Berkshire Family Fun: July 2014

Berkshire County Highlights for Families:
July 2014

“I moved to Western MA a year ago and this website is my resource for most of our family outings. I look at it weekly to plan an adventure and have used it as my ‘summer fun’ planning guide this year. I appreciate the work you are doing to collect this information and it has made a huge difference in my understanding of the variety and cultural diversity there is to offer in this area!” – Erica Cruz (Adams, MA)

Find out about community events and learning opportunities happening throughout Berkshire County for the month of July. We’ll be adding to this list as the month progresses, so be sure to check back each week. Do you have an event you’d like to include in this list? Email us at info@hilltownfamilies.org.

To find out what’s happening throughout the four counties of Western MA, check our comprehensive list of Weekly Suggested Events, published every Thursday! There you will also find our list of ongoing weekday playgroups, storyhours and events both in Berkshire County and throughout the region.

List of Weekly Suggested Events

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Berkshire Family Fun: June 2014

Berkshire County Highlights for Families:
June 2014

Find out about community events and learning opportunities happening throughout Berkshire County for the month of June. We’ll be adding to this list as the month progresses, so be sure to check back each week. Do you have an event you’d like to include in this list? Email us at info@hilltownfamilies.org.

To find out what’s happening throughout the four counties of Western MA, check our comprehensive list of Weekly Suggested Events, published every Thursday! There you will also find our list of ongoing weekday playgroups, storyhours and events both in Berkshire County and throughout the region.

List of Weekly Suggested Events

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Berkshire Family Fun: May 2014

Berkshire County Highlights for Families:
May 2014

Find out about community events and learning opportunities happening throughout Berkshire County for the month of May. We’ll be adding to this list as the month progresses, so be sure to check back each week. Do you have an event you’d like to include in this list? Email us at hilltownfamilies@gmail.com.

To find out what’s happening throughout the four counties of Western MA, check our comprehensive list of Weekly Suggested Events, published every Thursday! There you will also find our list of ongoing weekday playgroups, storyhours and events both in Berkshire County and throughout the region.

List of Weekly Suggested Events

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Berkshire Family Fun: April 2014

Berkshire County Highlights for Families:
April 2014

Find out about community events and learning opportunities happening throughout Berkshire County for the month of April. We’ll be adding to this list as the month progresses, so be sure to check back each week. Do you have an event you’d like to include in this list? Email us at hilltownfamilies@gmail.com.

To find out what’s happening throughout the four counties of Western MA, check our comprehensive list of Weekly Suggested Events, published every Thursday! There you will also find our list of ongoing weekday playgroups, storyhours and events both in Berkshire County and throughout the region.

List of Weekly Suggested Events

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Berkshire Family Fun: March 2014

Berkshire County Highlights for Families:
March 2014

Find out about community events and learning opportunities happening throughout Berkshire County for the month of March. We’ll be adding to this list as the month progresses, so be sure to check back each week. Do you have an event you’d like to include in this list? Email us at hilltownfamilies@gmail.com.

To find out what’s happening throughout the four counties of Western MA, check our comprehensive list of Weekly Suggested Events, published every Thursday! There you will also find our list of ongoing weekday playgroups, storyhours and events both in Berkshire County and throughout the region.

List of Weekly Suggested Events

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Berkshire Family Fun: February 2014

Berkshire County Highlights for Families:
February 2014

Find out about community events and learning opportunities happening throughout Berkshire County for the month of February. We’ll be adding to this list as the month progresses, so be sure to check back each week. Do you have an event you’d like to include in this list? Email us at hilltownfamilies@gmail.com.

To find out what’s happening throughout the four counties of Western MA, check our comprehensive list of Weekly Suggested Events, published every Thursday! There you will also find our list of ongoing weekday playgroups, storyhours and events both in Berkshire County and throughout the region.

List of Weekly Suggested Events

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Berkshire Family Fun: January 2014

Berkshire County Highlights for Families:
January 2014

Find out about community events and learning opportunities happening throughout Berkshire County for the month of January. We’ll be adding to this list as the month progresses, so be sure to check back each week. Do you have an event you’d like to include in this list? Email us at hilltownfamilies@gmail.com.

To find out what’s happening throughout the four counties of Western MA, check our comprehensive list of Weekly Suggested Events, published every Thursday!

List of Weekly Suggested Events

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Berkshire Family Fun: December 2013

Berkshire County Highlights for Families:
December 2013

Find out about community events and learning opportunities happening throughout Berkshire County for the month of December. We’ll be adding to this list as the month progresses, so be sure to check back each week. Do you have an event you’d like to include in this list? Email us at hilltownfamilies@gmail.com.

