from Nan.”  nanparati@aol.com

Big Name in a Small Room Concert Series Continues in the Hilltowns

Strange Coincidences

I have a friend named Dave Taylor who I worked with in New Orleans. Dave now lives in New York.  His best friend is named Seth Bernard. Seth lives in Michigan and his girlfriend is named May Erlewine. Dave Taylor’s mom was in the hospital having surgery in Florida. While she was recovering from surgery, a young woman came in to sing to her as part of the hospital’s new recovery through music program.  The young woman sang a gorgeous and uplifting song that she said was written by a friend of hers named May.  Dave’s grandmother, who was there visiting her daughter said, “I know a May.  She lives in Michigan. Her name is May Erlewine.”  The young woman said, “That’s the same May who wrote the song!”  And the young singing woman?  That was Rani Arbo of Ashfield!

The only part of the story I don’t know is why Rani was singing in a hospital in Florida.  But I don’t really care—I love the story!

Not this last summer, but the previous August we had a concert by May and Seth across the street in the backyard of the inn and it was beautiful!  May wrote the Rani Arbo and Daisy Mayhem favorites, “Shine On” and “Rise up Singing.” (Remember that concert?  It rained all the way through it, but it was such beautiful music that no one left!)

This Saturday Elmer’s in Ashfield, MA is going to bring them back and inside as part of our Big Name in a Small Room Concert Series continues with May Erlewine and Seth Bernard! This Saturday, November 20th. Dinner will begin at 5pm and the concert begins at 7pm. Tickets for this are required so that we don’t go over room capacity. Git ‘em now! (413) 628-4003


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

 

Nan Parati - Elmer's StoreNan Parati

Nan is the proprietor of Elmer’s Store in Ashfield, MA. A New England transplant from the Deep South, Nan shares her southern wit, wisdom and charm in her column, “Notes from Nan.”  nanparati@aol.com

Scary Trees in Ashfield

Just in Case You Were Wondering …

Scarier things were seen on Halloween night in Ashfield! (Photo credit: Sienna Wildfield)

One day a few weeks ago, while walking down the sidewalk towards Elmer’s, I thought, “It’s almost Halloween! I should make bark-like faces to put on the trees on the Common!” I could use the same technique many of the float-builders use at Mardi Gras in their Papier Mache—same words, completely different process from what others think of as Papier Mache.

I proposed it to the Select Board, they approved, Tom Poissant the Tree Warden approved, I called the only place in the country I know to get the kind of glue one needs for this kind of stuff (New Orleans) and ordered it, got my paper all ready along with all the other accoutrements I would need for the project and waited for the glue to arrive. We had some glorious days before Halloween, but the glue never arrived until the evening of the last of the glorious days.

This particular glue needs a temperature of 65 degrees or higher in order to Act Right and so, since all the days after it arrived had top temperatures of only 55 degrees even while standing on their tippy toes, it was not possible for me to make the trees scary.

Upon the Eve of Halloween, however, some one or ones decided to enhance the trees of the Common (and all the trees up South Street) with their own form of decoration using Scott toilet paper. (I found the balled-up wrapper in my yard.) JUST IN CASE YOU WERE WONDERING, that was not I. I would have made the toilet paper look like something other than toilet paper hanging in the breeze. Not at all to disparage anyone else’s craft, I just didn’t want to take away from their art and have you think it was mine.

I plan to keep my glue until next summer when we have a stretch of days above 65 degrees. I will make my faces at that time and then hold on to them until October, when I will ask the Select Board if I may put them up for the week before Halloween. I’m sorry for my lack of display this year, but wait indeed, until next year!


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

 

Nan Parati - Elmer's StoreNan Parati

Nan is the proprietor of Elmer’s Store in Ashfield, MA. A New England transplant from the Deep South, Nan shares her southern wit, wisdom and charm in her column, “Notes from Nan.”  nanparati@aol.com

Bullitt Reservation Grand Opening in Ashfield

The Trustees Encourage Visitors to Dream Big about Making Small Impacts on Local Land

Farm that Once Swirled Near the Center of History Returns to Community as The Trustees of Reservations’ Newest Property in Ashfield, MA.

When globe-trotting Ambassador William Bullitt needed a place to ponder the world and relax with family, he retreated to the woods and fields of his farm in Western Massachusetts on the Ashfield-Conway border. Now, visitors can enjoy those same pursuits on a property that once hosted diplomats and dignitaries, as The Trustees of Reservations welcomes the public to the grand opening of its new Bullitt Reservation on Saturday, October 23rd. Festivities begin at 3PM.

One of 13 Trustees properties located in the Pioneer Valley, the Bullitt Reservation encompasses 262 acres donated to The Trustees in March of 2009. Although most recently part of the estate of Ambassador William C. Bullitt, Jr. —best known for his role as the first U. S. Ambassador to the Soviet Union and for his service as the Ambassador to France at the dawn of World War II— the land has deep community roots. The farm even served as Ashfield’s town poor farm from 1839 to 1874.

One of 13 Trustees properties located in the Pioneer Valley, the Bullitt Reservation encompasses 262 acres donated to The Trustees in March of 2009.

Today, the Bullitt Reservation looks largely as it did in centuries past. A quintessential New England agricultural landscape, it abounds with a mix of forests, fields and streams, which provide natural habitat for a wide variety of wildlife and a diversity of species. It was the wish of Ambassador Bullitt’s daughter, Anne Bullitt, that the property be conserved and the legacy of her father be carried on at the site for the community and future generations to enjoy.

After guidance from local residents and a year of planning, the Bullitt Reservation will now offer a place for the community and visitors to meet, hike, stargaze, and connect with family and friends, providing opportunities for both people and wildlife to interact with and be enriched by the land. In keeping with Ambassador Bullitts’ legacy of looking outward, the Bullitt Reservation will also serve as a resource for learning about ways to lighten our individual and collective impact on land, and to significantly reduce our contribution to the indelible marks that a warming climate will etch on the nature and culture of our local hills and valleys.

The 18th century farmhouse on the property receives a complete renovation and "deep energy retrofit."

At the center of those efforts, The Trustees have nearly completed renovation and a “deep energy retrofit” of the 18th century farmhouse on the property, thanks to a gift from the Bullitt Foundation and a recent $100,000 stimulus grant received from the Patrick Administration’s Department of Energy Resources. Slated as the future offices of the Highland Communities Initiative and the Hilltown Land Trust, the renovated farmhouse will combine readily-available electric heat pump technology (with plans to add solar power as funds are available) and super-insulation to increase energy efficiency, cutting energy consumption by more than 50%. Thanks to the creative energy of general contractor Mary Quigley of Quigley Builders in Ashfield, nearly all of the materials from the farmhouse deconstruction have also been recycled or reused.

Nearly all of the materials from the farmhouse deconstruction have also been recycled or reused.

