Q&A: What’s Your Dream Way to Spend Mother’s Day

Mother’s Day: Learning through the Lens of the Season





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 a sense of place.

Learning Ahead: Mother’s Day

Traditions & Cultural Celebrations: Mother’s Day

Although Mother’s Day has officially been a holiday in the United States since 1914, the celebration of motherhood dates back to the ancient Greeks and Romans who celebrated mothers and their roles in society through festivals that honored the goddesses Rhea and Cybele. Rhea, daughter of the earth goddess Gaia and the sky god Uranus, was considered the mother of gods and Cybele was known as the “great mother.”

Throughout the world, there are many cultural traditions that celebrate motherhood. For example, in Thailand, Mother’s Day is observed in August, in honor of Queen Sirikit. There are ceremonies and parades as well as the gift of jasmine to mothers.

In Ethiopia, Mother’s Day is celebrated during the end of the autumn rainy season as a part of the Antrosht festival. During this 3-day festival, daughters give vegetables, butter, spices, and cheese to mothers while sons give meats. Read the rest of this entry »

Small Town Explorations on Mother’s Day

Small Town Explorations on Mother’s Day

Mother’s Day festivities here in New England are simple and sweet. They usually include a shared meal with family and meaningful time spent together. Now that the weather is warm, consider a picnic or outdoor explorations as a way to celebrate the mothers in your life while connecting to special places in Western Massachusetts

The Bridge of Flowers (Shelburne, MA)
Once a trolley bridge, The Bridge of Flowers spans the Deerfield River, connecting the Town of Buckland with the village of Shelburne Falls. Nearly 100 years old, the gardens on the bridge feature a variety of flowers in bloom not only in May but all season long. A shared walk across the bridge followed by perusing local art galleries and shops offers a flavor of the creativity and culture that support the micro-economies sustaining our small towns. From April 1 through October 30, visitors to the bridge can expect to see well-marked bulbs, perennials, annuals, shrubs, and trees in bloom during different times of the season, supporting an interest in plant studies and reuse of industrial spaces. Visit the website to find out what flowers are in bloom before you go, and see how many you can find in bloom.

Pulaski Park (Northampton, MA)
A sweet little park in the center of downtown Northampton, MA, this newly (2016) renovated park is adorned with market lights and has cozy seating areas. This park provides a space for families and neighbors to gather in conversation and enjoyment during the day or evening. In the warmer days of May, ice cream from a nearby vendor enjoyed in the park before taking in a play or concert at the Academy of Music Theatre would be a lovely way to enjoy downtown Northampton and an evening on the town with your favorite mother figure.

Other parks rich in history, botanical beauty, and creativity include: Read the rest of this entry »

Poetry Explorations for Mother’s Day

Poetry Explorations for Mother’s Day

2002 Poet Laureate Billy Collins has been described as “the most popular poet in America” by the New York Times. Collins’ poetry is rich with human emotion told in a way that is quirky and whimsical. His poem “The Lanyard” is a reminder of all the gifts mothers offer to their children, friends, and families – the gifts that are often taken for granted or unrecognized, moments from infancy that are not remembered because we are too young – and yet they are some of the most important and precious gifts ever received. Read Collins’ poem on Mother’s Day; perhaps share it with someone who embodies motherhood for you and reflect on the qualities and unsung gifts you have received from them. Perhaps list them in your handmade card and include a copy of Collins poem as a reminder of gratitude and love.

Download our May/June edition of Learning Ahead: Cultural Itinerary for Western Massachusetts for embedded learning opportunities found in cultural resources that exist within the geography, history, and cultural traditions of Western Massachusetts.


Sense of Place: Mother’s Day

Think about this:

  • How does Billy Collins’ poem, “The Lanyard,” use humor as a way to highlight the immense gratitude the poet feels towards his mother?
  • What non-commercial gifts and activities can you do on Mother’s Day to celebrate motherhood in Western MA?
  • What traditions do you associate with celebrating Mother’s Day?
  • How can we use Mother’s Day as a catalyst for learning about art, ancestry, and women’s history?

Poetry & Place in the Hilltowns

Poetry & Place: Exploring the Hilltown Home of 19th Century Poet William Cullen Bryant

By Andrea Caluori-Rivera
MassLIFT AmeriCorps Member at Hilltown Land Trust & Kestrel Land Trust

Kindred Spirits was commissioned by the merchant-collector Jonathan Sturges as a gift for William Cullen Bryant in gratitude for the nature poet’s moving eulogy to Thomas Cole, who had died suddenly in early 1848. It shows Cole, who had been Jonathan Sturges mentor, standing in a gorge in Catskills in company of a mutual friend William Cullen Bryant. Painting is by artist Asher Brown Durand (1796–1886).

