Recap Map: Western MA Weekend Summary & Family Guide for December 3-4, 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 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 28 Community-Based Educational Highlights: Holiday Lights to Wreath Making. Theater to Singing, and our monthly column, Berkshire Family Fun, for a list of premier educational and cultural highlights in Berkshire County for families.

December 3-9, 2016

SaturdaySunday
MondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFriday

Literary Adaptation ♦  Singing ♦  Gingerbread Houses ♦  Breakfast with SantaPlacemaking ♦  ConsumerismRadio TheaterPastry Arts  ♦ Gift SwapHoliday StrollsLiving HistoryTransportationCarolingLocomotionWreathsCommunity MealCraftsTree Lighting

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Family Volunteer Days

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28 Community-Based Educational Highlights: Holiday Lights to Wreath Making. Theater to Singing.

Have you ever thought about why we decorate our Christmas trees with strands of light? Ever think about the origin of this tradition? Find out about the history of Christmas lights, then take in a community tree lighting ceremony and a drive through Forest Park in Springfield or Look Park in Florence for contemporary displays of holiday lights.

Tree Lighting to Wreaths. Consumerism to Holiday Strolls. Pastry Arts to A Christmas Carol. 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:

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


Literary Adaptation ♦  Singing ♦  Gingerbread Houses ♦  Breakfast with SantaPlacemaking ♦  ConsumerismRadio TheaterPastry Arts  ♦ Gift SwapHoliday StrollsLiving HistoryTransportationCarolingLocomotionWreathsCommunity MealCraftsTree Lighting


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Hilltown Families on Mass Appeal: Holiday Strolls & Community Singing

Hilltown Families on Mass Appeal: Holiday Segment
Learning with Holiday Strolls and Caroling

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 Tuesday, November 22, 2016. In this segment, Sienna and Lauren talked about engaging and learning with holiday strolls and community singing during the holiday season.

Click on image to view video.


Mass Appeal is a live weekday program that airs at 11am on 22News (Springfield, MA).  Our next visit to the Mass Appeal studios will be December 26th, 2016!

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Recap Map: Western MA Weekend Summary & Family Guide for November 26th & 27th, 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 November 26th – December 2nd, 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 seasonal post, Holiday Events for Families in Western MA: 2016 and our monthly column, Berkshire Family Fun, for a list of premier educational and cultural highlights in Berkshire County for families.

November 26th – December 2nd, 2016

SaturdaySunday
MondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFriday

Tree LightingSantaHoliday StrollsMYO GiftsCaroling/Choral MusicHanukkahChristmasKwanzaaWinter Solstice

Family Volunteer Days

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FIVE FROM THE ARCHIVES

  1. What Strengthens Your Sense of Place and Community Pride?
  2. HFVS Pioneers of Sound Episode with Guest DJ, Elska (Radio Show/Podcast)
  3. Engage in Community-Based Learning & Service: Become a Pet Foster Family
  4. Let Them Grow: Giving Back This Holiday Season
  5. Open Sesame: 10 New Picture Books to Ring in Holiday Cheer

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Gorge Aprés Gorge: Thanksgiving Weekend Tradition Supports Nature-Based & Intergenerational Engagement

Gorge Aprés Gorge: Best Little Walk/Run in the Hilltowns

The Sunday morning following your Thanksgiving dinner gorge, rise and shine to join friends and neighbors for the 13th annual Gorge Aprés Gorge run/walk at the Chesterfield Gorge in West Chesterfield, MA. Community members are invited to embrace winter by being outside with friends and neighbors in a three mile out and back run/walk/bike/snowshoe/ski along the beautiful Westfield River. It’s a free event and all are welcomed! It’s a family affair. 5K at 9:30am. Family walk at 11am.

For the past 13 years, families have gathered together at the Chesterfield Gorge on the Sunday after Thanksgiving to walk, run, and socialize at a community potluck. The Gorge après Gorge Family Fun Walk and 5k run was started by organizers Leslie Charles and Tanya Rapinchuk, as a way to escape from the stress that can accompany the holidays and to get outside and appreciate nature with your friends, family, and neighbors. Charles explains, “I believe community and getting to know each other is the best way forward for humanity. It’s a homegrown event to really benefit everybody. It invites anyone and everyone to join in for a walk or run. It’s a total labor of love inspired by the desire to share the outdoors with our community, make new friends, and gather together.”

It began with just a few dozen people, and has grown over the years as word has spread about this wonderful family-oriented event.

