Recap Map: Western MA Weekend Summary & Family Guide for October 1st & 2nd, 2016

Here’s a recap of news and information posted on Hilltown Families this past week, along with a map for finding out what’s happening this weekend and next week throughout Western MA!

MAP

Peruse our list of Suggested Events for October 1st-7th, 2016 for a comprehensive list of events happening throughout the four counties of Western MA, including Bulletin Board Announcements, Ongoing Story Hours & Playgroups and the Hilltown Family Variety Show.

Also check our weekly column,  Learn Local. Play Local. for 25 Community-Based Educational Highlights: Potatoes to Apples. Bridges to Kites., and our monthly column, Berkshire Family Fun, for a list of premier educational and cultural highlights in Berkshire County for families.

October 1-7, 2016

SaturdaySunday
MondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFriday

Guided WalksMakerspaceRoboticsKitesBridgesPotato FestivalApple HistoryCivil War6  ♦ Revolutionary WarLiving HistoryThe ArtsFall FestivalsShaker HistoryHaunted HistoryCemetery WalksAstronomyArchaeology

Family Volunteer Days

RECAP

FIVE FROM THE ARCHIVES

  1. Fall Science: Hands-On Experiments to Connect with the Change of Season
  2. Soup’s On: Lunch Box Ideas
  3. Literary Guide for Lucy Frank’s “The Homeschool Liberation League”
  4. Hilltown Families on Mass Appeal: Learning Through Fall Harvests
  5. Autumn Supports Science-Based Learning in Local Landscape

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25 Community-Based Educational Highlights: Potatoes to Apples. Bridges to Kites.

Autumn is a time for festivals, bringing people together in celebration of beautiful weather and a bountiful fall harvest. Festival of the Hills on Sunday, October 2, 10am-4pm is an annual family-friendly celebration. Rain or shine. Historic Conway Center, Route 116. Conway, MA. (FREE admission and parking)

Kites to Bridges. Symphony to En Plein Air Painting. 3D Printing to Robotics.These are just a few of the community-based learning highlights we’re featuring this week!

Peruse our list below and make plans to get out into your community and learn while you play!

Featured community highlights this week:  War reenactments are a highly engaging form of living history. For families interested in history, learning about the role citizens of your town played in various wars is one way of engaging with national history on a local level. You and your family can learn about the Civil War by attending a reenactment in Look Park on Saturday, October 1, 11am-5pm. You can also hear from Shades of Gray, a civil war era camp band. 413-584-5457. 300 North Main Street. Florence, MA. (FREE)


Guided WalksMakerspaceRoboticsKitesBridgesPotato FestivalApple HistoryCivil War6  ♦ Revolutionary WarLiving HistoryThe ArtsFall FestivalsShaker HistoryHaunted HistoryCemetery WalksAstronomyArchaeology


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Become a sponsor of Learn Local. Play Local. and see your banner here:


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Suggested Events for October 1st-7th, 2016

Hilltown Families List of Weekly Suggested Events

“My family recently relocated to Western MA. Hilltown Families has been an invaluable resource for learning about our new community and introducing it’s rich culture to us… Hilltown Families is a wonderful resource and my family is extremely grateful as it has made a huge difference in helping us to establish our new roots.” – Adam Brisben (Northampton, MA)

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, self-post your event at any time on our Suggest An Event bulletin board. 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.

Featured Fall Classes in Western MA

What are your child’s interests? What are your interests? This fall there are a number of after-school, homeschool, evening, and weekend classes to choose from to supplement and support the interests of your family! Check out our growing list of classes, programs, open houses and even auditions for this fall in our dedicated post, 2016 Fall Classes, Auditions & Open Houses in Western MA, and find the perfect activity for your child, teen, and even lifelong learners! — Have a class you’d like to add to this list? Click here to find out how to have your class, lessons, program, auditions, and open house included.

Bulletin Board

Oct 1

Harvest Day Open House at The Hartsbrook School, Saturday, October 1, 10am-12noon. Join the festivities and learn more about The Hartsbrook School, and the Land Stewardship Program. Take a workshop in beekeeping, seed saving and fiber arts. Meet the animals that live on the farm. Explore the gardens, woods, streams and fields that the students care for, work on and learn about. This event is for current families and those wishing to learn more about the school. A bountiful, locally grown snack will be served! Experience Hartsbrook’s rich, hands-on curriculum firsthand and imagine the possibilities for your child. The Hartsbrook School is located at 193 Bay Rd. in Hadley. For more info call 413-586-1908 or visit online at www.hartsbrook.org.

Oct 7

Connecticut Trolley Museum will hold their Pumpkin Patch event starting Oct 7 and will run the rest of the month every Fri, Sat & Sun including Monday, Oct 10 for Columbus Day. Pumpkin Patch is a family fun filled adventure where you ride on a trolley car out to the pumpkin patch and each child can pick out a free pumpkin. Additionally, when you return back to the Museum you can decorate the pumpkins, get your face painted & enjoy the outside play area with spooktacular Halloween activities. Don’t forget you can take as many Trolley rides as you would like. Visit www.ct-trolley.org for hours of operation. Admission is $10 for adults, $9 for seniors, $8 for youth (ages 2-12) and $3 for child (under age 2). East Windsor, CT.