Western Massachusetts has been home to many poets and writers who were inspired by this region’s remarkable landscapes and natural settings. Since April is National Poetry Month, the spring season is a great time to explore some of the homes and writing places of local poets from the past, such as the William Cullen Bryant Homestead in Cummington, MA.

William Cullen Bryant (1794-1878) was an editor, abolitionist, conservationist and poet. He grew up in Cummington, MA and later purchased his childhood home and converted it to a country house. Known for his poems inspired by nature, Bryant was also well acquainted with prominent Hudson River School painters Thomas Cole and Asher B. Durand. The three of them used their artistic talents in painting and writing to champion the American landscape and helped to inspire the American conservation movement. You can read more about Bryant and his life here: www.poetryfoundation.org.

The William Cullen Bryant Homestead, now a property of The Trustees of Reservations, houses a wonderful collection of items from Bryant’s lifetime as well as interesting objects from later decades left by Bryant’s descendants and those that lived there. The property also boasts an old growth forest and a trail system that follows a rivulet – a water feature Bryant wrote about in 1823 in his poem The Rivulet. Read this poem and his most famous, Thanatopsis.

This spring and summer, The Trustees of Reservations have a variety of activities planned for folks at the homestead where visitors can volunteer, experience history and learn more about this interesting place and its antique objects. These events offer a variety of opportunities to engage your local community through different interests such as community service, local history, poetry, food traditions, and ecology, and hiking.  Read the rest of this entry »

Mother’s Day in Western MA

Happy Mother’s Day

Take the mom(s) in your life to the Bridge of Flowers in Shelburne Falls, one of the Commonwealth’s most unusual and enchanting “gardens,” found in Franklin County. The Bridge of Flowers is a former trolley bridge that was originally built in 1908, but became weed-covered 20 years later. In 1929, a plan was implemented to turn the bridge into a garden that would span the length of the bridge. Currently more than 20,000 people per year enjoy its impressive and rich floral beauty from the first appearance of tulips in April through the bloom of autumn mums. Free to the public.

If you’re looking for ideas for getting out on Mother’s Day, we have a few suggestions…

Not up for breakfast in bed, then head out for breakfast or brunch.  We asked our readers for family friendly restaurant recommendations for Mother’s Day and they had several to offer. Check out Mother’s Day Brunch to see their suggestions… and add one of your own.

After breakfast/brunch, celebrate Mother’s Day by taking her to one of the many gorgeous gardens dotted throughout Western Massachusetts including the Bridge of Flower in Shelburne Falls, one of the Commonwealth’s most unusual and enchanting “gardens” is found in Franklin County.  Read our post The Art of Great Gardens in Western MA for a list of recommended public gardens in the region.

If you’re looking for something a little more scheduled, here are more ideas: Read the rest of this entry »

Suggested Events for May 10th-16th, 2014

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


“Hilltown Families continually excites and amazes me with all of the listings of events happening in or around the hilltowns. It has opened up my hilltown world in many ways. I wish that all new mothers were given the web address or Facebook page during prenatal visits to the doctor. So many mothers feel isolated and alone until their child enters school. I think that your eNewsletter would help remedy that problem!” – Debbie Carnes (Worthington, 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… help us help you! Click HERE to find out more.


Summer Camps in  Massachusetts

“Hilltown Families continues to be my go-to place for family events. I really appreciated the organized list of summer camps!”

Over 50 Summer Camps to choose from! Now is the time to start signing up for summer camp! Check out our featured post, 2014 Summer Camps and Programs in Western MA for a comprehensive list of over 50 summer camps & programs in the region! Summer opportunities featured range from music, art, farming, theater, dance, science, nature, sports, speaking, yoga, rock ‘n roll… to traditional summer day or overnight camps/programs! There’s something for all ages, toddlers to teens! Check it out and start making your summer plans! — Do you have a summer camp or program you’d like to have included in our comprehensive list? Find out how you can submit your listing HERE.


May 11-26

Joyful learning starts with Oak Meadow! Save from Mother’s Day to Memorial Day. Enjoy 15% off Oak Meadow’s engaging, experiential homeschooling curriculum for kindergarten to grade 12, and 5% off enrollment in their fully accredited distance learning school. Oak Meadow helps you set a natural rhythm of learning for your family through their creative and challenging curriculum. Their compassionate, child-centered approach encourages critical thinking and intellectual development through hands-on activities, interdisciplinary projects, and thoughtful reading and writing practice. This May treat Mom to great savings, and treat the family to a great home learning experience! Offer runs from May 11 through May 26.