To find out what’s happening throughout the four counties of Western MA, check our comprehensive list of Weekly Suggested Events, published every Thursday! There you will also find our list of ongoing weekday playgroups, storyhours and events both in Berkshire County and throughout the region.

List of Weekly Suggested Events

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Berkshire Family Fun: November 2013

Berkshire County Highlights for Families:
November 2013

Find out about community events and learning opportunities happening throughout Berkshire County for the month of November. We’ll be adding to this list as the month progresses, so be sure to check back each week. Do you have an event you’d like to include in this list? Email us at hilltownfamilies@gmail.com.

To find out what’s happening throughout the four counties of Western MA, check our comprehensive list of Weekly Suggested Events, published every Thursday! There you will also find our list of ongoing weekday playgroups, storyhours and events both in Berkshire County and throughout the region.

List of Weekly Suggested Events

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Berkshire Family Fun: October 2013

Berkshire County Highlights for Families
October 2013

Find out about community events and learning opportunities happening throughout Berkshire County for the month of September. We’ll be adding to this list as the month progresses, so be sure to check back each week.

To find out what’s happening throughout the four counties of Western MA, check our comprehensive list of Weekly Suggested Events, published every Thursday! There you will also find our list of ongoing weekday playgroups, storyhours and events both in Berkshire County and throughout the region.

List of Weekly Suggested Events

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Berkshire Family Fun: September 2013

Berkshire County Highlights for Families: September 2013

Find out about community events and learning opportunities happening throughout Berkshire County for the month of September. We’ll be adding to this list as the month progresses, so be sure to check back each week.

North Berkshire
Central Berkshire
South Berkshire

Saturday &  Sunday, September 21st & 22nd,  the Upper Housatonic Valley National Heritage Area presents Heritage Walks, which celebrate the communities, natural areas, history, and different cultures of the many places recognized as part of this National Heritage Area.  Heritage Walks take place on Saturday 9/21 and Sunday 9/22 at many different sites throughout the region.  For example, you can tour the Historic Colonial Theatre, watch hawks at Bartholomew’s Cobble, explore local cemeteries, tour historic homes, see the W.E.B. DuBois National Historic Site, and explore the Housatonic River.  Because the Heritage Area designation is about the intersections between nature, culture, and history, each walk offers something different and it is likely you will find one that fits your interests!  A full list of Heritage Walks can be found here.  860-435-9505.  Berkshire County.

To find out what’s happening throughout the four counties of Western MA, check our comprehensive list of Weekly Suggested Events, published every Thursday! There you will also find our list of ongoing weekday playgroups, storyhours and events both in Berkshire County and throughout the region.

List of Weekly Suggested Events

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Berkshire Family Fun: August 2013

Berkshire County Highlights for Families: August 2013

Find out about community events and learning opportunities happening throughout Berkshire County for the month of August. We’ll be adding to this list as the month progresses, so be sure to check back each week.

To find out what’s happening throughout the four counties of Western MA, check our comprehensive list of Weekly Suggested Events, published every Thursday! There you will also find our list of ongoing weekday playgroups, storyhours and events both in Berkshire County and throughout the region.

List of Weekly Suggested Events

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Berkshire Family Fun: July 2013

Berkshire County Highlights for Families: July 2013

July in the BerkshiresFind out about community events and learning opportunities happening throughout Berkshire County for the month of July. We’ll be adding to this list as the month progresses, so be sure to check back each week.

North Berkshire
Central Berkshire
South Berkshire

To find out what’s happening throughout the four counties of Western MA, check our comprehensive list of Weekly Suggested Events, published every Thursday! There you will also find our list of ongoing weekday playgroups, storyhours and events both in Berkshire County and throughout the region.

List of Weekly Suggested Events

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Berkshire Family Fun: June 2013

Berkshire County Highlights for Families: June 2013

Find out about community events and learning opportunities happening throughout Berkshire County for the month of June.  We’ll be adding to this list as the month progresses, so be sure to check back each week:

North Berkshire
Central Berkshire
South Berkshire

To find out what’s happening throughout the four counties of Western MA, check our comprehensive list of Weekly Suggested Events, published every Thursday! There you will also find our list of ongoing weekday playgroups, storyhours and events both in Berkshire County and throughout the region.

