Families Invited to Try Outdoor Snow Sports at Notchview Winter Trails Day

Winter Trails Day at Notchview
Families Invited to Try Out Outdoor Snow Sports
Saturday, January 12th, 2013

“At Notchview we strive to create a community of skiers of all abilities who love the outdoors. Winter Trails Day is a great opportunity for someone who is thinking about trying cross-country skiing or snowshoeing to jump in,” according to Jim Caffrey, the superintendent of Notchview Reservation. “Outdoor exercise is a great way to beat the xwinter blues and pick up your spirits. Nordic skiing is a low-impact, healthy sport for men and women of all ages. The lessons will cover everything from the basics: how to dress; how to get your skis on and off and how to get up after falling; to more advanced topics like proper form and balance. For lessons this year we will have stations covering each group of skills. People can practice at each station until they are comfortable with that skill. Plenty of skiers will be on hand to provide advice and support.” (Photo credit: Sienna Wildfield)

The Trustees of Reservations invite everyone to try out a snow sport on Winter Trails Day. Events will take place at Notchview on Route 9, Windsor, MA on Saturday, January 12, from 10am-3pm. A special half-price trail fee is offered to everyone. Snowshoes will be available for free to try out for up to two hours. Free cross-country ski lessons will be offered for beginners at 10:30am and again at 1:30pm. At 11am there will be a waxing clinic covering both waxable and no-wax skis. Find out why no-wax skis should be waxed and how to find the proper ski fit to give you a great skiing experience. Immediately after the wax clinic there will be a ski fit station for people to determine if their current skis are a good fit for them. At 11:30am naturalist Aimee Gelinas will lead a one and a half “Winter Woods” snowshoe hike.

People can venture out for a Nordic orienteering game where they ski along Notchview’s scenic trails and follow a map to reach marked locations. Each location has a unique punch code to record on a game card. Prizes will be awarded based on the number of locations recorded.

ABOUT WINTER DAYS

Winter Trails Day is a national event to showcase the health benefits of snowshoeing and cross-country skiing. These low-impact aerobic activities incorporate strength and endurance training, and can help people stay active and healthy throughout the winter months when other sports are impossible to pursue. More information is at www.wintertrails.org.

DRESSING FOR WINTER SPORTS

To enjoy winter sports, dress in layers with a windproof shell or parka as the top layer. Wear sturdy, waterproof winter boots. Snowshoe bindings are designed to strap on over regular boots. Rental ski packages including skis, boots and poles are available in advance from Berkshire Outfitters in Adams, MA, 413-743-5900, the Arcadian Shop 413-637-3010, Plaine’s: 413-499-0294, or from your local ski shop (EMS and Western Village rent cross-country skis in the Pioneer Valley). Notchview rents snowshoes but does not rent skis.

ABOUT NOTCHVIEW

Notchview is a property of The Trustees of Reservations located off of Route 9 in Windsor, MA.  Notchview’s 3,208 acres offer 40km of trails (28km groomed), of mostly single-track trails for classical skiing. Skate skiing is available on 10 km of groomed trail, and 2 km of trail are available for dog owners and multi-use. Snowshoe rentals are available for non-skiers, who can trek alongside the groomed tracks. Hot drinks and snacks are available at Notchview. Lunch is available from nearby stores or bring your own. Admission is free weekdays and $6 on weekends for members of The Trustees of Reservations and is $12 per day for non-members. For more information contact Notchview at http://www.notchview.org or 413-684-0148. Ski conditions are available from the Notchview phone or at www.xcski.org or www.xcskimass.com. Notchview is open daily from sunrise to sunset, year-round.  413-684-0148

- Submitted by Cynthia Sommer.

3 Historic Homes Host Family Programming in the Berkshires this Summer

Family Programming with the Trustees of Reservations this Summer in the Berkshires

Families can enjoy “Croquet on the Lawn” every Thursday afternon this summer at Naumkeag in Stockbrige, MA. Open to all ages, families can enjoy a relaxed game of croquet, the leisurely sport of Edwardian high-society. Experience Gilded-Age style and splendor at this marvelous estate, renowned for its elegant gardens and rare Berkshire “Cottage.” (Photo credit: TOR)

This summer, the Trustees of Reservations (TOR) are offering a set of family programming at three historic locations in the Berkshires.  There will be numerous events taking place through July and August, each focusing on a different topic and offering hands-on activities for kids.  The family events series marks a first for TOR – the majority of programming at these locations has, in the past, not been designed specifically with families in mind.