May 15

Cooley Dickinson/Massachusetts General Hospital Lecture Series. Concussions in Sports: Help for Parents. As media attention on concussions in sports rises, parents are in need of common sense, research- supported information. This presentation is designed to help parents understand what they need to know about concussions and how to best support and protect their child athletes as they participate in sports. Speakers include, Richard Ginsburg, PhD, Clinical Psychologist, Massachusetts General Hospital and Jonathan Schwab, MD, Pediatrician, Northampton, Family Practice. Thursday, May 15th 6-7pm at the Hadley Farms Meeting House, 41 Russell St., Hadley, MA. Registration is required, www.cooley-dickinson.org/classes or by calling 888-554-4234.

May 18

Abundance Farm Work Party and Celebration! Abundance Farm is an emerging Food Justice Farm and Outdoor Classroom on 253 Prospect Street in Northampton. This partnership between Congregation B’nai Israel, Northampton Survival Center and Lander-Grinspoon Academy will support local food security and serve as a unique, learning environment. Help launch the Farm on Sunday, May 18th. From 10-12 volunteers will create garden beds and plant an orchard. Delicious lunch for volunteers from 12-1. Celebrate from 1-3 with live music and activities for all ages including sports, cob oven baking, seed bomb workshop and bike blending! Come dressed to work and bring tools if you have them. For more info info@abundancefarm.org or visit www.abundancefarm.org.

May 22

Amherst Montessori School is holding a Toddler Open House on May 22, 3:30-5:30 PM. Meet the Toddler faculty and learn about their Montessori programs for children ages 12 months – 3 years. Enrolling now for the 2014-2015 year in full-and part-time programs. Inquire about their Spanish-English bilingual classroom, La Casita! Join them in a joyful, beautiful classroom that is prepared for the child’s emerging independence. The Toddler program includes music, art, practical life, grace and courtesy, language, outdoor play, and more in a child-centered and respectful setting. To learn more, contact Laura Miller, Director of Admission, at lmiller@amherstmontessori.org, or go to www.amherstmontessori.org.

ADVERTISE HERE: Reach thousands of families in Western MA while supporting the community development work of Hilltown Families! See afterschool class, community event, open house, audition, homeschool program, workshop, volunteer opportunity, wellness program, local business 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 enhanced publicity packages and options and how you can partner with Hilltown Families in your online marketing by emailing us at hilltownfamilies@gmail.com.

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 hilltownfamilies@gmail.com.

May 10th-16th, 2014


Suggest an Event | Forecast | Museum Passes | Weekly eNewsletter | Farmers’ Markets

Berkshire Family Fun

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35 Community Highlights: Rhubarb to Butterflies. Turtles to Trolley.

It’s all turtles, all day long at Laughing Brook Wildlife Sanctuary on Saturday in Hampden for Turtle Day! Visit to meet a real, live turtle and to learn about the species of turtles native to Massachusetts. Then, visitors will be able to go on a natural history walk of the sanctuary’s grounds to learn about how the landscape was formed and to learn about turtle habitat. Free. (Photo credit: Sienna Wildfield)

Rhubarb to Butterflies. Bedrock to Marble. Turtles to Trolley… These are just a few of the learning highlights we’re featuring this week!  Peruse our list and make plans to get out into your community and learn while you play!

Community Highlights

There’s fun stuff happening over the next few days!  Down in the Pioneer Valley, families can check out the Amherst Town Fair on the Common all weekend, and take in a concert with Mister G at the Eric Carle Museum on Saturday.  Also in the Valley, Look Park in Florence turns on all their amenities too, including their water park and paddle boats! In the Hilltowns, the Massachusetts Sheep & Woolcraft Fair happens all weekend at the at the Cummington Fairgrounds with loads of hands-on learning opportunities, fiber arts, and animals.  Out in the Berkshires, there’s a Community Bike Ride in Pittsfield, Rhubarb Festival in Lenox and HoorWA’s annual Riverfest in Williamstown.  Then on Monday are Memorial Day Parades in various town across the region! Check out our short list of parade highlights!

HistoryTransportationAnimal StudiesScienceEntomologyGeologyNature StudiesParent Workshops

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33 Community Highlights: Lady’s Slipper to Bird Calls. Charcoal Industry to Historic Mill Sites.

If being in the garden with your kids is more your speed, be sure to check out the plant sales & swaps happening this Saturday in Cummington, Holyoke, Shelburne Falls, and Sunderland.

Healthy Smiles to Spring Fling. Lady’s Slipper to Bird Calls. Charcoal Industry to Historic Mill Sites… These are just a few of the learning highlights we’re featuring this week!  Peruse our list and make plans to get out into your community and learn while you play!

