Snow Much Fun in Western Massachusetts!

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Winter time in Western MA can be a lot of fun! Between downhill and nordic skiing, great sledding hills and outdoor ice skating rinks, there are so many opportunities to get outside when the snow flies in the region… and there’s no better source of information on how to survive and thrive during winter in Western MA than from Hilltown Families’ readers!

Over the years Western MA families have shared their favorite places to go sledding and where to get a cup of hot chocolate after (or coffee for the parents!).  They’ve discussed how to get kids to dress for the cold, and where to take the family for a horse drawn sleigh ride (or an indoor winter birthday party).  Find out what local treasures and words of wisdom our readers have offered in these posts from our archives, and add your 2-cents too!

Suggested Events for March 2nd – 8th, 2013

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

SUGGEST AN EVENT

Looking for a whiff of spring? Starting this Saturday, March 2nd, both Smith College Botanic Garden and Mount Holyoke College’s Botanic Garden spring flower shows open featuring hundreds of spring-blossoming bulbs! (Photo credit: Sienna Wildfield)

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

Enhanced PublicityServing Western Massachusetts since 2005, Hilltown Families supports development and enhancement of our local economy and community. Local businesses, individuals, schools and non-profits are encouraged to partner with Hilltown Families through sponsorship and advertising. Let us help get the word out about your after school/homeschool class, event, camp, workshop, fundraiser, business/school, service, open house, volunteer opportunity or general announcement. Deliver your message to thousands of families living throughout the four counties of Western MA while supporting the community development work of Hilltown Families. Click HERE to find out more.

BEST BETS

Winter Bucket ListSaturday, March 2nd from 10am-4pm in Hampden CountyMUSEUM ADVENTURE: Happy 109th birthday, Dr. Seuss!  Celebrate today with the Springfield Museums, home of the Dr. Seuss sculpture garden.  Celebrations will take place all day long, including MYO Cat in the Hat bowties and birthday cards for Dr. Seuss, a chance to meet the Cat in the Hat himself, family science adventures, planetarium shows (additional charge), and a Dr. Seuss cake contest where visitors can vote for their favorite, most Seuss-est cake!  413-263-6800.  21 Edwards Street.  Springfield, MA.  ($)

Saturday, March 2nd at 10:30am in Hampshire CountyFAMILY PERFORMANCE: Grammy-nominated folk musician David Grover performs this morning at the Jones Library!  His beautiful music is unique amongst folk-style family music in that it speaks to people of all ages, and not just children.  413-259-3090.  43 Amity Street.  Amherst, MA.  (FREE)

Saturday, March 2nd at 1pm in Berkshire CountyMUSEUM ADVENTURE: It’s Family Curiosity Day at the Williams College Museum of Art!  Visit the museum to learn all about art – there will be gallery activities, artistic experiments, and lots of art projects!  413-597-3131.  15 Lawrence Hall Drive.  Williamstown, MA. 

Saturday, March 2nd from 11am-12:30pm in Franklin CountyLITERACY: Families with kids ages 6+ are invited to take part in a 6-week workshop series with professional storyteller John Porcino at the Dickinson Library!  Porcino will share beautiful children’s books with families, and the events are a celebration of stories – each week will focus on a new theme.  Registration required.  413-498-2455.  Main Street.  Northfield, MA.  (FREE)

MARK YOUR CALENDARS

Mark Your Calendars: March 16th Hilltown Families & Flywheel present another Saturday Morning Music Party in Easthampton!

Next Saturday, March 9th from 9am-12pm in Hampshire County  – KIDS’ STUFF SWAP: Northampton Dept. of Public Works is holding a Kids’ Stuff Swap and Art Workshops, PopUp Artists’ Shop and Environmental Info table at Smith Vocational School. Pre-registration.  80 Locust St. Northampton, MA (FREE) 

Next Saturday, March 9th from 11am-2pm Berkshire CountyMAPLEFEST: Maple sugaring season has arrived once again, and Hopkins Memorial Forest host its annual celebration to usher in the new season. The celebration will allow people to both observe and take part in the maple syrup production process, from tapping a tree to checking out the finishing and bottling of the final product.  Participants will also be able to visit a working sugar house, assist with sap gathering, and taste the homemade syrup on pancakes and “sugar on snow.” In addition, there will be demonstrations of old-time evaporating methods, dating back to the pre-colonial era, as well as maple sugaring exhibits, videos, and more. Intersection of Bulkley Street & Northwest Hill Road. 413-597-4277. Williamstown, MA (FREE)

Next Sunday, March 10th from 11am-3pm in Hampden County – MAPLE HARVEST DAY: Storrowton Village Museum’s 8th annual Maple Harvest Day  will showcase the history and lore of maple sugaring in the Gilbert Farmstead’s front yard with Sugar Maple tree tapping, sumac spile making and sap boiling over an open fire, to educate the public about the origin and legend of the tradition. Inside the historic home, docents will demonstrate 19th century open hearth cooking at the cozy kitchen fireplace as well as quilting and spinning wool. 413-205-5051. Eastern States Expo. West Springfield, MA (FREE) 

BULLETIN BOARD

March 3

Teen Social Justice Workshop: How Did Young People Lead the Drive for Workers’ Rights? Join Temple Israel (27 Pierce St.) in Greenfield on Sunday, March 3 from 12:30-2:30pm for the next in their series of teen social justice workshops exploring Jewish history and ethics. This week they will be learning about the essential role young people played in organizing the garment workers’ strikes in New York City. There will be history, study of Jewish ethical identity as expressed across the spectrum of religious observance, critical thinking activities and a special segment on learning Yiddish workers’ songs. Free and open to everyone. Refreshments will be provided. For more info contact Samantha Wood: cornerrobot@gmail.com. 413-522-3832

March 3

Come celebrate St. Patrick’s Day with the Celtic Heels Irish Dance Company at the Academy of Music Theatre, this Sunday, March 3rd, at 2pm. This vibrant performance will feature over 70 dancers of all ages as well as guest musicians Emerald Rae (a National Scottish Fiddle Champion) and Liz Simmons (a Honey Voiced Singer). Tickets are $12/adults, $10/seniors, $10/children and are available through the Academy of Music Theatre at www.academyofmusictheatre.com or by phone at 413-584-9032 ext. 105 (box office fees may apply). Join in the fun of the jigs and reels with your children at this toe tapping hand clapping afternoon of family fun!