“I have attended every Gorge Aprés Gorge these past 13 years,” says Hilltown Families Founder and West Chesterfield resident, Sienna Wildfield. “The Chesterfield Gorge, the Westfield River, and families from around the region make this event as special part of our community tradition. It offer a way we can support a sense of place through engagement with these amazing community treasures!”

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Recap Map: Western MA Weekend Summary & Family Guide for November 19 – 20, 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 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 20 Community-Based Educational Highlights: Photography to Food Studies. Non-Commercial to Collaborative Consumption, and our monthly column, Berkshire Family Fun, for a list of premier educational and cultural highlights in Berkshire County for families.

November 19 – 25, 2016

SaturdaySunday
MondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFriday

Black Friday  ♦ Community Meals  ♦ Computer ProgrammingNative American StudiesCollaborative ConsumptionGardeningBiologyActivismSustainabilityMYO GiftsSTEM  ♦ Culinary ArtsSeed SavingThanksgiving DinnerPhysics Art StudiesLanguage StudiesGuided WalksMusic StudiesPhotographyImmigrationFood Studies

Family Volunteer Days

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20 Community-Based Educational Highlights: Photography to Food Studies. Non-Commercial to Collaborative Consumption.

How did the small wild cranberry, known as sasumuneash by the Wampanoag People, become the the plump berry we serve up every Thanksgiving? Get curious about the origin of the foods served during Thanksgiving and the traditions that are passed down from generation to generation. Use your Thanksgiving meal as a catalyst for learning about agriculture, culinary arts, history and culture!

Hydrology to Tortellini. Photography to Food Studies. Non-Commercial to Collaborative Consumption. 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:   “Chrysanthemum” is a beautiful word for an equally beautiful family of flowers. The word is derived from the Greek words chrysos (gold) and anthemon (flower), though it refers to many different types of flowers in a range of colors and appearances. Families can explore various chrysanthemums at The Botanic Garden of Smith College’s Fall Chrysanthemum Show. The Fall Mum Show has been a popular college and community tradition since the early 1900s and showcases the hybridizing experiments of the horticulture class. This weekend is the last of this amazing flower show!  The conservatory will be open 10am-4pm daily and have extended hours 10am-8pm on Fridays. 413-585-2740. 16 College Lane. Northampton, MA. (FREE)


Black Friday  ♦ Community Meals  ♦ Computer ProgrammingNative American StudiesCollaborative ConsumptionGardeningBiologyActivismSustainabilityMYO GiftsSTEM  ♦ Culinary ArtsSeed SavingThanksgiving DinnerPhysics Art StudiesLanguage StudiesGuided WalksMusic StudiesPhotographyImmigrationFood Studies


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Saturday Morning Music Party: The Nields Perform to Benefit Hilltown Families & Flywheel

Hilltown Families and the Flywheel Arts Collective are continuing the beloved ‘Saturday Morning Music Party’ series with Pioneer Valley folk and rock favorites, The Nields!

The Nields will perform a special show for all ages at a fundraiser for Hilltown Families and Flywheel on Saturday, November 19, from 10am-12noon at Flywheel Arts Collective (43 Main Street) in Easthampton, MA.

Doors open at 10am with a free pancake breakfast, followed by a family performance by The Nields from 11am-12noon with alt-rock legends who in recent years have begun performing and recording music for families.

Admission is $12/Adult; $6/Kids ages 3-6; $35/Families of 4 or more, with proceeds benefit Hilltown Families and Flywheel, two Western Massachusetts non-profits. (Infants-2: Free.)

This event is supported in part by a grant from the Easthampton Cultural Council, a local agency which is supported by the Massachusetts Cultural Council, a state agency.

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Living History Museums Bring the Holiday Season Alive!

Living History Museums Bring the Holiday Season Alive!

Step back in time to a simpler day when holiday celebrations involved cooking over an open fire and illuminating homes with candlelight – the holiday season offers opportunities to experience celebrations of the past at three different living history museums! Families can explore, watch demonstrations, and engage in hands-on activities in order to learn about the ways in which the holiday season was honored in early New England.

Modern technology has certainly had an impact on the ways we decorate for and celebrate the winter holidays – early winter in New England now involves strings of lights and blow-up snowmen rather than windows lit by candles and evergreens adorned with cranberry strings.