Community Highlights

With beautiful weather in the forecast, it’ll be a great weekend to head out to any of the many annual community celebrations taking place this weekend. Community highlights include the 34th annual Longmeaddowe Days in Longmeadow, 18th annual Springfest in Northampton, Muddy Brook Elementary School PTA’s annual Mud Day in Great Barrington, and Chester On Track which this year celebrates the 174th anniversary of the coming of the railroad to Chester!  There are also a couple of museum adventures awaiting families this Saturday with Museum Day at The Clark in Williamstown, and Art Museum Day at the Norman Rockwell Museum in Stockbridge.

Early ChildhoodHistoryAnimal/Nature StudiesPlant StudiesLanguage ArtsCommunity ServiceParent Workshops

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25 Community Highlights: Mother’s Day to Mamadrama. Steamboat Bill to Beaver Ponds.

Sunday is Mother’s Day! If you’re looking for ideas for getting out on Mother’s Day, we have a few suggestions

Mother’s Day to Plant Something Campaign. Mamadrama to Steamboat Bill. Beaver Ponds to Fishways… These are just a few of the learning highlights we’re featuring this week!  Peruse our list and make plans to get out into your community and learn while you play!

Brunch, Hike & Celebrate for Mother’s Day

Not up for breakfast in bed, then head out for breakfast or brunch.  We asked our readers for family friendly restaurant recommendations for Mother’s Day and they had several to offer. Check out Mother’s Day Brunch to see their suggestions… and add one of your own.

After breakfast/brunch, celebrate Mother’s Day by taking her to one of the many gorgeous gardens dotted throughout Western Massachusetts including the Bridge of Flower in Shelburne Falls, one of the Commonwealth’s most unusual and enchanting “gardens” is found in Franklin County.  Read our post The Art of Great Gardens in Western MA for a list of recommended public gardens in the region.

Looking for other ideas?  Check out our Mother’s Day Highlights!

Mother’s Day HighlightsAnimal StudiesLocal HistoryNature StudiesFilm StudiesPlant SalesParent Workshop

Read the rest of this entry »

A Few Ideas for Mother’s Day

Happy Mother’s Day, 2012

If you’re looking for ideas for getting out on Mother’s Day, we have a few suggestions…

Not up for breakfast in bed, then head out for breakfast or brunch.  We asked our readers for family friendly restaurant recommendations for Mother’s Day and they had several to offer. Check out Mother’s Day Brunch to see their suggestions… and add one of your own.

After breakfast/brunch, celebrate Mother’s Day by taking her to one of the many gorgeous gardens dotted throughout Western Massachusetts including the Bridge of Flower in Shelburne Falls, one of the Commonwealth’s most unusual and enchanting “gardens” is found in Franklin County.  Read our post The Art of Great Gardens in Western MA for a list of recommended public gardens in the region.

If you’re looking for something a little more scheduled, Old Sturbridge Village is offering free admission for moms on Mother’s Day. Families  can learn about 19th century life, including special programs focusing on the role of mothers (including a dinner preparation demonstration and a talk on 19th century motherhood).

And if Mother’s Day is more about making the littlest ones happy, moms ride for free on the trains at both Look Park in Florence and Forest Park Zoo in Longmeadow.

Music Trekking: Here Come Our Mothers

Here’s To Our Mothers!

Although Mothers Day as we know it is not recognized all over the globe, there is not one single culture that doesn’t celebrate the roles of mothers, grandmothers and similar figures in their folklore, stories and songs. Do other cultures love their moms and like to sing about them? You bet they do!

This month I wanted to share a song and video from the Zulu tradition. It’s called “Here Come Our Mothers, Bringing Us Presents.” It’s a song I learned from the wonderful South African performing group, Ladysmith Black Mambazo. The lyrics are in English with a chorus in Zulu, so the song is really easy to understand and enjoy.

Are you wondering what’s going on in the song and why the mothers are bringing presents? If so, you’ll probably enjoy the story behind the song that explains what is happening.

It would appear that Zulu moms are very much like any other moms – they work very hard all year long. For most of these moms living in small villages, they plant and grow food. After they’ve harvested their crops and saved what they need, they take the rest to town. There they will trade for other supplies to last the rest of the year. And, with the little bit of money that’s left over they will buy something special for their children. Maybe it will be a delicious piece of fruit or a special sweet only made in the nearby town. In any event, the kids consider this a really exciting day.

While the moms have disappeared on their trip to the market, the young people are at home waiting. On that day, they try their best not to fight with their siblings or cousins. They try to listen to their elders and they may even do extra chores without being asked. All this is done in anticipation of their mom’s return. When the mothers can finally be seen coming over the hill, the kids burst out into song. In the song, which is sung a bit different every time, they imagine what goodies they might be able to enjoy once their moms are safely and happily back home again.