March 9

Piti Theatre presents 4th Annual SYRUP: One Sweet Performing Arts Festival on Sat., March 9 at Memorial Hall in Shelburne Falls. Family show at 2pm with Piti’s “To Bee or Not to Bee,” leading U.S. mask artist Larry Hunt of Masque Theater, children’s mask parade, syrup tasting, free Real Pickles and more! Evening show at 7pm for ages 8+ with Masque Theater’s 20 mask variety show, juggling/comedy with national touring actor Jack Golden, brother-sister duo June and the Bee. Family show $5, Evening $12/$8 under 16. Fri., 3/8: paper pattern mask making workshop for grades K – 5, 4:30 – 5:30 pm at Mem. Hall. Children can be in next day’s mask parade. Sun. 3/9: Mask Movement for ages 15+ at Hart Yoga, 1-4pm. info@ptco.org, www.ptco.org/shows/syrup

Beginning Feb 25

FMC Ice Sports offers a fun and unique learning environment for all ages. Participants in our Step 1 Learn to Skate programs are taught the basics of ice skating without relying on skating aids. This method of teaching increases a skater’s independence on the ice and encourages their learning of balance and maneuverability. Students eventually graduate to our Step 2 and Step 3 programs that focus on the more sport specific skills required in hockey and figure skating. FMC Ice Sports programs can be found at the Smead Arena in Springfield and the Collins Moylan Arena in Greenfield. Class information and registration are available online at www.fmcicesports.com or by calling 1-888-74-SKATE.

Advertise your Summer Camp with Hilltown FamiliesMARKET YOUR SUMMER CAMP: In an effort to connect families with summer camps & programs in the region, Hilltown Families is offering camps and programs a chance to partner with us in their online marketing with a special enhanced publicity offer. On Sunday, March 24th, Hilltown Families will be featuring camps in the region on Hilltown Families with a special post titled: 2013 Summer Camps and Programs in Western MA. Find out more about our marketing package and early bird discounts HERE.

ADVERTISE HERE: Reach thousands of families in Western MA while supporting the community development work of Hilltown Families! See your community event, open house, auditions, afterschool class, homeschool program, workshop, school, wellness program or business featured here in the bulletin board section of our list of Weekly Suggested Events and eNewsletter, reaching thousands of families living throughout the four counties of Western MA! Find out more about our enhanced publicity packages and options and how we can help with your online marketing by emailing us at hilltownfamilies@gmail.com.

MotherWoman is coming to the Hilltowns, offering two support groups to Hilltown mothers.  The first group meets on Mondays in Ashfield at St. John’s Corner House from 11am-12:30pm, offering a free, safe, confidential drop-in group for mothers of infants & young children a place to feel heard, valued, understood, nurtured and energized.  Expectant mothers welcome. Free childcare is available for children up to age four. Contact Anna Westley for more info at 413-625-6948. A second group will be hosted by the Cummington Family Center at the Cummington Community House on the 2nd Thursday each month from 10-11:30am.  Contact Stacey Mackowiak for more info at 413-634-8853.  More info on both at www.itavillage.com.

Volunteers wanted for Salamander Tunnel Maintenance Day in Amherst on a Saturday in March (determined by the weather). One of Amherst’s many claims to fame are the Henry St. amphibian tunnels, North America’s first, designed to direct spotted salamanders under the road, thus avoiding the tires of passing autos. All are invited to ready the tunnels for the annual spring migration. The Hitchcock Center for the Environment will be raking leaves, shoveling sand and debris, clipping brush, repairing plastic mesh fences, pounding in wooden stakes, and picking up litter and will have some tools and gloves available for families to help out (but please bring your own if you have them.). All ages are welcome! FREE • Please call 413-256-6006 to be added to the call/email list to volunteer.


LIST OF WEEKLY SUGGESTED EVENTS
March 2nd-8th, 2013

SaturdaySunday
MondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFriday

Suggest an Event | Forecast | Museum Passes | Weekly eNewsletter

Berkshire Family Fun

Read the rest of this entry »

Suggested Events for February 23rd – March 1st, 2013

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

SUGGEST AN EVENT

Need to shake off some of that cabin fever? Heather from Northampton says, “Fill up a thermos with hot soup and go cross country skiing at Notchview (Windsor, MA) with the family.” One of many recommendations from our post, 50 Winter Suggestions: Things to Do & Places to See in Western MA. (Photo credit: Sienna Wildfield)

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

Enhanced PublicityServing Western Massachusetts since 2005, Hilltown Families supports development and enhancement of our local economy and community. Local businesses, individuals, schools and non-profits are encouraged to partner with Hilltown Families through sponsorship and advertising. Let us help get the word out about your after school/homeschool class, event, camp, workshop, fundraiser, business/school, service, open house, volunteer opportunity or general announcement. Deliver your message to thousands of families living throughout the four counties of Western MA while supporting the community development work of Hilltown Families. Click HERE to find out more.

BEST BETS

Saturday, February 23rd at 11am & 1pm in Hampden County – FAMILY CONCERT: SteveSongs is coming to the Springfield Museum for a family concert sure to get the kids dancing way! A “meet and greet” will follow each concert. Check out these videos to get ready for next weekend. Springfield, MA ($)

Saturday, February 23rd from 10am-4pm in Berkshire County – WINTERFEST: City of North Adams’ 16th Annual WinterFest will have your family shaking of cabin fever! All of downtown will turn into a winter fun-land with activities happening all day, including horse-drawn wagon rides, ice sculptures, culinary delights, ice skating and many performances. 413-664-6180. Downtown. North Adams, MA (FREE)

Winter Bucket ListSaturday, February 23rd at 11am in Hampshire County – FAMILY CONCERT: The Northampton Community Music Center presents the Deedle Deedle Dees in concert at the Eric Carle Museum!  An educational rock band, the Deedle Deedle Dees sing about science, history, and everything in between, making their fun, catchy songs educational as well as entertaining.  413-658-1100.  125 West Bay Road.  Amherst, MA. ($)

Saturday, February 23rd at 11am in Franklin County – LUAU: Kids got cabin fever?  Pretend it’s summer for just a day – Chandler’s Restaurant is hosting a luau for kids!  Families can order lunch and enjoy special Hawaiian-themed food and drinks, as well as crafts, games, and Hawaiian music!  Reservations suggested.  413-665-1277.  25 Greenfield Road.  Deerfield, MA. ($)

MARK YOUR CALENDARS

Friday-Sunday, March 1st-3rd: WINTER CARNIVAL: The Holyoke Winter Carnival spans three days!  There will be a free luminaria event, ice skating, dog show, domino tournament, firemen’s hockey benefit, family movie night, chili cook-off, pancake breakfast, cake decorating contest, and spaghetti dinner featuring Zydeco Connection.  413-244-6766. Holyoke, MA 

