Hampshire and Hampden Canal: Gone but not Forgotten

Photographer Examines Hidden History of Local Landscape in the Valley

At 2pm on Saturday, August 16, 2014, Carl Walter, a canal historian, will give a talk in Historic Northampton’s Gallery III. He has been studying the Hampshire and Hampden Canal since 1991, and has created a digital database that contains several thousand photos and documents containing information about the canal. In his talk, he will explain why the canal was built, where it was located, and how it was constructed, as well as its importance to the canal towns, with an emphasis on the relationship between the town of Northampton and the canal.

As part of Historic Northampton’s Contemporary Art series, Anthony W. Lee will exhibit seven large format photographs, collectively titled A River of Dreams, from Friday, August 8 through Saturday, September 6, 2014.

Lee, an historian and documentary photographer, is the Idella Plimpton Kendall Professor of Art History at Mt. Holyoke College. His show is inspired by the history and legacy of the early-nineteenth-century Hampshire and Hampden Canal, which ran from New Haven, Connecticut to Northampton, Massachusetts. Established in the 1820s, the canal was New Haven’s attempt to prevent the city of Hartford from gaining a monopoly on the trade and movement of goods in the region. In Northampton, the canal ran along the west side of New South Street, then known as Canal Street, and continued north, crossing King Street at Damon Road until it joined the Connecticut River. Despite the relatively successful operation of commerce over a ten year period, the venture as a whole was fraught with problems, and the canal was defunct by 1946. The remains of the canal beds were rapidly repurposed into railroad lines, streets, and other modern edifices, and it takes a discerning eye to see the subtle clues left on the landscape.  Read the rest of this entry »

Edible Books Connect Culinary Arts & Literature

The Edible Book: A Benefit for the Friends of the Forbes & Lilly Libraries

The Forbes and Lilly Libraries are holding their Edible Book event on Sunday, April 6th this year, an annual event that crosses culinary arts and language arts with creative free play!

If you could make a piece of art that describes your favorite book, what would it look like? If you created a food whose flavor matches your family’s favorite story, what would it taste like? And what do you think would happen if you combined your art piece with the book’s perfect flavor match? Create a real-life edible artistic masterpiece – just like you’ve imagined! – by participating in Forbes Library’s event, Edible Book Northampton!

Read the rest of this entry »

Woods of the World on Display at Lyman Plant House

Woods of the World
Smith College Lyman Plant House
Northampton, MA

The Woods of the World permanent exhibit consists of 178 unique woods from all parts of the globe and hangs from the walls and ceiling near the north entrance of Lyman Plant House at Smith Botanical Garden in Northampton, MA. Utilize this local resource as a way of supporting your child/students interest in dendrology and forest product manufacturing.

Do you know what the inside of a pine tree looks like? How about the inside of something far less common, like a plum, yew, or gum tree? Get an inside look at all of these trees (and over a hundred more!) at Woods of the World, a fascinating permanent exhibit at the Smith College Botanical Garden’s Lyman Plant House in Northampton, MA.

Woods of the World (also known as WoW) features panels of wood from over 170 trees from all around the world. The panels cover a section of the plant house’s walls, ceiling, and floor and are representative of a diverse group of tree species from all over the world. By visiting this intimate hallway exhibit, families can learn about the uses for and origins of many types of wood, revealing wood grains in all shapes and patterns; while none of the panels have been stained, some have changed shades slowly over time, further expanding the exhibit’s range of colors.

Visitors to the exhibit can use a key, along with numbers on each panel, in order to determine what type of wood each panel represents. A handful of informational displays share information on the shapes and patterns of  wood grains, and how examination of a tree’s grain can be used to learn about the tree and its life. The exhibit also offers information on the American elm tree, a species decimated by Dutch Elm Disease. In addition, the exhibits cork flooring is accompanied by information on cork which is, much to the surprise of many children, derived from a cork tree…

Read the rest of this entry »

Community Conversation: Talking to Your Kids About Sex, Part 3

Hilltown Families presents…

“Puberty for Parents”
part of the Talking to Your Kids About Sex Series
of Community Conversations with Brooke Norton
Held at Cup & Top Café in Florence
Tuesday, May 21st from 6:30-8:30pm

Hilltown Families and Cup and Top Café are presenting a series of free talks for parents with Brooke Norton and Jane Fleishman, MS, Certified Sex Educators. Continuing with this series, the third talk, Puberty for Parents, will focus on the physical changes, social impacts and emotional aspects of puberty. Brooke and Jane will also touch upon sexual orientation and coming out, and what parents can teach their kids about consent.

“Puberty for Parents” will take place on Tuesday, May 21st after hours at the café from 6:30pm-8:30pm (1 North Main Street) in Florence, MA.

Read the rest of this entry »

Hilltown Families’ Family Community Service Event: May 4th!

Hilltown Families’ Family Community Service Event
Saturday, May 4th from 10am-1pm
Leeds Elementary School in Northampton, MA

Volunteer with your family to help local non-profits in a single free event on Saturday, May 4th from 10am-1pm during the Hilltown Families’ Family Community Service Event, held at Leeds Elementary School in Northampton— a one of a kind event for families to volunteer together while educating children about animal welfare, conservation efforts and the value of community service. Space is limited, so reserve a spot for your family today!
“Our mission is to give families service based learning experiences by collaborating with local non-profits and community organizations in a single event,” says Sienna Wildfield, Executive Director of Hilltown Families. “Many families are interested in volunteering together but may find it difficult due to either a limit in time or to a lack of opportunities. Hilltown Families’ Family Community Service Event is for all ages and is a fun way for families to volunteer together. It’s also an avenue for parents to discuss and educate their children on important community issues and the value of volunteering on behalf of animals and the environment.”

Join Hilltown Families for a Saturday morning of volunteering together with your family during our spring Family Community Service Event on Saturday, May 4th from 10am-1pm in Northampton, MA!

This past fall at our inaugural Family Community Service Night we focused on human service organizations and families had a great time working together in support of several local non-profits.

Our spring event on Saturday, May 4th will be held at Leeds Elementary School in Northampton. We will be offering seven volunteer stations for families to participate in hands-on service projects for ALL AGES that support animal welfare organizations, conservation efforts and food security. Families will also be able to bring home several of their service projects to continue their community service together from home.

With a Community Service Passport in hand, families can travel to each station and have their Passport stamped after completing their service project. In their Passports parents will find conversation starters, online resources and recommended reading lists for each station, and children can share what they liked best about each project by filling in their Passport. Parents can use the Passport to help guide youth participants in learning about animal welfare, conservation efforts and food security.

Our Spring Volunteer Stations include:

  1. BIRD HOUSE BUILDING: Bluebird houses will be constructed on site to be donated to the Franklin Land Trust. Families can help assemble & sand houses… something for all ages. (Facilitated by the Northampton High School Woodworking Club)
  2. FELINE FUN: Make catnip toys for cats to be donated to the Dakin Humane Society for cats waiting for adoption. (Facilitated by Dakin Humane Society)
  3. FLEECE CHEWS FOR CANINES: Make and donate chew toys for dogs of families in need with Kane’s Krusade. (Facilitated by Give a Hoot Pets)
  4. SOW AN EXTRA ROW: Learn about growing extra food in your family garden plot or container gardens to harvest and donate to a local food pantry. Go home with a plant starter and seeds to plant and nurture this summer. (Facilitated by Grow Food Northampton)
  5. SEED BOMBS: Create dirt bombs with native wildflower seeds to use for promoting natural habitats for pollinators. Go home with your very on seed bombs! (Facilitated by Help Yourself!)
  6. GIVING BAGS: Upcycle old t-shirts into giving bags to take home for collecting food for animal shelters, food pantries or other service organization in need of donations. (Facilitated by Knack)
  7. LETTER WRITING: Learn about the work of participating organizations and write letters of appreciation, or participate in letter writing campaigns. (Facilitated by the Northampton High School Key Club)

Donation Stations: In addition to our volunteer stations, we will have several opportunities for families to bring and donate items from home, including:

  • Cat food & cat toys to be donated to Dakin Humane Society.
  • Dog food to be donated to Kane’s Krusade, including: new, unopened dry dog good (no Beneful or Ol’ Roy, please); canned dog food; and dog treats (no treats form China, please).
  • Baby blankets, receiving blankets, baby wipes & kids polar fleece hats to be donated to Urban Wildlife Rehabilitation.

