Suggested Events 02/09/08 – 02/15/08


Cup & Top turns 2!I don’t know about you, but for me the hardest time of the year to be living in New England is the next six weeks (which is right up there with black fly season!). Since the first snow fall in early November, winter has been a cold, dark and sometime deary companion. Fortunately there are many mothers and women in our community who are enriching our winter days with a wealth of opportunities to get out and about with our families this weekend:

  • Helen Kahn from Cup & Top is having a birthday party and everyone is invited! Cup & Top is turning two and she’s throwing a shin dig with music, art, cake and more.
  • If you’re looking to get outdoors, Lauren Abend is hosting the Path of the Otter nature program for kids right here in the hilltowns!
  • And Marla BB, from Hilltown Wilderness Adventures, is offering another outdoor opportunity with dog sled rides for families, also here in the hilltowns! It was a big hit last week.
  • Eva Christoph from the Art Bridge will be hosting their second Saturday potluck performance in Shelburne. Get creative and move your body!
  • Nan Parati from Elmer’s is throwing a concert and serving up some great Cajun food. in Ashfield. Get out and celebrate Mardi Gras!
  • Tony(a) Lemos will be offering a culture through art workshop at the Children’s Art Museum in Shelbrune Falls (co-sponsored by Hilltown Families), followed by a kids multi-language concert. Get a cultural dose of Russian and Spanish fun!
  • Laurie Broussard & Laura Cayer from the Pop Rockets will be jamming it up at the Children’s Museum in Holyoke with their band for the museum family fun night. These ladies are so fun!

Wow! What a great list of fun events and powerhouse women! Have a wonderful weekend!


If you have a family-friendly event or educational program happening in Western Massachusetts that you’d like to let us know about, or would like to submit your event to the Hilltown Families calendar of Suggested Events, email Sienna at, or post your event on our community bulletin board. Comments are warmly welcomed!

Local forecast | Get directions | Free Museum Passes | School Closings & Delays

Events Happening in the Hilltowns
The following key represents the sum cost of one adult and one child:
(>$) Under $10; ($) Between $10-$19; ($$) Between $20-$44; ($$$) Over $45

Saturday – 02/09

8am – FAMILY RADIO – (Air Waves) While traveling around town, tune-in to WXOJ 103.3 FM in Northampton, MA, from 8-10am to hear fabulous family-friendly music on Spare the Rock, Spoil the Child . [All ages] (Free)

8am & 9:15am – KIDS BASKETBALL – (Worthington) Throughout the winter months, the Worthington Recreation Department is offering co-ed basketball program for kids at the town hall. Grades 1-2 begin at 8am. Grades 3-4 begin at 9:15am. No registration is necessary. 413.238.5500 [Ages 6-9] (Free)

10am – 6pm – BIRTHDAY PARTY – (Florence) Cup & Top is turning 2! Come celebrate their reaching the toddler stage with a day full of free events. At 10am, Northampton’s Elena Ciampa and Russ Neiman will perform spanish & latin music for the kids! From 1pm – 3pm: Rhymes with Orange cartoonist Hilary Price book signing! And from 4pm – 6pm: Art Opening for Cummington Artist Leni Fried with live music by Cummington’s Radio Free Earth! They will also unveil their whimsical mural that Leni painted for the cafe playspace! [Families] (Free)

10am – Noon – VALENTINE’S DAY – (Holyoke) Join artist Marjorie Latham for a creative, hands-on workshop on the art of crafting valentines at the Wistariahurst Museum. 413.322.5660 [Families] (>$)

10am – CHOCOLATE HISTORY – (Deerfield) Take the kids to learn about the history and making of chocolate at the Historic Deerfield Museum for their American Heritage Chocolate Celebration. Get a jump on your Valentine’s Day festivities while you join fellow “chocoholics” for a day filled with chocolate treats and historical facts. A special focus this year will be on American Heritage Chocolate, a re-creation of colonial American chocolate produced by the Historic Division of Mars, Inc. [Families] (Borrow a museum pass from your local library, $)