Saturday, March 2nd from 10am-3pm – MUSEUM ADVENTURES: Family Day at the Smith College Museum of Art.  Try your hand at several art projects inspired by fisherman, fireworks, flowers, and more on view in the Collecting Art of Asia exhibition.  Smith students will lead families with kids ages 4yo+ in projects, have snacks available and be on hand to assist.  Elm Street At Bedford Terrace. Smith College Museum of Art. Northampton, MA (FREE)

BULLETIN BOARD

Feb 24

Purim Justice Fair, co-sponsored by Congregation Bnai Israel and Beit Ahavah, will be held Sunday, February 24, from 3:30-5:30pm at Beit Ahavah, 130 Pine St, Florence. This family-oriented Purim Festival is for all ages. Festivities will include spirited singing, interactive games and booths including face-painting, bingo, palm reading, blackjack, bowling and ring-toss. All proceeds (suggested donations $3-$5) from the event will go to support local and international social justice and environmental causes. Please bring canned food for a sculpture activity to donated to Northampton Survival Center. Bring homemade humantaschen to share to take part in our humantaschen bake-off contest. Come in costume! Contact: rabbijacob@cbinorthampton.org

Beginning Feb 25

FMC Ice Sports offers a fun and unique learning environment for all ages. Participants in our Step 1 Learn to Skate programs are taught the basics of ice skating without relying on skating aids. This method of teaching increases a skater’s independence on the ice and encourages their learning of balance and maneuverability. Students eventually graduate to our Step 2 and Step 3 programs that focus on the more sport specific skills required in hockey and figure skating. FMC Ice Sports programs can be found at the Smead Arena in Springfield and the Collins Moylan Arena in Greenfield. Class information and registration are available online at www.fmcicesports.com or by calling 1-888-74-SKATE.

March

Snow Farm: The New England Craft Program in Williamsburg, MA is offering half-day Saturday workshops in March for students ages 13+. Try flameworking (glass beads and small sculpture), ceramics, digital printing on alternative surfaces, or stained glass with upcycled materials. A great parent/teen opportunity – or some creative alone time for mom or dad. Our instructors are fun, encouraging, and wildly talented. Our studios in a historic New England farm setting are comfortable and professionally equipped. Treat yourself! www.snowfarm.org/intergenerational-workshops.html. 413-268-3101. info@snowfarm-art.org.

Guess what’s growing in Pelham? A Preschool! One of the Valley’s pre-eminent elementary schools is growing to include a preschool in the fall of 2013! Pelham Elementary is renowned for its MCAS scores, respected for its staff, and revered for its reputation of being a caring, nurturing place for our youth. Open to residents of all towns, with a number of slots reserved for Pelham residents. Full day program, hours and prices competitive. Options for before and after school care. Make your child’s first experience in the world of education one to grow on. For details call 413-362-1101 or email Principal Lisa Desjarlais at desjarlaisl@arps.org.

ADVERTISE YOUR EVENT OR OPEN HOUSE: Reach thousands of families in Western MA while supporting the community development work of Hilltown Families! See your community event, open house, auditions, afterschool class, homeschool program, workshop, school, wellness program or business featured here in the bulletin board section of our list of Weekly Suggested Events and eNewsletter, reaching thousands of families living throughout the four counties of Western MA! Find out more about our enhanced publicity packages and options and how we can help with your online marketing by emailing us at hilltownfamilies@gmail.com.

Advertise your Summer Camp with Hilltown FamiliesMARKET YOUR SUMMER CAMP: In an effort to connect families with summer camps & programs in the region, Hilltown Families is offering camps and programs a chance to partner with us in their online marketing with a special enhanced publicity offer.  On Sunday, March 24th, Hilltown Families will be featuring camps in the region on Hilltown Families with a special post titled: 2013 Summer Camps and Programs in Western MA.  Find out more about our marketing package and early bird discounts HERE.

The Amherst Toy Library is now opening!  Offering free toy rentals for children up to 8 years old!  Located on the 2nd floor of the Bangs Community Center in downtown Amherst, the Toy Library is open Wed & Thurs from 11am-1pm and Fridays from 9am-12noon.  Donation of new or gently used toys (puzzles, games, block, etc) are needed, but not stuffed animals or cloth toys.  If you’d like to donate or volunteer, contact Randa or Shangzhu at amhersttoylibrary@gmail.com

Allison Scott, Youth Action Coalition Programs Liaison writes: “GirlsEyeView (GEV) offers a supportive and creative space for young women to express themselves through photography & creative writing, free of charge. We write stories & poems, share our ideas about important issues, & laugh! GEV exhibits work several times a year in our schools & in community spaces. In Ware, we create color and b&w photos using digital cameras & Photoshop. Our program is open to girls in middle & high school as well as those who are not in school. We meet Mon & Wed from 2:30-5pm at Ware Jr/Sr High School. In Amherst, we shoot with black & white film & manual cameras, & develop our prints in the darkroom. We’re open to 7th-9th grade girls & we meet Tues & Thurs from 2:30-5pm at Amherst Regional High School.”  www.youthactioncoalition.org


LIST OF WEEKLY SUGGESTED EVENTS
February 23rd-March 1st, 2013

SaturdaySunday
MondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFriday

Suggest an Event | Forecast | Museum Passes | Weekly eNewsletter

Berkshire Family Fun

Read the rest of this entry »

Suggested Events for February 16th-22nd, 2013

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

SUGGEST AN EVENT

School playgrounds might be quiet next week, but there’s still a whole lotta fun going on during school Winter Vacation Week! (Photo credit: Sienna Wildfield)

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

Enhanced PublicityServing Western Massachusetts since 2005, Hilltown Families supports development and enhancement of our local economy and community. Local businesses, individuals, schools and non-profits are encouraged to partner with Hilltown Families through sponsorship and advertising. Let us help get the word out about your after school/homeschool class, event, camp, workshop, fundraiser, business/school, service, open house, volunteer opportunity or general announcement. Deliver your message to thousands of families living throughout the four counties of Western MA while supporting the community development work of Hilltown Families. Click HERE to find out more.

BEST BETS

Children’s Theater at Williston Northampton performs “Wondrous Tales of Old Japan,” and Hilltown Families has a family 4-pack of tickets to giveaway for the opening day!