Pet Adoption: Stop by and visit Dakin Humane Society’s pet adoption station. Families can learn more about Dakin’s services and programs, and the adoption process. Who knows, maybe you’ll meet your new furry friend! If a family meets an animal they would like to adopt, they can complete their adoption process at either Dakin’s Springfield or Leverett Adoption Centers.

Food: Cup & Top Cafe will be joining us with food to fuel our volunteering families, selling coffee/tea, beverages, pastries and light lunch fare. So be sure to come hungry (and thirsty!).

Questions? Call 413-961-9367

Read the rest of this entry »

PARENTS’ NIGHT OUT: Win Tickets to see Josh Ritter & the Royal City Band

Josh Ritter and the Royal City Band
Calvin Theater in Northampton, MA
Thursday, May 9th, 2013 at 8pm

Josh Ritter and the Royal City Band plus The Felice Brothers

Enter for your chance to win! You pay for the sitter and we’ll pay for the tickets!

Hilltown Families and Iron Horse Entertainment Group have partnered up to offer a chance to win free tickets to see adult venues in the Pioneer Valley for a PARENTS’ NIGHT OUT! You pay for the sitter, we’ll pay for the tickets!

For May we are pleased to offer a chance to win a pair of tickets to see  Josh Ritter and the Royal City Band plus The Felice Brothers at the Calvin Theater in Northampton, MA at 8pm on Thursday, May 9th, 2013.

Win tickets and take your spouse, partner or good friend for a night out. Deadline to enter to win is Monday, 05/06/13 by 11:59pm (EST). More details below.

ABOUT JOSH RITTER

The Beast In Its Tracks, the sixth album from renowned singer-songwriter Josh Ritter, was released past March.  The new album follows Ritter’s 2010 release, So Runs The World Away, of which Bob Boilen from NPR Music declared, “I’ve come to expect good records from him…but this one took my breath away,” while the Boston Globe praised, “quite sensational…marks the finest music he has made.” In 2011, Ritter made is debut as a published author with his New York Times Best-selling novel, Bright’s Passage. Of the work, Stephen King writes in The New York Times Book Review, “Shines with a compressed lyricism that recalls Ray Bradbury in his prime . . . This is the work of a gifted novelist.” – www.joshritter.com

ABOUT THE FELICE BROTHERS

What separates The Felices mud-stomping folk from that of their peers is their no-winking honesty the sense that these songs and the places and people they’re singing about aren’t literary devices but actual people doing their damnedest to rage against the growing darkness. – www.thefelicebrothers.com

HOW TO WIN

Your chance to win a pair of tickets to see Josh Ritter and the Royal City Band plus The Felice Brothers at the Calvin Theater in Northampton, MA at 8pm on Thursday, May 9th, 2013, is as easy as 1-2-3 (4)! To win simply:

  • CONSIDER SHARING ON FACEBOOK & TWITTER by selecting from the icons below
  • TELL US HOW HILLTOWN FAMILIES KEEPS YOU CONNECTED WITH YOUR COMMUNITY  THROUGHOUT THE REGION  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 is Monday, 05/06/13 by 11:59pm (EST)

If you don’t win you should still go. Tickets are available at the Northampton Box office, online at IHEG.com, or by calling 413-586-8686.

Warm Thank You & Sad Goodbye to Main Street Shop in Northampton

Mash Notes to Paradise by Sarah Werthan Buttenwieser

The Mountain Goat and Main Street

I am not the only person to be sad about Northampton’s Mountain Goat closing.

Like so many parents in the Valley, I can’t count the number of pairs of Merrell shoes I bought for my children there nor how many pairs of winter-grade mittens. The Mountain Goat sealed my love for Patagonia’s warm winter jackets and Smartwool socks. That’s to say I realized New England is no joke if you walk every day or ski or want your kids to enjoy recess. And when I realized that the Goat helped me to accommodate the actual weather in ways that made the outdoors more easily accessible.

Because this is a mash note, I’ll add that I appreciated the warm service and the innate smiles of everyone who worked there (in my experience, friendliness abounded) as much as the fact that when something essential—those mittens, oh those many, many mittens—I could dash in and find the necessary replacement.

It’s so much work for small businesses to stay in business. When you live in an area comprised of small towns, you realize that each business that sells necessities counts a little extra. Sometimes, you wish you didn’t have to pay a premium for that. Like the Joni Mitchell line, “You don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone,” though, you realize that premium was worth it all along for your lost mitten replacement needs or your chance to try things on or the good advice you get along with the shoe purchase about a hike or bike ride or ski trail. Whenever the punch card filled up and you got that bonus infusion of product, you felt the mini thrill of good luck earned and justified all that little bit more you spent as counterbalanced (the more you spend the more you save).

❥ Rather than dwell in melancholy, though, I want to thank the Goat folks for dependability and good cheer and to remind myself (and you, reader) how much Main Street matters in a community comprised of small towns.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Sarah Werthan Buttenwieser

Sarah is a writer, who lives in Northampton with her husband and four children. She contributes to Preview Massachusetts Magazine, as well as other publications and writes a parenting blog Standing in the Shadows at the Valley Advocate. She moved to the Valley to attend Hampshire College—and found the Valley such a nice place, she stayed!

PARENTS’ NIGHT OUT: Win Tickets to see Carolina Chocolate Drops plus David Wax Museum at the Calvin Theater

Carolina Chocolate Drops plus David Wax Museum
Calvin Theater in Northampton, MA
Saturday, April 13th, 2013 at 8pm

Hilltown Families and Iron Horse Entertainment Group have partnered up to offer a chance to win free tickets to see adult venues in the Pioneer Valley for a PARENTS’ NIGHT OUT! You pay for the sitter, we’ll pay for the tickets!

For April we are pleased to offer a chance to win a pair of tickets to see Carolina Chocolate Drops plus David Wax Museum at the Calvin Theater in Northampton, MA at 8pm on Saturday, April 13th, 2013.

Win tickets and take your spouse, partner or good friend for a night out. Deadline to enter to win is Tuesday, 04/09/13 by 11:59pm (EST). More details below.

ABOUT CAROLINA CHOCOLATE DROPS

Carolina Chocolate Drops’ members met at the 2005 Black Banjo Gathering in Boone, N.C., and have spent the years since revitalizing and refreshing a glorious tradition of African-American string-band music. But this is no mere trio of nostalgia-miners: Members Dom Flemons, Rhiannon Giddens and Justin Robinson are as likely to work with a progressive orchestra, or to reinvent Blu Cantrell’s R&B hit “Hit ‘Em Up Style,” as they are to draw on old-time jug-band favorites. — www.carolinachocolatedrops.com

ABOUT DAVID WAX MUSEUM

Anointed as Bostons Americana Artist of the Year (2010 Boston Music Awards), the David Wax Museum has been called pure, irresistible joy (Bob Boilen, NPR) and hailed by TIME.com for its virtuosic musical skill and virtuous harmonies. It is no surprise that its acclaimed performance at the 2010 Newport Folk Festival was hailed as one of highlights of the entire weekend by NPR. The Museum fuses traditional Mexican folk with American roots and indie rock to create an utterly unique Mexo- Americana aesthetic. Combining Latin rhythms, call-and-response hollering, and donkey jawbone rattling, they have electrified audiences across the country and are kicking up a cloud of excitement with their high-energy border-crossing sensibility (The New Yorker). — www.davidwaxmuseum.com

HOW TO WIN

Your chance to win a pair of tickets to see Carolina Chocolate Drops plus David Wax Museum at the Calvin Theater in Northampton, MA at 8pm on Saturday, April 13th, 2013, is as easy as 1-2-3 (4)! To win simply:

  • CONSIDER SHARING ON FACEBOOK & TWITTER by selecting from the icons below
  • TELL US HOW HILLTOWN FAMILIES KEEPS YOU CONNECTED WITH YOUR COMMUNITY  THROUGHOUT THE REGION  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 is Tuesday, 04/09/13 by 11:59pm (EST).

If you don’t win you should still go. Tickets are available at the Northampton Box office, online at IHEG.com, or by calling 413-586-8686.

Hilltown Families’ Family Community Service Event: May 4th!

Hilltown Families’ Family Community Service Event
Saturday, May 4th from 10am-1pm
Leeds Elementary School in Northampton, MA

Volunteer with your family to help local non-profits in a single free event on Saturday, May 4th from 10am-1pm during the Hilltown Families’ Family Community Service Event, held at Leeds Elementary School in Northampton— a one of a kind event for families to volunteer together while educating children about animal welfare, conservation efforts and the value of community service. Space is limited, so reserve a spot for your family today!
“Our mission is to give families service based learning experiences by collaborating with local non-profits and community organizations in a single event,” says Sienna Wildfield, Executive Director of Hilltown Families. “Many families are interested in volunteering together but may find it difficult due to either a limit in time or to a lack of opportunities. Hilltown Families’ Family Community Service Event is for all ages and is a fun way for families to volunteer together. It’s also an avenue for parents to discuss and educate their children on important community issues and the value of volunteering on behalf of animals and the environment.”