Oct 2

The 55th Annual Conway Festival of the Hills is on Sunday, October 2 from 10am-4pm, rain or shine. Enjoy live music, the famed “skillet toss,” craft fair, parade, log splitting contest, art, blacksmithing, weaving, local products, and of course, yummy food, freshly pressed cider and fried dough with maple cream! For the kids, a hay maze, hill slide, children’s book signing, and lots of free activities. Sign up for the Covered Bridge Classic or Kids Fun Run! The festival is located in historic Conway center, Route 116, 8 minutes from Route 91 in Deerfield. Admission, parking, and almost all activities are free. See www.festivalofthehills.com for details.

ADVERTISE HERE: Reach thousands of families in Western MA while supporting the community development work of Hilltown Families! See your summer camp, class, community event, school, open house, audition, homeschool program, workshop, volunteer opportunity, wellness program, local business, after-school class, or non-profit featured here in the Bulletin Board section of our list of Weekly Suggested Events and in our weekly eNewsletter, reaching thousands of families living throughout the four counties of Western MA while supporting the community development work of Hilltown Families! Find out more about our advertising options and how you can partner with Hilltown Families in your online marketing by emailing us at bmacleod@hilltownfamilies.org.

Become a Contributing WriterJOIN 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 info@hilltownfamilies.org.


LIST OF WEEKLY SUGGESTED EVENTS
October 1-7, 2016

SaturdaySunday
MondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFriday

Suggest an Event | Cultural Itineraries | Forecast | Museum Passes | Weekly eNewsletter | Farmers’ Markets | Storyhour & Playgroups| Berkshire Family Fun | Advertise/Sponsorship | en Español

Donate Now Read the rest of this entry »

Berkshire Family Fun: October 2016

Berkshire County Highlights for Families:
October 2016

Find out about community events and learning opportunities happening throughout Berkshire County for the month of October. 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!


Berkshire Family Fun, a project of Hilltown Families, is sponsored in part by MASS MoCA:

Berkshire Family Fun is also supported in part by a grant from the Hinsdale/Peru, Mount Washington, Monterey, North Berkshire, Pittsfield, Washington, and Windsor Cultural Councils, local agencies which are supported by the Massachusetts Cultural Council, a state agency.

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Hilltown Families on Mass Appeal: October Cultural Itinerary

Hilltown Families on Mass Appeal:
Foliage, Pumpkins & Hauntings

Hilltown Families and Mass Appeal (a weekday, hour-long lifestyle program on NBC) have teamed up to offer a live monthly segment on WWLP 22News!  Each month, Hilltown Families’ Founder & Executive Director, Sienna Wildfield,  joins Mass Appeal hosts to talk about ways to engage in your community while supporting the interests and education of your children (and yourselves!).

This monthly segment continued on Monday, September 26, 2016. This month Sienna and Seth talked about fall foliage, pumpkins and haunted history featured in the October section of Learning Ahead: Cultural Itinerary for Western MA:

Click here to see video clip.

Click here to see video clip.

Download your very own copy of Learning Ahead: Cultural Itinerary for Western MA. (38 page PDF) for Sept/Oct (FREE).  Read the rest of this entry »

Fall Festivals: Local Identity & Culture

Fall Festivals: Local Identity & Culture

Pumpkin games at the Ashfield Fall Festival.(Photo credit: (c) Sienna Wildfield)

Autumn in New England is rich with many traditions filled with the bounty of local farms and the seasonality of our region.  In addition to the robust fall harvest and autumnal flavors that return to our cooking, the fall’s colors, sights and cooler temperatures inspire us to head outdoors and honor the season through nature. Fall is a celebration of all that nourishes us: food, art, and recreation; it’s a season that invites us to be together and enjoy the land we love.

During the autumnal months, communities celebrate the change of season with festivals that bridge agricultural and cultural traditions. These festivities not only celebrate the harvest season but also the cultural traditions that define Western Massachusetts’ unique identity. Fall festivals are a community space that act as an intergenerational gathering place for folks to come together in the spirit of the season and share in the harvest and local traditions. Engage your community and attend a fall festival this season!  It’s a great way to meet your neighbors, new friends and contribute to the preservation of this region’s special character, culture and history. Check out these featured annual fall festivals that happen in Western MA. Read the rest of this entry »

7 Featured Annual Fall Festivals in Western MA

7 Featured Annual Fall Festivals in Western MA

Annual Festival of the Hills
First Weekend in October in Conway, MA
(Saturday, October 1 & Sunday, October 2, 2016)
Inspired by the town’s 1915 celebration, “Pageant of Patriotism in honor of Independence Day,” Conway Festival of the Hills took form in 1967 as an annual event, celebrating local talent and culture. Every year, families come to witness a Conway tradition: the skillet toss! Along with the skillet toss there are many activities to behold: a log splitting contest, live music, handmade crafts, parade, pancake breakfast, community dinner, and their most popular event, a book signing with local authors. Conway resident, Holly Hobbie, and other notable authors are known to attend, including Jane Yolen, Heidi Stemple, Natasha Lowe, David Costello, and many others!