Saturday, February 16th from 9am-1pm in Hampden County – SPORTS: Celebrate National Girls and Women in Sports Day at Springfield College!  Girls will be able to try out and learn about new sports, and will learn about playing higher level sports from some dedicated female college athletes.  After the event, participants can cheer on the Springfield College women’s basketball team as they take on MIT.  Registration required.  Open to girls in grades K-6.  413-748-3000.  Alden Street.  Springfield, MA.  (FREE)

Saturday, February 16th at 12noon in Berkshire County – OUTDOOR ADVENTURE: Show off your snow-building talents at the Lee Cabin Fever Festival’s Children’s Snow Sculpting Competition!  Build, stack, and scrape away until you’ve created a beautiful, icy masterpiece.  Takes place on the Town Green at 1:30pm, participate in (or watch!) the annual Strut Your Stuff Stroll down Main Street, where participants bare their skin in the cold – the event features swimsuit-clad walkers and runners!  Main Street.  Lee, MA (FREE)

Saturday, February 16th at 2-3:30pm in Franklin County – MARDI GRAS: Celebrate Mardi Gras as a family at the Winklepicker Ball!  The family-friendly event will feature live music from the Primate Fiasco, the valley’s own New Orleans-style street band.  Takes place upstairs at Ashfield Town Hall.  413-628-4003.  412 Main Street.  Ashfield, MA.  ($)

Saturday, February 16th at 2pm in Hampshire County – THEATER: Piti Theater Company – just back from a tour in Switzerland – brings their popular show To Bee or Not to Bee to the Northampton Center for the Arts!  Their original show teachers audiences about the important role that bees play in the production of food.  Beekeepers worldwide have been experiencing trouble maintaining bee populations in recent years – the show’s topic is timely and important.  Kids will learn positive ways to support bees while enjoying the show!  413-625-6569.  South Street.  Northampton, MA.  ($)

MARK YOUR CALENDARS

Saturday, February 23rd at 11am & 1pm in Hampden County – FAMILY CONCERT: SteveSongs is coming to the Springfield Museum for a family concert sure to get the kids dancing way! A “meet and greet” will follow each concert. Check out these videos to get ready for next weekend. Springfield, MA ($)

Saturday, February 23rd from 10am-4pm in Berkshire County – WINTERFEST: City of North Adams’ 16th Annual WinterFest will have your family shaking of cabin fever!  All of downtown will turn into a winter fun-land with activities happening all day, including horse-drawn wagon rides, ice sculptures, culinary delights, ice skating and many performances. 413-664-6180. Downtown. North Adams, MA (FREE)

Sunday, February 24th at 2pm in Hampshire County – VARIETY SHOW: The Really Big Show, the Pioneer Valley’s very own Ed Sullivan show, takes place at the Academy of Music Theatre.  Monte from The River will MC and the show will include a variety of talent, including s contortionists, poets, jugglers, opera stars, comedians, child prodigies, animal acts and many other forms of entertainment.  1-800-838-3006. 274 Main Street. Northampton, MA ($)

BULLETIN BOARD

Feb 16

Sunnyside Child Care Presents: “Hot Choco LA LA LA.” Spend the morning singing and dancing with the Valley’s own Mister G! “Kid-friendly, bilingual rockstar…Mister G and his guitar will surely make you feel like bailando!” – The Washington Post. “Mister G is the musical equivalent of a tasty chocolate bar infused with a spicy chili kick!” -Scholastic Family and Children. Warm up with yummy hot chocolate, coffee, and pizza. Chill out by doing art with your friends. Join Sunnyside on Saturday February 16th from 10:30 am to 12:00 pm at the Florence Community Center (140 Pine St. Florence MA). Tickets just $5 per person ($20 maximum per family). All proceeds fund the Sunnyside Scholarship Fund. www.sunnysidekids.org

Feb 18-22

February vacation at The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art! Open Monday, Feb 18! Join the museum for storytimes, art making, scavenger hunts & live performances! See your friends, The Very Hungry Caterpillar, Madeline, Babar, Shrek, and many others in their galleries. Plus, The Pioneer Valley Performing Arts Charter School presents, Goldilocks & the Three Bears: An Epic, Feb 19-22 at 11am, 1pm & 3pm [$6 (Members $5). Museum admission extra.]. So you think you know this tale? Think again! In this epic adaptation, there’s a lot more in store for Goldy than three bears, some chairs, and bowls of breakfast food. Fun for the whole family! Tickets may be purchased in advance at the Museum Admissions Desk. 413-658-1126. www.carlemuseum.org

Feb 23 & 24

Beginning beekeepers will learn everything they need to know to keep bees in natural top bar hives when they attend a Gold Star Honeybees Weekend Intensive. The class is two full days, and packed with information! The class covers hive inspections, bee biology, wax and honey harvesting, problems like CCD, and why bees matter so much! Give your honey the sweet gift of beekeeping for Valentine’s Day! Location: Berkshire Community College, 1350 West Street, Pittsfield, MA in the Cafe. Dates: Feb 23 & 24. Times: 8:30am – 4:00pm. Local/organic meals are included. Register online at www.goldstarhoneybees.com or call 207-449-1121. Instructor: Christy Hemenway, author of “The Thinking Beekeeper.” For more info: classes@goldstarhoneybees.com

March

Snow Farm: The New England Craft Program in Williamsburg, MA is offering half-day Saturday workshops in March for students ages 13+. Try flameworking (glass beads and small sculpture), ceramics, digital printing on alternative surfaces, or stained glass with upcycled materials. A great parent/teen opportunity – or some creative alone time for mom or dad. Our instructors are fun, encouraging, and wildly talented. Our studios in a historic New England farm setting are comfortable and professionally equipped. Treat yourself! www.snowfarm.org/intergenerational-workshops.html. 413-268-3101. info@snowfarm-art.org.

Guess what’s growing in Pelham? A Preschool! One of the Valley’s pre-eminent elementary schools is growing to include a preschool in the fall of 2013! Pelham Elementary is renowned for its MCAS scores, respected for its staff, and revered for its reputation of being a caring, nurturing place for our youth. Open to residents of all towns, with a number of slots reserved for Pelham residents. Full day program, hours and prices competitive. Options for before and after school care. Make your child’s first experience in the world of education one to grow on. For details call 413-362-1101 or email Principal Lisa Desjarlais at desjarlaisl@arps.org.

ADVERTISE YOUR EVENT OR OPEN HOUSE: Reach thousands of families in Western MA while supporting the community development work of Hilltown Families! See your community event, open house, auditions, afterschool class, homeschool program, workshop, school, wellness program or business featured here in the bulletin board section of our list of Weekly Suggested Events and eNewsletter, reaching thousands of families living throughout the four counties of Western MA! Find out more about our enhanced publicity packages and options and how we can help with your online marketing by emailing us at hilltownfamilies@gmail.com.

Advertise your Summer Camp with Hilltown FamiliesMARKET YOUR SUMMER CAMP: In an effort to connect families with summer camps & programs in the region, Hilltown Families is offering camps and programs a chance to partner with us in their online marketing with a special enhanced publicity offer.  On Sunday, March 24th, Hilltown Families will be featuring camps in the region on Hilltown Families with a special post titled: 2013 Summer Camps and Programs in Western MA.  Find out more about our marketing package and early bird discounts HERE.