Join Hilltown Families for a Saturday morning of volunteering together with your family during our spring Family Community Service Event on Saturday, May 4th from 10am-1pm in Northampton, MA!

This past fall at our inaugural Family Community Service Night we focused on human service organizations and families had a great time working together in support of several local non-profits.

Our spring event on Saturday, May 4th will be held at Leeds Elementary School in Northampton. We will be offering seven volunteer stations for families to participate in hands-on service projects for ALL AGES that support animal welfare organizations, conservation efforts and food security. Families will also be able to bring home several of their service projects to continue their community service together from home.

With a Community Service Passport in hand, families can travel to each station and have their Passport stamped after completing their service project. In their Passports parents will find conversation starters, online resources and recommended reading lists for each station, and children can share what they liked best about each project by filling in their Passport. Parents can use the Passport to help guide youth participants in learning about animal welfare, conservation efforts and food security.

Our Spring Volunteer Stations include:

  1. BIRD HOUSE BUILDING: Bluebird houses will be constructed on site to be donated to the Franklin Land Trust. Families can help assemble & sand houses… something for all ages. (Facilitated by the Northampton High School Woodworking Club)
  2. FELINE FUN: Make catnip toys for cats to be donated to the Dakin Humane Society for cats waiting for adoption. (Facilitated by Dakin Humane Society)
  3. FLEECE CHEWS FOR CANINES: Make and donate chew toys for dogs of families in need with Kane’s Krusade. (Facilitated by Give a Hoot Pets)
  4. SOW AN EXTRA ROW: Learn about growing extra food in your family garden plot or container gardens to harvest and donate to a local food pantry. Go home with a plant starter and seeds to plant and nurture this summer. (Facilitated by Grow Food Northampton)
  5. SEED BOMBS: Create dirt bombs with native wildflower seeds to use for promoting natural habitats for pollinators. Go home with your very on seed bombs! (Facilitated by Help Yourself!)
  6. GIVING BAGS: Upcycle old t-shirts into giving bags to take home for collecting food for animal shelters, food pantries or other service organization in need of donations. (Facilitated by Knack)
  7. LETTER WRITING: Learn about the work of participating organizations and write letters of appreciation, or participate in letter writing campaigns. (Facilitated by the Northampton High School Key Club)

Donation Stations: In addition to our volunteer stations, we will have several opportunities for families to bring and donate items from home, including:

  • Cat food & cat toys to be donated to Dakin Humane Society.
  • Dog food to be donated to Kane’s Krusade, including: new, unopened dry dog good (no Beneful or Ol’ Roy, please); canned dog food; and dog treats (no treats form China, please).
  • Baby blankets, receiving blankets, baby wipes & kids polar fleece hats to be donated to Urban Wildlife Rehabilitation.

Pet Adoption: Stop by and visit Dakin Humane Society’s pet adoption station. Families can learn more about Dakin’s services and programs, and the adoption process. Who knows, maybe you’ll meet your new furry friend! If a family meets an animal they would like to adopt, they can complete their adoption process at either Dakin’s Springfield or Leverett Adoption Centers.

Food: Cup & Top Cafe will be joining us with food to fuel our volunteering families, selling coffee/tea, beverages, pastries and light lunch fare. So be sure to come hungry (and thirsty!).

Questions? Call 413-961-9367

Read the rest of this entry »

Northampton History ❥ Finding Ways to Remember

Mash Notes to Paradise by Sarah Werthan Buttenwieser

Note 23, History

For an upcoming issue of Preview Massachusetts Magazine, I was in Northampton interviewing a chef and a restaurant owner this week. It’s a space he relatively recently took over and we were recalling together what it had been in its last incarnation.

That evening, my husband and I strained to recall what it had been before that. We couldn’t remember.

I arrived in the Valley in 1981 as a first year student at Hampshire College. Gauzily, hazily, I can recall waiting for the train—location, obvious—for its 2 AM pickup once or twice (that wasn’t fun). Where Moshi Moshi is, Wally’s Soda Bar was. There was another health food store in town and a groovy cotton-clothing store where Florence Savings Bank is now. The town had a hardware store and a Woolworth’s and an independently owned pharmacy on Main Street.

On it goes. There’s so much I cannot remember. I have to admit my personal institutional memory is spotty at best.

My dear husband and I think that someone—Chamber of Commerce, perhaps—should build some kind of interactive site that offers the history of each storefront in town.

What do you remember? Where’s the history-loving and tech-savvy design student to build a site for our adorable little New England city?


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Sarah Werthan Buttenwieser

Sarah is a writer, who lives in Northampton with her husband and four children. She contributes to Preview Massachusetts Magazine, as well as other publications and writes a parenting blog Standing in the Shadows at the Valley Advocate. She moved to the Valley to attend Hampshire College—and found the Valley such a nice place, she stayed!

Editor’s Note: Check out what they’ve done in Holyoke: The Holyoke History Walk: A Virtual Tour of the City

PARENTS’ NIGHT OUT: Win Tickets to see Gaelic Storm at the Calvin Theater

Gaelic Storm at the Calvin Theater
Northampton, MA
Friday, March 22nd, 2013 at 8pm

Hilltown Families and Iron Horse Entertainment Group have partnered up to offer a chance to win free tickets to see adult venues in the Pioneer Valley for a PARENTS’ NIGHT OUT! You pay for the sitter, we’ll pay for the tickets!

For this spring we are pleased to offer a chance to win a pair of tickets to see Gaelic Storm at the Calvin Theater in Northampton, MA at 8pm on Saturday, March 22nd, 2013.

Win tickets and take your spouse, partner or good friend for a night out. Deadline to enter to win is Tuesday, 03/19/13 by 11:59pm (EST). More details below.

ABOUT GAELIC STORM

Celtic-rock group Gaelic Storm’s dazzling new #1 Billboard World Album Chicken Boxer is a heavyweight record that comes out swinging with a mix of empowering anthems and traditional ballads. Gaelic Storm has earned a reputation as one of the world-music scene’s preeminent Celtic bands. With catalog sales of more than 1 million, the group has now had three albums debut at #1 on the Billboard World Albums Chart, 2008’s What’s the Rumpus?, 2010’s Cabbage, which remained parked in the top slot for three consecutive weeks, and now, 2012’s Chicken Boxer. The group’s ability to deftly incorporate a rock sensibility into their sound affords them rare crossover appeal. In recent years, they’ve performed on the same bill with acts ranging from Zac Brown Band and the Goo Goo Dolls to Emmylou Harris and Lyle Lovett, at events as varied as the Telluride Bluegrass Festival and Milwaukee’s Summerfest. Chicken Boxer, and Gaelic Storm live, deliver a titanic knock out.

Discover more about Gaelic Storm at www.gaelicstorm.com.

HOW TO WIN

Your chance to win a pair of tickets to see Gaelic Storm at the Calvin Theater in Northampton, MA at 8pm on Saturday, March 22nd, 2013., is as easy as 1-2-3 (4)! To win simply:

  • CONSIDER SHARING ON FACEBOOK & TWITTER by selecting from the icons below
  • TELL US HOW HILLTOWN FAMILIES KEEPS YOU CONNECTED WITH YOUR COMMUNITY  THROUGHOUT THE REGION  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 is Tuesday, 03/19/13 by 11:59pm (EST).

If you don’t win you should still go. Tickets are available at the Northampton Box office, online at IHEG.com, or by calling 413-586-8686.

Kids Swap Meet In Northampton

Northampton’s Free Kid’s Stuff Exchange
Smith Vocational High School Cafeteria
Saturday March 9 from 8am-12pm

Upcycle Artist, MaryLynne Boisvert, will lead an art activity for families to create fun, wearable garments form upcycled clothing.

The Northampton DPW’s ReUse Committee is sponsoring a free “Kid’s Stuff Exchange” at Smith Vocational High School this coming Saturday March 9th, 2013.  Pre-registration is required to participate from 8-11am, opening up to the general public from 11am-12noon.

This swap meet will allow local families to exchange clothing, toys, books and sporting goods in good condition at no cost.  Participants might find almost anything for kids ages 0-12 except baby gear (car seats, strollers, cribs), stuff with parts missing (puzzles, games), items with possible cutting/choking/lead hazards or over-sized items (play structures).  From 11am-12noon, the general public is welcome to come and take whatever they can use.  At noon, any remaining items will be donated to the Salvation Army.