Annual Ashfield Fall Festival
Columbus Day Weekend in Ashfield, MA
Since 1969, the Ashfield Fall Festival takes place on Ashfield’s charming main street and throughout the town every Columbus Day weekend, celebrating town culture, artisans, and Ashfield businesses. The annual giant pumpkin and tallest sunflower contests are something to be seen, along with an intergenerational round of pumpkin games! On the town common, carnival games initiated and facilitated by Ashfield youth take place, giving them an opportunity to develop their creative, social, and business skills in a real world application while contributing to their local culture. Admission is free to this two-day event, happening rain or shine.

Westhampton Fall Festival
Mid-Late October in Westhampton, MA
(Sunday, October 16, 2016)
The newest festival in the Hilltowns, the Westhampton Fall Festival, began in 2005 in support of community-based learning and a celebration of local culture and civic organizations. Held in the town center, activities often include tours of the local church steeple and Blacksmith Shop Museum, demonstrations of traditional farming and artisan skills, a community supper, bonfire, sing-a-long, and their trademark event, the Great Pumpkin Roll! Call the library for date and time. – 413-527-5386

Read the rest of this entry »

Sense of Place: Community Festivals

6 Historical House Museums in Western MA

Historical Learning Through Art and Antiques

Antiques provide historical insight, telling us about how people once lived through everyday objects they used and possessed. Families, life-long learners and self-directed teens can learn about history, art, and architecture through visiting historic house museums where primary source materials are on display. Here is a list of a few historic house museums in Western MA to add to your itinerary… Read the rest of this entry »

From 19th Century Brooms to Colonial Doorways

From 19th Century Brooms to Colonial Doorways

Broom corn drying

This year at Hatfield’s Fall Festival (Sunday, Oct. 2, 2016), you can learn about two livelihoods: How local people grew broom corn and made brooms to sell in the early to mid-1800s, and how local carpenters (or joiners) likely carved their fancy Connecticut Valley doorways in the mid-1700s. The Hatfield Historical Society, which sponsors and puts on the event, hopes to inspire others to join these artisans in learning about industries from our past by recreating them today.  Read the rest of this entry »

Learning Landscapes: Outdoors Family Challenge

7-Day Outdoors Family Challenge

Want to get outside more, connect with your kids and enjoy some old-fashioned family time? Join in a fun 7-Day Outdoors Family Challenge that was created by Shannon Brescher Shea from We’ll Eat You Up We Love You So in support of the Children and Nature Network’s Vitamin N Challenge to encourage kids to get outside more. This is a 7-day nature challenge is intended to help families spend just a bit more time joyfully in nature and their community. Each challenge provides a simple challenge that can get you and your children (of any age) outside – observing and interacting more intentionally with self, family, community and Nature. Read the rest of this entry »

Weekdays in Western MA: September 26-30, 2016

Weekdays in Western MA:
September 26-30, 2016

Weekday community-based educational opportunities can be found throughout the four counties of Western MA all week long! Each weekday we feature community-based educational opportunities that can be selected to support the interests and education of self-directed teens, homeschoolers and life-long learners.

Select the day of the week and find events that support your interests through community engagement!

Check our list of Weekly Suggested Events for our comprehensive list, including ongoing learning and play opportunities for younger children and intergenerational community events.


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HFVS Songs About America Episode with Guest DJ, Rocknoceros (Radio Show/Podcast)

Hilltown Family Variety Show

Listen to Podcast:

 Songs About America Episode with
Guest DJ, Rocknoceros

Rocknoceros joins us as our Guest DJ with a Songs About America Episode. The musical trio explore their record collections to find tunes that celebrate, illustrate, and even criticize the Land of the Free.  Starting with the Chuck Berry-inspired rock ‘n roll of the 1950s, the selections quickly span the decades that followed and the various styles that continue to thrive today.  Join in the fun as the band members discuss the people and places that help make American music what it is, with a few asides about lemonade stands and Irving Berlin. — rocknoceros.com

Saturday from 9-10am & Sunday from 7-8am
Sept 24th & 25th, 2016
WXOJ LP – 103.3 FM – Valley Free Radio
Northampton, MA

FEATURED VIDEO: Read along with Rocknoceros as they sing about the Lone Star State in this up-tempo country rocker from the “Plymouth Rockers” CD.