LIST OF WEEKLY SUGGESTED EVENTS
February 16th-22nd, 2013

SaturdaySunday
MondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFriday

Suggest an Event | Forecast | Museum Passes | Weekly eNewsletter

Berkshire Family Fun

Read the rest of this entry »

Suggested Events for February 9th-15th, 2013

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

SUGGEST AN EVENT

This weekend, 1,410 handmade tokens of community & friendship will be circulating through the USPS to be distributed throughout the four corners of Western MA as part of the 5th annual Handmade Valentine Swap!  Thank you to all of the families who joined us this year!  It was another great swap!

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

Enhanced PublicityServing Western Massachusetts since 2005, Hilltown Families supports development and enhancement of our local economy and community. Local businesses, individuals, schools and non-profits are encouraged to partner with Hilltown Families through sponsorship and advertising. Let us help get the word out about your after school/homeschool class, event, camp, workshop, fundraiser, business/school, service, open house, volunteer opportunity or general announcement. Deliver your message to thousands of families living throughout the four counties of Western MA while supporting the community development work of Hilltown Families. Click HERE to find out more.

BEST BETS

[RESCHEDULED FOR SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 10th] Hilltown Families & Flywheel Arts Collective present a Saturday Morning Music Party, a breakfast bash featuring dancing, performances and diversions for kids! Flywheel kicks off the first of two installments of the Saturday Morning Music Party at 10am on February 9th, 2013 at their headquarters in the town hall building at 43 Main Street in Easthampton, MA. This event is free and open to families and kids of all ages. Following breakfast, there will be a screening of a classic episode of Pee Wee’s Playhouse, an 80s-era, cult-classic kids’ television show. After the show, kids join DJ Youthelectronix for the best ever dance party before noon. Snow date: Sunday, February 10th at 10am.

VOTE FOR HILLTOWN FAMILIES! As Hilltown Families enters its eighth year, celebrate the past seven with us by voting for Hilltown Families as Best Blog in the Valley Advocate’s Best of the Valley Readers’ Poll for 2013! Best Blog is listed under the Information Age” category Deadline to cast your votes is Noon, Feb 13th. Participants must vote for a total of 10 local favorites… how about some of our sponsors (listed in the left-hand column)? Spread the word & share the ❤ love! Click here to cast your votes: www.valleyadvocate.com/ballot

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.

MARK YOUR CALENDARS

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!

ART RECEPTION:  Hilltown Families: A Traveling Photography Exhibit of Life and Landscape in Western MA is currently being shown at the Forbes Library’s Hosmer Gallery!  There will be an artist reception on Wednesday, February 13th from 6-8pm, a chance to view the images featured here on Hilltown Families over the years, meet the artist, and reflect on what it means to live, work, and play here in Western MA.  The show’s vibrant images showcase some of the best – and most beautiful – parts of life unique to our area, and celebrate local culture and values.  413-587-1013.  20 West Street.  Northampton, MA.  (FREE)

Children’s Theater at Williston Northampton performs “Wondrous Tales of Old Japan,” and Hilltown Families has a family 4-pack of tickets to giveaway for the opening day!

KIDS ICE FISHING DERBY IN THE HILLTOWNS: Ashfield Rod &  Gun Club’s annual children’s ice fishing derby.  This year’s annual children’s ice fishing derby will be held on Saturday, February 16th on Ashfield Lake, from 8am to 12Noon.  All school age children are invited to attend and take part in this fun event.  Prizes will be awarded. After the fishing derby there will be a spaghetti lunch held at Sanderson Academy ($5 for adults).  Following the lunch a presentation will be given by Tom Ricardi on birds of prey. For more info call Joe Miraglia 413-628-4400, or Ken Magdycz 413-634-5585. Ashfield, MA (FREE)CHILDREN’S CONCERT: Johnny Appleseed, The Legend and Truth, will be performed, among other works, by Jane Yolen, accompanied by musicians at the Smith College Sweeney Concert Hall, Sage Hall on Saturday, February 16th. Northampton, MA (FREE)

BULLETIN BOARD

Feb 9, 16, & 23

Come to Chandler’s Restaurant in South Deerfield for a Fancy Nancy luncheon on Feb. 2nd and 16th at 11am. Dress fancy for the luncheon while a special guest reads Fancy Nancy by Jane O’Connor. Full kids menu will be available with cupcakes for dessert! Make your reservations soon for Kid’s Cooking Class on Sat., Feb. 9th at 10:30am. $25/child includes lunch, instruction & lunch for one accompanying adult. Space is limited. Turn February vacation into a tropical vacation at our Winter Luau for the kids on Sat., Feb. 23rd at 11am. Full kids menu will be available along with some great specials and summery drinks! Crafts, games & Hawaiian music are on the agenda. Come dressed in your tropical finest! Reservations are requested: 413-665-1277.

Win a pair of tickets for a Parents’ Night Out to the WinklePicker Festival Mardi Gras Ball with music by Steve Riley and the Mamou Playboys, Feb 16 at 8pm at the Ashfield Town Hall. Deadline to enter for a chance to win: 02/12/13 by 11:59pm (EST)..

Feb 15-17

Celebrate the amazing food, festive music & vibrant culture of New Orleans at the 2nd Annual WinklePicker Festival, Feb. 15-17 in Ashfield! It’s a weekend-long Mardi Gras party – costumes, dancing, gumbo and all! This year they’re throwing not one but TWO Mardi Gras Balls. Saturday afternoon it’s a Family Ball with The Primate Fiasco, and that night, a Grown-Ups Ball with Steve Riley & the Mamou Playboys. Sunday lineup: afternoon conversation/performance by Charles Neville & an evening concert with Eilen Jewell. Take a “Cooking New Orleans” class with Chef Carlos Neville, and enjoy authentic New Orleans dinners at Elmer’s, and a Sunday Gospel Brunch too. Advance tickets and more information at WinklePickerFest.com or call 413-638-4003.

Winklepicker Family-Friendly Mardi Gras Ball with The Primate Fiasco! Win a family 4-pack of tickets and shake off the winter blues at the Ashfield Town Hall during a winter afternoon of family-friendly creole fun on Feb 16 at 2pm! Deadline to enter to win: 02/12/13 by 11:59pm (EST).