Kids will be welcome.  Childcare will not be provided, but representatives from the Artisans of WMASS, Northampton’s Early Childhood Program, and  other local reuse & craft artists will offer free “make & take” art activities for ages 4+ (with adult) at the Kid’s Stuff Exchange from 9am–12Noon:

  • Lou Leelyn: Transform plastic trash into flowers & accessories
  • Aviva Sieber & daughter Tali: Create sculptures from household recyclables
  • Jenny Lisa Kass: Melt old crayons into fun, new shapes
  • Zoe Ma: Make personal creations from First Night buttons
  • MaryLynne Boisvert: Create fun, wearable garments from up-cycled clothing

Space is limited, and participants will receive more information when they register.  Signing up is easy!  Just provide a full name, mailing address, daytime phone number and email address by phone: 413-587-1059; or by email: kbouquillon@northamptonma.gov.  No dealers, please.  More info is available on Facebook www.facebook.com/NorthamptonReUse and on the DPW’s website www.northamptonma.gov/dpw/Recycling/reuse.

Community Conversation: Talking to Your Kids About Sex, Part 2

Hilltown Families presents…

Talking to Your Kids About Sex
A Community Conversation at Cup & Top Café
Evening of Tuesday, January 29th in Florence

Hilltown Families and Cup and Top Café are presenting a series of free talks for parents with Brooke Norton, Certified Sex Educator. Continuing with this series, the second talk will continue to look at how to talk with your kids about sex in an age appropriate way.  This talk will take place on Tuesday, January  29th after hours at the café from 6:30pm-8:30pm (1 North Main Street) in Florence, MA.

Brooke would like to invite all parents to attend, regardless of their personal values about sex and sexuality. “All value systems will be honored and respected,” says Brooke. “My whole mission is just to encourage parents to start thinking about how they want to guide their children, and then to get them to start talking as well,” she added.

In the first talk in this series, some of the questions Brooke addressed included:

  • What information is appropriate for my kids’ age?
  • When is a good time to start talking with my child about sex?
  • How do I react when my child asks about something that I am not comfortable with?

Brooke will touch on these questions again and continue the conversation by address additional questions, like:

  • How do we deal with technology and the media and its influence on our kids’ views of sex?
  • How much does my kid need to know about sex?
  • How can I start the conversation?

Co-sponsored by Cup & Top Cafe.

Body image, puberty, and sexual identity issues will be addressed too.

Participants are encouraged to purchase dinner from the cafe (gluten-free & vegan options available) between 6:30-7pm.  The talk begins at 7pm.  Parents who are considering attending should be advised not to bring their children along to this parents-only event. For more information, please contact Brooke Norton at 413-684-8697 or email brookenorton712@gmail.com.

Cup & Top Cafe is located at 1 North Main Street in Florence, MA.

Mothers and Daughters Invited to Participate and Create Speeches for International Women’s Day

A Celebration of Speech

In celebration of International Women’s Day, Women’s Voices Worldwide, Inc. invites you to visit downtown Northampton, MA to witness a celebration of women’s speech from past to present. Through historical re-enactments, contemporary speeches, musical performances, and a celebratory reception, people of all ages and backgrounds will join together to recognize and honor the importance of women’s voices in the world.

Women all ages have powerful voices – and lots to say!  Women’s perspectives on everything from politics to human rights, sustainability to public education are crucial to sound policy making and cultural change.  Historically, women have put up a strong fight in order to make their voices heard – and Women’s Voices Worldwide is celebrating their voices and inviting girls and women to participate.

Women, teens and girls can craft and submit original speeches for “Celebration of Speech,” an event scheduled to take place  in Northampton, MA on March 8th, 2013 – International Women’s Day!  Submissions should be no more than 500-1000 words in length, and should be inspired by the prompts provided by the organization, focusing on the importance and power of women’s voices.

Girls ages 8-13yo are prompted with two questions: Why do girls matter? Why I love my voice.

Teens and women are prompted with three: What women’s voices aren’t being heard? Why is there a need for women’s voices?  What changes are needed for women’s voices to be heard?

Participating in the event can be an incredibly powerful experience for both women and girls alike.  Public speaking requires a lot of confidence and conviction, and is an excellent skill for young girls to learn.  Speaking out about such an important topic is a great opportunity for girls to practice their public speaking skills – the topic is familiar to them, and they can use their own firsthand experience, thoughts, and ideas in order to support their speech.  Participating in the Celebration of Speech can help girls and teens understand feminist ideals and learn about the women’s history by the powerful speeches they have given.

PARENTS’ NIGHT OUT: Win Tickets to see Jake Shimabukuro at the Calvin Theater

Jake Shimabukuro at the Calvin Theater
Northampton, MA
Saturday, Dec. 1st at 8pm

Hilltown Families and Iron Horse Entertainment Group have partnered up to offer a chance to win free tickets to see adult venues in the Pioneer Valley for a PARENTS’ NIGHT OUT! You pay for the sitter, we’ll pay for the tickets!

For November we are pleased to offer a chance to win one of two pairs of tickets to see Jake Shimabukuro. at the Calvin Theater in Northampton, MA at 8pm on Saturday, December 1st, 2012.

Win tickets and take your spouse, partner or good friend for a night out. Deadline to enter to win is Tuesday, 11/27/12  by 11:59pm (EST). More details below.

ABOUT JAKE SHIMABUKURO

Jake Shimabukuro (photo credit: Merri Cyr)

In his young career, ukulele wizard Jake Shimabukuro has already redefined a heretofore under-the-radar instrument, been declared a musical “hero” by Rolling Stone, won accolades from the disparate likes of Eddie Vedder, Perez Hilton and Dr. Sanjay Gupta, wowed audiences on TV (Jimmy Kimmel, Conan), earned comparisons to Jimi Hendrix and Miles Davis, and even played in front of the Queen of England.

With his new record Grand Ukulele, Shimabukuro’s star may burn even brighter. An ambitious follow-up to 2011’s Peace, Love, Ukulele (which debuted at #1 on the Billboard World Charts), the Hawaiian musician’s new record finds him collaborating with legendary producer/engineer Alan Parsons, best known for his work on Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon, The Beatles’ Abbey Road and his own highly successful solo project.  Parsons ended up helping Shimabukuro expand his sound, bringing in a 29-piece orchestra and a big-name rhythm section, including drummer Simon Phillips (The Who, Toto), session superstar bassist Randy Tico and Kip Winger (Winger, Alice Cooper), who helped with the orchestration.

Discover more about Jake Shimabukuro at www.jakeshimabukuro.com.

HOW TO WIN

Your chance to win one of two pairs of tickets to see Jake Shimabukuro at the Calvin Theater in Northampton, MA at 8pm on Saturday, December 1st, 2012, is as easy as 1-2-3 (4)! To win simply:

  1. SHARE YOU FAVORITE COMMUNITY HOLIDAY EVENT IN WESTERN MA below (one entry per household) and be sure to tell us your
  2. FULL NAME (first/last) and where you
  3. LIVE (TOWN/STATE) must include your town 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 Tuesday, 11/27/12  by 11:59pm (EST).

If you don’t win you should still go. Tickets are available at the Northampton Box office, online at IHEG.com, or by calling 413-586-8686.

Hilltown Families’ Family Community Service Night!

Hilltown Families’ Family Community Service Night
Friday, November 30th from 4:30-7:30pm
Bridge Street School in Northampton, MA

Volunteer with your family to help local non-profits in a single event on Friday, November 30th from 4:30-7:30pm during the Hilltown Families’ Family Community Service Night— an ideal way for families to have fun together while educating children about social issues and the value of community service. Space is limited so reserve a spot for your family today!
“We were inspired to create this service based learning event as a way of bridging families interested in volunteering together with local human service organizations,” says Sienna Wildfield, Hilltown Families Executive Director.  “Many families are interested in volunteering together but may find it difficult due to either a limit in the amount of time they can commit to volunteering or to a lack of opportunities available to them if their children are younger.  Hilltown Families’ Family Community Service Night is for all ages and is a fun way for families to volunteer together and an avenue for parents to discuss and educate their children on important social issue and the value of helping others.”

Join Hilltown Families for an evening of volunteering together with your family during our first ever Family Community Service Night!  On Friday, November 30th from 4:30-7:30pm in Northampton, families can come together for a fun evening visiting five different volunteer stations, each offering a simple, hands-on service project for all ages.  Participants can volunteer at all five stations or just a couple, learning about the different human service organizations each station benefits and how they contribute to the greater good of our community.