If you sing this song you can make it different each time. You can add the names of fruits or vegetables you might like to get from the local farmers market or grocery store. You might add the names of treats or sweets you like and pretend that you’ve spent a whole day waiting for your mom to surprise you with them. Wouldn’t it be fun if the song said “Here Come Our Mothers, Bringing Us Maple Candy,” or maybe shaved ice from the Tuesday Market?! Feel free to play with the lyrics. That’s what a folksong is all about!

How will you celebrate Mother’s Day this year? Does your family have a special tradition? Comment here so we can learn more about the wonderful things you do to celebrate the special moms in your life!

If you like this video and want to color some pictures from it, you can download the coloring pages here:


Award-winning children’s performer, DARIA (Daria Marmaluk-Hajioannou) has created 7 cd’s that have won national honors. She has the most awesome job of traveling the world to sing for kids and peace. Her “world music for kids” website, www.dariamusic.com, was given a 2009 Parents Choice Award for its musical and cultural content.  She has also created a multicultural kids video site as well as My Favorite Multicultural Books.

A Love Song To Mothers

Your House is Strong
By Nerissa and Katryna Nields

MotherWoman wanted to find a unique way to celebrate mothers, so they teamed up with Western MA mother’s, Nerissa and Katryna Nields, and local photographer Sarah Prall and asked families and friends in Western MA to share what they received from mothers that they treasure most. The results… this beautiful and touching video! Share with other mother’s in your life!

MotherWoman is a locally based organization that supports and empowers mothers to create positive personal and social change for ourselves, our families, our communities and the world. www.MotherWomen.org

Suggested Events 05/08/10-05/14/10

Follow Hilltown Families on

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


Celebrating May in the Hilltowns. (Photo credit: Sienna Wildfield)

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


Friday, May 7th at Elmer’s Store in Ashfield: Cowboy Steak (bone-in ribeye) with roasted garlic mushrooms, chipotle and goat cheese mashed potatoes and grilled asparagus – or – Mediterranean couscous-stuffed eggplant with yogurt mint sauce and asparagus. BYOB 628-4003

Saturday, May 8th at Bread Euphoria in Haydenville: Sandwiches, salads, soups and pizza (including Gluten-Free pizza!).  Open mic! Beer & wine available. 268-7757

Saturday, May 8th at Blue House Cafe in Haydenville: Homemade vegetarian fare with local and organic ingredients. Open Mic with Steve Koziol! BYOB 268-7441

Sunday Brunch, May 9th at Remington Lodge in Cummington: Fresh fruit plate, Freshly baked muffins and breads, Eggs Florentine with home fries, Chocolate-dipped strawberries, Juice, coffee, and tea and . . . spring posies for all the mothers!. BYOB RSVP 634-5493


HILLTOWN SPRING FESTIVAL: The Hilltown Spring Festival, a daylong family-friendly celebration of Hilltown music, arts, culture and community, will take place Saturday, May 15th, 2010 from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. at the Cummington Fairgrounds. Produced by the Hilltown CDC, the fourth annual Festival will feature 15 musical acts on two performance stages, including headliners Charles Neville, The Primate Fiasco and Swing Caravan, all-day children’s activities, maypole, local food and local brews, arts and crafts and a sustainable living expo. – (LISTEN TO PSA)

FAMILY CONCERT: Brady Rymer will be performing a Sunday matinee concert for families at the Iron Horse on Sunday, May 16th, 2010 at 2pm in Northampton, as part of the No Nap Happy Hour Series.  More info here.


SPONSORSHIP, ADVERTISING & ANNOUNCEMENTS: Deliver your message to a large local family based audience while supporting the work of Hilltown Families. Advertise your event, camp, workshop, fundraiser, business or announcement here in the Bulletin Board section of our List of Weekly Suggested Events. – SPONSORSHIP: Interested in supporting the work of Hilltown Families?  Find out how to be a sponsor! Inquiries can email hilltownfamilies@gmail.com for details

Debra J’Anthony, Executive Director of the Academy of Music Theater in Northampton, MA writes: We continue to accept registration forms for our Summer Musical Theater Workshops for ages 7-14. Our first session, Encore, Glee Club, begins July 5th and is offered for children ages 11-14. The second session, First Act!, begins July 19th, running for two weeks for children ages 7-11. Call 584-9032 for more info.

MUSIC GIVEAWAY: Uncle Rock has released a new family CD, The Big Picture, and we have a copy to giveaway to one luck family!  Click here to find out how you can win a copy of his newest release!