List of Weekly Suggested Events

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Berkshire Family Fun for Late March, Early April, 2013

Berkshire County Highlights for Families:
March 23 – April 5, 2013

While there still might be fresh snow on the ground, it is officially spring… and there’s proof!  High school spring musicals are happening at both Taconic High School in Pittsfield and Mount Everett Regional High School in Sheffield; Spring egg hunts are scheduled in several towns throughout the county; there’s even the annual Spring Tonic happening at the Lenox Library!

Find out about these events and other community events and learning opportunities happening throughout Berkshire County through April 5, 2013:

North Berkshire
Central Berkshire
South Berkshire

To find out what’s happening throughout the four counties of Western MA, check our comprehensive list of Weekly Suggested Events, published every Thursday! There you will also find our list of ongoing weekday playgroups, storyhours and events both in Berkshire County and throughout the region.

List of Weekly Suggested Events

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Berkshire Family Fun for Early-Mid March, 2013

Berkshire County Highlights for Families:
March 9th-22nd, 2013

The community is starting to look towards spring!  Spring musicals like Oklahoma at Mount Greylock High School, maple events like MapleFest, and even Easter activities like learning how to naturally-dye eggs at the Berkshire Co-op and an egg hunt in Otis, are all starting show stirrings of spring… even the time change this weekend will bring more light to the end of your day!

Give the kids a sweet taste of spring and take them to one of the sugar shacks for breakfast.  Ioka Valley Farm in Hancock is a Berkshire County favorite!  Here is what our readers had to say about this local treasure:

Rebecca Heath of Pittsfield writes: “We love maple sugaring season… as a family, including our 93 year old grandmother, we head to Ioka Valley Farm for their delicious farm fresh breakfast. Our favorite of course is the fresh boiled maple syrup but they also have the best maple butter…MMMM….”

Heather Fletcher of Pittsfield writes: “Our family likes to have breakfast at Ioka Valley Farm. We feed the animals, mimic the sounds, sample syrup, & learn how it’s made.”

Find out about these events and other community events and learning opportunities happening throughout Berkshire County through March 22nd, 2013:

North Berkshire
Central Berkshire
South Berkshire

To find out what’s happening throughout the four counties of Western MA, check our comprehensive list of Weekly Suggested Events, published every Thursday! There you will also find our list of ongoing weekday playgroups, storyhours and events both in Berkshire County and throughout the region.

List of Weekly Suggested Events

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Berkshire Family Fun for Late February – Early March, 2013

Berkshire County Highlights for Families:
Feb 23rd – March 8th, 2013

We’re rounding the corner into March, the month of the vernal equinox!  But we’re not there just yet, so while it lasts, get out and enjoy the snow! There are a number of events happening to get your family outdoors for winter fun. Thunderfest, Winter Fest, Notchview and Sheep Hill’s Winter Open House will have snow adventures in North Berkshire County. and in South Berkshire County, Berkshire Natural Resources Council offers winter hikes at  the Housatonic Flate Reserve and Alford Springs.  But if snow adventures aren’t your warm cup of tea, there are plenty of indoor adventures in Central Berkshire County, including Bowey the Clown at the Spectrum Playhouse, a mini-golf classic inside the Berkshire Athenaeum, creative free play and kitchen science at the Berkshire Museum, theater production of Happy Days at Miss Hall’s School, and museum fun at the Norman Rockwell Museum.

Find out about these events and other community events and learning opportunities happening throughout Berkshire County through March 8th, 2013:

North Berkshire
Central Berkshire
South Berkshire

To find out what’s happening throughout the four counties of Western MA, check our comprehensive list of Weekly Suggested Events, published every Thursday! There you will also find our list of ongoing weekday playgroups, storyhours and events both in Berkshire County and throughout the region.

List of Weekly Suggested Events

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Berkshire Family Fun for Mid-Late February, 2013

Berkshire County Highlights for Families:
February 9th-22nd, 2013

Valentine’s Day is next week and school vacation week is the week after… and we’ve got you covered in Berkshire County!  In our list of events below you will find all sorts of fun activities to do with the kids and even some date night options for the parents!  If you’re looking for winter vacation camp options for the week of Feb 18-22, 2013 in the Berkshires, check these out:

Winter Vacation Camp Options in Berkshire County – Feb 18-22:

By special arrangement with Hilltown Families, Shakespeare & Company in Lenox is pleased to offer our readers a rare opportunity to take in a classic Shakespearean performance paired with a guided tour backstage. On Friday, Feb. 15th at 10am, schools and homeschooling families are invited to a performance of A Midsummer Night’s Dream at the Tina Packer Playhouse, followed by a backstage guided tour where participants can learn how the process of theatre is crafted in the costume shop, prop studio, and production workshop. Tickets for this package are only $8/person and a Study Guide for educators is available to download before attending. To reserve discounted tickets, contact Alexandra Lincoln, and let her know you are a Hilltown Families reader: 413-637-1199 x131. Shakespeare & Company is located at 70 Kemble Street in Lenox. www.Shakespeare.org.

