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

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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 »

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

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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


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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 »

Community Apple Celebrations: Featured Events

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

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  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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Autumn Bucket List for Western MA

One-Room Schoolhouse: Connecting to Place through Literature & History

One-Room Schoolhouse: Connecting to Place through Literature & History

In the 1800’s, the traditional academic year was quite different in New England. An element of seasonality was incorporated into how the school term was determined. In rural areas, children who helped out on the family farm attended school during the winter and stayed home to assist with the harvest during the summer and fall. In a one-room schoolhouse, grade levels were often mixed and one teacher was responsible for all of the students’ learning. A man or woman, the school teacher assigned tasks to each student depending on the pupil’s age, grade, and level of advancement.

19th century poet, John Greenleaf Whittier, wrote a poem that describes well a typical country schoolhouse in New England. A Quaker, abolitionist, and native of Haverhill, MA, Whittier is part of a group of poets also known as the schoolroom poets. Whittier, William Cullen Bryant, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, James Russell Lowell, and Oliver Wendell Holmes Sr. were considered the first American poets to bring forth an authentic American voice and rival the British poets. They were referred to as the Schoolroom Poets, Fireside Poets, or Household Poets given their popularity and widely read works. One of Whittier’s poems, “In School-days,” read here in this video by Tom O’Bedlam, describes the memory of an old man as he recalls a fellow student and the life lesson she taught him.

When listening to (or reading) this poem, notice the description of the schoolhouse: the warped floors, the schoolmaster’s worn desk, and the battered seats of the students – all characteristics that point to a typical 19th century schoolhouse in New England.  Read the rest of this entry »

Community-Based Education Resources: One-Room Schoolhouses

Community-Based Education Resources: One-Room Schoolhouses in Western MA

Here in Western Massachusetts there are many preserved historic school houses people can visit to learn more about schooling and education before the 20th century.

Print out and take John Greenleaf Whittier’s poem, “In School-Days,” with you to read as you explore these six historic schoolhouses in Western Massachusetts:  Read the rest of this entry »

Learning through the Lens of One-Room Schoolhouses: Featured Events

Recap Map: Western MA Weekend Summary & Family Guide for September 10th & 11th, 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 10th-16th, 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 29 Community-Based Educational Highlights: Economics to Psychology. Nature Walks to Migration., 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 10th-16th, 2016

SaturdaySunday
MondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFriday

Industrial HistoryCutlerySeed SavingService-Based LearningClimate ChangeImmigrationEconomicsGuided HikesFood StudiesWild EdiblesMigrationSTEMOpera1Computer ProgrammingHorticultureBilingualismOrnithologyFood HistoryCulinary ArtsEntomologyCitizen ScienceFinancial LiteracyPsychologyCartographyAncestryCemetery Walk

Family Volunteer Days

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  1. Neuroscience for Kids: Understanding the Brain for Deeper Learning
  2. Our Growing Roots: Farmers’ Markets Feed a Sense of Community
  3. Astronomy Resources for Budding Scientists
  4. Using Math to Map Constellations Deepens Sense of Place in the Universe
  5. How to Get Kids to Practice Their Musical Instruments

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29 Community-Based Educational Highlights: Economics to Psychology. Nature Walks to Migration.

Want to organize a Monarch Butterfly tagging effort? Monarch Watch has instructions and kits with tags for tracking.

Economics to Psychology. Fall Foliage to Graveyards. Songbirds to Coding. 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:  You can become a citizen scientist on Wednesday, September 14, 4pm-6pm by helping to tag monarchs before they head south to the overwintering grounds in Mexico. Jennifer Unkles has been tagging monarchs since 1997. She will be teaching participants at the Hitchcock Center about the monarch’s life cycle, their epic annual migration, how the tagging program works, and how to tag any monarchs you’re able to catch and release. Registration is recommended. 413-256-6006. 845 West Street. Amherst, MA. (FREE)


Industrial HistoryCutlerySeed SavingService-Based LearningClimate ChangeImmigrationEconomicsGuided HikesFood StudiesWild EdiblesMigrationSTEMOpera1Computer ProgrammingHorticultureBilingualismOrnithologyFood HistoryCulinary ArtsEntomologyCitizen ScienceFinancial LiteracyPsychologyCartographyAncestryCemetery Walk


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Learning Ahead: Agricultural Fairs

Local Traditions & Cultures: Agricultural Fairs

As summer winds down and signs of autumn appear, annual agricultural fairs throughout Western Massachusetts mark the season with celebrations of local culture through the lens of farming traditions. Beginning as early as August, these annual fairs honor the unique character of towns throughout our region, fostering community pride, and strengthening intergenerational relationships through a shared interest and experience. With a stroll through exhibition halls on the fairgrounds and experiencing both traditional skills, crafts, and customs, visitors can support their interests through various learning opportunities while cultivating relationships and strengthening a deeper sense of place.