RECYCLING BENEFIT: There will be an Electronic Recycling Collection May 15th, 2010 from 9-12 at Smith Vocational High School. The location is 80, Locust Street, Northampton, MA. The collection is open to the public- you do not need to be a Northampton resident. Recycling fees run between $2-$10 and benefit Northampton Public Schools. There is no charge to recycle printer cartridges or cell phones. Unable to accept refrigerators, freezers, dehumidifiers, or any appliances containing freon at this collection. Co-sponsored by the Northampton DPW, the Northampton Chamber of Commerce, The Daily Hampshire Gazette, and WRSI. Special thanks to Duseau Trucking.

FISHWAY: Each spring when the shadbush blooms, New Englanders have the opportunity to view an incredible natural phenomenon – the return of the American shad. The fishways on the Connecticut River help migrating fish over the dams and provide an opportunity to view these fish at underwater viewing windows. FirstLight Power Resources’ Turners Falls facility will open Saturday, May 15 and close Sunday, June 20. The migration season happens quickly, so plan your trip soon! For directions, hours of operations or to schedule a school program, please call (800) 859-2960 or Click here to download a fishway brochure which also contains information about Holyoke Gas and Electric’s Barrett Fishway.

Hilltown Spring FestivalCALL FOR KID CRAFTERS: Crafty kids up to 13yo are invited to participate in the Kids-Made Craft Bazaar from 1:30-3:30pm at the Hilltown Spring Festival on Saturday, May 15th.  The Hilltown CDC’s goals are to allow children to participate directly in the Festival, to reward them for their creativity, and to give them some real-world experience showing and selling their work. The Kids-Made Crafts area will be highlighted in a central covered area on the fairground, and all crafts and art must be hand-made predominantly by children and is only $5 per table.  For more information and registration, click here.

RECALL: Working in consultation with the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA), McNeil Consumer Healthcare is implementing a voluntary recall of infant and children’s liquid products due to manufacturing deficiencies which may affect quality, purity or potency. Following McNeil’s recall announcement on Friday evening, the FDA is providing additional advice to consumers.  More info here.

TICKET GIVEAWAY: Congratulations to Jennifer Page of Amherst, MA and Elizabeth Brooke-Willbanks of Easthampton, MA. Both families have won a pair of free tickets to see Dan Zanes performing with the Whole Children Community Chorus and special guest, local musician Mister G at First Churches in Northampton on Mother’s Day (May 9th).

VOLUNTEER OPPORTUNITY: Amherst Survival Center. Volunteers are needed to prepare, serve and clean up after meals; to help sort donations and drivers to pick up produce and baked goods for daily distribution. Call 549-3968, ext. 202 or email tracey@amherstsurvival.org.

SUBMIT A VOLUNTEER OPPORTUNITY: Looking for volunteers for your non-profit, service organization or not-for-profit event? Post your “call for volunteers” on our Community Bulletin Board for profile consideration.



Hilltown Family Variety ShowHFVS airs every Saturday from 9-10am, and encores air on Sundays from 7-8am, on 103.3FM WXOJ Northampton, MA

Tune in on Saturdays from 9-10am, or listen to our podcasts HERE. Encore episodes are aired every Sunday from 7-8am. Families have several ways to tune in to the Hilltown Family Variety Show:

  • Streaming Audio: Surf on over to ValleyFreeRadio.org on Saturday & Sunday mornings and listen to us live via streaming audio.
  • On Your FM Dial: Tune in to WXOJ 103.3FM if you live near Northampton, MA.
  • HFVS Podcast

    PODCAST: Listen to the most recent episodes of the Hilltown Family Variety Show anytime you wish! Click here to see our current select of episodes, and be sure to subscribe to our podcast too!


    Suggest an Event | Local Forecast | Free Museum Passes | Family Centers (Ages 0-4) | Movies in the Valley | Movies in the Berkshires | Farmer’s Market | PSA

    Events Happening in the Hilltowns
    SATURDAY – 5/8

    Hilltown Family Variety Show6-10am – FAMILY RADIO: Mother’s Day Episode! Valley Free Radio (WXOJ-LP 103.3FM Northampton, MA) offers 4-hours of commercial-free family programing every Saturday, including the Hilltown Family Variety Show and Spare the Rock. Tune in on your FM dial, or listen live via streaming audio at www.valleyfreeradio.org.