With a Community Service Passport in hand, families can travel to each station and have their passport stamped after completing a simple community service project.  In their passports parents will find conversation starters, online resources and recommended reading lists for each station, and children can share what they liked best about each project by filling in their passport.  Parents can guide youth participants in learning about the social issues like hunger, elder services, and supporting families in transition, while making a real difference in our community.

Beneficiaries of our Family Community Service Night will include the Northampton Survival Center, Highland Valley Elder Services, Safe Passage and Baystate Children’s Hospital.  Families will also be given the opportunity to choose their own beneficiary for one of the stations too!  Volunteers from the Northampton High School Key Club will help facilitate each station, and collaborators include Knack, Northampton ReUse Committee and the Hatfield Library Youth Action Committee.

The Hilltown Families’ Family Community Service Night is a free event, but limited in space.  Participating families are required to pre-register for this evening of community service.  Slices of pizza will be available for a small donation for participating families.

SIGN UP! WE’RE FULL!

Wow!!!  What a great response!  Unfortunately, due to limited space, we are no longer accepting new registrations.  However, if you would like to be added to our cancellation list (we’ll contact you if space becomes available), or would like to join us for our next Family Community Service Night, complete this form:

Be sure to click SUBMIT.  Thank you for your interest.  We will contact you if we have an opening for our Nov 30th Family Community Service Night, and will let you know about any future nights.


SPONSORS
Hilltown Families’ Family Community Service Night is a Hilltown Families event and is co-sponsored by Northampton Public Schools/CFCE through a grant from the MA Department of Early Education and Care, Florence Savings Bank and Greenfield Savings Bank.

PARTICIPATING BUSINESSES

Thank you to all of the business who have donated products to the Hilltown Families’ Family Community Service Night, including:

Is your business is interested in becoming a sponsor or donating to the event? Contact Jess Kuttner at jkuttner@hilltownfamilies.org or Sienna Wildfield at swildfield@hilltownfamilies.org.

Ticket Giveaway: Mister G Halloween Fiesta at the Academy of Music Theatre

Win a family 4-pack of tickets…

Mister G Halloween Fiesta
Academy of Music Theatre in Northampton
Sunday, October 28th @ 11am

Halloween Fiesta with Mister G! Popular, international children’s music artist & local hero Mister G will be hosting a one-of-a-kind Halloween costume party at the Academy of Music Theatre in Northampton on Sun., Oct 28 at 11am, co-sponsored by Hilltown Families… and we’re giving away family 4-pack of free tickets to two very lucky families!

Mister G Halloween Fiesta will double as a CD release concert for his Parents’ Choice Gold Award-winning album, Chocolalala. The bilingual (Spanish/English) CD blends Latin rhythms, traditional instruments and uniquely catchy songwriting. Mister G will also perform songs from his 2011 Grammy-nominated CD BUGS, called “irresistible” by People Magazine. Details on how to enter to win are below. Deadline to enter: 10/24 by 11:59pm (EST).

ABOUT MISTER G

After 20 years as a critically acclaimed singer/songwriter playing for grown-ups, Ben Gundersheimer (aka Mister G) began performing for children in 2009. A graduate of Amherst College and the M.Ed program at Smith College, Ben was dubbed “Mister G” by his former elementary school students.

The first CD release concert for his newest album, Chocolalala, was held at the National Zoo in Washington, DC to kick off Hispanic Heritage Month. A winner of a Parents’ Choice Gold Award, Chocolalala is currently on the Grammy ballot for the Best Children’s Album of 2012. Inspired by Mister G’s concert tours throughout Latin America, the album spans a wide range of musical styles from bossa nova to ska, funk to folk, rap to pop. Chocolalala features captivating Latin rhythms and melodies, world-class musicians and the voices of Pioneer Valley bilingual families. In addition to writing and singing the songs, Mister G played acoustic and electric guitars, banjo, tres and percussion.

HOW TO WIN

We’re giving away two family 4-packs of tickets! Your chance to win a family 4-pack of tickets to the Mister G Halloween Fiesta at the Academy of Music Theater in Northmpton, MA on Sunday, Oct 28th at 11am is easy & simple! To enter to win simply:

  • CONSIDER SHARING ON FACEBOOK by selecting the Facebook icon below
  • TELL US HOW HILLTOWN FAMILIES KEEPS YOU CONNECTED WITH YOUR COMMUNITY 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: 10/24 by 11:59pm (EST).

Ticket Prices: Adults/$10; Children/$8. Tickets can be purchased at the Academy of Music Box Office, Tuesday- Friday 3-6PM or by calling: 413-584-9032 ext.105. Tickets can also be purchased online at academyofmusictheatre.com.

Northampton’s ReUse Rally for the Arts: A Family Friendly Affair!

Northampton’s ReUse Rally for the Arts
October 13, 2012
JFK Middle School in Florence

Bring the whole family to the ReUse Rally for the Arts on Saturday, Oct. 13 from 9am-2pm at the JFK Middle School in Florence. Not only will artists be showing and selling their 75% + reusable materials creations from baby shoes to felted bags, bottle cap earrings to tin can lights, but a dozen of them will demonstrate their work right at their tables. And ten will be giving hands on workshops!

What can you make out of a paper towel roll?  Can old keys who’ve lost their locks be put to good use?  And what about that broken lamp in your attic?  All of these things – and more! – can become beautiful artwork when contributed to that materials stashes of artists participating in Northampton’s ReUse Rally for the Arts!

This free event take place on Saturday, October 13th at JFK Middle School (100 Bridge Road in Florence) from 9am-2pm, and features an art show, demonstrations, and workshops for all ages centered around the theme of re-using, re-cycling, and “upcycling” materials for creative purposes!

Professional reuse artists will show and sell their work. These participating artists create everything from felted bags to creative furniture, sculptures to collages, medallions to lamps, and more!  Families can explore the show featuring a wide variety of works (in so many different media!) browsing through tables of creations for sale, see artists demonstrating their skills and creativity, and take part in art-making activities and skillshare demonstrations and workshops.

There are activities for families of all ages – kids ages 8yo and older can learn to sew boots, teens and tweens can make a simple wooden box, supervised kids with good motor skills can learn to carve rocks, and kids of all ages can paint, sculpt wire, and create costumes to their heart’s content! Artist and art teacher, Robert Hepner, will have his Wandering Carnival  Truck in the parking lot for children ages 4yo and up (with adult supervision) will be able to play with interactive sculptures, trash percussion, and outfit igloos on this wild and zany rig.

The event offers inspiration for eco-friendly creative expression, as well as chances to learn unique and interesting skills.  Plus, it’s a great opportunity to pick up handmade, recycled gifts for the holidays!

For more information, visit www.northamptonma.gov. If you have materials you would like to donate, or you’re interested in volunteering at the event, contact coordinator Deborah Jane Slavitt at deborahjane26@mac.com. Check out the artist’s wishlist for materials they are seeking for future artworks!

Artist Workshops & Demonstrations:  Read the rest of this entry »

PARENTS’ NIGHT OUT: Leo Kottke at the Iron Horse Music Hall in Northampton

Leo Kottke
Iron Horse Music Hall ♦ Northampton, MA
Thursday, Oct 18th, 2012 @ 7pm

Enter to win a pair of tickets to see Leo Kottke at the Iron Horse Music Hall in Northampton on Thursday, Oct 18th, 2012 at 7pm. Deadline to enter: 10/15. Details below.

Hilltown Families and Iron Horse Entertainment Group have partnered up to offer a chance to win free tickets to see adult venues in the Pioneer Valley for a PARENTS’ NIGHT OUT! You pay for the sitter, we’ll pay for the tickets!

For October we have a pair of tickets to giveaway to see Leo Kottke at the Iron Horse Music Hall in Northampton, MA on Thurs, Oct 18th at 7pm. Win a pair of tickets and take your spouse, partner or good friend for a night out. Deadline to enter to win: 10/15 @ 7pm (EST). Details below.