 Archived Podcasts Radio  Facebook Twitter

PLAYLIST

  • Rocknoceros – “United States of America” [Rocknoceros]
  • Otis Redding – “(Sittin’ On) The Dock of the Bay” [The Essentials: Otis Redding]
  • Ramones – “Rockaway Beach (Live)” [It’s Alive (Live)]
  • Recess Monkey – “Lemonade” [In Tents]
  • Chuck Berry – “Sweet Little Sixteen” [20th Century Masters – The Millenium Collection: The Best of Chuck Berry]
  • The Beach Boys – “Surfin’ U.S.A.” [Surfin’ USA]
  • Van Halen – “Dancing In the Street” [Diver Down]
  • Bruce Springsteen – “Born In the U.S.A.” [Born In the U.S.A.]
  • Rocknoceros – “Squeakers” [Plymouth Rockers]
  • Elton John – “Philadelphia Freedom” [Greatest Hits 1970-2002]
  • Grateful Dead – “U.S. Blues” [From the Mars Hotel]
  • Cathy Fink & Marcy Marxer – “I’m My Own Grandpa (feat. Riders In the Sky)” [Dancin’ In the Kitchen]
  • Dwight Yoakam – “The Late Great Golden State” [21st Century Hits:  Best of 2000-2012]
  • David Bowie – “Young Americans” [Young Americans]
  • Rocknoceros – “God Bless America” [Plymouth Rockers]

Original broadcast:  June 27th & 28th, 2015

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Recap Map: Western MA Weekend Summary & Family Guide for September 24th & 25th, 2016

Here’s a recap of news and information posted on Hilltown Families this past week, along with a map for finding out what’s happening this weekend and next week throughout Western MA!

MAP

Peruse our list of Suggested Events for September 24th-30th, 2016 for a comprehensive list of events happening throughout the four counties of Western MA, including Bulletin Board Announcements, Ongoing Story Hours & Playgroups and the Hilltown Family Variety Show.

Also check our weekly column,  Learn Local. Play Local. for 38 Community-Based Educational Highlights: Animation to Israeli Cuisine. Dragon Boats to Garlic., and our monthly column, Berkshire Family Fun, for a list of premier educational and cultural highlights in Berkshire County for families.

September 24-30, 2016

SaturdaySunday
MondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFriday

EntomologyTextile ArtsFilm StudiesArt StudiesParentingVolunteeringIndustrial HistoryHistoric ShoolhousesLiving HistoryArchitecturePlacemakingBotanySeed SavingCulinary ArtsAstronomy

Family Volunteer Days

RECAP

FIVE FROM THE ARCHIVES

RECAP MAP SPONSOR

See your banner here! Sponsor Recap Map!

Find out how you can be a sponsor too!

Read the rest of this entry »

38 Community-Based Educational Highlights: Animation to Israeli Cuisine. Dragon Boats to Garlic.

If you take your family to a pick-your-own apple orchard this weekend! See how many orchard ladders you can spot and get your kids thinking about their shape and purpose.

Animation to Israeli Cuisine. Dragon Boats to Garlic. One Room Schoolhouses to Textile Mills. These are just a few of the community-based learning highlights we’re featuring this week!

Peruse our list below and make plans to get out into your community and learn while you play!

Featured community highlights this week:  Local, original theater performances can connect community members with each other and with local spaces. Double Edge Theater’s show, The Springfield Spectacular, is a large-scale outdoor performance showcasing youth performers from Springfield Conservatory of the Arts Public School. A performance  on Saturday, September 24, 7pm in Forest Park will incorporate music, and explore many aspects of Latin American culture. 413-787-6440. 200 Trafton Road. Springfield, MA. (FREE)


EntomologyTextile ArtsFilm StudiesArt StudiesParentingVolunteeringIndustrial HistoryHistoric ShoolhousesLiving HistoryArchitecturePlacemakingBotanySeed SavingCulinary ArtsAstronomy


Join our stellar team supporters!
Become a sponsor of Learn Local. Play Local. and see your banner here:


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Suggested Events for September 24th-30th, 2016

Hilltown Families List of Weekly Suggested Events

“Hilltown Families is the first place I check when deciding what to do with a free weekend, day, or even hour… This website is an absolute service to our community – not just people with kids but for everyone! I’d be at a total loss most weekends or when guests visit, if not for Hilltown Families, and I think we should support it as it has supported us.” – Lauren Weinsier (Northampton, MA)

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, self-post your event at any time on our Suggest An Event bulletin board. 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 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.

Featured Fall Classes in Western MA

What are your child’s interests? What are your interests? This fall there are a number of after-school, homeschool, evening, and weekend classes to choose from to supplement and support the interests of your family! Check out our growing list of classes, programs, open houses and even auditions for this fall in our dedicated post, 2016 Fall Classes, Auditions & Open Houses in Western MA, and find the perfect activity for your child, teen, and even lifelong learners! — Have a class you’d like to add to this list? Click here to find out how to have your class, lessons, program, auditions, and open house included.

Bulletin Board

Sep 24

Shabbat Shabloom! Saturday, Sept 24 at 10am on Abundance Farm in Northampton. Celebrate the end the week with a joyful morning of music and movement with Felicia Sloin and Amy Meltzer – especially for ages 0-5. Stay to stroll the farm, play on the playground and enjoy grape juice and homemade challah. All are welcome. Abundance Farm is located at Congregation B’nai Israel, 253 Prospect Street in Northampton, across the street from the YMCA. For more information, contact Amy@abundancefarm.org or join the Shabbat Shabloom! Facebook group.