This holiday season, families can take a step back into the past, to a simpler time when holiday celebrations involved candles and open hearth cooking. By taking advantage of upcoming holiday-themed living history events, families can dive into the history and culture of western Massachusetts’ holidays past while adding a new tradition to their own celebrations! Read the rest of this entry »

Recap Map: Western MA Weekend Summary And Family Guide for November 12-13, 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 November 12 – 18, 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 32 Community-Based Educational Highlights: Mindfulness to Natural History. Día de los Muertos to Jake Shimabukuro, and our monthly column, Berkshire Family Fun, for a list of premier educational and cultural highlights in Berkshire County for families.

Give a listen to find out what’s happening next weekend… it involves great music, dancing and free pancakes!

November 12th-18th, 2016

SaturdaySunday
MondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFriday

Mindfulness ♦  YogaNatural History MuseumsCultural StudiesDay of the Dead  SportsIce SkatingTheaterMusic Studies ♦  UkuleleOrnithologyLocal HistoryNatural HistoryComputer ScienceInternetPsychologyArchitectureFood StudiesNutritionDairy Farming ♦  Animal StudiesLiteracyBook Clubs

Family Volunteer Days

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32 Community-Based Educational Highlights: Mindfulness to Natural History. Día de los Muertos to Jake Shimabukuro.

There is more to the phenomenon of bird chirping than simple mating messages. Bird songs evolve socially. Although species sing the same song, individual birds learn songs from their fathers and dialects develop regionally. Bird songs have also had a great impact on human music, and as a result, culture. On Tuesday, November 15 at 3pm, Professor of Biology David Spector will be discussing bird songs and the interplay between birds and human culture, at the Westhampton Public Library. Attendees will also have the change to sing along as the Beautiful Future Band performs new and familiar songs featuring the sounds of birds! Learn about ornithology and conservation efforts. 413-527-5386. 1 North Road. Westhampton, MA. (FREE)

Community Meals to Community Sing. Guided Walks to Meditation. Contemporary Dance to Chrysantemum. 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: While it is known internationally, the Day of the Dead originated in Mexico, where it is celebrated as a public holiday. Día de los Muertos honors the deceased through the creation of altars and other traditions and ceremonies such as the creation of sugar skulls and catrina dolls. On Saturday, November 12, 10am-7pm, a Day of The Dead celebration will include art, performances, and workshops on how to create sugar skulls and memory boxes. Workshops will be held at the Flywheel Arts Collective. Music and dance performances will take place at the Brookside Cemetery. Bring a candle. 413-529-1440. Williston Avenue. Easthampton, MA. (FREE)


Mindfulness ♦  YogaNatural History MuseumsCultural StudiesDay of the Dead  SportsIce SkatingTheaterMusic Studies ♦  UkuleleOrnithologyLocal HistoryNatural HistoryComputer ScienceInternetPsychologyArchitectureFood StudiesNutritionDairy Farming ♦  Animal StudiesLiteracyBook Clubs


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Featured Events: Veterans Day & Military History

Featured Events: Veterans Day & Military History

November 11th is Veterans Day, a national holiday that honors American veterans of all wars. The original date has great historical significance – the armistice that ended World War I was on November 11th, 1918.

Today, Veterans Day honors all of those who have dedicated themselves to serve our country in the armed forces. Given Massachusetts’ rich history and role in the formation of the United States from colonial and Revolutionary War times to our contemporary society today, this is a day to remember the soldiers from the past as well as those today who serve our nation. As a result, there are many ceremonies and parades that happen on Veterans Day in Western Massachusetts, such as the Springfield Veterans Day Parade as well as parades and ceremonies in Greenfield, Holyoke, Northampton and Pittsfield. The celebration and recognition of Veterans Day is a reminder of our local history, our region’s historic past, and all of the women and men who served and continue to serve our nation.  Read the rest of this entry »

Recap Map: Western MA Weekend Summary & Family Guide for November 5th & 6th, 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 November 5th-11th, 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 Community-Based Educational Highlights: Chrysanthemums to Arrowheads. Evolutionary Biology to Rome., and our monthly column, Berkshire Family Fun, for a list of premier educational and cultural highlights in Berkshire County for families.

November 5-11, 2016

SaturdaySunday
MondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFriday

SustainabilityCollege ResourcesFiber ArtsTechonologyHorticulturePoliticsSeed SavingBotanyNative American HistoryArchitectureMusic StudiesGilded AgeWomen’s SuffrageSTEMLiteracyBiologyNature StudiesCivil WarWorld History

Family Volunteer Days

RECAP

FIVE FROM THE ARCHIVES

RECAP MAP SPONSOR

Hilltown Families & Flywheel presents:
Saturday Morning Music Party with The Nields!