Hilltown Families and the Berkshire Theatre Group have partnered up to offer a free family 4-pack of tickets to one lucky family to The Popovich Comedy Pet Theater on Tuesday, February 19th at 2pm, at The Colonial Theatre in Pittsfield, MA

Find out about these events and other community events and learning opportunities happening throughout Berkshire County through February 22nd, 2013:

North Berkshire
Central Berkshire
South Berkshire

To find out what’s happening throughout the four counties of Western MA, check our comprehensive list of Weekly Suggested Events, published every Thursday! There you will also find our list of ongoing weekday playgroups, storyhours and events both in Berkshire County and throughout the region.

List of Weekly Suggested Events

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Berkshire Family Fun for Late January – Early February, 2013

Berkshire County Highlights for Families:
January 26th – February 8th, 2013

Ready to shake off those winter blues? There are several events coming up in Berkshire County that will get you moving and having fun! Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts will host National Girls and Women in Sports Day, Winter Wildlife Day happens at the WRLF, and Williamstown’s 10th annual Snowfest will take place too!

There will also be ways to supplement learning for older students! In honor of Black History Month, the Berkshire Museum will present “Envisioning Emancipation: Black Americans and the End of Slavery,” and the Norman Rockwell Museum’s Curator of Education, Tom Daly, will review Rockwell’s dedication to civil rights throughout his career. There will be a presentation about frogs and salamanders by Berkshire Community College professor Tom Tyning at the Berkshire Atheneaum for those interested in nature studies, and cosmologist Lawrence Krauss will give a presentation at Williams College, talking about “Why is there something rather than nothing?”

Find out about these events and other community events and learning opportunities happening throughout Berkshire County through February 8th, 2013:

North Berkshire
Central Berkshire
South Berkshire

To find out what’s happening throughout the four counties of Western MA, check our comprehensive list of Weekly Suggested Events, published every Thursday! There you will also find our list of ongoing weekday playgroups, storyhours and events both in Berkshire County and throughout the region.

List of Weekly Suggested Events

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Berkshire Family Fun for Mid-Late January, 2013

Berkshire County Highlights for Families:
January 12th-25th, 2013

We’re nearly a month into winter with a healthy layer of snow on the ground, a great excuse to get outdoors and enjoying the beauty of the Berkshires!  There are several opportunities to dust off and put your snowshoes to good use over the next couple of weeks!  So strap on your snowshoes and select your choice destination for winter fun, including snowshoe race at Constitution Hill in Lanesborough, the Haskins Center’s Cabin Fever Festival in North Adams, Mountain Meadow Preserve in Williamstown, Notchview in Windsor, the Becket Quarry in Becket, Winter Trail Days at Hilltop Orchard in Richmond, and Bartholomew’s Cobble in Sheffield!

Find out about these events and other community events and learning opportunities happening throughout Berkshire County through January 25th, 2013:

North Berkshire
Central Berkshire
South Berkshire

To find out what’s happening throughout the four counties of Western MA, check our comprehensive list of Weekly Suggested Events, published every Thursday! There you will also find our list of ongoing weekday playgroups, storyhours and events both in Berkshire County and throughout the region.

List of Weekly Suggested Events Suggest Event

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Berkshire Family Fun for the New Year!

Berkshire County Highlights for Families:
December 29th, 2012 – January 11th, 2013

The year ends with a flurry of marionette shows, musicals, magic shows, and community theater productions in the Berkshires, and a new year begins with a First Day Hike at the Pittsfield State Forest.  Culture and amazing natural resources to fill your days while we usher out one year and in another!

Find out about these events and other community events and learning opportunities happening throughout Berkshire County through January 11th, 2013:

North Berkshire
Central Berkshire
South Berkshire

To find out what’s happening throughout the four counties of Western MA, check our comprehensive list of Weekly Suggested Events, published every Thursday! There you will also find our list of ongoing weekday playgroups, storyhours and events both in Berkshire County and throughout the region.