Sep 25

The Food Bank of Western Massachusetts’ annual Will Bike 4 Food charity cycling event is returning for its sixth year on Sunday, Sept. 25 in Hatfield. You can pedal towards a hunger free community by riding in this fun event as an individual or forming a team with your friends, family and coworkers. With 4 routes to choose from (10, 25, 50 or 100 miles), riders of all ages can get involved. There will be music, food, beverages, games and more. Last year’s event raised $100,000 to help feed our neighbors in need. You can make this year’s event even more successful. To register, or to learn more about WB4F, visit their website at willbike4food.org.

Oct 1

Harvest Day Open House at The Hartsbrook School, Saturday, October 1, 10am-12noon. Join the festivities and learn more about The Hartsbrook School, and the Land Stewardship Program. Take a workshop in beekeeping, seed saving and fiber arts. Meet the animals that live on the farm. Explore the gardens, woods, streams and fields that the students care for, work on and learn about. This event is for current families and those wishing to learn more about the school. A bountiful, locally grown snack will be served! Experience Hartsbrook’s rich, hands-on curriculum firsthand and imagine the possibilities for your child. The Hartsbrook School is located at 193 Bay Rd. in Hadley. For more info call 413-586-1908 or visit online at www.hartsbrook.org.

Sep 23

The Hartsbrook School is pleased to welcome Kim John Payne, family counselor & internationally acclaimed author of Simplicity Parenting: Using the Extraordinary Power of Less to Raise Calmer, Happier, and More Secure Kids. In defense of the extraordinary power of less, Kim John Payne helps to reclaim the space & freedom we all need. This simplifying path allows kids’ individuality to shine & their attention to flourish. The Simplicity Parenting approach is based on over 30 years’ experience of successfully supporting busy families. For those who want to balance their children’s lives but don’t know where to start, Simplicity Parenting offers both inspiration & a blueprint for change. Fri, Sept 23 at 7pm. $15. 193 Bay Rd, Hadley. 413-586-1908

Sep 24 & 25

The 18th Annual North Quabbin Garlic and Arts Festival is the weekend of September 24 & 25 from 10am-5pm in Orange, MA. There’s something for everyone at this annual cultural celebration! Over 100 booths are vibrant with local artists, farmers, and fabulous food. Enjoy amazing music, performance, spoken word, and dance on three stages; chef demos and renewable energy education including the new Portal to the Future. Great for families with performances throughout the fields, a pottery tent, hula-hooping, horse-drawn hayrides, and garlic games all weekend. Only $5/adults; Kids 12 & under are free! More info at www.garlicandarts.org, including directions/parking & program updates. Follow on Facebook for updates on the festival that stinks!

Oct 2

The 55th Annual Conway Festival of the Hills is on Sunday, October 2 from 10am-4pm, rain or shine. Enjoy live music, the famed “skillet toss,” craft fair, parade, log splitting contest, art, blacksmithing, weaving, local products, and of course, yummy food, freshly pressed cider and fried dough with maple cream! For the kids, a hay maze, hill slide, children’s book signing, and lots of free activities. Sign up for the Covered Bridge Classic or Kids Fun Run! The festival is located in historic Conway center, Route 116, 8 minutes from Route 91 in Deerfield. Admission, parking, and almost all activities are free. See www.festivalofthehills.com for details.

ADVERTISE HERE: Reach thousands of families in Western MA while supporting the community development work of Hilltown Families! See your summer camp, class, community event, school, open house, audition, homeschool program, workshop, volunteer opportunity, wellness program, local business, after-school class, or non-profit featured here in the Bulletin Board section of our list of Weekly Suggested Events and in our weekly eNewsletter, reaching thousands of families living throughout the four counties of Western MA while supporting the community development work of Hilltown Families! Find out more about our advertising options and how you can partner with Hilltown Families in your online marketing by emailing us at bmacleod@hilltownfamilies.org.

Become a Contributing WriterJOIN 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 info@hilltownfamilies.org.


LIST OF WEEKLY SUGGESTED EVENTS
September 24-30, 2016

SaturdaySunday
MondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFriday

Suggest an Event | Cultural Itineraries | Forecast | Museum Passes | Weekly eNewsletter | Farmers’ Markets | Storyhour & Playgroups| Berkshire Family Fun | Advertise/Sponsorship | en Español

Donate Now Read the rest of this entry »

Learning through the Lens of Food: Apples

Poetry, Place & Hearth: Apples

Food connects us. It’s an integral part of our cultural identity and is often prepared with the idea of sharing, giving, and enjoying together.  Nothing indicates the beginning of autumn and the fall harvest in Western Massachusetts like the crisp bite of a local apple picked right off the tree, or the sweet taste of a freshly baked apple pie.

Apple season is a beloved time of year in New England with apple orchards preserving our heritage, regional identity, and local landscape. By visiting pick-your-own apple orchards, we meet the farmers that grow our food, learn firsthand how apples grow, and engage in the seasonality of the land and the sense of belonging it instills within us. Traditional recipes, the scenic orchard landscapes, and the representation of apple-picking in literature and art remind us of how the apple has become a rich part of our cultural heritage. Read the rest of this entry »

PYO Apples

Pick Your Own Apples in Western MA

Apples, one of the earliest (and most delicious) signs of fall, have been an important part of New England agriculture for centuries. McIntosh apples are undeniably the most iconic of New England’s apples, and make up over two thirds of the regions apple crop! Macs and countless other delicious and fascinating varieties of apples are grown at orchards across western Massachusetts, and families can enjoy this year’s fantastic apple crop by visiting an orchard to pick or purchase a bushel.