Find out how you can be a sponsor too!

 

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Community-Based Educational Highlights: Chrysanthemums to Arrowheads. Evolutionary Biology to Rome.

Seed saving is a fantastic way to practice self sufficiency and resilience, and also helps to preserve plant varieties for years to come. In addition to the cultural and agricultural value of holding onto these plants (and their seeds), practicing seed saving at home is a great way to engage in hands-on science learning – the digging-in-the-dirt kind that leads to some serious discoveries. You can get started and learn about seed saving techniques on Saturday, November 5, 1pm-2:30pm, at Great Falls Discovery Center. You will learn what kind of seeds to buy, how to prevent cross pollination, wet and dry methods of seed saving and proper techniques of drying and storing seeds. 413-863-3221. 2 Avenue A. Turners Falls, MA. (FREE)

Chrysanthemums to ArrowheadsSusan B Anthony to Thomas Paine. Evolutionary Biology to Rome. 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:  Smith College’s Lyman Conservatory is in bloom this month for the annual Fall Chrysanthemum Show!  Visitors to the greenhouses can learn about genetic diversity amongst plants and plant hybridization while viewing the beautiful flowers, which can be up to eight inches across.  Even the most amateur botanists will love the wide variety of color, pattern, shape, and size seen amongst the blooms. Read more in our post, Fall Chrysanthemum Show at Smith Offers Community-Based Learning.


SustainabilityCollege ResourcesFiber ArtsTechonologyHorticulturePoliticsSeed SavingBotanyNative American HistoryArchitectureMusic StudiesGilded AgeWomen’s SuffrageSTEMLiteracyBiologyNature StudiesCivil WarWorld History


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Hilltown Families on Mass Appeal: Late Fall Community-Based Learning through Engagement

Hilltown Families on Mass Appeal: November Segment
Late Fall Learning with Hilltown Families Cultural Itinerary

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 Tuesday, November 1, 2016. This month Sienna and Seth talked about ways to engage in our community in the late fall. Reviewing the newest edition of Learning Ahead, Seth and Sienna talk about learning through the lens of the food, habitat and culture found in the Nov/Dec issue of Learning Ahead: Cultural Itinerary for Western MA:

Click on the video to watch.
Download a copy of Learning Ahead: Cultural Itinerary for Western MA. (38 page PDF) for the holiday season.


Mass Appeal is a live weekday program that airs at 11am on 22News (Springfield, MA).  Our next visit to the Mass Appeal studios will be the week after Thanksgiving.

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Learning Ahead: Nov & Dec Cultural Itinerary for Western MA

Learning Ahead: Cultural Itinerary for
Western Massachusetts
Seasons: November & December

Who am I? Where am I? These are the fundamental questions proposed by the humanities. Inquiries related to local history, literature, and education, inspire us to think deeply about the places where we live and how our identity fits into the context of our community and the seasons.

Learning Ahead: Cultural Itinerary for Western Massachusetts is a bimonthly publication produced by Hilltown Families that sheds light on embedded learning opportunities found in cultural resources that exist within the geography, history, and cultural traditions of Western Massachusetts.

With these downloadable seasonal itineraries, self-directed teens, lifelong learners, and families are encouraged to engage together in cultural opportunities that support similar interests, resulting in a shared history, strengthening sense of place.

Looking through a seasonal lens, our Cultural Itinerary for Western Massachusetts for November and December includes:

  • Learn about FOOD preservation: Harvest, Butchers & Museums
  • Veterans Day as a CATALYST for learning: Literature, History & Music
  • Looking through the LENS of Thanksgiving: Poetry & Painting
  • VALUE based engagement: Handmade &  Non-Commercial
  • Local HABITAT connects us to myth & nature: Christmas Trees
  • PLACEMAKING with annual events: Holiday Strolls & Caroling
  • Experience other CULTURES through the holidays: Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa & Three Kings Day
  • Mark the SEASON by sharing & connecting: Winter Solstice & Storytelling
  • Engage in New England TRADITIONS: First Night & First Hikes

Click here to download PDF (38 pages).


Mass Humanities This program is funded in part by Mass Humanities, which receives support from the Massachusetts Cultural Council and is an affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Special thank you to sponsors of this issue, including: ♦ Montague BookmillNew England Air MuseumDowntown Northampton AssociationSpringfield Museums.