Feb 16

WinklePicker Festival “Cooking New Orleans” Class: Learn to cook authentic New Orleans cuisine with Chef Carlos Neville, of Susan Spicer’s top New Orleans restaurant, Bayona! Chef Carlos, son of Neville Brother Charles Neville, and a longtime culinary school pastry and baking tutor, will teach you to cook like the biggest chefs do – sublimely. His food is absolutely the best New Orleans food outside that city. The class will be held Saturday, February 16th from 10am – 12:30pm, upstairs at Elmer’s Store, 396 Main St, Ashfield. Just come as you are, all materials needed are included. Capacity is limited; advance registration is strongly recommended. $65/class. Tickets are at Elmer’s Store and www.WinklePickerFest.com, or call 413-628-4003.

Feb 16

Sunnyside Child Care Presents: “Hot Choco LA LA LA.” Spend the morning singing and dancing with the Valley’s own Mister G! “Kid-friendly, bilingual rockstar…Mister G and his guitar will surely make you feel like bailando!” – The Washington Post. “Mister G is the musical equivalent of a tasty chocolate bar infused with a spicy chili kick!” -Scholastic Family and Children. Warm up with yummy hot chocolate, coffee, and pizza. Chill out by doing art with your friends. Join Sunnyside on Saturday February 16th from 10:30 am to 12:00 pm at the Florence Community Center (140 Pine St. Florence MA). Tickets just $5 per person ($20 maximum per family). All proceeds fund the Sunnyside Scholarship Fund. www.sunnysidekids.org

Thursdays

Having a Baby? Our Experts Help You Understand Your Options. The staff at Cooley Dickinson’s Childbirth Center know parents lead busy lives. That’s why organizers offer a childbirth education series held weekday evenings and weekends. Each series provide answers to questions about labor, birth, newborn care, breastfeeding, and more. Download the Having a Baby flyer here or register at www.cooley-dickinson.org/events. Baby is here. Now what? Once baby is born, parents don’t know what to expect. Join Beyond Birth, a group of new parents and babies up to four months old, at Cooley Dickinson Hospital Thursdays from 1–3 pm. A parent education specialist guides the group and answers questions. All are welcome no matter where you gave birth.

February

Cup & Top in Florence, MAFebruary is Cup and Top Cafe’s birthday month and it’s turning 7! To celebrate, every day in February, the cafe’s 77th customer will receive a $7 coupon to Cup and Top Cafe. It’s Cup and Top’s way of saying thank you for supporting a family friendly cafe where parents can meet to enjoy fair trade, organic coffee, and delicious food sourced from local farms, while their children enjoy themselves in the creative play space. So stop by Cup and Top Cafe in February, enjoy a treat, browse the walls and shelves adorned by local artists, and give yourself a chance to win! Cup and Top Cafe is located at 1 N. Main Street in Florence. See more at www.cupandtop.com.

ADVERTISE YOUR EVENT OR OPEN HOUSE: Reach thousands of families in Western MA while supporting the community development work of Hilltown Families! See your community event, open house, auditions, afterschool class, homeschool program, workshop, school, wellness program or business featured here in the bulletin board section of our list of Weekly Suggested Events and eNewsletter, reaching thousands of families living throughout the four counties of Western MA! Find out more about our enhanced publicity packages and options and how we can help with your online marketing by emailing us at hilltownfamilies@gmail.com.

JOIN OUR TEAM OF CONTRIBUTING WRITERS: Interested in becoming a Contributing or Guest Writer for Hilltown Families? We welcome writings that reflect the community building and educational efforts parents, teens, teachers, artists, activists and community leaders work towards and accomplish and how that affects, supports and empowers our families. All writing styles welcomed, including local reviews, DIY posts, seasonal cooking/local food, and community-based educational & community service learning opportunities/resources. Send your query to hilltownfamilies@gmail.com


LIST OF WEEKLY SUGGESTED EVENTS
February 9th-15th, 2013

SaturdaySunday
MondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFriday

Suggest an Event | Forecast | Museum Passes | Weekly eNewsletter

Berkshire Family Fun

Read the rest of this entry »

Suggested Events for February 2nd-8th, 2013

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

SUGGEST AN EVENT

Ice Sculpture in Northampton

Northampton Center for the Arts writes: “Art celebrates ice one more time, as the third annual Northampton Ice Art Festival gets underway on Friday, February 8, 2013. The public is invited to witness the creation of fabulous ice sculptures that will grace a dozen downtown locations. Work starts at 10 am on the day of the event, and completed pieces will highlight Northampton’s “Arts Night Out,” 5pm-8pm. The icy masterpieces remain on display throughout the weekend—longer, if the weather cooperates.” 10 artists will carve 12 ice sculptures along the streets during Arts Night Out. Download a map here, (Photo credit: Sienna Wildfield)

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

Enhanced PublicityServing Western Massachusetts since 2005, Hilltown Families supports development and enhancement of our local economy and community. Local businesses, individuals, schools and non-profits are encouraged to partner with Hilltown Families through sponsorship and advertising. Let us help get the word out about your after school/homeschool class, event, camp, workshop, fundraiser, business/school, service, open house, volunteer opportunity or general announcement. Deliver your message to thousands of families living throughout the four counties of Western MA while supporting the community development work of Hilltown Families. Click HERE to find out more.

BEST BETS

Friday-Sunday, February 1st-3rdWINTER FESTIVAL: The city of Greenfield’s annual Winter Carnival takes place all weekend, featuring an incredibly wide variety of wintry family-friendly events, both inside and out!  Highlights include the annual Sleigh Bell Run, a snowshoe trek, public skating, women’s hockey game.  Saturday is Family Fun Day, meaning that there will be lots of exciting indoor events at the Greenfield Youth Center all day long!  There will be a special performance featuring Jack Golden at 10am, a LEGO competition, face painting, crafts, games, and more.  Greenfield, MA.  (FREE, $)

MARK YOUR CALENDARS

Hilltown Families & Flywheel Arts Collective present a Saturday Morning Music Party, a breakfast bash featuring dancing, performances and diversions for kids! Flywheel kicks off the first of two installments of the Saturday Morning Music Party at 10am on February 9th, 2013 at their headquarters in the town hall building at 43 Main Street in Easthampton, MA. This event is free and open to families and kids of all ages. Following breakfast, there will be a screening of a classic episode of Pee Wee’s Playhouse, an 80s-era, cult-classic kids’ television show. After the show, kids join DJ Youthelectronix for the best ever dance party before noon.

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.