When complete, The Trustees hope the new Bullitt structure will have earned Gold LEED certification from the U.S. Green Building Council, (LEED stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design and is a building rating system established by the United States Green Building Council to measure the “greenness” of buildings), and showcase a viable selection of energy conservation strategies for area homeowners and businesses.

The grand opening of the Bullitt Reservation will be on Saturday, October 23rd with family activities, pumpkin decorating, cider pressing, live music and potluck. Festivities begin at 3PM.

Guests are welcome to attend the grand opening of the new Bullitt Reservation on October 23rd and explore The Trustees of Reservations’ newest special place, take a tour, and enjoy the views over a potluck dinner with friends and neighbors. The day will begin at 3PM with tours of the ongoing green transformation of the old farmhouse, a guided hike on the new scenic Pebble Trail (moderately difficult), leisurely strolls through the wildlife meadow, and family activities including pumpkin decorating and cider-making demonstrations. At 4:30PM there will be live music, a potluck dinner, and toasts to the new reservation. The Trustees will provide hot soup and fresh bread. Guests are asked to bring a dish, snack, or beverage to share. The event is free and open to the public and will take place rain or shine.

For more information and to RSVP, please call 413.268.8219 or email highlands@ttor.org

More About The Trustees in Ashfield

In addition to owning 262 acres of conservation land, The Trustees hold a conservation restriction on the majority of the remaining Bullitt estate land, comprising approximately 103 acres on the northern side of Bullitt Road, which was sold with the main Bullitt house and barn to a private buyer late last year. Together, these complete an important missing piece in a large puzzle of connected conservation land in the area. The Trustees also own and manage two other properties in Ashfield – Bear Swamp and Chapel Brook Reservations – both popular community recreational sites and important ecological habitats. The new reservation will add to The Trustees’ diversity of program and property offerings in this corner of the Pioneer Valley.

New Orleans Meets New England at the Ashfield Fall Festival

Ashfield Fall Festival!

Crawfish Pasta and Pulled Pork Po-Boys will be sold by Elmer's at the Ashfield Fall Festival. (Photo credit: Sienna Wildfield)

Wait—Last Sunday in the middle of the 183 people coming in for breakfast, someone said to me, “Do you have those little individually wrapped butters?” And I said, “yes, we do.” And that’s all I remember about the conversation. I don’t remember who it was who asked, but if you are reading this now, did you get what you wanted? Did I just walk away? Did I complete the transaction? Are you a satisfied customer? Can I help you now?

 

(Those are the things you think about in the middle of the night.)

I just dropped a huge sunflower seed into the keyboard of this computer and I can’t get it out. We’ll see what happens next.

You know what this weekend is — it’s Fall Festival at Elmer’s! (Well, it’s not just at Elmer’s, but here’s what is happening during Fall Festival in Ashfield at Elmer’s):

I remember that someone told me, “You know, you can’t do chili or hamburgers for Fall Festival because people are already doing those.” So I tried to think of something that no one in Ashfield would be doing and I thought of crawfish pasta! (Photo credit: Sienna Wildfield)

For breakfast Saturday and Sunday we’ll be serving pancakes and breakfast burritos from 7am to 10:30am (only pancakes and burritos—we figure that covers a number of desired food groups). At 11:00 we’ll start serving Crawfish Pasta and Pulled Pork Po-Boys made by Shayne Walker Brunet—the daughter of Skippy and Wanda Walker, who made them for our Bluegrass Festival! (If you missed them there, Skippy and Wanda are the people who have the Cochon-de-Lait booth at Jazz Fest in New Orleans. Their “Cochon-de-Lait” (pulled pork) is the sandwich Esquire Magazine listed as one of the top sandwiches in America. And we got it right here!) We will not run out! We have a butt-load of pork-butts for this!

 

We actually got the recipe for the Crawfish Pasta from Skippy and Wanda, as well, the first year we did Fall Festival. I remember that someone told me, “You know, you can’t do chili or hamburgers for Fall Festival because people are already doing those.”

So I tried to think of something that no one in Ashfield would be doing and I thought of crawfish pasta! I called Wanda, because she made the best crawfish pasta anywhere around, and she gave me the recipe and here we are to this day. And now her daughter’s coming to make Cochon-de-Lait po-boys for us!


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

 

Nan Parati - Elmer's StoreNan Parati

Nan is the proprietor of Elmer’s Store in Ashfield, MA. A New England transplant from the Deep South, Nan shares her southern wit, wisdom and charm in her column, “Notes from Nan.”  nanparati@aol.com

GIVEAWAY: Herbal Medicine for Children and Babies

Herbal Medicine for Children and Babies
Four Fall Classes at Blazing Star Herbal School

Herbal Medicine for Children and Babies is a series of four classes that will be offered on Fridays this fall in Ashfield, MA at Blazing Star Herbal School by herbalist, Tony(a) Lemos. Deadline to enter for a chance to win is Oct. 13th, 2010.

Hilltown Families and Blazing Star Herbal School (BSHS) in Ashfield, MA have partnered up to offer one lucky participant free registration for Herbal Medicine for Children and Babies, a series of four classes being offered this fall.  Participants will learn how to raise healthy children, how to prevent compromised immune systems, and discuss both common and and some less common childhood diseases. Find out how to win a free registration to this series of four classes below. Deadline to enter to win is Wednesday, 10/13/10 @ 7pm (EST)

ABOUT THE CLASS

Herbal Medicine for Children and Babies will run for four Fridays, October 16th & 23rd and November 5th & 19th, from 9:30am-1 pm in Ashfield, MA.  The class will begin with pre-conceptive health care and continue throughout childhood, covering pathologies and common and uncommon states. The class will discuss methods to help prevent compromised immune systems and ways to strengthen the terrain. Cultures around the world will be compared and contrasted. Clarity will be given on appropriate dosage for children and methods of administration. Participants in the class will explore creative medicine making and making nourishing condiments. Students will leave with a complete Materia Medica for Children’s Health.  For more information contact Tony(a) Lemos at blazingstarclinic@gmail.com, or call (413) 625-2030.

ABOUT BLAZING STAR HERBAL SCHOOL

Dedicated to teaching traditional herbal medicine in a way that supports a more sustainable future and shows respect for the integrity of nature, BSHS offers a unique perspective on herbalism, weaving social and political aspects of health and healing through the study of medicinal herbs and food practices. Serving as a local and national resource for education and networking, BSHS has been in Ashfield for over 25 years on 26 wooded acres of pine trees, rushing brooks, wildflower meadows and gardens. Right here in the Hilltowns of Western Massachusetts, the school offers unique and exciting programs in herbal studies to give both the student and professional an opportunity to delve deeper into the art and science of herbalism. Their courses have been highly acclaimed for inspiring students to find their unique healing path through personal relationship with the plant world. For more information about BSHS visit them on line at blazingstarherbalschool.typepad.com.