Recap Map: Western MA Weekend Summary & Family Guide for October 29th & 30th, 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 29th – November 4th, 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 21 Community-Based Educational Highlights: Chrysanthemums to Dracula. Dia de los Muertos to Halloween., and our monthly column, Berkshire Family Fun, for a list of premier educational and cultural highlights in Berkshire County for families.

October 29th – November 4th, 2016

SaturdaySunday
MondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFriday

PsychologyHauntingsMusic StudiesZoologyLiterary AdaptationFood CultureCemetery StudiesEtymologyService-Based LearningFood SecurityFilm StudiesScience FictionCulture StudiesDay of the Dead10aLocal HistoryHorticulture

Family Volunteer Days


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FIVE FROM THE ARCHIVES

RECAP MAP SPONSOR

Hilltown Families & Flywheel presents:
Saturday Morning Music Party with The Nields!

Find out how you can be a sponsor too!

Read the rest of this entry »

21 Community-Based Educational Highlights: Chrysanthemums to Dracula. Dia de los Muertos to Halloween.

While it is well known internationally, the Day of the Dead originated in Mexico, where it is celebrated as a public holiday. Dia de los Muertos honors the deceased through the creation of altars and other traditions and ceremonies. You can learn about the significance of this holiday in Latinx culture, and enjoy performances from the Aztec group Xochiquetzal, at Mount Holyoke College on Tuesday, November 1, 7:30pm. Campus Center Lower Level, 100 Elm Street. South Hadley, MA. (FREE)

Chrysanthemums to Dracula. Science Fiction to Orchestra. Dia de los Muertos to Halloween.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:  Celebrate autumn weather, the harvest of pumpkins, and local music at Pumpkinfest on Saturday, October 29, 10am-9pm! This all ages event will feature live local music and dance all day long, as well as a pumpkin judging contest. There will also be a pumpkin decorating contest. Live music will include local artists such as Jimmy Just Quit and Curly Fingers Dupree. Visit the Franklin County Pumpkinfest Facebook Page for more information. Avenue A. Turners Falls, MA. (FREE)


PsychologyHauntingsMusic StudiesZoologyLiterary AdaptationFood CultureCemetery StudiesEtymologyService-Based LearningFood SecurityFilm StudiesScience FictionCulture StudiesDay of the DeadLocal HistoryHorticulture


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Saturday Morning Music Party: The Nields Perform to Benefit Hilltown Families & Flywheel

Hilltown Families and the Flywheel Arts Collective are continuing the beloved ‘Saturday Morning Music Party’ series with Pioneer Valley folk and rock favorites, The Nields!

The Nields will perform a special show for all ages at a fundraiser for Hilltown Families and Flywheel on Saturday, November 19, from 10am-12noon at Flywheel Arts Collective (43 Main Street) in Easthampton, MA.

Doors open at 10am with a free pancake breakfast, followed by a family performance by The Nields from 11am-12noon with alt-rock legends who in recent years have begun performing and recording music for families.

The Nields have released both a well-received kids CD, Rock All Day/Rock All Night, and a book, All Together Singing in the Kitchen: Creative Ways of Making and Listening to Music as a Family.

“We’re thrilled to be hosting The Nields for a morning of music, singing, dancing and pancakes,” says Sienna Wildfield, Hilltown Families’ founder and executive director. “Hilltown Families’ mission is to support education through community engagement, and The Nields are a part of our local landscape, bringing families together through a shared interest of music.”

Admission is $12/Adult; $6/Kids ages 3-6; $35/Families of 4 or more, with proceeds benefit Hilltown Families and Flywheel, two Western Massachusetts non-profits. (Infants-2: Free.)

This event is supported in part by a grant from the Easthampton Cultural Council, a local agency which is supported by the Massachusetts Cultural Council, a state agency.

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Featured Events: Graveyards & Cemetery Tours

Graveyard Tours Support an Interest in Local History and Cultural Studies

Graveyards are filled with stone markers that chronicle a community’s history. Everything from the names of buried people to the style of the stone can tell visitors something about the time period to which a headstone dates back. Photographing and sketching gravestones is a creative way to explore local cemeteries, alongside a self-guided or facilitated tour. Here are three featured guided tours for this haunted season: Read the rest of this entry »

Featured Events: Haunted Historic Buildings & Tours

Haunted Building and Tours Support Curiosity, and Learning!