List of Weekly Suggested Events

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Backstories: The Other Side of Art at The Clark

Backstories: The Other Side of Art on View at
The Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute
December 22nd-April 21st in Williamstown

Works of art can lead a double life, with one side revealed to the public and the other hidden from view. In the Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute’s exhibition Backstories: The Other Side of Art, these often hidden sides will come to light as a selection of works tell their little-known “backstories,” revealing when and how they were made, how they have been cared for by collectors, and the many changes they have undergone.

Museums and galleries use more than just the pieces displayed in the exhibits they show to identify them – the stories behind paintings, sculptures, and other creative works are often much richer than they seem at first glance.  Information like signatures, dates, and other notes can often be found on the back of paintings, while busts and vases often have information carved into their bases.  Artists also often used the reverse sides of their works to do sketches or make notes about their piece.  These markings and small bits of information can help viewers learn more about things like the historical context in which a piece was created, the previous homes and/or owners of the piece, and the materials used by the artist.

The Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute is offering a special new exhibit, Backstories: The Other Side of Art, focused on these hidden stories!  On view between December 22nd, 2012 and April 21st, 2013, the exhibit is filled with works displayed non-traditionally so that viewers can inspect both sides of the story – literally!  Visitors can inspect the back sides of paintings, see interesting double-sided portraits, view preliminary sketches on the back of beautiful drawings, and examine all 360 degrees of a silver milk jug engraved with the names of all of its owners (including Benjamin Franklin!).

Exploring this exhibit with your family or students (or on your own!) can provide a powerful learning experience – youth of all ages can learn about the importance of looking at art within its historical context, offering exposure to basic skills in identifying art techniques, historical relationships, and time periods.  It can get them thinking about the backstory of other pieces of art too … maybe even spark an interest in researching the history behind other great works of art!

If your children or students have read and enjoyed E.L. Konigsburg’s book,  From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler, they love this real-life explorations of the backstories of art!  This title would be great to pair with a visit to Backstories.

For more information visit www.clarkart.edu or call the Clark Institute at 413-458-2303.  The Clark is located at 225 South Street in Williamstown, MA.  Admission to the exhibit is included with regular museum admission ($).

Berkshire Family Fun for Late December, 2012

Berkshire County Highlights for Families:
December 15th – 28th, 2012

(Photo credit: Sienna Wildfield)

There are just a couple more weekends left before Christmas, followed by school winter vacation. Berkshire County continues to celebrate the change of season and several of the museums and community centers will have activities for kids during the week of winter vacation. – Then it’s the New Year!

Cookies with origins from around the world are a staple of the holidays! Gingerbread Men to Hermits to Sugar Cookies are baked up in home kitchens and given as gifts. This weekend kids can learn how to make Rugalach at the Berkshire Co-op in Great Barrington, and next weekend families are welcomed to participate in a homemade cookie swap a Moments House in Pittsfield or pick up cookies at the Hinsdale Cookie Walk. Take the time to learn about the history behind cookies from other cultures, or make that recipe your grandmother handed down and share the backstory with your family and friends.

Find out about over 50 community events and learning opportunities happening throughout Berkshire County through December 28th, 2012:

North Berkshire County
Central Berkshire County
South Berkshire County

To find out what’s happening throughout the four counties of Western MA, check our comprehensive list of Weekly Suggested Events, published every Thursday! There you will also find our list of ongoing weekday playgroups, storyhours and events both in Berkshire County and throughout the region.

List of Weekly Suggested Events

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Berkshire Family Fun for Early December, 2012

Berkshire County Highlights for Families:
December 1st-14th, 2012

Experience Main Street in Stockbridge just like Norman Rockwell did during the Stockbridge Holiday Stroll on Sun., Dec. 2nd from 12noon-2pm. Downtown Stockbridge will be filled with antique cars, carolers will perform all over town, and there will be fun family activities for all! The re-creation is a unique opportunity to experience Norman Rockwell’s work in real life!

The holidays are here and they’re celebrating in the Berkshires!  Holiday strolls are taking place in Williamstown, Great Barrington and Stockbridge during these first two weeks of December. Santa’s making his rounds visiting Crane & Company’s Model Farm, Dalton CRA, Lilac Park, Lenox Fire Department, and the Berkshire Museum.  Gingerbread houses are being built at Hops & Vines and the Lenox Library, and latkes are being fried up at Wild Oats… and people and chorus groups are singing and performing all over the region!