The events will be taking place at Naumkeag and Mission House in Stockbridge, and Ashley House in Sheffield.  Some themes of the event include plants and gardening, Berkshire history, astronomy, and the history and historical significance of crafts like pottery and weaving.  Visiting a historic site for one (or all!) of the special programs will also offer kids an opportunity to learn about the history of their community, the historical and cultural significance of the home, and maybe even a little bit of architecture and design (think about why the building looks the way it does based on when it was built).

Their first event this year is at Naumkeag, “Croquet on the Lawn,” which happens every Thursday in Stockbridge through August from 3-5pm, beginning this Thursday, June 28th. Open to all ages, families can enjoy a relaxed game of croquet, the leisurely sport of Edwardian high-society. Experience Gilded-Age style and splendor at this marvelous estate, renowned for its elegant gardens and rare Berkshire “Cottage.”  Free admission for children & TOR members. Lemonade, ice tea, and cookies will be served.

To learn more about the programs, visit www.thetrustees.org or contact Caroline Correia at 413-298-3239 x3352.  And be sure to check our list of Weekly Suggested Events for these event listings too.

Rally for the Highland Communities in Ashfield

Rally for the Highland Communities:
A Call to Action with Tom Wessels in Ashfield

(Photo credit: Sienna Wildfield)

Mark Wamsley of the Highland Communities Initiative writes:

Generations of residents have shaped the Highlands– stone by stone, farm by farm, and trail by trail. What role can you and your family play in its future? The Highland Communities Initiative invites you to rally for our region at the Bullitt Reservation (332 Bullitt Rd.) in Ashfield on Saturday, September 17th from 9AM to 2PM. Come and celebrate the towns we call home, deepen your community connections, learn new ways of protecting the special places that you care about…and have fun doing it!

We’re calling the rally  “a really fun conference, or a country fair with an important purpose.”  We’ll kick things off with a keynote speech by ecologist Tom Wessels.  Already noted for his keen eye on New England’s rural past, this time Tom will offer insights on the road ahead, illuminating lessons the natural world holds for creating resilient communities and economies.

(Photo credit: Sienna Wildfield)

Afterward, those looking to lend a hand can connect with the many local groups showcasing their work at the rally (including Hilltown Families), hear inspiring stories of communities uniting together, or learn more about the positive steps you can take on their own property.  Free consultations with home energy or land conservation experts will be available, but sign up early!  If you’re just looking to revel in the sun on a beautiful (hopefully!) fall day, fun, family-friendly activities and demonstrations will abound as you explore the vibrant farm landscape at the Bullitt Reservation.

Activities perfect for families include:

  • 10:30-12:30—Planting For Fall in the Demonstration Kitchen Garden (Kid Friendly)
    Join School Sprouts, an educational gardening organization in harvesting the Bullitt garden’s crops and preparing the beds for fall.  We’ll harvest our heritage wheat grains, build a hoop house, plant frost-tolerant plants, and mulch the beds for the winter.
  • 10:45 and 11:30—Find the Invader!  (Kid Friendly)
    This fun treasure hunt will teach kids how to identify troublesome plant and insect invader in their local landscapes.
  • (Photo credit: Sienna Wildfield)

    Anytime—Pebble Discovery Hike (Kid Friendly)
    Take a moderate, ¾ mile hike to the giant  “Pebble.”  Sit on the bench at the top of the field and enjoy the view of Mount Owen.  Or, take the self-guided Discovery Hike and find signs of ancient glaciers and recent wildlife.

  • For the complete rally schedule, click HERE.

Guests may bring their own lunches or purchase one at the rally offered by Elmer’s General Store, Pre-registration is encouraged and some consultations have limited space. For more information and to pre-register call 413-628-4485 or email mwamsley@ttor.org. We hope to see you there!

- Mark Wamsley, Program & Outreach Coordinator, Highland Communities Initiative, The Trustees of Reservations

Saturday, September 17, 2011 | 9AM-2PM | TTOR Members and Children under 12: FREE. Nonmembers: Adult $5. Bullitt Reservation, 332 Bullitt Rd. Ashfield, MA 413-628-4485

Historic Adventures on Grandparent’s Day in Berkshires & Hilltowns

Grandparent’s Day Celebrated in the Hilltowns and Berkshires

Join The Trustees of Reservations at four historic houses for Grandparents Day, Sunday September 12. Special activities for grandparents and grandchildren will be offered at the William Cullen Bryant Homestead in Cummington, the Naumkeag House & Gardens in Stockbridge, the Mission House in Stockbridge, and the Ashley House in Sheffield. On this day, Berkshires residents of all ages will receive free admission.