VOTE FOR HILLTOWN FAMILIES! As Hilltown Families enters its eighth year, celebrate the past seven with us by voting for Hilltown Families as Best Blog in the Valley Advocate’s Best of the Valley Readers’ Poll for 2013! Best Blog is listed under the Information Age” category Deadline to cast your votes is Noon, Feb 13th. Participants must vote for a total of 10 local favorites… how about some of our sponsors (listed in the left-hand column)? Spread the word & share the ❤ love! Click here to cast your votes: www.valleyadvocate.com/ballot

BULLETIN BOARD

Jan 26

On Sunday, Feb 3rd Greenfield Center School will host a Birds of Prey Open House from 1-4pm. Come from 1-2 to hear Tom Ricardi, Raptor Rehabilitator, talk about his work. See several majestic live birds of prey. From 2-4 enjoy light snacks and bird-related activities and projects lead by Center School teachers. Dissect an owl pellet, make masks and more. Kindergarten through 5th grade classes will be open for touring. Admissions information available. All activities are free. www.centerschool.net Birds of Prey Open House, K-5th, Sun. Feb. 3, 1-4pm. Greenfield Center School is now accepting applications for fall 2013.

Feb 2, 9, 16, & 23

Come to Chandler’s Restaurant in South Deerfield for a Fancy Nancy luncheon on Feb. 2nd and 16th at 11am. Dress fancy for the luncheon while a special guest reads Fancy Nancy by Jane O’Connor. Full kids menu will be available with cupcakes for dessert! Make your reservations soon for Kid’s Cooking Class on Sat., Feb. 9th at 10:30am. $25/child includes lunch, instruction & lunch for one accompanying adult. Space is limited. Turn February vacation into a tropical vacation at our Winter Luau for the kids on Sat., Feb. 23rd at 11am. Full kids menu will be available along with some great specials and summery drinks! Crafts, games & Hawaiian music are on the agenda. Come dressed in your tropical finest! Reservations are requested: 413-665-1277.

Win a pair of tickets for a Parents’ Night Out to the WinklePicker Festival Mardi Gras Ball with music by Steve Riley and the Mamou Playboys, Feb 16 at 8pm at the Ashfield Town Hall. Deadline to enter for a chance to win: 02/12/13 by 11:59pm (EST)..

Feb 15-17

Celebrate the amazing food, festive music & vibrant culture of New Orleans at the 2nd Annual WinklePicker Festival, Feb. 15-17 in Ashfield! It’s a weekend-long Mardi Gras party – costumes, dancing, gumbo and all! This year they’re throwing not one but TWO Mardi Gras Balls. Saturday afternoon it’s a Family Ball with The Primate Fiasco, and that night, a Grown-Ups Ball with Steve Riley & the Mamou Playboys. Sunday lineup: afternoon conversation/performance by Charles Neville & an evening concert with Eilen Jewell. Take a “Cooking New Orleans” class with Chef Carlos Neville, and enjoy authentic New Orleans dinners at Elmer’s, and a Sunday Gospel Brunch too. Advance tickets and more information at WinklePickerFest.com or call 413-638-4003.

Winklepicker Family-Friendly Mardi Gras Ball with The Primate Fiasco! Win a family 4-pack of tickets and shake off the winter blues at the Ashfield Town Hall during a winter afternoon of family-friendly creole fun on Feb 16 at 2pm! Deadline to enter to win: 02/12/13 by 11:59pm (EST).

Feb 16

WinklePicker Festival “Cooking New Orleans” Class: Learn to cook authentic New Orleans cuisine with Chef Carlos Neville, of Susan Spicer’s top New Orleans restaurant, Bayona! Chef Carlos, son of Neville Brother Charles Neville, and a longtime culinary school pastry and baking tutor, will teach you to cook like the biggest chefs do – sublimely. His food is absolutely the best New Orleans food outside that city. The class will be held Saturday, February 16th from 10am – 12:30pm, upstairs at Elmer’s Store, 396 Main St, Ashfield. Just come as you are, all materials needed are included. Capacity is limited; advance registration is strongly recommended. $65/class. Tickets are at Elmer’s Store and www.WinklePickerFest.com, or call 413-628-4003.

Join Sheep Shares Yarn & Fiber CSA and be a part of a local fiber farm. Yarn and/or fiber shares are shipped in spring and fall. Springdelle Farm is a 220 acre sheep farm located in Shelburne’s bucolic Patten District. The farm hosts special events for CSA members: Shearing Day Celebration (April); Strolling of the Sheep (June); Fiber Foliage & Friends (October). CSA has been featured in the Valley Advocate and Massachusetts Preview Magazine. For details visit www.foxfirefiber.com or email: barb@foxfirefiber.com.

Thursdays

Having a Baby? Our Experts Help You Understand Your Options. The staff at Cooley Dickinson’s Childbirth Center know parents lead busy lives. That’s why organizers offer a childbirth education series held weekday evenings and weekends. Each series provide answers to questions about labor, birth, newborn care, breastfeeding, and more. Download the Having a Baby flyer here or register at www.cooley-dickinson.org/events. Baby is here. Now what? Once baby is born, parents don’t know what to expect. Join Beyond Birth, a group of new parents and babies up to four months old, at Cooley Dickinson Hospital Thursdays from 1–3 pm. A parent education specialist guides the group and answers questions. All are welcome no matter where you gave birth.

February

Cup & Top in Florence, MAFebruary is Cup and Top Cafe’s birthday month and it’s turning 7! To celebrate, every day in February, the cafe’s 77th customer will receive a $7 coupon to Cup and Top Cafe. It’s Cup and Top’s way of saying thank you for supporting a family friendly cafe where parents can meet to enjoy fair trade, organic coffee, and delicious food sourced from local farms, while their children enjoy themselves in the creative play space. So stop by Cup and Top Cafe in February, enjoy a treat, browse the walls and shelves adorned by local artists, and give yourself a chance to win! Cup and Top Cafe is located at 1 N. Main Street in Florence. See more at www.cupandtop.com.

ADVERTISE YOUR EVENT OR OPEN HOUSE: Reach thousands of families in Western MA while supporting the community development work of Hilltown Families! See your community event, open house, auditions, afterschool class, homeschool program, workshop, school, wellness program or business featured here in the bulletin board section of our list of Weekly Suggested Events and eNewsletter, reaching thousands of families living throughout the four counties of Western MA! Find out more about our enhanced publicity packages and options and how we can help with your online marketing by emailing us at hilltownfamilies@gmail.com.