Find out about these events and other community events and learning opportunities happening throughout Berkshire County through Dec 14th, 2012:

North Berkshire
Central Berkshire
South Berkshire

To find out what’s happening throughout the four counties of Western MA, check our comprehensive list of Weekly Suggested Events, published every Thursday! There you will also find our list of ongoing weekday playgroups, storyhours and events both in Berkshire County and throughout the region.

List of Weekly Suggested Events

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Four Holiday Strolls in the Berkshires

Holiday Strolls in the Berkshires

Four Holiday Strolls and town celebrations are planned for the Berkshires, including the towns of North Adams, Williamstown and Stockbridge.  A fourth Holiday Stroll will happen in Great Barrington on Saturday, December 8th from 4-7:30pm. Take the family and stroll downtown, alive with holiday spirit!  Find out more about the Great Barrington Holiday Stroll on the Southern Berkshire Chamber of Commerce website.

As the temperature slowly drops and the skies become increasingly more grey, towns across Western Massachusetts are beginning to look more and more festive by the minute!  Leafless trees now don coats of twinkling lights, streetlights are wrapped cozily in strands of deep green garland, and bright red bows decorate wreaths – welcoming both visitors and the holiday season.  Begin your family’s holiday season this weekend by visiting one of the holiday strolls being offered!

Downtown North Adams’ Hometown Holidays series continues on Thursday, November 29th from 5-8pm.  Local businesses will have extended hours and special deals for holiday shopping, and there will be fun family activities taking place throughout town.  Kids can get holiday masterpieces painted on their chilly pink cheeks, exercise their creativity making holiday crafts (which might also make great gifts!), and sing along to live holiday music.  More information available on the City of North Adams website.

Carolers, theatrical performers, horses, and even Santa Claus himself will be in Williamstown on Saturday, December 1st, for the town’s annual Holiday Walk!  The event takes place from 4-7pm, and features everything from holiday crafts and a bake-off to sleigh rides and a parade.  There will be live music throughout town for the duration of the event, including performances by jazz groups, a bell choir, and community chorus groups.  “A Christmas Carol,” will be performed at 5:45pm at The Log, the Reindog Parade will march down Spring Street at 4:15pm, and the Williamstown Cub Scouts will be collecting toys at 69 Spring Street all night!  The event ends with the lighting of the town’s Christmas tree, done by Santa himself.  A full list of events is available on the Williamstown Chamber’s website.

The town of Stockbridge will be celebrating the holidays all weekend – all over town!  On Saturday, December 1st, families can explore local historic properties on the Holiday House Tour.  The tour, which is self-guided and takes place from 11am-4pm, includes historic gems such as Naumkeag, The Mount, and Elms Cottage, and is a great way for older students to learn about local history.  That evening, downtown Stockbridge will be lit by candlelight during the annual Caroling Luminaria Walk, beginning at the Red Lion Inn (BYO candle or flashlight!).  The walk ends at the First Congregational Church, where Berkshire Lyric and the Blafield Children’s Chorus will perform holiday music.  Sunday, December 2nd, brings a second set of exciting holiday events in Stockbridge – including Main Street at Christmas, a re-creation of Norman Rockwell’s famous painting of the same name.  The town’s main street will be filled with antique cars and holiday decorations – transforming Stockbridge into a vintage wonderland!  There will be caroling, crafts, and sleigh rides, too.  For more information on locations and ticketing, visit the Stockbridge Chamber’s website.

Re-Wrap Afternoon: Making Gifts from Repurposed Materials in the Berkshires

Leslie Reed-Evans, Executive Director of the Williamstown Rural Lands Foundation in Williamstown, MA writes:

The Williamstown Rural Lands Foundation invites you to a unique and earth-friendly get-together on Saturday December 11th from 1:30 – 4:00 at Sheep Hill (671 Cold Spring Rd.) in Williamstown. Used wrapping paper, tissue, ribbon and boxes thrown away during the holidays in the USA amounts to an additional 25 million tons of trash. The “Re-Wrap afternoon” will highlight making creative wrappings, gift boxes and bags from found or repurposed materials that might otherwise be thrown away. Create beautiful origami boxes from old calendars, print wrapping paper and cards, decorate bags with sprays of nature’s findings, make seasonally scented sachets and use collage technique with nature-themed images to decorate gift boxes.

These family friendly projects will have a range of difficulty; some are appropriate for younger children with more difficult ones for teens and adults. The pre-holiday celebration will include popcorn, cookies, hot chocolate and a fire on the hearth. Get ready for the holidays while being kind to the earth! There is a $3 non-recycled materials charge.