    9am-12Noon –FAMILY WALK/RUN: Berkshire Trail Elementary “Spirit of Learning” 5K Run & Walk. Cummington, MA (FUNDRAISER)

    9:30am-12Noon – NATURE STUDIES: Grab the family and come dig up and learn now to eat Garlic Mustard: Learn how to properly identify, pull and dispose of garlic mustard plants. As an alternative and fun means of disposal, edible wild plant expert Blanche Derby will lead a demonstration and tasting of some easy recipes for garlic mustard that will take place afterwards on the beautiful grounds of the Bryant Homestead. 268-8219 Cummington, MA (FREE)

    10-11am – NATURE STUDIES: Fascinating Frogs: Exploring Life Cycles with Rachel Roberts at Northfield Mountain Recreation and Environmental Center. A program about life cycles. Variety of hands-on science and art activities connected to life cycles with a focus on frogs, including a story time about the life of tree frogs and time to look at books about other frogs and life cycles. This class will reinforce participants’ understanding of animal behavior and the cycles of nature around us all year long. Ages 4 and older. 800-859-2960 Northfield, MA (FREE)

    10-11:30am – NATURE STUDIES: Falconry Up Close at the Hitchcock Center for the Environment. Chris Davis, Master Falconer, provides the opportunity to observe up close the handling and free-flying of a trained hawk. Experience the ancient art of falconry while learning about the life history of raptors, their role in the environment, and the efforts underway to ensure their survival and conservation. Appropriate for ages 8 and up accompanied by an adult. Space is limited. Pre-registration is required; please call 256-6006 www.hitchcockcenter.org Amherst, MA ($)

    10am-12Noon – CRAFTS: Mother’s Day Floral Arrangement at the Whately Library. Drop in for an all ages craft project. Adults and children are welcome to make a spring wreath or arrangement for Mother’s Day. Fiona will guide you and all materials will be provided. Feel free to bring additional flowers, ribbons, or containers you would like to use. Funding for this program has been provided from the Friends of the Library. Whatley, MA (FREE)

    10am-1pm – OUTDOOR ADVENTURES: The Art of Shelter with Earthwork Programs. Learn the skills to make your own shelter in the wilderness, using all natural materials. 522-0338 www.earthworkprograms.com Northampton, MA ($$)

    10am-2:30pm – OUTDOOR ADVENTURES: Youth Fishing Derby. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Northeast Regional Office (300 Westgate Center Drive) will hold a Free Youth Fishing Derby for children14yo and under. Participants will fish in a stocked pond. Other activities include face painting, arts and crafts, and casting demonstrations. Prizes will be awarded in three age categories. Refreshments on sale by local Boy and Girl Scout Troops. Hadley, MA (FREE)

    10am-11pm – COMMUNITY FAIR: On the Town Common in Amherst, sponsored by the Rotary Club.  Rides for kids, games, rock climbing wall, food and more.  Amherst, MA (FREE)

    10:30am-12Noon – ARCHITECTURAL STUDIES: Students and adults can discover local architectural styles with local historian and retired city planner Robert McCarroll who will lead a walking tour to see Springfield’s Art Deco-style buildings. The tour will begin at the Springfield Museums. Art Deco was a modernistic, streamlined, sleekly decorative style that was popular between the two world wars. McCarroll will discuss the Art Deco features of several Springfield buildings, including the state office building on Dwight Street, the Community Music School building on State Street, and the art and science museums at the Quadrangle. For additional information, call the Armoury-Quadrangle Civic Association at 413-747-1830 or email aqca@kimballtowers.com Springfield, MA (>$)

    10:30am-12Noon – CRAFTS: Painting with Wool Worksop: An Introduction to Felt Making. A 2-hour workshop at the Wistariahurst Museum with Sue McFarland. Learn techniques along with the history of felt making. Students 12yo & older. RSVP 322-5660 www.wistariahurst.org Holyoke, MA ($)

    11am – PUPPET SHOW: Watershed Waltz, a puppet performance for kids 5-12yo at North Hall. Music, storytelling and shadow puppetry. Explore the dynamics of a healthy watershed with an 11-year-old boy as he teaches his mother about the watershed. 667-5543 www.northhallhuntington.org Huntington, MA (KIDS FREE, Adults donation)

    11am – MEMORY WALK: Empty Arms Mothers Day Walk at Look Park. This walk is a fundraiser, but also stands as an opportunity for the community to come together to honor all mothers on Mother’s Day Weekend. Donations are optional but your presence is worth so much to the families involved. 529-1610 carolmcmurrich@comcast.net Florence, MA (Fundraiser)

    11am-1:30pm – COOKING: Mother’s Day Lunch, a hands-on For kids (8-12yo) at Different Drummer’s Kitchen Co. Cooking School. Here is every mom’s dream: drop off your kids for a wonderful cooking class with talented cooking teacher Barbara Morse. Then go shopping, get a manicure, do whatever you fancy. When you return an hour and a half later, you will be treated to a delicious meal prepared by the young chefs. What better gift for Mother’s Day! 800-375-2665 www.differentdrummerskitchen.com Northampton, MA ($$)