HOW TO WIN

Your chance to win a free registration for Herbal Medicine for Children and Babies, a series of four classes this fall at Blazing Star Herbal School in Ashfield, MA as easy as 1-2-3 (4)!  To win simply:

  1. POST WHY YOU WOULD LIKE TO TAKE THIS CLASS BELOW (one entry per household) and be sure to tell us your
  2. FULL NAME and where you
  3. LIVE (TOWN/STATE) You must include your town and state to be eligible.
  4. ACCURATE EMAIL (we never share your email address).
  5. We’ll randomly draw a winner and will share the results below.

IT’S THAT SIMPLE! — Deadline is Wednesday, 10/13/10 @ 7pm (EST)

STREET TEAM: HELP US SPREAD THE WORD AND EARN AN EXTRA ENTRY  Read the rest of this entry »

A Day at Chapel Brook

Welcoming Autumn

Pony Mountain's Ledge Trail. 5 out of 5 Bayne's recommend the Summit Trail. (Photo credit: Karen Bayne

I was a city girl.  We lived in Manhattan when I was child, but my parents were not from there. They were city mice in their own way. They had picked cities to live in most of their adult lives, but had childhoods that included fields, farms, woods as well as the start of sprawling sidewalks. It was the change of seasons that my mother missed the most. Annually in the fall she would take us for a drive, to see leaves, to find a pumpkin, to drink the cider and get apples from a farm in a paper tote.

The heat wave that was the summer of 2010 has given way to cool autumn breezes. On the first crisp morning with leaves blowing down our street, my children brought up the S-word … Santa. My mind was more on school. Each of us are ready, in our own way, to go with the season’s change, to say goodbye to summer and welcome autumn.  I find I still need to wear the boys out, but now I’m worn out from a long summer of being mommy the cruise director. I wanted an adventure that was not too far from home, sure to be a hit and relatively low out put for the parents.

Clambering on the rocks, my youngest child as a blur not touching the earth. He looks like that in person too. (Photo credit: Karen Bayne)

We’ve been wanting to visit Chapel Brook Falls in Ashfield all summer. With our local drought, we knew the falls would not be rushing in late August. but we heard the scenery was lovely in any weather. The boys love climbing on furniture and scaling walls. I try to replace the furniture with rocks, mountains and streams as often as I can.

Chapel Brook Falls has three potential attractions. It was a cool day, everyone had been a bit under the weather, so we decided to come back another day to actually climb Pony Mountain, or perhaps enter through the DAR trail in Goshen, which would connect to the falls around the base of Pony Mountain.  Saturday’s adventure simply was a small hike down to falls and enjoying the cool air, watching individual leaves float down to the forest floor and rocking hopping over the falls. On a hot day, we will return; late September is sure to bring us a streak of a few hot days. We could see where people might use the rock formations as launching points to enter the cool pools.

The boys scrambled from rock to rock. The place was very quiet on such a cool day so we let them practice skipping rocks in the pools and we followed the path downstream quite a ways until we, of course, got hungry and had to reverse course. The sun peaking through the trees made for the magical sort of light that you always picture deep in the forest – not a bad effect for a three minute walk from the parking lot.

If you are new to the area like me, it might help you to know that the walk to the falls is behind the designated parking area. As you park, you are on a roadway bridge. Crossing back over this bridge to the unmarked road on the other side brings the entrance of the falls into view. This may be more apparent when the falls are roaring, but less so when they are a quiet dribble at the tail end of a very dry New England summer. We walked up Pony Mountain to collect our trail maps. The two routes both advertise a short distance, but the ledge trail – in our effort to wear them out, we walked up the mountain a short ways, requires belay equipment. Should you take this hike with your family, you will want to follow the summit trail, and I plan to do just that in the next few weeks. I want to soak in every moment of the slow transition to Autumn.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

 

Karen Bayne

Karen grew up in Manhattan and lived in Connecticut before moving to Northampton with her husband Matt to raise their boys. Her sons Isaac, Henry and Theo are 11, 6 and 4,  leaving Karen on a search for all the “just right adventures” that will wow them and wear them out.  She works as a birth doula, childbirth and parent educator in the greater Northampton area. She writes about mothering at Needs New Batteries and about birth in our culture at Gentle Balance Birth.

Suggested Events 08/07/10-08/13/10

Like This!

Discover fun and educational events happening this weekend in Western Mass, along with announcements, upcoming events, links, resources and the HFVS podcast.

SUGGEST AN EVENT

Signs of August: Sunflowers and Golden Finches. (Photo credit: Sienna Wildfield)

Suggest an EventIf you have a family friendly event or educational program happening in Western Massachusetts that you’d like to let us know about, post your event on our “Suggest An Event” page. The events below are “suggested.” Please take the time to confirm that these events are happening, along with time, place, age appropriateness and costs before attending.

MARK YOUR CALENDARS

NOFA SUMMER CONFERENCE: Northeast Organic Farming Association 36th Annual Summer Conference happens at UMass in Amherst from August 13th-15th. Over 200 workshops on organic farming, gardening, land care, sustainability and homesteading.  Special workshops designed for kids and teens. An educational, fun opportunity for your children to bond with others from the Northeast while you attend workshops and events.  Entertainment for the whole family: Music and dance, an old-fashioned Country Fair, farmer’s market, games and fun. Modest registration, inexpensive dorm rooms, camping and delicious, wholesome organic meals. For more information visit www.nofasummerconference.org or call (978) 355-2853.

BEST BET

FAMILY THEATER: Saturday, August 7th at 10:30am, Paintbox Theater presents The Three Musketeers at Theatre 14, Mendenhall Center for the Performing Arts, on the Smith College Campus. The title tells it all. There’s enough adventure for even the heartiest swashbuckler. You don’t have to bring your sword; your imaginations will provide all that you need. Capes will be flying as performers deal with the bad guys and save the day. – A show is about action and intrigue, but also about friendship. More info at www.newcenturytheatre.org or call 587-3220 Northampton, MA ($)

HISTORIC ADVENTURES: Sunday, August 8th, Old Sturbridge Village presents Redcoats & Rebels Revolutionary War Reenactment. Redcoats & Rebels is one of the largest such reenactments in the country. More than 40 units will conduct mock battles with lots of musket, cannon and artillery fire, demonstrate marching and drilling, and entertain visitors with fife and drum music. Free with museum admission. Extended hours to 8 pm for “Twilight Encampment,” where guests can mingle with the troops around the campfires. More info at www.osv.org or call 1-800-733-1830. Sturbridge, MA ($)

BULLETIN BOARD

ADVERTISING & ANNOUNCEMENTS: Deliver your message to a large family based audience while supporting the work of Hilltown Families. Advertise your event, camp, workshop, fundraiser, business or announcement here in the Bulletin Board section of our List of Weekly Suggested Events. Email hilltownfamilies@gmail.com for more information.