ABOUT SHEEP HILL

Sheep Hill is the headquarters and a conservation property of the Williamstown Rural Lands Foundation, a non-profit, member-supported land conservation trust which works to preserve the rural New England character of the area and sponsors nature education, local history and seasonal food events throughout the year. Sheep Hill is located on Route 7 in Williamstown, approximately one mile south of the rotary. Program support provided by the Williamstown Savings Bank. For more information visit www.wrlf.org or call 458-2494.

Family Day at The Clark Celebrates the Exhibit, Picasso Looks at Degas

Family Day at The Clark Celebrates the Exhibit, Picasso Looks at Degas
Sunday, June 27th, 2010

Free Family Day at the Clark on June 27th, from 11:00 am to 4:00 pm, celebrates the exhibition Picasso Looks at Degas with art activities, dance and theater performances, ice carving, and more; includes free admission to the museum.

A spectacular FREE day of family activities on Sunday, June 27, from 11:00 am to 4:00 pm, will celebrate the Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute’s summer exhibition, Picasso Looks at Degas, which examines Picasso’s lifelong fascination with the life and work of Degas. The day will feature art activities and workshops, entertainment for all ages, local food vendors, and more. Admission to the Clark’s galleries and most activities is free on this festive day. Registration for workshops and other programs is not required.

Ongoing, 11:00 am to 4:00 pm

Explore the grounds and enjoy fun performances and activities:

  • Gather your courage and ride the mechanical Spanish bull
  • Cool off at the “Take a Bath” water sprinkler park
  • Delight in the moveable Degas and Picasso statues
  • Watch ice sculptor Craig O’Connell of Images in Ice create a frozen masterpiece
  • Create a mix of bath salts, decorate a mirror, and paste together a Cubist cube
  • Enhance your hair with wrapping, braiding, and colorful extensions
  • Capture your movements in a flipbook and watch yourself jump, dance, and run
  • Learn to sculpt in a sculpture project inspired by Degas and Picasso

Other time specific activities, check clarkart.edu for times

  • Be mesmerized by the impassioned performance and dazzling footwork of critically-acclaimed Spanish flamenco dancer Inés Arrubla of Inés Arrubla Flamenco Dance Theater. “Inés Arrubla, what a dancer!  She is so subtle, so assured…Inés brought decades of tradition, passion and skill to the stage…it was spectacular.”–The Berkshire Eagle
  • Pay homage to Degas’s dancers with a special performance by members of  the Albany Berkshire Ballet
  • Learn to emulate the masters in a mono-printmaking workshop with artist Andrew Davis
  • Join Picasso People for an amazing performance that sets Picasso’s masterpieces into motion and brings more than a dozen of the artist’s people to life. Novel costuming and masks enlivened by music, mime, and puppetry translates the energy behind Picasso’s work into an array of clever stories and reveals how his life experiences inspired his creativity.

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The Family Friendly Berkshires

The Family Friendly Berkshires: A Place to Dig Culture—and Dinosaurs

Dipping your feet in a rushing stream, flying kites on a spectacular open hillside, picnicking amid a lush mountain landscape: Images of summer in the country conjure up powerful memories—and are why many of us have to visit a pastoral spot to vacation. Our children love rural adventures, too, but youngsters today need more than simple pleasures. Berkshire County’s year round mix of breathtaking natural scenery, kid-friendly cultural attractions—many with children’s programming and discounts—and exciting outdoor activities is one big reason so many families come to visit.

Berkshire Museum in Pittsfield, MA

Berkshire Museum in Pittsfield, is one of the nation’s finest small museums and one of the few where art, history and the natural world are displayed in one place. Best of all, it is certifiably “unstuffy.” “Wally,” an imposing 10-foot high, 26-foot long Stegosaurus, graces the front lawn, capturing kids’ attention at once. Inside, marvel at the diverse permanent collection in 18 galleries on three floors. The museum’s magnificent 26-tank aquarium includes an Atlantic Tidal Pool “Touch Tank” for kids. Natural Science comprises the museum’s largest collection, where the biggest attraction is a “Dinosaurs and Paleontology” gallery that shows how paleontologists use fossils and other evidence to understand the prehistoric world. Here the “Dino Dig” lets everyone get in the act—actually digging down to touchable replicas of dinosaur bones. The art collection includes ancient art from around the world and 14th-19th century European art, but don’t overlook the Refrigerator Art Gallery, featuring children’s artwork in (or “on”) a familiar setting. Kid’s programs run all summer, with a variety of day- and week-long camps, from “Art & Crafts Camp” to “Native American Day Camp.”