With many exhibition categories reserved specifically for youngsters, exhibition halls offer families the opportunity to share their own work, projects, and produce with others – and the opportunity to share the active role that they have in preserving local culture. See our post, Youth Participation at Agricultural Fairs Learning about History, Agriculture, Science & More.

Agricultural fairs help to preserve our local history by showcasing the skills, crafts and home-grown produce unique to rural life that have been cherished and passed on for generations. Through participation in these rich traditions we support the preservation of culture, local history, and a connection to place.   The agricultural fair’s long-standing presence in New England history reminds people of the importance in gathering to celebrate and share, even during difficult times, in order to foster a sense of community and collaborative spirit.  Many fairs are over 150 years old and have even taken place during some of our country’s most difficult economic periods and war time.  These generations-old traditions of agriculture, self-sufficiency, and resiliency in rural communities afford families opportunities to participate in intergenerational community-based traditions while offering a myriad of entertainment and skill-sharing experiences inspired by a shared interest in traditional crafts, history, land, and art.

These annual community-based events give learners great insight to the past through current day traditions. Take the time to learn about the long and rich history of our agricultural fairs and you’ll have a renewed way of viewing the many traditions found at each fair. Historical society museums are at some fairgrounds, open during the fair for families to view primary source artifacts and antique equipment displays. Come curious and bring your questions!

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Learning through the Lens of Quilts: Featured Exhibits & Events

3 Community-Based Events Support Interests & Education Through the Lens of Quilting

Karen Pratt Exhibit
BINGO! Gallery at Shire City Sanctuary
September 2016

The BINGO! Gallery at Shire City Sanctuary is proud to present the Karen Pratt Exhibit, which features the work of local quilt artist Karen Pratt during the month of September. Each year, Hoffman California Fabrics hosts a world-wide quilting contest. The quilt collection on display represents a chronological journey of Pratt’s entries into the Hoffman Challenge, which she has participated in since 1997 and uses to challenge herself as an artist. The exhibit supports the work of a local artist while introducing textiles as a distinct and practical form of art. The exhibit will be on view throughout the month of September 2016 at the BINGO! Gallery at Shire City Sanctuary. 40 Melville Street, Pittsfield, MA. (FREE)

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Western MA Landscape: Farmers’ Castles by Robert Strong Woodward

Castles in Western MA

Agriculture has it’s influence in all facets of food, habitat, and culture in New England. Artists often reflect back to us this influence in their art work, finding inspiration in the landscape that agriculture has shaped in our region. An exhibit in Deerfield, Farmers’ Castles, showcases the work of western Massachusetts artist Robert Strong Woodward (1885-1957) with a selection of paintings that celebrates our landscape and the castles that dotted the horizons… barns!

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Recap Map: Western MA Weekend Summary & Family Guide for September 3rd & 4th, 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 3rd-9th, 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 30 Community-Based Educational Highlights: Greek Souvlaki to Jewish Literature. Time Zones to Train Rides., 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 3rd-9th, 2016

SaturdaySunday
MondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFriday

GeologyDendrologyNature-Based LearningGuide WalksArchaeologySunken CitiesIndustrial HistoryMusic StudiesZoologyPhrenologySTEMComputer CodingLocal HistoryCemetery StudiesOrnithologyJewish CultureGreek FoodTransportation HistoryLocomotivesHistory of TimeLifelong LearningRattlesnakesLiterary AdaptationSherlock HolmesArt StudiesActivism

Family Volunteer Days

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FIVE FROM THE ARCHIVES

  1. Hilltown Families on Mass Appeal: Back-To-School with Community-Based Education
  2. HFVS On the Road Episode with Guest DJ, Steve Weeks (Radio Show/Podcast)
  3. Open Sesame: 5 Picture Books For Kindergarteners
  4. 10 Literary Guides for Expanding Family Reading Time
  5. Monarch Butterflies: The Life & Science

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30 Community-Based Educational Highlights: Greek Souvlaki to Jewish Literature. Time Zones to Train Rides.