JOB ANNOUNCEMENT: Outreach Coordinator for the Old Creamery Co-op in Cummington, MA. The Outreach Coordinator will work with the Old Creamery Co-op Steering Committee to develop and implement an outreach plan that will educate the community about the values and principles of a co-op, recruit households and businesses to become owners and supporters of the Old Creamery Co-op, and coordinate volunteers to help with an array of activities designed to help the Co-op achieve its mission. Click here for complete job announcement.

Stacey Mackowiak of Cummington, MA writes: The Cummington Family Center is having a craft show around the holiday season! We are looking for folks who make quality, handmade goods for babies & kids of all ages. This should be a great event that supports both the family center and our local, talented crafters! If you are interested in having a table at the fair contact me by phone or email. The craft show/ holiday family concert will be Nov. 13th from 10-3. There is a $20 table fee for anyone interested. (413) 634-8853 smackowiak@yahoo.com

Deadline to enter to win: Friday, August 6th at 10am (EST).

SPANISH TOURS: Daily Spanish language tours at Old Sturbridge Village. The 45-minute tours are free with museum admission, and are led by a Spanish-speaking OSV historian in costume. The tours are particularly helpful for Spanish-speaking tourists, immigrants, relatives and visitors, and for students studying Spanish in school. The tours run daily through August 8th, and then are offered weekly year round. OSV portrays early New England life from 1790-1840. The Village has a large staff of historians in costume, 59 historic buildings on 200 acres, three water-powered mills and two covered bridges. Visitors can ride in a stagecoach, view antiques, heirloom gardens, meet the farm animals, and take part in hands-on crafts. Details: 1-800-733-1830; www.osv.org

FUNDRAISER:  Ride Like an Animal benefit motorcycle ride, Thomas J. O’Conner Center Animal Control & Adoption Center, happens on August 14th in Springfield. Riders will take a scenic route around the Quabbin Reservoir before arriving at the Holyoke Lodge of Elks at for an afternoon of music, fun, and delicious food. Local Indie-Folk Rock band, Infinitie August will be performing at the event, and a variety of contests and raffle prizes will be given away to attendees. Registration opens at 8:30 AM, ride begins at 10 AM, afternoon activities begin at 1:30pm.  Click here for more info.

Deadline to enter to win: Friday, August 18th at 7pm (EST)

DISCOVERING COLONIAL NEW ENGLAND: Family activities continue at Historic Deerfield with “Colonial Colors: Fun with Paint and Dye,” an exploration of the rich and vibrant colors and hues found in everyday colonial New England life through August 15th. This program will look at how fabric dyes were made from local plants, as well as imported dye stuffs. Learn how people colored their houses with paint ground from natural pigments and mixed it with natural materials such as linseed oil or even milk! Historic houses and the Flynt Center of Early New England Life will be open for visitors to see ways in which people made their interiors stand out with color. Visitors can also create their own colors using natural materials and methods, and make a project to take home.

VOLUNTEER OPPORTUNITY FOR TEENS: Volunteers needed for Storrowton Village at the Big E (West Springfield, MA), September 17th – October 3rd.  Adults and teens needed to conduct guided tours of the Village’s historic buildings and work in the Village Gift Shop. Training sessions begin August 25th. Dressed in Early American-inspired apparel, volunteers will give fairgoers a glimpse of New England’s past while interpreting the roles of 19th century New Englanders. Volunteers will gain a wealth of knowledge about crafts, food and daily life of the era. For more information or to schedule an interview, contact Storrowton Village Museum before August 13th at 413-205-5051, weekdays between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m.

WORKSHOP: Thursday August 12, 2-5 PM. Grow Food at Schools workshop. This popular workshop features school garden and greenhouse techniques, curriculum connections, and service learning. Geared toward educators; all are welcome. PDPs (professional development points) available to teachers. Pre-registration required, contact solidarity@seedsofsolidarity.org.

HILLTOWN FAMILY VARIETY SHOW

Hilltown Family Variety Show

Tune in every Saturday from 9-10am. Encore episodes are aired every Sunday from 7-8am.

This week on the HFVS Randy and Donnie from The Verve Pipe guest DJ spinning tunes off of their new CD, “A Family Album,” along with music by Dan Zanes, They Might Be Giants, Peter Himmelman, and Justin Roberts – and super fun tunes from their childhood!  Check out their playlist and listen to the podcast HERE.

Families have several ways to tune in to the Hilltown Family Variety Show:

  • Streaming Audio: Surf on over to ValleyFreeRadio.org on Saturday & Sunday mornings and listen to us live via streaming audio.
  • On Your FM Dial: Tune in to WXOJ 103.3FM if you live near Northampton, MA.
  • HFVS Podcast

    PODCAST: Listen to the most recent episodes of the Hilltown Family Variety Show anytime you wish! Click here to see our current select of episodes, and be sure to subscribe to our podcast too!


    WEEKLY LIST OF SUGGESTED EVENTS

    Saturday Sunday Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday

    Suggest an Event | Local Forecast | Free Museum Passes | Family Centers (Ages 0-4) | Movies in the Valley | Movies in the Berkshires | Farmers’ Markets | Listen Here

    Events Happening in the Hilltowns

    Saturday – 8/7/10

    Hilltown Family Variety Show6-10am – FAMILY RADIO: Valley Free Radio (WXOJ-LP 103.3FM Northampton, MA) offers 4-hours of commercial-free family programing every Saturday, including the Hilltown Family Variety Show and Spare the Rock. Tune in on your FM dial, or listen live via streaming audio at www.valleyfreeradio.org.

    8am-1pm – ADULT ROWING CLASS: Introduction to Rowing with Northampton Youth & Community Rowing. One-day learn to row class. Lunch included. Call for appropriate age range. 585-0277 www.hampcrew.com Northampton, MA (FREE)

    8am-7pm – AGRICULTURAL FAIR: 89th Annual Littleville Fair. Kids day! www.littlevillefair.com Chester, MA (>$, Kids uner 10 are FREE)

    8:30am-12:30pm – FARMERS’ MARKET: On the town green. www.ashfieldfarmersmarket.com Ashfield, MA (MARKET)

    9am-12Noon – NATURE DISCOVERIES: Freshwater Snails of Arcadia. Along the banks of the Mill River there are about 15 different species of freshwater snails. Come ready to dig and learn more about snails. Arcadia Wildlife Sanctuary. 584-3009 Easthampton, MA (>$)

    9:30am-5pm - HISTORIC ADVENTURES: Old Sturbridge Village, Redcoats & Rebels Revolutionary War Reenactment. Named a “Best in New England” event by Yankee magazine, Redcoats & Rebels is one of the largest such reenactments in the country. More than 40 units will conduct mock battles with lots of musket, cannon and artillery fire, demonstrate marching and drilling, and entertain visitors with fife and drum music. Free with museum admission. www.osv.org or call 1-800-733-1830. Sturbridge, MA ($)