Participate in the tradition of apple-picking and support local agriculture! Check out these orchards and farms in Western Massachusetts for Pick Your Own Apples!  Read the rest of this entry »

Poetry of William Cullen Bryant: The Planting of the Apple-Tree

Poetry of William Cullen Bryant
“The Planting of the Apple-Tree”

Did you know that William Cullen Bryant, a 19th century poet (and Schoolhouse Poet like John Greenleaf Whittier) planted over 800 apple trees on his farm property? While the orchard is no longer active, you can still visit the poet’s homestead in Cummington, MA. A property of The Trustees, The William Cullen Bryant Homestead is open for house tours and other activities in the fall.

While visiting the property, take a look at the scenic Hilltown views of the Westfield River Valley, take a picnic lunch (don’t forget your freshly picked apples!) and read Bryant’s poem “The Planting of an Apple-Tree.

The poem’s various stanzas walk through the passage of time, starting with the planting of the apple tree and ending with the apple tree in its old age, as well as the poet who planted it. The tree is more than just the bearer of fruit, but as Bryant nostalgically mentions, is a tree that represents childhood, home, and identity.  It provides shade on hot days, perfumes the air with the fragrance of springtime, and offers a resting place for playing children in the summer. The apple reminds the poet of New England’s seasonality and the apple-tree represents a unique  American spirit beginning to blossom in the mid-19th century.  Read the rest of this entry »

Culinary & Family History Through the Apple Pie

Hearth

Where did the saying “Upper crust” come from? According to the U.S. Apple Association, in early America, when times were hard and cooking supplies were scarce, cooks often had to scrimp and save on ingredients. Apple pie was a favorite dish, but to save on lard and flour, only a bottom crust was made. More affluent households could afford both an upper and a lower crust, so those families became known as “the upper crust.”

In 1828 Lydia Maria Child published her book The American Frugal Housewife.  It was a popular book utilized by many 19th century women for its recipes, remedies, and home economics advice.  It also includes a few apple recipes, such as a common recipe for apple pie.  In her 12th edition from 1833 of The American Frugal Housewife, Mrs. Child writes:

Apple Pie
When you make apple pies, stew your apples very little indeed; just strike them through, to make them tender. Some people do not stew them at all, but cut them up in very thin slices, and lay them in the crust.  Pies made in this way may retain more of the spirit of the apple; but I do not think the seasoning mixes in as well.  Put in sugar to your taste; it is impossible to make a precise rule, because apples vary so much in acidity.  A very little salt, and a small piece of butter in each pie, makes them richer.  Clovers and cinnamon are both suitable spice.  Lemon brandy and rose-water are both excellent.  A wine-glass full of each is sufficient for three or four pies.  If your apples lack spirit, grate in a whole lemon. (p.67-68).

Curious to try your hand at apple pie?  Not sure which apples to use?  Ask a farmer!  At many pick your own orchards, or at local farmers’ markets, farmers can usually tell you which apples are best for baking and best for eating. Read the rest of this entry »

Community Apple Celebrations: Featured Events

How Do Apples Grow?

Kettles Full of Apple Chutney

Apple Chutney

When our vegetable garden begins slowing down, we begin apple season. We harvest our own apples, visit friends who have apple trees, and gather apples from wild trees and abandoned orchards. It’s apple time early in the morning before work, late at night when we return home, and on our day off. We dry dehydrators full of apples and line our shelves with many glass jars full of delicious apple rings. We freeze and can loads of apple sauce. We make tray after tray of apple fruit leather. We press and freeze dozens and dozens of jars of cider. And there’s still apples in baskets and boxes scattered about the kitchen and dining room. Our favorite apple final resort? Apple Chutney! We can a couple kettles full of apple chutney in jars and eat it all year. It adds a special flair to a quick rice or quinoa or couscous dinner when we get home late at night.  Read the rest of this entry »

Oak & Acorn: Everything’s Coming up Apples!

Apple Season in New England

There are so many ways in cooking and baking with apples. You can make pies, jellies, cakes, donuts, apple cider and even use them in savory treats.

It’s September in New England and almost autumn which means one of many things, it’s apple season time! For many of us in New England, once we start to see those “pick your own apple” signs, it means a new season of change is coming. In fact, September 22 is the official Autumnal equinox. The full moon this month is so close to the Autumnal equinox that is actually called the Harvest Moon. The Harvest moon gives so much light that it’s said that farmers coined the term because so much extra light was given during this time that farmers had more hours in their day to harvest crops.

When I was a kid growing up in the South, I was one of those people who dreamed of autumn in New England. Any time, I would see a painting or a photograph, it seemed all so dreamy to me… and now here I am living in small town New England with my wonderful six year old!  Read the rest of this entry »

16 Picture Books That Celebrate Apples

Oprn Drdsmr: Kid Lit Musings and Review by Cheli Mennella

A Bushel of Books about Apples

‘Tis the season when orchards bear autumn fruit, and cider is poured into eager cups, and the smell of pie beckons from the oven. ‘Tis the season for apples.