Hunt for ghosts at Ventfort Hall in Lenox, MA.

Towns across Western Massachusetts have tales of haunted historic buildings, ghost sightings, and supernatural suspicions that lead people to wonder whether a place is haunted or not.  Haunted tales are sometimes rooted in actual events or historical accounts from people of the past, and can add to the mystery and curiosity of a place. In the Berkshires this haunted season, three events support learning about local history through the lens of hauntings and paranormal tours: Read the rest of this entry »

Recap Map: Western MA Weekend Summary & Family Guide for October 22nd & 23rd, 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 22nd-28th, 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 34 Community-Based Educational Highlights: Music to Medicine. Civic Engagement to Meditation., and our monthly column, Berkshire Family Fun, for a list of premier educational and cultural highlights in Berkshire County for families

October 22-28, 2016

SaturdaySunday
MondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFriday

Carnivorous PlantsBogsService AnimalsPet FosteringHikes & WalksArt StudiesPolitical CartoonsLocal HistoryCemetery StudiesOrnithology  ♦ Culinary ArtsFashion HistoryJewish CultureMusic StudiesService-Based LearningNative American StudiesMeditation/MindfulnessYogaSTEMRoboticsMakerspacePhysicsBotanyCivic EngagementMedicine

Family Volunteer Days

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FIVE FROM THE ARCHIVES

 

  1. Halloween Season Inspires Hands-On Science
  2. Acts of Kindness: Adopt a Black Cat!
  3. HFVS Falling into Fall Episode with Guest DJ, Suzi Shelton & Emma
  4. 10 Picture Books for Halloween
  5. 8 Halloween Costume Safety Tips

 

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34 Community-Based Educational Highlights: Music to Medicine. Civic Engagement to Meditation.

Did you know there is a bog in the Hilltowns… home to carnivorous plants like this pitcher plant pictured here?! Hawley Bog stands at an elevation of 1,800 feet, similar to some of the cold bogs of Canada. In an upcoming Mass Audubon program, families can learn about local natural history by visiting this peatland and participating in a guided walk with a local naturalist!

Carnivorous Plants to Service Animals. Political Cartoons to Civic Engagement. Color Theory to Classical Music. 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:   Cider pressing has a long history in New England and beyond. Connect with local culture at the Sukkot Harvest Festival on Saturday, October 23, 10am-1pm! Harvest festivals draw people together for a chance to celebrate the season. This particular harvest festival will have many opportunities for culinary learning and creativity. There will be apple cider pressing, pizza, garlic planting, fire cider making, nature crafts, local food, and live music. Visit the Abundance Farm Facebook page for more information. This event will take place rain or shine. 253 Prospect Street. Northampton, MA. (DONATION)


Carnivorous PlantsBogsService AnimalsPet FosteringHikes & WalksArt StudiesPolitical CartoonsLocal HistoryCemetery StudiesOrnithology  ♦ Culinary ArtsFashion HistoryJewish CultureMusic StudiesService-Based LearningNative American StudiesMeditation/MindfulnessYogaSTEMRoboticsMakerspacePhysicsBotanyCivic EngagementMedicine


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


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Halloween in Western Massachusetts: 2016

Halloween in Western Massachusetts: 2016

Find out about all the Halloween happenings throughout Western MA with Hilltown Families comprehensive list of Halloween activities happening for families.

As with all of our suggested events, families are asked to take the time to confirm that these events are happening, along with time, place, age appropriateness and costs before heading out.

If you have a Halloween event you would like to add, simply post it here. If you’d like to have your event featured on Hilltown Families, email Brianyn at bmacloud@hilltownfamilies.org for details.


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Recap Map: Western MA Weekend Summary & Family Guide for Oct 15 & 16, 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 15th-21st, 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  monthly column, Berkshire Family Fun, for a list of premier educational and cultural highlights in Berkshire County for families.

October 15-21, 2016

SaturdaySunday
MondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFriday

Family Volunteer Days

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The Grand View of Fall Foliage in Western MA

10 Vistas for Leaf Peeping

The best leaf peeping excursions are ones that not only happen during a countryside drive or a solitary hike in the woods, but up high with a view! Once you know when the foliage will peak, make a trip to a nearby vista for a view that has inspired artists and poets for centuries.