Greek “Glendis” are celebrations, often highlighting Greek culture through traditional food and dance. Every year, St. George’s Greek Orthodox Cathedral hosts a Glendi for thousands of visitors from far and near, providing the best in traditional Greek foods, pastries, music, dancing, and more. Beginning next Friday, all are welcome to this celebration on September 9-11, 2016. Call 413-737-1496 for more information. 22 St George Road. Springfield, MA. (<$)

Raccoons to Rattlesnakes. Greek Souvlaki to Jewish Literature. Time Zones to Train Rides. 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: Youth in grades 3-6 are invited to Smith College for an afternoon of engineering, geology, physics and biology activities on Saturday, September 3, 3pm-5pm! Participants will choose one of four options: Engineering Design with balloon powered cars, Investigating physical properties for rocks and minerals, Exploring electricity and electromagnetism and Investigating food chains and food webs with an owl pellet dissection. Registration is required through the Smith College website. 413-585-3932. Drop off and check in will take place in the lobby of Ford Hall. Green Street. Northampton, MA. (FREE)


GeologyDendrologyNature-Based LearningGuide WalksArchaeologySunken CitiesIndustrial HistoryMusic StudiesZoologyPhrenologySTEMComputer CodingLocal HistoryCemetery StudiesOrnithologyJewish CultureGreek FoodTransportation HistoryLocomotivesHistory of TimeLifelong LearningRattlesnakesLiterary AdaptationSherlock HolmesArt StudiesActivism


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Hilltown Families on Mass Appeal: Debut of Seasonal Cultural Itinerary

Hilltown Families on Mass Appeal: August Segment
Debut of Learning Ahead: Cultural Itinerary for Western MA

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, August 29, 2016. This month Sienna and Lauren talked about agricultural fairs, fall festivals, one room schoolhouses and apples featured in the debut of Learning Ahead: Cultural Itinerary for Western MA:

Download a copy of Learning Ahead: Cultural Itinerary for Western MA. (38 page PDF) for the fall 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 September 26th, 2016!

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Learning Ahead: Sept & Oct Cultural Itinerary for Western MA

Learning Ahead:
Cultural Itinerary for Western Massachusetts
Seasons: Sept & Oct

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 new 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 debut Cultural Itinerary for Western Massachusetts is for the months of September and October and includes:

  • Participation in local CULTURE: Agricultural Fairs and Fall Festivals
  • PLACEMAKING through annual events: Guided Tours and Plein Air Paint Outs
  • Gathering and preparing seasonal FOOD: Apples and Pumpkins
  • VALUE based engagement: Intergenerational, Skillsharing, and Community Meals
  • Marking the SEASON with annual events: Back-to-School and Halloween
  • Engage in local HABITAT: Nature Trails and Fall Foliage
  • INTEREST based learning: Domestic Arts, Pastry Arts, and Paranormal

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.

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2016 Fall Classes, Auditions & Open Houses in Western MA

Recap Map: Western MA Weekend Summary & Family Guide for August 27th & 28th, 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 August 27th-September 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 weekly column,  Learn Local. Play Local. for 39 Community-Based Educational Highlights: Circle Dance to Witchcraft. Watercolor Painting to Astronomy., and our monthly column, Berkshire Family Fun, for a list of premier educational and cultural highlights in Berkshire County for families.

August 27 – September 2, 2016

SaturdaySunday
MondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFriday

Sports ♦ Art Studies ♦ Watercolor Painting ♦ History ♦ Historic Schoolhouse ♦ Witchcraft ♦ Local Food Culture ♦ Literacy ♦ Astronomy ♦ STEM ♦ Circuitry ♦ Zoology ♦ Entomology ♦ Dance Studies ♦ Circle Dance ♦ Music Studies ♦ Agriculture

Family Volunteer Days

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FIVE FROM THE ARCHIVES

  1. People-Watching! Supporting Language Arts, Theater & Community Awareness
  2. Sewing Skills Connect Local Culture, Local History, and Self-Sufficiency
  3. Community-Based Education Makes Every Day Back-To-School Day
  4. Open Sesame: 4 Summer Bedtime Stories
  5. Magic Shows: The Psychology Behind Magic Tricks & Illusions

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39 Community-Based Educational Highlights: Circle Dance to Witchcraft. Watercolor Painting to Astronomy.

Nighthawks are impressive creatures which engage in aerial acrobatics, catching insects on their wings! On Tuesday, August 30, 5pm-7:30pm, you can search the sky for migrating nighthawks at Canoe Meadows Wildlife Sanctuary. Bring binoculars. Registration is not required. 413-637-0320. Holmes Road. Pittsfield, MA. (FREE)

Circle Dance to Witchcraft. Watercolor Painting to Astronomy. STEM to Literacy.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 highlightthis week: On Saturday, August 27, 12:30pm-11pm and Sunday, August 28, 12:30pm-7:30pm you can be a part of Celebrate Holyoke. Enjoy live music, food from local restaurants, and goods from local artists and makers. On the 27th you can hear live music from the following bands: From the Woods, Skarroñeros, Paper City Exiles. Franny O Show, Trailer Park, Pabon Salsa, Eleven, and Brass Attack. Check the Celebrate Holyoke website for a full schedule of events. Holyoke Heritage State Park. 221 Appleton Street. Holyoke, MA. (FREE)


Sports ♦ Art Studies ♦ Watercolor Painting ♦ History ♦ Historic Schoolhouse ♦ Witchcraft ♦ Local Food Culture ♦ Literacy ♦ Astronomy ♦ STEM ♦ Circuitry ♦ Zoology ♦ Entomology ♦ Dance Studies ♦ Circle Dance ♦ Music Studies ♦ Agriculture


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Astronomy Learning this Leading Up to the Autumnal Equinox… and Beyond!