    10am-12Noon- SCIENCE: Kids K-8th grade can participate in science projects at the Meekins Library with Anne Bussler to find “green” solutions to planet problems.  Experiments with water and landfills. 268-7472 Williamsburg, MA (FREE)

    10am-10pm – AGRICULTURAL FAIR36th  Annual Adams Agricultural Fair. Adams, MA (>$)

    10:30am – FAMILY THEATER: Paintbox Theater presents The Three Musketeers at Theatre 14, Mendenhall Center for the Performing Arts, on the Smith College Campus. 587-3220 Northampton, MA ($)

    10:30-11:15am – MAGIC SHOW: David Garrity’s Magic and Beyond at Eastfield Mall Center Court. www.eastfieldmall.com Springfield, MA (FREE)

    10am-2pm – RESKILLING: Unlock the Mysteries of Canning. Learn basic techniques by canning tomatoes and peaches with mother-daughter team Pat Shearer and Alison Wahlstrom of Northfield, MA. Other food preserving methods, like drying, will also be discussed and samples of dried and canned foods will be shared. Ages 12 & older. Pre-registration required – call 800-859-2960 Northfield, MA ($)

    10am – OUTDOOR ADVENTURES: A Wheelie Good Time on the Manhan Rail Trail – Bring Strollers, wagon, bikes, trikes or just your feet for a child friendly stroll along the Manhan Rail Trail with the Easthampton Family Center. Meet on Payson Ave at the Easthampton Safety Complex. Picnic Snack provided after the stroll. 563-7672 Easthampton, MA (FREE)

    10:30-11:15am – FAMILY ENTERTAINMENT: The Village Commons’ Summer Children’s Entertainment Series will host Bill Ross … Book ‘Em, outside in front of the Odyssey Bookshop. South Hadley, MA (FREE)

    11am - REGGAE FESTIVAL: The Charlemont Reggae Festival on the Mohawk Tral happens at the Charlemont Fairgrounds, www.charlemontreggaefest.com 367-9309 Charlemont, MA ($$)

    11am & 2pm – FAMILY THEATER: Berkshire Children’s Theater presents The Wizard of Oz at the Berkshire Museum. www.berkshiremuseum.org Pittsfield, MA ($, Children under 3: Free)

    11am-12:30pm – GEOLOGY: Geologist Richard Little on the Riverboat. Geology comes alive through the clear and often humorous stories of Professor Richard Little. This relaxing cruise on the Connecticut River will be filled with tales of drifting continents, earthquakes, dinosaurs, glaciers and Lake Hitchcock, that are part of the creation of our idyllic Valley. Ages 10 & older. 800-859-2960 Northfield, MA ($)

    11:30am – FAMILY CONCERT: Uncle Rock performs at MASS MoCA. www.massmoca.org North Adams, MA ($)

    12Noon-3pm – COMMUNITY MEAL: Montague Farm Zen House presents the weekly Montague Farm Cafe -a free, weekly family oriented meal and gathering, with healthy food, art activities, live music, and games. 367-5275 Montague, MA (FREE)

    12:30pm – MUSEUM ADVENTURES: Chow Time in the aquarium at the Berkshire Museum. 443-7171 www.berkshiremuseum.org Pittsfield, MA (FREE w/museum admission)

    1pm – FAMILY CONCERT: Princess Katie & Racer Steve perform a live show in the auditorium at the Eric Carle Museum. 585-0001. Amherst, MA ($)

    1pm – SCIENCE STUDIES: Amherst Solar will be set up with their telescopes on the Amherst Town Common all summer. Stop by with the kids and see Sunspots, Prominences, Limb Darkening and more. 256-6234 amastro.org Amherst, MA (FREE)

    1-5pm – HERBAL WORKSHOP: Blazing Star Herbal School presents: “Nourishing Condiments: Kitchen Rituals for becoming whole- healing remedies found in your kitchen”. For adults. Call to inquire about appropriate age for students. 628-1655 Ashfield, MA ($$)

    1-5pm – HISTORIC ADVENTURES: Tour the William Cullen Bryant Homestead. Explore the ancestral home of the great 19th-century poet, newspaperman, and essayist, and wander the grounds above the Westfield River. Try the “I Spy” family activity using a hands-on spy pack to discover the Homestead’s secrets. 634-2244 Cummington, MA (>$)

    2-8pm – BLUEBERRY FESTIVAL:   Ninth Annual Wild Blueberry Jubilee at The Benson Place.  Expect good music, food, art activities for kids.  PYO in small quantities.  Cooking demo.  More.  337-5340 www.bensonplace.org Heath, MA (FREE)

    6:15pm – OUTDOOR DANCE PERFORMANCE: Jacob’s PIllow Outdoor Inside/Out performance.  243.0745  www.jacobspillow.org Becket, MA (FREE)

    8:45pm - DRIVE-IN MOVIE: Northfield Drive-In movie theater call or visit online for Films. (603) 239-4054 www.northfielddrivein.com Northfield, MA ($)

    9pm – ASTRONOMY ADVENTURES: Enjoy the dark skies of the Highlands searching for nebulae, constellations, and planets.  Arunah Hill Natural Science Center will have their telescopes set up to view the heavens.  Dress for a cool evening. 532-1631 x 13 www.arunah.org Windsor, MA (FREE)

    Read the rest of this entry »

    Dating in the Hilltowns

    Like This!

    Sex in the City Village

    I was in New York City on Wednesday! They have lots of well-dressed people there and lots of windows for you to look into while you’re walking so you can see if what you put on that morning looks like what you thought it was going to. It doesn’t look as cool as you thought it was going to in the first window you pass, but they have all these other windows for you to look at yourself in and see if your outfit got any better!

    You don’t get that so much in Ashfield. You’d have to jump up and down to see the reflection of your clothing in the windows of Country Pie or Elmer’s or the Hardware Store. You might be able to do it at Neighbors, but you probably don’t care as much about it as you would in New York.

    One day we (at Elmer’s) were talking about what the Sex in the Village television show would be like. Three women would sit around at the Lakehouse and say to the fourth:

    ♦ You went out?
    ♦ Really?
    ♦ With a guy who wasn’t married or anything?
    ♦ Where did you find him?
    ♦ How old was he??
    ♦ Do I know him?
    ♦ Oh right. That guy.
    ♦ Yeah, I know him, too.
    ♦ Wait—which guy?
    ♦ You know, that one with the hair.
    ♦ Oh wait, with the—that guy? Yeah. I know him.
    ♦ Yeah, me too.
    ♦ Yeah, okay.
    ♦ So, we done here? Wanna go swimming?
    ♦ Naw, I’m gonna go take a nap.

    And then the show would be over!