ABOUT LEO KOTTKE

For decades, Leo Kottke inspired generations of fingerpicking acoustic guitarists. Kottke can play achingly beautiful melodies and then turn around and dazzle you with with his speed and brilliance. What people generally miss is an appreciation of just how many musical genres Kottke has borrowed from and fused into his own unmistakable style. You can hear country, rock, blues, jazz, classical, Hawaiian slack-key … and, I swear, even a bit of flamenco in there somewhere. – www.leokottke.com

HOW TO WIN

Your chance to win a pair of tickets to see Leo Kottke at the Iron Horse Music Hall in Northampton, MA on Thursday, Oct 18th at 7pm (valued at $70) is easy & simple! To enter to win simply:

  • CONSIDER SHARING ON FACEBOOK by selecting the Facebook icon below
  • TELL US WHAT YOUR LIKE BEST ABOUT OUR PARENTS’ NIGHT OUT PROMOTIONS  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 is Monday, 10/15/12 @ 7pm (EST)

If you don’t win you should still go. Leo with be at the Iron Horse on Friday night too. Tickets are available at the Northampton Box office, online at IHEG.com, or by calling 413-586-8686.

Classes in Noho ❥ Yoga to Art. Pottery to Swimming.

Mash Notes to Paradise by Sarah Werthan Buttenwieser

Note 17, All Those Classes Everywhere

Sometimes, when you hear friends from big cities discuss the options for classes available—chess clubs for preschoolers or some such, ballet barre workouts for adults, you get the idea—it’s acceptable to get momentarily jealous. As I delve down a rabbit hole that is simply called yoga by others less prone to rabbit hole diving afflictions, I’m reminded that for a not-urban spot, we are incredibly well endowed with amazing learning opportunities taught be masterful folks.

I guess I have to start with yoga. I’ve spent a bunch of time over the past months in classes taught by Brandt, Anna, Doris, and Abigail. I’ve just begun with the newest noontime teacher at Yoga Sanctuary, Khalila and am looking forward to her classes.

If your thing were more Pilates or Gyrokinesis, I’d say, there’s Kate Faulkner and Michelle Marroquin through Studio Helix to try or Katrina Hawley at the Pilates Studio in Hadley.

Your kids like art? Art Always is your spot. You like art? Ditto. You like pottery or your kids do? Try Northampton Pottery or check with a favorite potter: Tiffany Hilton is offering classes in Florence; Molly Cantor is offering classes in Shelburne Falls, so you get the idea.

For swim instruction you cannot beat Craig at the Valley Swim School. He’s famous—with good reason.

Karate abounds; the hidden gem is James’ Dragon Den dojo. I should know; my second guy goes there (leave a comment if interested, for the number). If you’re more interested in the awesomeness that is Capoeira, you are in luck.

You can even learn to sew; a sewing studio has opened up in town so I am told.

And in a category unto itself is the Y—I can vouch for the Hampshire Y but I know others can do the same for Holyoke and Greenfield. Our Y is a truly democratic institution, with sliding scales and a commitment to healthy community—and some kickass teachers, teams and all that good stuff. I have just started (this week) to use it for its yoga offerings. my daughter Saskia begins her classes this week (gym and swim plus a second gymnastics class; may she go down a rabbit hole of her own soon). Plus, there’s a sauna.

I’d love people to add tips in comments, because the few options I’ve listed here are some I happen to know, tip-of-iceberg ideas. For the record, a ballet barre workout class is on my lifetime bucket list so seriously if I’ve just missed the opportunity (especially in Northampton), please pretty please do tell.

Editors Note: Check our Suggest A Class bulletin board and the bulletin board section of our list of Weekly Suggested Events for classes happening throughout Western MA.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Sarah Werthan Buttenwieser

Sarah is a writer, who lives in Northampton with her husband and four children. She contributes to Preview Massachusetts Magazine, as well as other publications and writes a parenting blog Standing in the Shadows at the Valley Advocate. She moved to the Valley to attend Hampshire College—and found the Valley such a nice place, she stayed!

Tuesday Market in Northampton to Host Pie Contest: Kids Invited!

Youth Invited to Participate in Tuesday Market’s Annual Pie Contest in Northampton
Tuesday, Sept. 11th, 2012

Kids ages 13yo and younger interested in culinary arts and local food are invited to bake their favorite fruit pie using local ingredients to submit to the Tuesday Market annual Pie Contest happening next Tuesday, Sept. 11th.

Are your kids precocious in the kitchen? Northampton’s Tuesday Farmers’ Market is holding their annual pie contest, and there’s a special category just for kid-made pies (ages 13yo and younger)! The event benefits the market’s Food Stamps x2 program, which provides community members with SNAP benefits the opportunity to buy delicious and healthy local food straight from local farmers. Entrants may submit fruit pies only, and there are special categories for gluten-free pies and most beautiful pie, too!

Baking a pie is a great way for food-enthusiastic kids to learn and/or practice kitchen skills, including basic math and literacy. Utilizing local foods (berries, apples, peaches, milk, butter, or maybe even local flour!) in a pie can also help to connect children with the network of local food that surrounds them – they can learn about the farms that each different food comes from, and maybe even visit to buy fresh milk or pick apples.

Along with connecting kids to the community, taking part in the contest is a way to help them learn skills for a sustainable, self-sufficient lifestyle. They can learn to appreciate the value of local food, and will begin to acquire the skills necessary to utilize local food to its fullest potential. Visit CISA and Berkshire Grown for farms in Western MA.

Not interested in baking? Just stop by the market to taste some pie!

Entries in the contest should be dropped off at the market (behind Thornes Marketplace in the open space next to the parking garage) between 1 and 2:30pm, and judging will begin at 3, with the kids’ category being judged at 5pm. Steve Herrell of Herrell’s ice cream will be scooping up delicious flavors to accompany pies, too! Yum! For more information, visit www.northamptontuesdaymarket.com.

Looking for inspiration? Check out Pie: 300 Tried-and-True Recipes for Delicious Homemade Pie or Fresh Fruit Pies, Tarts, and Galettes: Every Recipe has a Gluten Free Alternative. And why not take this opportunity to learn about history both through and about pie with Pie: A Global History (The Edible Series).

PARENTS’ NIGHT OUT TICKET GIVEAWAY: O.A.R. at the Calvin Theater

O.A.R. at the Calvin Theater
Northampton, MA
Friday, Sept. 7th at 8pm

Hilltown Families and Iron Horse Entertainment Group have partnered up to offer a chance to win free tickets to see adult venues in the Pioneer Valley for a PARENTS’ NIGHT OUT! You pay for the sitter, we’ll pay for the tickets!

This month we are pleased to offer a chance to win a pairs of tickets to see O.A.R. at the Calvin Theater in Northampton, MA at 8pm on Friday, September 7th, 2012. Opening act, Barefoot Truth.

Win tickets and take your spouse, partner or good friend for a night out. Deadline to enter to win is Tuesday, 9/4/12 @ 7pm (EST). More details below.

ABOUT O.A.R.

O.A.R.s Wind-up Records debut album, King, marks a new beginning for the band, while also paying homage to their past. It is the seventh studio effort in a career that began with their high school recording, The Wanderer. Bringing back the title character from their first album, O.A.R. takes the listener on a journey to discover that what the Wanderer, and the band members themselves, had been searching for all along, was there from the beginning. As the closing song on the new disc states, a return Back to One. – www.ofarevolution.com

HOW TO WIN

Your chance to win a pairs of tickets to see O.A.R. at the Calvin Theater in Northampton, MA at 8pm on Friday, September 7th, 2012, with opening act, Barefoot Truth, is as easy as 1-2-3 (4)! To win simply:

  1. INSPIRE OUR READERS BY SHARING HOW YOU LIKE TO SPEND AN EVENING OUT AWAY FROM THE KIDS when there’s nothing happening at the Calvin (one entry per household) and be sure to tell us your
  2. FULL NAME (first/last) and where you
  3. LIVE (TOWN/STATE) must include your town 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 Tuesday, 9/4/12 @ 7pm (EST).

If you don’t win you should still go. Tickets are available at the Northampton Box office, online at IHEG.com, or by calling 413-586-8686.

ReUse Rally for the Arts: A Call for Artisans

ReUse Rally for the Arts: A Call for Artisans

Deadline to apply: Aug. 24th, 2012.

What can you do with old clothes, leftover non-recyclable containers, bits of string, extra drops of paint, and seemingly useless utensils? Make art!

The Northampton DPW ReUse Committee is hosting an artisan show featuring work made from recycled, reused, and found materials – titled, “ReUse Rally for the Arts,” the event will both showcase interesting and radical work from local artisans, as well as bring light to the artistic potential of recycled and found materials and the non-necessity of brand new manufactured art supplies.

The show will take place on October 13th at JFK Middle School in Northampton, but the application deadline for artisans interested in participating in the show is August 24th.  The event will showcase the work of 20+ creative reuse artisans, and is an intergenerational opportunity for older students (teens) serious about art to participate using a non-traditional medium, and to experience the use of art as a tool for cultural change.  All work submitted should be made out of at least 75% post-consumer materials – pieces can be anything from collages or statues to jewelry or clothing!