Hand-picked from dozens of titles, here’s a bushel of picture books that celebrate the apple. There are a few new books, books about the life cycle of apples, apple–picking, and America’s mythic hero, Johnny Appleseed, plus some apple arithmetic, and books with apple pies baked into their stories. Enjoy!  Read the rest of this entry »

Let Them Grow: Emergent Curriculum

Let Them Grow by Candice Chouinard

Emergent Curriculum: Honeybees

Now that I have a toddler in my life full time, not just during the day, I have to be more creative in my play with her. A two year old is hit or miss with activities. The smaller sensory activities are often not enough of a challenge and pre-school age activities are often beyond her ability.  That’s where child emergent based activities come into play for me at this time in my life.  Read the rest of this entry »

Weekdays in Western MA: September 19-23, 2016

Weekdays in Western MA:
September 19-23, 2016

Weekday community-based educational opportunities can be found throughout the four counties of Western MA all week long! Each weekday we feature community-based educational opportunities that can be selected to support the interests and education of self-directed teens, homeschoolers and life-long learners, in addition to our bimonthly publication, Learning Ahead: Cultural Itinerary for Western Massachusetts.

Select the day of the week and find events that support your interests through community engagement!

Check our list of Weekly Suggested Events for our comprehensive list, including ongoing learning and play opportunities for younger children and intergenerational community events.


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Recap Map: Western MA Weekend Summary & Family Guide for September 17th & 18th, 2016

Here’s a recap of news and information posted on Hilltown Families this past week, along with a map for finding out what’s happening this weekend and next week throughout Western MA!

MAP

Peruse our list of Suggested Events for September 17th-23rd, 2016 for a comprehensive list of events happening throughout the four counties of Western MA, including Bulletin Board Announcements, Ongoing Story Hours & Playgroups and the Hilltown Family Variety Show.

Also check our weekly column,  Learn Local. Play Local. for 39 Community-Based Educational Highlights: Autumn Equinox to Rosh Hashanah. Science Fiction to Music Studies., and our monthly column, Berkshire Family Fun, for a list of premier educational, cultural highlights in Berkshire County for families, and our featured post of Fall Classes, Auditions & Open Houses in Western MA.

September 17-23, 2016

SaturdaySunday
MondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFriday

Autumn Equinox  ♦ EntomologyMetamorphosisLiving HistoryTheaterLGBTQLocal IndustriesPaddlingCommunity MealsEcologyComedyGuided HikesOrnithologyPhenologyFoliageFood StudiesLanguage ArtsLiteracyMusic StudiesRosh HashanahScience FictionTransportation HistoryStorytellingMindfulness

Family Volunteer Days

RECAP

FIVE FROM THE ARCHIVES

  1. Let’s Play: Fall Scavenger Hunts
  2. Nature Table for September
  3. Autumn Leaf Collecting Supports Art & Science
  4. September is Library Card Sign-up Month

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39 Community-Based Educational Highlights: Autumn Equinox to Rosh Hashanah. Science Fiction to Music Studies.

Grain Mill to Weaving. Freshwater Mussels to BBQ. Poetry to Meditation.These are just a few of the community-based learning highlights we’re featuring this week!

Peruse our list below and make plans to get out into your community and learn while you play!

Featured community highlights this week:  Fall is here! The autumnal equinox, the first full day of autumn in the Northern Hemisphere, is a good time to learn about astronomical concepts such as the seasonal positions of the Earth, Sun and Moon. You are invited to view sunrise and sunset from the standing stones of the UMass Amherst Sunwheel on Thursday, September 22, 6:45am and 6pm. A UMass Amherst astronomer will be present discussing the significance of the solstices and equinoxes, phases of the moon, building of the Sunwheel, and other calendar sites such as the Karnak Temple in Egypt, Stonehenge in the U.K, Chichen Itza in Mexico, and Chankillo in Peru.The UMass Sunwheel is located south of McGuirk Alumni Stadium, just off Rocky Hill Road. Amherst, MA. (FREE)


Autumn Equinox  ♦ EntomologyMetamorphosisLiving HistoryTheaterLGBTQLocal IndustriesPaddlingCommunity MealsEcologyComedyGuided HikesOrnithologyPhenologyFoliageFood StudiesLanguage ArtsLiteracyMusic StudiesRosh HashanahScience FictionTransportation HistoryStorytellingMindfulness


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Suggested Events for September 17th-23rd, 2016

Hilltown Families List of Weekly Suggested Events

“Hilltown Families has made it oh so easy to in a few minutes find fun outings and events for our family. It’s also a wealth of information about this wonderful place that we live in. Thanks for making it so accessible.” – Amy Cullen (Williamsburg, MA)

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, self-post your event at any time on our Suggest An Event bulletin board. 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.

Featured Fall Classes in Western MA

What are your child’s interests? What are your interests? This fall there are a number of after-school, homeschool, evening, and weekend classes to choose from to supplement and support the interests of your family! Check out our growing list of classes, programs, open houses and even auditions for this fall in our dedicated post, 2016 Fall Classes, Auditions & Open Houses in Western MA, and find the perfect activity for your child, teen, and even lifelong learners! — Have a class you’d like to add to this list? Click here to find out how to have your class, lessons, program, auditions, and open house included.