10am – Noon – NATURE EXPLORATIONS – (Easthampton) Tracking at Arcadia Wildlife Sanctuary. Identifying and following an animal track can teach us a lot about the animals that live in our area and their behavior. The forest is full of signs of wildlife. We will learn to read these tracks and signs, which provide both mysteries and some answers. Dress appropriately for the weather, since we will be walking in the forest. Registration is required, unless otherwise noted. 413.584.3009 [Ages 5-12] ($)

10am-1pm – NATURE PROGRAM – (Ashfield) The Path of the Otter, the series of three Saturday earth awareness and nature exploration classes begins. Click HERE for program details. [Ages 5-7] ($$$)

11am-7pm – WINTER FEST – (Amherst) Indoor and outdoor activities for children, families and adults at the Cherry Hill Golf course. It’s a go snow or no snow. They will have plenty of non-snow related activities for everyone. All activities are included with your admission fee. Click here for more info. [Families] ($)

11am – 8pm – FAMILY FREE DAY AT MASS MOCA – (North Adams) A festive family affair with projects for the kids, demos, films, tours, ice cream, and more. 413.MoCA.111

Noon – 4pm – MUSHING – (Goshen) Bring the family to DAR State Park for a fun hands-on afternoon demonstration. Dog sled rides will be offered. There is also ice skating on the lake, so bring your ice skates. Dress for the weather. For more information call Hilltown Wilderness Adventures at 413.296.0187. [Families] ($)

2pm – STORYTELLING – (Holyoke) Rivers, Mountains & Legends: An Afternoon of Storytelling. The Wistariahurst Museum welcomes long-time storytellers Dan Shanahan, Megan Moore and Carla Bee in the telling of stories that celebrate the earth and all of its creatures! All three are founding members of Boston’s Stone Soup Poets and Drumlin, which is a collaborative arts ensemble. 413.322.5660 [Families] ($)

4pm-6:50pm – ICE SKATING – (Amherst) There will be a public skate at the Mullins Center Ice Rink. Skate rentals available. 413.545.3990 [Families] ($)

4pm – 7pm – FAMILY FUN NIGHT & KIDS CONCERT – (Holyoke) The Children’s Museum at Holyoke will be hosting their 2nd annual “For the Love of the Museum” affair. There will be crafts, food, live music with live music by the Pop Rockets, A2Z Yo-yo team and kids self-defense demo, and more. 413.625.8275 [Families] ($)

6pm – PERFORMANCE POTLUCK – (Shelburne) Art Bridge will be hosting their first Saturday Performance Potluck. Bring a dish to share and come enjoy music, dancing, performance and art. 413.625.8275 [Families] (Donation, $)

7pm – PERFORMANCE – (Amherst) Cirque Sublime will be at the Mullins Center on the UMass Campus. Click here for more information. [Families] ($$)

7:30pm – MARDI GRAS CONCERT – (Ashfield) Eilen Jewell concert at Ashfield’s Town Hall with cajun food by Elmer’s. Click here to read more. Costume optional. [Families] ($$)

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Pop Rockets Blast Off!

HFVS Tips its Hat to the Pop Rockets

Pop Rockets at Cup & Top - (c) 2007 Hilltown Families

This week’s episode of the HFVS was an encore presentation of the episode, King of the Insects. It was a big hit with all our budding entomologist so we thought we’d play it again … But mostly because we needed a little R&R following the HFVS 1st Annual T-Shirt Review Mini-Fest & Ice Cream Social that happened this weekend in West Chesterfield, MA.

The review/fest/social was a big success and as far as I could tell everyone had a blast. I’ll be posting more updates and photos from the review, but first I wanted to thank the Pop Rockets for their “Blast Off” performances during the event. They were a big hit!


I first saw the Pop Rockets at Cup & Top in Florence this past spring. This four-piece band rocked the house. The place was packed. Moms and dads got jazzed up on fresh cups of joe, as the music pulled kids off laps and onto the dance floor. They had their waist high audience jumping up and down, twirling in circles like spinning tops. (OH!!! I get it … Cup & Top … duh!) I recall one parent referring to their performance as “a rock concert for kids.” That it was!

This summer we saw them perform again in Deerfield and were very excited to learn they had a new CD coming out. So we invited them to be our featured band during the HFVS’s 1st Annual T-Shirt Review Mini-Fest & Ice Cream Social. And once again they rocked the house, er, lawn. More on that to come.