Description of the event and application are available here.  For more information contact Deborah Slavitt, Arts ReUse Coordinator, at deborahjane26@artisttogo.net.

PARENTS’ NIGHT OUT: Michael Franti and Spearhead at the Calvin Theatre in Northampton

Enter to win a pair of tickets to see…

Michael Franti and Spearhead
Calvin Theatre in Northampton
Thursday, May 31st at 8pm

Hilltown Families and Iron Horse Entertainment Group have partnered up to offer a chance to win free tickets to see adult venues in the Pioneer Valley for a PARENTS’ NIGHT OUT! You pay for the sitter, we’ll pay for the tickets!

This month we are pleased to offer a chance to win a pairs of tickets to see Michael Franti and Spearhead at the Calvin Theater in Northampton, MA at 8pm on Thursday, May 31st, 2012. Opening act, Zach Heckendorf.

Win the tickets and take your spouse, partner or good friend for a night out. Deadline to enter to win is Monday, 05/28/12 @ 7pm (EST). More details below.

ABOUT MICHAEL FRANTI AND SPEARHEAD

For over two decades, the Bay Area born Michael Franti has been bringing our world exceptionally powerful, deeply felt music. Franti first formed the punk band The Beatnigs while studying at the University of San Francisco, and later the far more hip hop-inflected The Disposable Heroes of Hiphoprisy. In the mid-Nineties, Franti created Spearhead. Frantis music has always reflected his status as a musical citizen of the world. The Sound Of Sunshine — the inspired and inspiring new album by Michael Franti  Spearhead — is a kind of musical sun shower, a bright, beautiful and often buoyant song cycle created to bring all kinds of listeners a sense of hope during rough and rainy times for so many in our world. Arguably the most cohesive, romantic and life-affirming album that Franti and Spearhead have ever made, The Sound Of Sunshine reflects the fact that, as Franti puts it, with time, you get a better sense who you are and how to put together all your musical passions into your own sound. – michaelfranti.com

HOW TO WIN

Your chance to win a pairs of tickets to see the Michael Franti and Spearhead at the Calvin Theater in Northampton, MA at 8pm on Thursday, May 31st, 2012, 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 a winner and will share the results below.

IT’S THAT SIMPLE! — Deadline is Monday, 05/28/12 @ 7pm (EST).

If you don’t win, tickets can be purchased at the Northampton Box Office, 76 Main Street, by phone at 413-586-8686 and online at IHEG.com.

Edible Books Encourage Creative Free Play in the Kitchen

The Edible Book: A Benefit for the Friends of the Forbes & Lilly Libraries

Edible Book events have been held worldwide since 1999! This is the Forbes and Lilly Libraries 6th annual event. Registration deadline is April 16th and the event takes place on April 22nd at the Florence Civic Center.

The Forbes and Lilly Libraries are holding their Edible Book event on Sunday, April 22nd this year, an annual event that crosses culinary arts and language arts with creative free play! And April vacation week is the perfect time to start thinking with your kids about participating and supporting our local libraries!

What is an Edible Book? It’s exactly what it sounds like – community members create their own edible versions of their favorite books (fiction & non-fiction)!  Previous years’ entries have included Eric Carle’s Very Hungry Caterpillar made out of cookies and the Audubon Book of Birds featuring shortbread avian specimens.

Edible Book events have been held worldwide since 1999 and pays tribute to French gastronome Jean-Anthelme Brillat-Savarin’s book The Physiology of Taste!  The event is an opportunity for families to celebrate reading together, as well as an opportunity for creative free play via culinary arts.  

If your family doesn’t want to enter, you can still attend the Edible Book event to check out others’ entries!  All entrants will get a ribbon, and there will be prizes in multiple categories.  The event will take place on Sunday, April 22nd from 2-4pm at the Florence Civic Center, and admission is $5 (kids 10yo and under are free) and goest towards supporting the Forbes and Lilly Libraries.  For more information, call Bonnie at 413-584-7482 or email bonnieburnham@comcast.net. Registration deadline is Monday, April 16th.

[Photo credit: (ccl) Betsy Roe

A Year And Today in Paradise ❥ Comfort Spots in Northampton

Mash Notes to Paradise by Sarah Werthan Buttenwieser

Note 12, There’s No Place Like Home

Sushi at Osaka

Sushi at Osaka. (Photo credit: Sienna Wildfield)

The twelfth Mash Note to Paradise! Really? Over this past year in these notes I’ve loved our bike paths and our college town-y-ness, our farms and our farmers’ markets, our give back mentality and our reverence for all sorts of families and our indie vibes. Much as I don’t love winter, I even embrace the weather. If you were to read these Mash Note to Paradise in a pile and you didn’t already live here you’d probably want to move here, right? You would. So, I find it unsurprising that I know quite a few wonderful realtors.

In honor of this year of Mash Note to Paradise, I want to share a few handy links that might make life (or a visit to) in Paradise that much more enchanting.

I think I’d have to say River Valley Market (the co-op!) is the friendliest store I know. Like Cheers, everyone seems to know my daughter, Saskia (and ask after her if she’s not with me).

Most people find a few comfortable spots to frequent. I’m sharing mine not because they are the very best ones, but because they are the ones I know and love. I am at the moment crazy for the half-and-half ice tea at Woodstar Café—half black tea, half herbal lemon honey ginger, all yum—and I will trump up excuses to go there and happen upon a glass of it. To my surprise I have become devoted to yoga at Yoga Sanctuary. As my friend (met at yoga) notes on her blog: “There is no photo available to show you how the individuals doing downward dog in the photo above would be facing a gigantic window looking across the street to old brick buildings and blue sky.” After class I love the quick GoBerry stop. If I’m with Saskia and following her lead we will end up in the frozen treat Mecca of Herrell’s. While I’m a half-and-half drinker, my writing group meets at Sip, and I love hanging there (and my eldest texted me a tantalizing find—their macaroons are delicious and gluten-free). I may not go out much, but my restaurant of choice is most certainly Osaka, except I have begun a lunch date tradition with a friend at Moshi Moshi and it, too, is terrific. You get the idea, yes?

❥ Maybe though the main point isn’t this series of Mash Note to Paradise to this one place but the Glinda magic invoked in the writing of these loving missives. Tap your heels together and say, “There’s no place like home.” The more you take note in what makes where you live a real home, the more you can revere that home. Tap-tap-tap.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Sarah Werthan Buttenwieser

Sarah is a writer, who lives in Northampton with her husband and four children. She contributes to Preview Massachusetts Magazine, as well as other publications and writes a parenting blog Standing in the Shadows at the Valley Advocate. She moved to the Valley to attend Hampshire College—and found the Valley such a nice place, she stayed!

Ticket Giveaway: Rani Arbo & daisy mayhem Family Concert in Northampton

Win a Family 4-Pack of Free Tickets…

Family Concert with Rani Arbo & daisy mayhem
Saturday, March 3rd, 2012 @ 10:30am
at The First Churches of Northampton

Rani Arbo says the band is ready to party with the Valley: "Nonotuck knows how to cure the midwinter blues! Stir together a handful of musicians and a heap of kids and parents, pour into a beautiful old church, season with fund-raising goodwill, and presto: a party!"

For the third year in a row, Hilltown Families is a proud sponsor of the Nonotuck Community School Winter Family Concert Series.  This year the school ends their concert series with a family concert with Rani Arbo & daisy mayhem, “one of America’s most inventive string bands” (Boston Herald)…and we have a family 4-pack of free tickets to giveaway to one lucky family! Proceeds from the performance go to benefit Nonotuck Community School, a local non-profit preschool! Deadline to enter to win is 02/29/12 by 7pm (EST). Find out how to enter to win below.