    ABOUT THE AUTHOR

    Nan Parati - Elmer's StoreNan Parati

    Nan is the proprietor of Elmer’s Store in Ashfield, MA. A New England transplant from the Deep South, Nan shares her southern wit, wisdom and charm in her column, “Notes from Nan.”  nanparati@aol.com

    Kids’ Market in the Hilltowns

    Tony(a) Lemos of Ashfield, MA writes:

    Kids' Market happens every Wednesday in the Summer in the parking lot outside of the Ashfield Hardware Store. (Photo credit: Sienna Wildfield)

    I would like to remind everyone about the Wednesday Kids’ Market that happens in Ashfield Center every Wednesday in the Summer from 4-6pm in the parking lot of the Ashfield Hardware Store. Kids can have a venue to sell their creations. Can be as simple as lemonade and popcorn, picked flowers, their favorite craft, a budding talent or even a service – Face Painting? Fortune Telling … It is a fun weekly event!

    Best of all there is no fee and no long term commitment. Come every Wednesday or just once. Let the kids run their own businesses for a few hours and watch them buy, trade and barter from each other.

    You’ll have to provide a little table for your childrens wares and a chair if they’d like to sit down.

    Hope you’ll join the market. We love it and are so grateful that Nancy and Laura (the fabulous owners of the Ashfield Hardware Store) will host this fun market again this summer.

    And Crown Thy Good with Neighborhood From Sea to Shining Sea!

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    The Quirks of Northern Gentlemen

    Last week I told you about Jim’s leaving and Donna then announced her retirement from the grocery and produce departments, as well. Happily, I am the sort of entrepreneur who believes that everyone should do what they wanna in life and they move to the next place that makes them happiest.

    I really, really appreciate both Jim and Donna for bringing Elmer’s to where it is today—much more professional and a lot sturdier as a result of their being here. Donna has also kindly agreed to stay on during the transition, especially in the area of local produce. She really got that department going and neither of us wants to see it falter! So she is with us until we get a new grocery and produce manager. So keep on coming, all is well and we’ll announce the next manager when we get her or him!

    Thank you to all the people who have told me they appreciate my endowed shape! I think it will be a grand day that completely destroys the sociologists when they hap upon this quaint old town in Western Massachusetts where all the old New England farmers nod and say, “Yo, Babe! Look at you! You done turned voluptuous on us! Look at that junk in your trunk! Mmm hmmm! You could set a cold drink AND a clock radio on that fine behind, yes indeed!”

    Which will be the contrast to the other group in Ashfield that made me laugh (in a good way) by singing at the Memorial Day gathering,

    America!  America!
    God shed her grace on thee!
    And crown thy good with neighborhood (instead of brotherhood)
    From sea to shining sea!

    See, they wouldn’t sing that in New Orleans.  In New Orleans they’d say,  “Huh uh!  That ain’t the song!  God ain’t no girl!  I mean, I guess he could be a girl, I guess, but that ain’t how the song go!” Read the rest of this entry »

    When One Chef Closes, Another Chef Opens

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    Notes from Nan: Jim, Oh Jim done gone.
    By HF Contributing Writer, Nan Parati

    One of the problems of having a tiny restaurant with an outstanding certified chef is that he is constantly being recruited by larger restaurants that can pay him infinitely better than I can. Happily (and surprisingly!) for me, Jim turned the marauders down for 3 years, but while I was in New Orleans recently, one of them finally convinced him to go. It makes sense now that he has a family (wife and new baby) to support and all, so I wasn’t surprised, just sad to see him go and glad he stayed so long. Jim will still be with us, snapping out breakfasts with Mary on Saturday and Sunday mornings, but he’ll be cooking with the high rollers all the other days of the week. Thanks Jim, for all the excellent food.

    So now we welcome our new dinner cook, Brolin! You’ve enjoyed his breakfasts and to-go lunches for a few months now; he came to us back in January—and here’s how Baby Jesus works: he (Brolin, not Baby Jesus) told me the other day that when he came back to this area he applied to a number of restaurants, but got no real interest. He was just starting to get discouraged when he applied to Elmer’s. We liked him as soon as we saw him and snapped him right up. And this is exactly where he’s supposed to be because we love him! He grew up in Amherst and sought his fortune in San Francisco where he had his own catering company, Instant Luau. He moved back to the area last winter and that’s when we got him.

    Besides cooking, he has his own record label, 442 Records, preserving hip-hop, R & B and jazz for all time. He likes candlepin bowling, fly-fishing and lives to barbecue. He’s also cute as the dickens, which I can say because I am way older than he is.

    I asked him what his culinary philosophy was and he shrugged, smiled and said, “I like to make good food that people will like.” So, okay! – He’s cooking Thursday and Friday dinners now!

    Elmer’s Store | 396 Main St. | Ashfield, MA 01330 | (413) 628-4003


    ABOUT THE AUTHOR

    Nan Parati - Elmer's StoreNan Parati

    Nan is the proprietor of Elmer’s Store in Ashfield, MA. A New England transplant from the Deep South, Nan shares her southern wit, wisdom and charm every week in her column, “Notes from Nan.” Share dinner with her every Friday at Elmer’s. Menu’s are posted with her column. nanparati@aol.com

    Safe & Green Campaign Asks Hilltown Residents To Act Locally: Retire Vermont Yankee

    Randy Kehle of Colrain, MA writes:

    If you live in one of the towns within 20 miles of the “Vermont Yankee” (VY) nuclear reactor in Vernon, Vermont–a.k.a. the “evacuation zone” (see list of towns below)–and,

    If you would like to see this aged, accident-prone reactor retired on schedule when its original 40-year license expires in March of 2012, rather than allowed to operate for another 20 years, until 2032(!), as VY’s Louisiana-based, mega-corporate owner, Entergy Nuclear, is pushing for

    Then, please click HERE to read and sign onto our letter to the members of the Vermont legislation, who may soon be casting an historic vote re Vermont Yankee’s future.

    And then, please share this message with others who live in “Evacuation Zone” towns (list below) and urge them to send it out to their friends and neighbors. We need everyone’s help with this, ASAP.