In addition to bountiful harvests, autumn brings with a dramatic change in the color scheme of the local landscape. Leaf peeping is a favorite activity of folks from out of state – and for good reason! Make time to get outside as a family this fall and explore the brilliant red, orange, and yellow that the woods have to offer. The best leaf peeping excursions are ones that include not only woods walking but a view from a high place. We recommend… Read the rest of this entry »

Recap Map: Western MA Weekend Summary & Family Guide for Oct 8th & 9th, 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 8th-14th, 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 26 Community-Based Educational Highlights: Jazz Music to Woodworking. Radio Drama to Pumpkins., and our monthly column, Berkshire Family Fun, for a list of premier educational and cultural highlights in Berkshire County for families.

October 8-14, 2016

SaturdaySunday
MondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFriday

PhotographyHomeschoolingMusic StudiesJazzCivic EngagementSTEMComputer ProgrammingPumpkinsColonial HistoryWorld HistoryTransportationRadio DramaShakespeareComedy HistoryFilm StudiesIce HockeyScarecrowsDendrologyLanguageWoodworkingAntiquesPlacemakingFall Festivals

Family Volunteer Days

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26 Community-Based Educational Highlights: Jazz Music to Woodworking. Radio Drama to Pumpkins.

The Ashfield Fall Festival will take place this weekend on both Sat & Sun from 10am-5pm up and down Ashfield’s Main Street. A quintessential New England fall celebration; engaging connects families to their local culture alongside neighbors and friends. Ashfield, MA (FREE)

Jazz Music to Colonial History. Antiques to Woodworking. Stop-Motion Animation to Radio Drama. 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:  Scarecrows are an old and practical invention, used to frighten away birds which harm crops. The history of scarecrows begins in Egypt, where the earliest records of the use of scarecrows have been found. Rather than using models of humans, farmers along the Nile River built wooden frames with nets in their wheat fields, and used their scarecrow-like devices to trap quail who would visit their fields to feast on wheat. So, rather than scaring away birds, these early scarecrow-users actually protected their crops and caught their dinner at the same time!  This practical invention has also made a strong cultural impact and led to people creating scarecrows for decorative purposes, particularly in the spooky fall months. You can engage with this local agricultural history and cultural tradition by attending this Scarecrow Stuffing Party on Saturday, October 8, 12pm-2pm. There will also be a bake sale. Call to reserve your scarecrow. 413-863-2116. Unity Park. 56 First Street. Turners Falls, MA. (<$)


PhotographyHomeschoolingMusic StudiesJazzCivic EngagementSTEMComputer ProgrammingPumpkinsColonial HistoryWorld HistoryTransportationRadio DramaShakespeareComedy HistoryFilm StudiesIce HockeyScarecrowsDendrologyLanguageWoodworkingAntiquesPlacemakingFall Festivals


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4 Guided Hike Resources in Western MA

Guide Hikes Connect to Nature

In The Maine Woods (1864), Henry David Thoreau writes:

Talk of mysteries! — Think of our life in nature, — daily to be shown matter, to come in contact with it, — rocks, trees, wind on our cheeks! The solid earth! the actual world! the common sense! Contact! Contact! Who are we? where are we?

Franklin Land Trust. Guyette Farm in Plainfield, MA (c) Sienna WildfieldBefore asking the questions “Who are we? Where are we?” Thoreau already provides his readers with the solution to discovering the answers: “think of our life in nature,” He urges the reader to come into contact with nature – to experience the natural world. This interaction with the outdoors can help us build a deeper sense of self and place – hence Thoreau’s final questions are left unanswered to provoke the reader, as if the author is directly telling you “go outside and discover! See yourself in nature, as a part of it!”  Read the rest of this entry »

25 Self-Guided Hikes in Western MA

Self-Guided Hikes in Western Massachusetts

Bullitt Reservation in Ashfield, MA (c) Sienna Wildfield

Bullitt Reservation in Ashfield, MA. (c) Sienna Wildfield

The following is a list of places to discover in your community with friends, family, or on your own. Before exploring, become aware of the literary, artistic, and historic connections that some of these places offer.

Easy Hikes in Western MA:

  • Chesterfield Gorge, West Chesterfield
  • Dinosaur Footprints, Holyoke
  • Field Farm, Williamstown
    Field Farm features a garden with 13 modern sculptures, including works by artists Henry Ferber and Richard M. Miller. For architecture enthusiasts, the artistic play between Field Farm and The Folly’s mid-century design elements and the natural landscape surrounding them is compelling.

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