ABOUT RANI ARBO & DAISY MAYHEM

Rani Arbo & daisy mayhem is a rootsy, Americana-style string band of four musicians — all parents — who have played and toured together for 10 years. Their grooves are deep, their four-part harmonies are rich, and their adventurous, eclectic song selection serves their debut family CD Ranky Tanky well. Family music is a new endeavor for the band, but they have longstanding reputation for performances that are, as the Boston Globe put it, “playful and profound. Ranky Tanky sticks with that equation: it’s uplifting, danceable, playful, sometimes silly, sometimes wistful, and never sarcastic. Rani Arbo fires up the fiddle; Anand Nayak plays electric and acoustic guitars; Andrew Kinsy is on upright acoustic bass (and ukulele and banjo), and Scott Kessel pilots the Drumship Enterprise, a percussion rig made from cardboard boxes, tin cans, water jugs, and a vinyl suitcase. Together, they create a joyful, musical fusion of sounds both old and new — and a great soundtrack for family tim

ABOUT THE NCS 2012 WINTER FAMILY CONCERT SERIES

The NCS Winter Family Concert Series is an annual three-part Winter Family Concert Series hosted by Nonotuck Community School. The 2012 season started off with a family concert with The Nields in January, followed by A Family Dance Party with DJ Joan Holliday in February and Rani Arbo and daisy mayhem in March.  The family concerts take place at The First Churches of Northampton (129 Main Street). Proceeds from this concert series will go to benefit Nonotuck Community School, a nonprofit parent cooperative that provides early education and care for children aged 15 months to 5 years old, and is located in Florence, Massachusetts (221 Riverside Drive, 586-5996). For more information visit: www.nonotuck.org or call 413-586-5996.

HOW TO WIN

Your chance to win a family 4-pack of tickets to see Rani Arbo & daisy mayhem in concert at The First Churches of Northampton on Saturday, March 3rd, 2012 @ 10:30am , is as easy as 1-2-3 (4)!  To win simply:

  • CONSIDER SHARING ON FACEBOOK by selecting the Facebook icon below,
  • TELL US HOW HILLTOWN FAMILIES CONNECTS YOUR FAMILY WITH EVENTS AND ACTIVITIES DURING SCHOOL VACATION WEEKS THROUGHOUT THE YEAR  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 is Wednesday, 02/29/12 @ 7pm (EST).

Ice Art in the Streets of Northampton this Friday

2nd Annual Northampton Ice Art Festival
Friday, Feb. 10th, 2012

For the second year in a row the streets of Northampton will be filled with ice shavings and the sound of chisels & chain saws while sculptors and ice carvers create magnificent works out of ice.  This year’s Northampton Ice Art Festival will take place on Friday, February 10th.  Artists will begin working at 10am on Friday, and will have completed their works by evening- spectators can check out the process throughout the day, then check back later on to see the finished product.

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The event is part of February’s Arts Night Out Northampton event, sponsored by the Northampton Center for the Arts.  Ice sculptures will be at many locations throughout town, and many galleries and businesses will be open and displaying work as part of the event as well.  Weather permitting, the sculptures will remain in town throughout the weekend!  This year’s ice sculptors are coming to the project from a variety of backgrounds- there are sculptors of all types (snow included), installation artists, carvers, and even a painter!  For more information on the event, visit nohoarts.org.  The Ice Art Festival showcases art in an infrequently utilized medium- don’t miss this opportunity to see the beautiful, unique, and ephemeral works of art!

Ticket Giveaway: Family Dance Party with Joan Holliday

Win a Family 4-Pack of Free Tickets…

Family Dance Party with Joan Holliday
Saturday, February 11th, 2012 @ 10am-12Noon
at Northampton Center for the Arts

On Saturday, February 11th, Northampton Center for the Arts (17 New South Street, 3rd Floor) will host a FAMILY DANCE PARTY from 10am-12Noon with DJ Joan Holliday from 93.9 FM The River, co-sponsored by Hilltown Families… and we have a family 4-pack of tickets to giveaway to one lucky family! Deadline to enter to win is 02/08/12. Find out how to enter to win below.

Families from throughout the Pioneer Valley will don their dancing shoes at this benefit for Nonotuck Community School. Come join kids of all ages under the disco ball and groove to a mix of classics, new tunes, and kids favorites at this all-for-the-family dance party! 

“I’ve loved music since I was an infant (a peace and love British invasion child of the 60s!),” says Joan Holliday. “As a radio DJ at 93.9 WRSI The River, and an events DJ for almost ten years, I am especially excited to get the kids dancing to benefit Nonotuck!  It’s fun for a great cause, and we’re gonna fill that dance floor!

ABOUT THE NCS 2012 WINTER FAMILY CONCERT SERIES

Hilltown Families is a proud sponsor of the NCS Winter Family Concert Series, an annual three-part Winter Family Concert Series hosted by Nonotuck Community School. The 2012 season started off with The Nields in January, followed by A Family Dance Party with DJ Joan Holliday this month, and Rani Arbo and daisy mayhem will conclude the series in March.  Proceeds from this concert series will go to benefit Nonotuck Community School, a nonprofit parent cooperative that provides early education and care for children aged 15 months to 5 years old, and is located in Florence, Massachusetts (221 Riverside Drive, 586-5996). For more information visit: www.nonotuck.org or call 413-586-5996.

HOW TO WIN

Your chance to win a family 4-pack of tickets to Joan Holliday’s Family Dance Party at Northampton Center for the Arts on Saturday, February 11th, 2012 from 10am-12Noon, is as easy as 1-2-3 (4)!  To win simply:

  • CONSIDER SHARING ON FACEBOOK by selecting “Like” below
  • TELL US YOUR FAMILY’S FAVORITE SONG (NAME OF SONG/ARTIST) FOR SHAKING AWAY THE WINTER BLUES FOR OUR COMMUNITY PLAYLIST  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 is Wednesday, 02/08/12 @ 7pm (EST).

Ticket Giveaway: The Nields Family Concert in Northampton

Win a Family 4-Pack of Free Tickets…

Family Concert with The Nields
Saturday, January 21st, 2012 @ 10:30am
at The First Churches of Northampton

Enter to win a family 4-pack of tickets to see The Nields in Northampton on Saturday, Jan. 21st at 10:30am. Deadline to enter to win: 01/18/12 by 7pm (EST). Details below.

For the third year in a row, Hilltown Families is a proud sponsor of the Nonotuck Community School Winter Family Concert Series.  This year the school is kicking off their concert series with The Nields, and we have a family 4-pack of free tickets to giveaway to one lucky family! Proceeds from the performance go to benefit Nonotuck Community School, a local non-profit preschool! Deadline to enter to win is 01/18/12. Find out how to enter to win below.

ABOUT THE NIELDS

Nerissa and Katryna Nields grew up singing folk songs in the kitchen and in the back seat of the family car. Katryna learned to sing melody with their father, eventually making her an ideal front person for the band. Nerissa, on the other hand, tackled the harmonies; with that skill, she provided a natural counterpoint to her sister’s vibrant lead. As a duo, the sisters have toured nationally for years and been the darlings of the coffeehouse/festival scene, with tunes ranging from off-the-hook idiosyncratic to kicking to heartbreaking. They were a part of Lillith Fair, and have shared the stage with Natalie Merchant, Suzanne Vega, Sarah McLaughlin, Dar Williams, The Indigo Girls, James Taylor, Joan Baez, the Band, 10,000 Maniacs, Billy Bragg, Dan Zanes and countless others, all of whom informed and enhanced their musical repertoire.

A most recent influence on their music is children. “Having children has brought us back to our roots in a powerful way,” says Nerissa. “I’m much more drawn to the honesty of folk music, the simplicity of it. My kids love singing songs from Sister Holler. And I love how, when we sing these ‘Nerissa’ songs in concerts, everybody sings along, even though it’s the first time they’ve heard them. They’re songs that really invite the listener into the music making process.” Find more information about the band at www.nields.com.

ABOUT THE NCS 2012 WINTER FAMILY CONCERT SERIES

The NCS Winter Family Concert Series is an annual three-part Winter Family Concert Series hosted by Nonotuck Community School. The 2012 season starts off with The Nields in January, followed by A Family Dance Party with DJ Joan Holliday in February and Rani Arbo and daisy mayhem in March.  The family concerts take place at The First Churches of Northampton (129 Main Street) and the Dance party will be hosted at the Northampton Center for the Arts. Proceeds from this concert series will go to benefit Nonotuck Community School, a nonprofit parent cooperative that provides early education and care for children aged 15 months to 5 years old, and is located in Florence, Massachusetts (221 Riverside Drive, 586-5996). For more information visit: www.nonotuck.org or call 413-586-5996.

HOW TO WIN

Your chance to win a family 4-pack of tickets to see The Nields in concert at The First Churches of Northampton on Saturday, January 21st, 2012 @ 10:30am , is as easy as 1-2-3 (4)!  To win simply:

  • CONSIDER SHARING ON FACEBOOK by selecting “Like” below
  • TELL US HOW HILLTOWN FAMILIES CONNECTS YOUR FAMILY WITH LOCAL EVENTS  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 is Wednesday, 01/18/12 @ 7pm (EST).

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