JOIN OUR TEAM OF CONTRIBUTING WRITERS: Interested in becoming a Contributing or Guest Writer for Hilltown Families? We welcome writings that reflect the community building and educational efforts parents, teens, teachers, artists, activists and community leaders work towards and accomplish and how that affects, supports and empowers our families. All writing styles welcomed, including local reviews, DIY posts, seasonal cooking/local food, and community-based educational & community service learning opportunities/resources. Send your query to hilltownfamilies@gmail.com


LIST OF WEEKLY SUGGESTED EVENTS
February 2nd – 8th, 2013

SaturdaySunday
MondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFriday

Suggest an Event | Forecast | Museum Passes | Weekly eNewsletter

Berkshire Family Fun

Read the rest of this entry »

50 Winter Suggestions: Things to Do & Places to See in Western MA

Winter Bucket List
Reader Recommendations for Western MA

Elise Gibson of Williamsburg writes, “Pack up your cross-country skis AND your ice skates and head to the DAR State Forest in Goshen. Once you’re there you can judge the conditions and see which activity suits the day. Sometimes we do both! Plus, no fee in the wintertime!” (Photo Credit: Sienna Wildfield)

Western Massachusetts is rich in opportunities to get out and about with the family… any time of the year!  Winter offers outdoor activities like snowshoeing, sledding, skiing and ice skating.  And local businesses and attractions welcome you indoors to warm up with comforts, culture and entertainment.  Whether you’re visiting the area, or are fortunate enough to live here year round, winter in Western MA is a joyous time of year!

We asked our readers to recommend their favorite attractions, must see or must do family activities during the winter, and we received fifty great tips.  While not an exhaustive list (nor in any order) of the fun adventures families can have in Western MA, it’s a great place to start.  If you have a recommendation to add to this list, please do!  Post your suggestion below.

  1. “We’re looking forward to renting a cabin at Mohawk Trail State Forest (Charlemont, MA).” – Amy Meltzer (Northampton, MA)
  2. “The things I most enjoy… going ice skating on Ashfield Lake and DAR State Forest; going sledding on the Ashfield Golf Course.” – Laura Arruda (Ashfield, MA)
  3. Ice skating at UMass Mullins Center, snow shoeing to the Northfield Mountain Chocolate Pot, and pond hockey and sledding wherever we can!” – Rebecca Chambers (Amherst, MA)
  4. “Fill up a thermos with hot soup and go cross country skiing at Notchview (Windsor, MA) with the family.” – Heather (Northampton, MA)
  5. “My 3 and 5 yr old daughters and I LOVE to warm up inside the Smith College greenhouses! The bulb show in March is refreshing and vibrant. It’s fun to be in the humid greenhouses while its a winter wonderland outside.” – Heather Johnson
  6. “Holyoke has done a great job making over Community Field. They’re supposed to have ice skating and hot chocolate in the winter.” – Christa Figueroa (Holyoke, MA)
  7. “If you aren’t a member of one of the best spots in the Berkshires- you are missing out! We join the Berkshire Museum as a family and Grandma and Grandpa can bring our grandchildren there all year for free. We have 6 grandchildren and they love the aquarium, the digging for bones, natural history, Native American dress-up, vacation plays or feeding times for fish, discounts on all things charged and the gift shop. As another benefit you will be given a list of hundreds of museums across the country to enter free with this membership- such as NY museums, the Boston science center and SO many other great things. Join- support the area and take advantage of SO much.” – Bernice Hagan
  8. “Catching a Springfield Falcons ice hockey game or a Springfield Armor basketball game at the Mass Mutual Center (Springfield, MA)  is always a fun family outing.” – Christine Curtis (South Hadley, MA)
  9. “Always a perfect spot to go sledding behind C.T. Plunkett Elementary School in Adams… hike and explore Greylock Glen while there.” – Kim Robert
  10. “The Springfield Museums always have a family friendly exhibit!” – Ellen Rustico (Goshen, MA)
  11. Monson Library has some great events: a science club on Thursday afternoon once a month; Lego club; book club; and many more.” – Jo Sauriol
  12. “Cross country ski at Stump Sprouts (Hawley, MA). Hot chocolate at Mocha Maya’s (Shelburne Falls, MA). Ice skate or broom hockey! Bake a batch of cowboy cookies and cozy down for an indoor snow day with a good book or a movie. Invite friends for pancakes on Sunday. Snowshoe the neighborhood on a snow day. All fun things we do in winter!” –Dory Pelletier (Belchertown, MA)
  13. “The banks of the Westfield River when the ice begins to break up. It’s so awesome to see the different kinds of ice layered in massive chunks stranded on the banks.” Deanna Scarfe (West Chesterfield, MA)
  14. “The Cyr Skating Arena (Springfield, MA) is one of my families favorite places to go in the winter. They have ice skating sessions open to the public and very affordable. And you can bring your own skates or rent some there. It is located in Forest Park in Springfield, the same place as Bright Nights.” – Heather Houghton-Smith (East Longmeadow, MA)
  15. “Love to snowshoe at Northfield Mountain.” – Bonnie beth Pierce (Greenfield, MA)
  16. “Visit the Windsor Library – there are always new books. I can’t keep up with the Librarian’s wonderful choices!” – Valerie Kohn (Windsor, MA)
  17. “There are so many great winter activities in Western MA to choose from! Here a few of my favorites: Indoor: escaping to Magic Wings Butterfly Conservatory (South Deerfield, MA) and sampling first run of the year maple syrup at a sugar shack. Outdoor: hiking at Mount Tom State Reservation (Holyoke, MA) or cross-country skiing a trail in the woods.” – Susan VanPelt (Holyoke, MA)
  18. “I love to visit the Great Falls Discovery Center in Turners Falls. Here you can learn about the Connecticut River Watershed’s rich natural, cultural and industrial history.” – Sylvia Snape (Plainfield, MA)
  19. “Find any snowmobile trail and follow it (Regardless of whether or not you have a snowmobile)!” – Miranda Edison (Worthington, MA)
  20. “Go see a frozen waterfall. Check out your favorite summer spot and see all the cool ice formations.” – Maxine Oland (Belchertown, MA)
  21. “Walking from our house (downtown Northampton) to the Smith College greenhouses and then going to share a pot of tea at a coffee shop.” – Lisa Andrews (Northampton, MA)
  22. “A trip to Yankee Candle (South Deerfield, MA) never gets old, especially for young kids. We go about once a month in the winter. We walk around the whole place (great for tiring out toddlers), smell candles, and visit Santa’s workshop. In Santa’s workshop they have a train table for kids to play at and it’s always a big hit with our two little ones.” – Kristen Estelle (Goshen, MA)
  23. “Come shopping in Shelburne Falls. Holiday lights strung across Bridge street. Galleries with local crafts. Walk along the Bridge of Flowers. Have lunch or dinner in one of the fine restaurants.” – Karen Powers
  24. Sledding at the Worthington Golf Club hill — and after that if you’re still ready for more winter fun — across the street is ice skating on the pond – maybe a pick up ice hockey game for little ones … Being a thermos of hot cocoa to keep toasty!” – Amy Kane Coyne (Hinsdale MA)  Read the rest of this entry »

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