Astronomy Learning this Leading Up to the Autumnal Equinox… and Beyond!

An interest in studying astronomy can develop from an interest in mathematical calculation, or a simple appreciation for the beauty of the sky. Observing the stars can be an act of scientific or spiritual curiosity, or both. While some people lament the shorter days of fall and winter, longer nights provide more chances to learn about astronomy through observations of the night sky!  Read the rest of this entry »

Recap Map: Western MA Weekend Summary & Family Guide for August 20th & 21st, 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

Check out our comprehensive list of summer camps with 70 summer programs in and around western MA from which to choose!

Peruse our list of Suggested Events for August 20th-26th, 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 41 Community-Based Educational Highlights: Local History to Car Shows. Agriculture to Woodworking, and our monthly column, Berkshire Family Fun, for a list of premier educational and cultural highlights in Berkshire County for families.

August 20-26, 2016

SaturdaySunday
MondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFriday

 Agriculture ♦ Literacy ♦ Writing ♦ Local History ♦Woodworking ♦ Dance Studies ♦ Guided Nature Walks ♦ Foraging ♦ Music Studies ♦ Automotive ♦ Car ShowZoology ♦ Bird Language ♦ Opera ♦ Art Studies ♦ Culture Studies

Family Volunteer Days

 

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FIVE FROM THE ARCHIVES

  1. Illustration History: Online Educational Resource & Archive for the Art of Illustration
  2. What to Play?: 25 Undone Family Summer Fun Ideas
  3. Sewing Skills Connect Local Culture, Local History, and Self-Sufficiency
  4. 11 Ideas for Creative Free Play
  5. 16 Picture Books That Celebrate Apples!

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41 Community-Based Educational Highlights: Local History to Car Shows. Agriculture to Woodworking.

Explore local rivers and ponds at Pleasant Valley Wildlife Sanctuary, and learn about the role beavers play in our local ecosystem. This program is suitable for ages three and up. 413-637-0320. 472 West Mountain Road. Lenox, MA.(<$)

Local History to Car Shows. Agriculture to Woodworking. Writing to Foraging. 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 highlight this week: In honor of the National Parks Service centennial, you can participate in a guided hike on Thursday, August 25, 9:30am-12pm to learn about the history of America’s State and National Parks. Learn about the forces which shaped, protected, and preserved these national resources on a three mile hike. This hike will go over moderate terrain and take approximately three hours. The event is appropriate for ages twelve and up. Children must be accompanied by an adult. Mount Holyoke Range State ParkMeet at the Notch Visitors Center. Please bring water, bug spray, and sunscreen and wear appropriate clothing and footwear. 413-253-2883. 1500 West Street. Amherst, MA. (FREE)


 Agriculture ♦ Literacy ♦ Writing ♦ Local History ♦ Woodworking ♦ Dance Studies ♦ Guided Nature Walks ♦ Foraging ♦ Music Studies ♦ Automotive ♦ Car ShowZoology ♦ Bird Language ♦ Opera ♦ Art Studies ♦ Culture Studies


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Accessible Outdoor Trails in Western MA

Accessible Outdoor Trails in Western MA

With the last stretch of summer upon us and fall around the corner, there are still tons of outdoor activities to take part in! Both summer and fall are great seasons for walking and hiking on trails and mountains. Did you know that the Pioneer Valley is home to a number of trails which are designed for persons with disabilities?  Read the rest of this entry »

Recap Map: Western MA Weekend Summary & Family Guide for August 13th & 14th

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

Check out our comprehensive list of summer camps with 70 summer programs in and around western MA from which to choose!

Peruse our list of Suggested Events for August 13th-19th, 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.

August 13-19, 2016

SaturdaySunday
MondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFriday

Family Volunteer Days

 

RECAP

FIVE FROM THE ARCHIVES

  1. Our Growing Roots: Real Food, Real Connection
  2. Learning Landscapes: Development of Self-Regulation
  3. Literary Guide for George Ella Lyon’s “The Outside Inn”
  4. HFVS Back to School Episode (Radio Show/Podcast)
  5. People-Watching! Supporting Language Arts, Theater & Community Awareness

RECAP MAP SPONSOR

Recap Map is sponsored in part by Hampshire Shakespeare Company.

See your banner here! Sponsor Learning Ahead!

Find out how you can be a sponsor too!

Read the rest of this entry »

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