    The letter will be carried – by hand and on foot – to the Vermont State Capitol and personally presented to legislators by people from the evacuation zone who will be participating in a 120-mile walk, January 2-13, 2010 from Brattleboro to Montpelier, entitled “Step It Up to Shut It Down.” To join or support the walk, go to: www.safeandgreencampaign.org

    Towns within (or partially within) 20 miles of the VY nuclear reactor:

    VERMONT: Brattleboro, Brookside, Dover, Dummerston, Guilford, Halifax, Marlboro, Newfane, Putney, Townshend, Vernon, Wardsboro, Westminster, Whitingham, Wilmington

    NEW HAMPSHIRE: Chesterfield, Fitzwilliam, Gilsum, Hinsdale, Keene, Marlborough, Richmond, Roxbury, Surry, Swanzey, Troy, Walpole, Westmoreland, Winchester

    MASSACHUSETTS: Athol, Ashfield, Bernardston, Buckland, Charlemont, Colrain, Conway, Deerfield, Erving, Gill, Greenfield, Hawley, Heath, Leverett, Leyden, Montague, New Salem, Northfield, Orange, Rowe, Royalston, Shelburne, Shutesbury, Sunderland, Warwick, Wendell

    And the Winner Is … Ashfield FilmFest

    Notes from Nan: Ashfield FilmFest 2009
    By Nan Parati, HF Contributing Writer

    September 26th, 2009: Ashfield FilmFest

    What a great time was had by over 400 people last Saturday night at the Third Annual Ashfield FilmFest at Town Hall! Fifteen films were entered, the rules being that the films had to be no longer than five minutes, and have some connection to the town of Ashfield (um Massachusetts, not the one in England, I don’t think.)

    Red Gate Farm had held workshops in filmmaking and there were a number of entries from kids that were quite fun. Nancy Hoff at the Hardware Store had a brilliant idea in recreating the “Dancing Queen” scene from Mama Mia and orchestrated hundreds (yes? hundreds?) of Ashfield women in giving up their daily toil to join in a rousing musical dance down Main Street ending with a plunge in Ashfield Lake. (I remember that day and it was cold! More kudos to everyone connected with that film for staying in character and following through!) There was a hilarious mockumentary on Big Foot sightings in Ashfield by Jason Mazzarina and Elijah Rottenberg. I’d like to see that one again. There were thoughtful films on the best of Ashfield and its caring for each other, documentaries of daily life and events in Ashfield, and just plain funny ones on summer interning at Red Gate Farm, haunted barns at Red Gate Farm and then, on the pancakes at Elmer’s.

    When Gayle Kabaker came to me in early summer to say she wanted to make a film about Elmer’s pancakes, I backed away saying, “I don’t think I want to be involved with this,” a project I feared was somehow going to be a five-minute infomercial on our pancakes. I do love our pancakes, but I couldn’t see myself standing there pitching them or standing proudly by while someone else did. I wasn’t sure what she had in mind and did everything I could to dissuade her from the idea.

    Then she brought me the script and it was SO goofy and downright funny—AND I would get to wield a gun and smoke a cigar; the casting was very well-thought out, and it featured three of my favorite people in cameo roles, so I agreed and even did my own hair and makeup for the shoot.

    One great thing about the FilmFest is that idea that so many people wanted to come out and see locally-made films, support their friends’ work, dress up in magnificent fashion, clap, cheer and whistle, that over eighty people were actually turned away from the event due to space limitations. I understand that much of the turned-away crowd ended up at Elmer’s for an impromptu alternate party that culminated in patrons doing the final clean-up so that poor Mary, who had not expected to be there by herself (we had thought we’d stay open until seven or so) that night could finally close and go home to sleep before coming back the next morning to cook breakfast. It was a night of community fun and togetherness, something this town is known for and yearns for again after our summer of rocky and uncomfortable division.

    When the awards were announced (and rewarded with beautiful individually-created ceramic plates by Dawn Fessenden, as beautiful as any gold-plated statue!) it came out thus:

    • First Prize for Youth: Galen Knowles for History in a Free Fall
    • First Prize for Adult: Nancy Hoff for Dancing Queen
    • Ashfield History Prize (sponsored in part by the Ashfield History Project): Tamsen Merrill for Stocking the Food Pantry
    • Ashfield Resident Prize: David Fessenden for Locavore
    • Grand Prize: Gayle Kabaker for The Great Ashfield Pancaper
    • The well-deserved and roundly applauded Audience Choice Award (for their favorite film, voted on directly after the showing of all the films) was Nancy Hoff’s Dancing Queen.

    Congratulations to all who participated, actually getting it together to make a whole film, finish it and get it in! Keep that creative momentum and let’s do it again next year!


    ABOUT THE AUTHOR

    Nan Parati - Elmer's StoreNan Parati

    Nan is the proprietor of Elmer’s Store in Ashfield, MA. A New England transplant from the Deep South, Nan shares her southern wit, wisdom and charm every week in her column, “Notes from Nan.” Share dinner with her every Friday at Elmer’s. Menu’s are posted with her column. nanparati@aol.com

    All the Best New England Traditions Celebrated at the Ashfield Fall Festival

    The 39th Annual Ashfield Fall Festival Takes Place Columbus Day Weekend

    Soup Kitchen at 2008 Ashfield Fall Festival

    During the Ashfield Fall Festival the Congregational Church cooks up hearty soups, hosts a craft sale and tag sale. All are welcomed. (Photo credit: Sienna Wildfield)

    Exhibitors of fiber and textile arts, woodwork, blown glass, pottery, jewelry, kid’s clothing and more will display and sell their wares in several venues along Main Street. Food vendors will serve locally-grown or prepared foods— from the iconic fried dough with maple cream and apple pie with a slice cheddar, to kielbasa grinders and chowder.

    Saturday morning kicks off with the Agricultural Commission’s second annual Tallest Sunflower and Heaviest Pumpkin “challenge cup” competition. At noon Saturday, teams formed on-the-spot for the annual “Pumpkingames” will compete in a variety of games such as pumpkin bowling and the pumpkin relay race.

    If you’re more of a spectator than a competitor, bring your stuffed baked potato and hot pumpkin donut over to the festival stage and listen to great music from local performers such as Radio Free Earth, Zoe Darrow and the Fiddleheads, and Lui Collins. Several teams of Morris Dancers will also be on hand to keep you in the fall festival spirit.

    Families will enjoy the low-cost activities for children, including face-painting, a bounce house, the “fidget ladder”, sand art, pumpkin painting, and an arcade of games created and run on the Town Common by local youth. Tag sales will be held both days, and bargain hunters and booklovers alike will enjoy several book sales.

    The 2009 musical entertainment line up:

    On Saturday, Oct. 10

    • 10 a.m., Banish Misfortune, this “session” band plays traditional Irish and Scottish tunes.
    • 11 a.m., Radio Free Earth, an eclectic, rootsy band plays “crossover” music mining the world’s songbook.
    • 1:15 p.m., Zoe Darrow and the Fiddleheads. A jigging phenomenon who performs traditional Irish, Scottish and Cape Breton fiddle tunes.
    • 2:30 p.m., Bluegrass showcase with James Delnero and Lost Mountain.
    • 3:30 p.m., Morris dancers. Valley groups Juggler Meadow Morris men, the
      Rapscallions and Wake Robin are joined by dancers from around New England.