Bulletin Board

Free Classes Sep 19-30

The Celtic Heels School of Dance is opening a new location in Florence this September and invite you to come try their classes for FREE between September 19-30. Classes are offered for ages 3-adult in Irish Dance, Irish/Tap, Irish/Ballet and Barre Fitness. They will also be holding their monthly Kids Magic Carpet Ride Yoga classes starting in October. Come experience the innovative style of Celtic Heels for yourself. Information regarding class times can be found at their website www.CelticHeelsDance.com or by emailing celticheels@gmail.com. Studio locations in Florence & Greenfield.

Sep 19 & Sep 21

Want more opportunities for healthy eating and active living? If you live in Blandford, Chester, Chesterfield, Cummington, Goshen, Huntington, Middlefield, Plainfield, Russell or Worthington, join your neighbors on Monday Sept. 19 and Wednesday Sept. 21 to think outside the box about finding solutions for a healthier Hilltown region. Hosted by Healthy Hampshire, Hilltown CDC and the Hilltown Community Health Center. Share You Input: Monday, Sept. 19, 6:30-8:30, Gateway High School OR Cummington Community House. Hear Expert Recommendations: Wednesday, Sept. 21, 6:30-8:30, Gateway High School. Dinner and childcare provided! For more information: cmarquis@collaborative.org, 413-588-5562 or visit http://tinyurl.com/HealthierHilltowns.

Sep 23

The Hartsbrook School is pleased to welcome Kim John Payne, family counselor & internationally acclaimed author of Simplicity Parenting: Using the Extraordinary Power of Less to Raise Calmer, Happier, and More Secure Kids. In defense of the extraordinary power of less, Kim John Payne helps to reclaim the space & freedom we all need. This simplifying path allows kids’ individuality to shine & their attention to flourish. The Simplicity Parenting approach is based on over 30 years’ experience of successfully supporting busy families. For those who want to balance their children’s lives but don’t know where to start, Simplicity Parenting offers both inspiration & a blueprint for change. Fri, Sept 23 at 7pm. $15. 193 Bay Rd, Hadley. 413-586-1908

Sep 24 & 25

The 18th Annual North Quabbin Garlic and Arts Festival is the weekend of September 24 & 25 from 10am-5pm in Orange, MA. There’s something for everyone at this annual cultural celebration! Over 100 booths are vibrant with local artists, farmers, and fabulous food. Enjoy amazing music, performance, spoken word, and dance on three stages; chef demos and renewable energy education including the new Portal to the Future. Great for families with performances throughout the fields, a pottery tent, hula-hooping, horse-drawn hayrides, and garlic games all weekend. Only $5/adults; Kids 12 & under are free! More info at www.garlicandarts.org, including directions/parking & program updates. Follow on Facebook for updates on the festival that stinks!

Oct 2

The 55th Annual Conway Festival of the Hills is on Sunday, October 2 from 10am-4pm, rain or shine. Enjoy live music, the famed “skillet toss,” craft fair, parade, log splitting contest, art, blacksmithing, weaving, local products, and of course, yummy food, freshly pressed cider and fried dough with maple cream! For the kids, a hay maze, hill slide, children’s book signing, and lots of free activities. Sign up for the Covered Bridge Classic or Kids Fun Run! The festival is located in historic Conway center, Route 116, 8 minutes from Route 91 in Deerfield. Admission, parking, and almost all activities are free. See www.festivalofthehills.com for details.

Preschool Openings: Sept 2016. Clarke’s Integrated Preschool Program in Northampton offers a high-quality, affordable preschool program. Preschoolers engage in activities that facilitate all aspects of development. In our enriched learning environment, children come to know themselves and the world around them through classroom and extended experiences. Both children with typical hearing and children with hearing loss attend five days per week. To learn more or schedule a visit, please contact 413-582-1144. clarkeschools.org/prek

ADVERTISE HERE: Reach thousands of families in Western MA while supporting the community development work of Hilltown Families! See your summer camp, class, community event, school, open house, audition, homeschool program, workshop, volunteer opportunity, wellness program, local business, after-school class, or non-profit featured here in the Bulletin Board section of our list of Weekly Suggested Events and in our weekly eNewsletter, reaching thousands of families living throughout the four counties of Western MA while supporting the community development work of Hilltown Families! Find out more about our advertising options and how you can partner with Hilltown Families in your online marketing by emailing us at info@hilltownfamilies.org. Find out more about this targeted marketing opportunity HERE.

Become a Contributing WriterJOIN 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 info@hilltownfamilies.org.


LIST OF WEEKLY SUGGESTED EVENTS
September 17-23, 2016

SaturdaySunday
MondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFriday

Suggest an Event | Cultural Itineraries | Forecast | Museum Passes | Weekly eNewsletter | Farmers’ Markets | Storyhour & Playgroups| Berkshire Family Fun | Advertise/Sponsorship | en Español

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