Sterling & Francine Clark Art Institute, Williamstown, MA. (Photo credit: Gardner)

The Sterling & Francine Clark Art Institute, Williamstown, presents “family days” year round, while Kidspace at MASS MoCA is a collaborative project between the Williams College Museum of Art, The Clark and Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art (MASS MoCA). This art gallery and studio space in the heart of North Adams’ MoCA complex is designed especially for students, teachers, and families.

Hancock Shaker Village in Pittsfield, MA. (Photo credit: rwjensen)

Hancock Shaker Village, Pittsfield, admits children 12 and under free. Youngsters delight in meeting the Village’s historic breeds of livestock in the farmyard and pastures. The Discovery Room offers hands on activities such as trying on Shaker-style clothing, spinning wool and weaving, and milking Mary Jane, a life-sized Holstein cow replica. Sheep Hill, Williamstown, owned by the Williamstown Rural Lands Foundation, offers picnicking, hiking and birdwatching and seasonal events including snowshoe, full moon and firefly hikes; star gazing; kids nature programs; and tracking workshops.

Western Gateway Heritage State Park in North Adams, MA.

In North Adams, admission is free to the Visitors Center at Western Gateway Heritage State Park, where imaginative exhibits unveil the story behind the Hoosac Tunnel. Two hundred men lost their lives as the tunnel, one of the greatest engineering feats of the 19th century, was dug nearly five miles through Hoosac Mountain, linking Massachusetts to Albany, NY. Rail aficionados young and old will also enjoy the Berkshire Scenic Railway Museum, Lenox. There they can ride along the River between Lenox and Stockbridge as they enjoy a narrated diesel hauled 20 mile trip in vintage coaches.

Jiminy Peak Mountain Adventure Park in Hancock, MA.

At summer camps throughout Berkshire County youngsters can choose traditional programs or specialize in art, dance, music, theater and sports, and even character building and leadership development. Local ski areas also offer exciting family activities in summer. These include waterslides and go carts at Bousquet Ski Resort & Summer Family Fun Center, Pittsfield, and a Mountain Coaster, rock climbing wall and Euro-Bungee Trampoline, among other attractions, at Jiminy Peak Mountain Adventure Park, Hancock.

Agriculture is clearly a vital part of county life, and several Berkshire farms offer families an up-close look. In Hancock, the 600-acre Ioka Valley Farm and Uncle Don’s Barnyard provide “agri-entertainment,” including a hay maze, hayrides, pedal tractors and petting animals. A riding day camp, trail riding and hunt seat and dressage instruction are among the offerings for horse-loving families at Undermountain Farm, Lenox.

Fairy Houses and Gnome Homes at The Clark this Sunday

Free Family Day at The Clark in Williamstown, MA on April 25th, 2010

It’s a campus wide family adventure during the People and Spaces Family Day at the Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute on Sunday, April 25th, 2010 from 12 to 4 pm. This free day will explore how people fit into different spaces, places, and settings. Try to keep your bearings in a maze, create detailed clothespin people, build a miniature museum, climb a wall, and visit the Giovanni Boldini in Impressionist Paris exhibition. Admission and activities are free.

  • Fairy houses and gnome homes will dot the Clark’s expansive campus waiting to be discovered. The tiny dwellings, made from natural materials, will be created by members of the community during the April 17 to 25 school vacation week. Maps of the houses will be handed out at the welcome desk; take a walking tour and visit one or visit them all.
  • Take a wooden clothespin, add fabric, hair, and Boldini-inspired accessories (including top hats and pearls) to create your very own miniature person. Need a museum for your tiny person to visit? Create one complete with mini clay sculptures you will make and scaled down images of Boldini paintings. Supplies will be provided.
  • Want to test your orienteering skills? Challenging maze activities (complete with headlamps) will be led by the Williams Outing Club. Or maybe you want to explore space by climbing an inflatable wall (weather dependant).
  • Acrobats from Nimble Arts, a circus arts center from Brattleboro, VT, will present an amazing performance focusing on moving through space.
  • Other activities include family gallery talks in the Giovanni Boldini in Impressionist Paris exhibition.

A visit to the Clark is a rewarding family experience year-round with 140 acres of scenic meadows and trails providing ample opportunities for families to hike, run and play, spot the many birds inhabiting the area, and try geo-caching. The Clark’s grounds are open to the public free of charge. Free admission to the galleries is always offered to children 18 and under and students with valid ID.

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