    Sunday, Oct. 11

    Cummington Family Center - Ashfield Fall Festival

    Fun for the whole family at the Ashfield Fall Festival! The Cummington Family Center offers information for parents with young kids. The Ashfield Community Preschool host games for all kids to play. (Photo credit: Sienna Wildfield)

    • 10:45 a.m., Bluegrass and roots music showcase with The Academy Freightshakers.
    • Noon, Lui Collins, an internationally recognized recording artist who is the director of Hilltown Music Together and Kids’ Jam.
    • 1:15 p.m., The Hilltones present classic and country rock, blues and oldies.
    • 2:30 p.m., West County Jazz, an ensemble that plays classics from the modern jazz repertoire, with a little bossa nova.
    • 3:45 p.m., A Celtic showcase with Manfred Gabriel and special guests.

    The Ashfield Fall Festival (www.ashfieldfallfestival.org) is a volunteer-run event that raises funds for local community organizations and for the Ashfield Citizens’ Scholarship Fund. The event takes place on both public and private property, indoors and outdoors, and generally attracts a large crowd. For the safety and comfort of all, we ask that you please leave your dogs at home.

    Photos from 2008 Ashfield Fall Festival.

    Keep it Local: 2010 Hilltown Business Directory

    Hilltown Business Directory to List 350 Local Businesses

    The annual Hilltown Business Directory, published both in print and online by the Hilltown Community Development Corporation (HCDC), a community non-profit in Chesterfield, MA, is preparing its expanded 2010 edition.

    The Hilltown Business Directory will list 350 local businesses in 20 towns, by category, by name, and by town. This 160 page reference book will be used all year by local residents. The Directory makes it easy for residents to support their neighbors by using locally available products and services, thereby strengthening the hilltown economy and preserving and creating local jobs.

    The 2010 Directory will be mailed in early January to every one of the 13,000 households in 20 towns, including

    • Ashfield in Franklin County;
    • Chesterfield, Cummington, Goshen, Huntington, Middlefield, Plainfield, Westhampton, Williamsburg and Worthington in Hampshire County;
    • Blandford, Chester, Montgomery and Russell in Hampden County;
    • Becket, Hinsdale, Otis, Peru, Washington and Windsor in Berkshire County.

    The online version of the Hilltown Business Directory is available all year at www.hilltowncdc.org.

    Listings and ads must be received by September 25. More information, and space reservation forms, are available at www.hilltowncdc.org, or by calling 413-296-4536.  Read the rest of this entry »

    Found in Ashfield: Blue & Orange Pacifier In the Dirt After Weekend Clambake

    Notes from Nan: Attention Three-Year Olds:
    BY HF Contributing Writer, Nan Parati


    Attention three-year olds:  I’m sorry to have to bring this to your attention, as I know that you are very busy learning to say your “Rs” and don’t have much time for stuff like this, but I’m afraid I’m going to have to ask you to temporarily stop drinking the little Half and Half creamers. I know they are addictive—such thick and creamy milk, and they are perfect little shot-glasses for hands your size, but the problem is that it’s summer, we’ve been very, very busy with lots of customers, and we find that every single Sunday we’re out of creamers. I’m afraid we just don’t have any extra to spare, and so we’re going to have to ask you to leave the creamers in their little bowls until, say, Labor Day when things go back to normal. Unless, of course, you’re putting them in your coffee, which, I think may stunt your growth, so you may want to talk to your doctor about drinking coffee at age three. You might also want to think about your cholesterol levels, which drinking the Half and Half is not helping. It might not be such an issue right now, but you’ll thank me later in life for making you aware of your cholesterol level now.

    Thank you for your prompt attention to this issue.

    Incidentally, a blue and orange pacifier was found in the dirt after the Clambake. I’m not sure you still want it as it appears to have been stomped upon, but in case if was your favorite and you wondered where it went, I believe it’s here.

    Boy was that a real nice clambake!

    You know what you get at a Clambake I now know? You know those big-ass aluminum pans that you put a whole 50 pound turkey in to cook it at Thanksgiving? You get one of those filled up with lobsters, clams, the best clam chowder ever in the history of clams, barbequed chicken, corn on the cob and potatoes. Filled up! People had to rent trucks to take all their left-overs home. Now, it did rain a little, but I learned a valuable lesson: People in New England would rather sit out in the rain to watch a concert and be able to drink than to be inside a nice and dry Town Hall without being able to drink. Not being a drinker myself, I did not realize that! But no one complained at all and everyone seemed quite happy to be outside, with or without hooch. And the concert was wonderful, wonderful, wonderful! Even in the rain. We have CDs by May Erlewine and Seth Bernard here now, and they are so worth listening to. What great voices! What great songs! And Rani Arbo and daisy mayhem blew the roof off the joint just like I thought they would! It was a great night all around!

    Dinner this week! Read the rest of this entry »

    And to think it happened at Elmer’s!

    Notes from Nan: And to think it happened at Elmer’s!
    BY HF Contributing Writer, Nan Parati

    Man!

    You just never know who you’re gonna see at Elmer’s. Last week at this time we had Sonya Kitchell, Erin McKeown and Erica Wheeler all sitting around at breakfast with their guitars and gorgeous voices, jamming together on a theme of pancakes. And just now I walked in to talk to Jim and there was a group of Tibetan monks having coffee. I’m thinking that Tuesdays are the day to come in just to see what in the world is going on!

    So, my nieces and their friends were up from North Carolina over the last few days and yesterday Micki sees a thermometer says in her little southern accent, “It’s really only 60 degrees? Really? That’s so weird . . .”

    Yes, and sixty degrees is the good news from where it’s been. My friends, they have record-breaking heat in New Orleans! Do you know how hard you would have to get before you can get hotter than it’s EVER been in NEW ORLEANS??? Hell itself has never been that hot! And what do we get? Sixty degrees on July 13th. It kind of makes me sad.

    This weekend is The Green River Festival. Every other year that I have worked on it it’s been up in the 100s of degrees out there—like, 200 or more! This year I’m hoping we’ll be able to work up a sweat. Oh, you’re probably quite fine with sixty or seventy degrees for Green River Festival. It may be a good thing, as due to the large crowds expected this year, we’ve been forced to ask people not to bring tents. It has been advertised, by the way as “nearly sold out”, which is true, but I know that there are still some tickets left if you’re interested. (We even still have some at Elmer’s—both for the whole weekend ($45) and for the Friday night Anniversary of Signature Sounds artists ($25.) The whole line-up is at www.GreenRiverFestival.com.

    Saturday morning at Elmer’s, we will have outside a short little performance by Double Edge Theater, while you wait for your table. They are getting ready for their summer performance of “The Arabian Nights” (www.DoubleEdgeTheatre.com) and will be handing out fliers and doing God Knows What outside of Elmer’s that morning. (You know how it is with Double Edge, you never know what to expect, which is what makes it so worth seeing!) I believe they should be here around 10 or 11, so come for breakfast, come for the Farmer’s Market down the street, and see what Double Edge is up to!

    Read the rest of this entry »

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