On Sunday they were back at Cup & Top for their new CD Release Party, pictured above with Hilltown Families and friends. They performed all their new songs including “New Sneaker Jive,”which I now consider one of may favorite shoe songs, along with “Where’s My Shoes Blues” by AudraRox, “Shoe Bandit” by Uncle Rock (all artists that have also performed at Cup & Top with in the last year). Here’s a video from their recent Cup & Top performance:


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Sandy Sandwiches and Local Food at Cup & Top

Storyteller Keith Munslow Visits Florence

SANDY SANDWICHES AT CUP & TOPKeith Munslow at Cup and Top (c) Hilltown Families [Things to do in Florence, Massachusetts]

Acclaimed storyteller, musician and visual artist, Keith Munslow was at Cup & Top this past Saturday following a live on-air performance and interview on Spare the Rock, Spoil the Child. Keith’s performance was interactive and funny, filled with original songs and stories. His performance included a storyboard of cartoons that he would draw on-the-spot. Several families got to take home his poster sized drawings following his show.

Keith’s style reminded me a lot of another storyteller I admire, Bill Harley. I later learned that Bill helped produce Keith’s newest album, Dressed Up For The Party. That explains everything! Two very talented storytellers. Boogedy Boogedy is the running catch phrase for anything scary in our house – that comes from Bill Harley’s story, “The Swamp Monster,” from his award winning album Blah, Blah, Blah.

But this article is about Keith, who had the kids enthralled with his story, “The Bellywog;” a story about the critter that visits our tummys at night leaving us with a belly ache in the morning before moving on to the next persons house, and the round of remedies that are offered by well meaning folks. Persephone’s dad came with us and I caught him laughing once or twice. A sure sign that Keith can entertain even the most cynical of audience members. (That’s high accolades, Keith!)

Click here if you’d like to find out where and when Keith Munslow will be performing in the area, or here if you’d like to discover Bill Harley’s performance schedule too. They are both from Rhode Island so they are sure to be in our area again soon.


Following the performance, our family had lunch at Cup & Top. The owner, Helen, does a great job at using local food in her menu items, including fresh herbs from her own personal cafe garden in Florence. They also make their own pastries (including a gluten free selection) and yogurt with fresh local milk from Mapleline Farm in Hadley, MA. To follow is a list of many of the items they serve up from local farms and local providers:

  • Appalachian Naturals Dressings (Goshen, MA)
  • Bread Euphoria Organic Bread (Haydenville, MA)
  • Dean’s Beans Coffee (Orange, MA)
  • Diemand Farm Eggs (Wendell, MA)
  • Enterprise Farm Organic Produce (Whately, MA)
  • Gus & Paul’s NY Bagels (Springfield, MA)
  • TeaGuys Loose Leaf Tea (Florence, MA)

Dancing Skunks and Stolen Toes in Florence

Family Concert at Cup & Top with Mr. Richard

Mr. Richard @ Cup & Top

“Richard Peeples [Mr. Richard] has a gruff singing voice that suggests he is more cartoon character than human, but that’s just part of his charm. On his second CD, he lathers his native Louisiana groove and gumption onto songs about dancing skunks and stolen toes.” – Cookie Magazine, April-May 2007

This past Saturday Mr. Richard did a free performance at Cup & Top in Florence, MA, presented by Valley Free Radio’s Spare the Rock, Spoil the Child. Read the rest of this entry »

Princess Katie Holds Court in Florence

Elizabeth Street in Florence

Elizabeth Street did a live family concert this Saturday morning in Florence, performing music from their debut album, Different.

“Sometimes my initial response to new music is, “Wow, that’s really, um, different.” And by different, I mean bad. But sometimes different is good, as in the case of Different, the debut album from Elizabeth Street,” says

“In kids’ and family music, there are many albums with decent music but with lyrics that are just too… obvious. It is possible, however, to write lyrics that are direct enough for kids that aren’t so obvious as to make the parental eyes roll, and it’s that fine line that [Elizabeth Street] walks on [their] album,” writes Stefan Shepherd on Read the rest of this entry »

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