Ashley House is Sheffield, MA

On Sunday Sept 12, begin your day with a visit to the Ashley House, opening at 10am. Visit the oldest house in the Berkshires at 117 Cooper Hill Road in the Ashley Falls section of Sheffield and enjoy two great stories of freedom. Special activities available for young and old alike on this day will include Colonial games and activities, and readings from the newest children’s book about Elizabeth Freeman (Mumbet) and her journey from slavery to freedom at the Ashley House over 200 years ago. While you are there, stop by the Bartholomew’s Cobble nature center next door to explore the natural world. According To Trustees educator Tammis Coffin, “The amazing story at The Ashley House is the stand that Mumbet took for her freedom, 80 years before the start of the Civil War. Slavery was outlawed in Massachusetts well before the rest of the country.”

Mission House in Stockbridge, MA

Starting at 11am, the Mission House will be open, along with the Indian Museum. Here, right at 19 Main Street in Stockbridge, is the place to explore Mohican culture with child-friendly displays, articles of buckskin clothing that can be tried on, and activities for children, ages 5 and up, including “make your own pocket sundial.”  There is also the Mohican Quest walking adventure – ideal for families with children ages 9 and up. According to Coffin,“The Mission House Indian Museum is small, but our visitors are discovering that it is a great place for kids!”

Naumkeag House and Gardens in Stockbridge, MA

Naumkeag House and Gardens will be open from 10-5pm. Just half a mile uphill from the Red Lion Inn at 5 Prospect Hill Road, Stockbridge, lies a magical 50-acre landscape that is a place of magic and beauty for children, with enclosed garden walls, water features, a round moon gate, a Chinese Garden, whimsical fountains, pools, runnels, and the famous Blue Steps. Among the activities offered for children with their grandparents or parents on this day include “Kipper” (a backpack of clues, games, and art projects that take families all around the gardens. Children of all ages enjoy following Kipper’s trail through the gardens, peeking into places best seen from a lower perch, spying places and items that hold special appeal for our young visitors,” states Henry.

William Cullen Bryant Homestead in Cummington, MA

Round out your day of history with a trip to the William Cullen Bryant Homestead, open from 1-5pm. It’s a one hour drive from Stockbridge, in the heart of the hilltowns. Take Route 9 east from the Berkshires almost to the Old Creamery in Cummington, and follow signs to 207 Bryant Road, Cummington. Visit the rambling farmscape that was home to America’s first romantic poet. Young and old alike will enjoy learning about the poet’s unusual life.  All ages will be delighted by a walk along the Rivulet Trail, where stand large trees, the stream that Bryant loved and wrote about, and poems posted along the way. And there will be a chance to try out (for free on this day) activities with the children’s “I Spy” activity backpacks.

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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.

Winter Trails Day in the Hilltowns

Winter Trails Day at Notchview in Windsor, MA
Free Outdoor Snow Sports Fun For All

The Trustees of Reservations invite everyone to try out a snow sport on Winter Trails Day. Free events will take place at Notchview on Route 9, Windsor, MA on Saturday, January 9th, from 10:00 AM to 3:00 PM.

  • SNOWSHOE: Snowshoes will be available for free to try out for up to two hours.
  • CROSS-COUNTRY SKI: Free cross-country ski lessons will be offered for beginner and intermediate skiers at 10:30 AM and again at 1:30 PM.
  • SKI CLINIC: At 11:00 AM there will be a waxing clinic covering both waxable and no-wax skis. Find out why no-wax skis should be waxed.
  • HIKE: At 1:30 PM The Trustees volunteers will lead a one-hour “Winter Woods” snowshoe hike.
  • ORIENTEERING: Families can venture out for a Nordic orienteering game where they ski along Notchview’s scenic trails, following a map to reach marked locations. Each location has a unique punch code to record on a game card. Prizes will be awarded based on the number of locations recorded.

“Winter Trails Day is a great opportunity for someone thinking about trying cross-country skiing or snowshoeing to jump in,” according to Jim Caffrey, the superintendent of Notchview Reservation. “Outdoor exercise is a great way to beat the winter blues and pick up your spirits. Nordic skiing is a low-impact, healthy sport for men and women of all ages. The lessons will cover everything from the basics: how to dress; how to get your skis on and off and how to get up after falling; to more advanced topics like proper form and balance. Plenty of skiers will be on hand to provide advice and support.”

Winter Trails Day is a national initiative to showcase the health benefits of snowshoeing and cross-country skiing. These low-impact aerobic activities incorporate strength and endurance training, and can help people stay active and healthy throughout the winter months when other sports are impossible to pursue.

To enjoy winter sports, wear sturdy, waterproof winter boots, and dress in layers with a windproof shell or parka as the top layer. A winter hat is also recommended. Snowshoe bindings are designed to strap on over regular boots. Rental ski packages including skis, boots and poles are available in advance from Berkshire Outfitters in Adams, MA, 413 743-5900, or from your local ski shop.

Read the rest of this entry »

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