    11am-12Noon – NATURE STUDIES: Stories from Nature’s Garden at the Lee Library (100 Main Street). Join The Trustees of Reservations horticulturalist Anne Gannon for a free program of indoor stories and activities sharing the wonders of nature in all seasons. 243-0385 Lee, MA (FREE)

    11:30am-1:30pm – NATURE STUDIES: Eyes On Owls: Celebrate International Migratory Bird Day. Join naturalist Marcia Wilson and photographer Mark Wilson in sharing their passion for owls! They will be holding two live owl presentations at the International Migratory Bird Day celebration at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Region Office (300 Westgate Center Drive). The building is located south of the intersection of Route 9 and Route 116 North. Hadley, MA

    1-2:30pm – NATURE STUDIES: Stream Explorers, a workshop for kids 10yo+. Discover the magic of streams! Wear waterproof footwear, bring bag lunch. Desserts provided. Parents may wait indoors at North Hall. Space is limited. Registration is required: 667-5543 www.northhallhuntington.org Huntington, MA (FREE)

    1-3pm – HENNA PARTY: At the Meekins Library, Sangita Desigawill henna your hands with a beautiful flower design.  Call to sign up, 268-7472. Williamsburg, MA

    1pm & 3pm – THEATER: Berkshire Theater Festival Presents Hansel & Gretel in the auditorium at the Eric Carle Museum. 658-1126 www.carlemuseum.org Amherst, MA ($)

    1-3pm – GAMES: Drop-in Chess at the Forbes Library Mezzanine. Casual meets every Saturday the library is open. All competition levels are welcome. Drop in for part or all of the session. Bring your own set if you have one or use one of the library’s. Northampton, MA (FREE)

    1-3pm – NATURE STUDIES: Broad Brook Coalition presents a mid-spring nature hike with botanist, Connie Parks at Fitzgerald Lake Conservation Area. Discover ephemeral spring wildflowers and signs of plants to come. Sturdy footwear. Meet at the North Farms Road entrance. Florence, MA (FREE)

    2pm-8pm – CULTURAL EVENT: Batepapo Festa, a Brazilian celebration, at North Star. Capoeira workshops, Brazillian BBQ, games, music and more. 386-8316 Hadley, MA (Fundraiser)

    5-8pm – ART WALK: Art Walk Easthampton is held the “Second Saturday” of the month. Locations across the city showcase visual, music and performance art in an energetic sampling of local, regional and national talent. All events are free. Parking is free. Art Walk Easthampton is made possible, in part, by a grant from the Easthampton Cultural Council and the support of Mantis Graphics which makes our large, yellow banners. Easthampton, MA (FREE)

    7:30pm – CONCERT: Mother’s Day Benefit Concert to benefit the Prison Birth Project. A multigenerational feast of song at Edwards Church. 584-3843 www.theprisonbirthproject.org Northampton, MA (FUNDRAISER, Under 6yo Free)

    8-9pm – NATURE STUDIES: Nocturnal Pond explorations at Red Gate Farm. Tromp down to the farm pond and experience the evening come alive! Learn more about tadpoles, peepers and other springtime pond activity as children get firsthand experience with evening pond life and creatures of the wetlands. All ages welcome. Please call the Farm Office to register. 625-9503 www.redgatefarm.org Buckland, MA (>$)

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    Motherhood in the 1800’s at OSV

    Historical Look at Motherhood at Old Sturbridge Village on Mother’s Day

    With so much cooking done at hearthside, fire was the number one danger for children in early New England households. No doubt one of the earliest words children learned was ‘Hot!’

    Moms get free admission to Old Sturbridge Village on Mother’s Day, Sunday May 9th, and family events are planned throughout the weekend. Children can meet the baby animals on the farm, and enjoy indoor crafts, including making block printed note cards for a Mother’s Day gift. Moms can gain insights on childbirth, raising children and running a frugal household from OSV costumed historians portraying Midwife Lucy Tucker and 19th century author Lydia Maria Child, who wrote The Mother’s Book. OSV horticulturists will present “The Family Nurse’s Tour of the Herb Garden” and a special Mother’s Day Brunch will be served in the Oliver Wight Tavern.

    Although Mother’s Day is a modern invention, OSV historians note that by the 1830s, a “cult of domesticity” began to glorify the home and women’s role in it. Home was viewed as a sanctuary and refuge from the increasingly bustling and depersonalized outside world.

    Despite this trend to glorify home and hearth, “being a mom in the 1830s was a very rigorous job,” notes Deb Friedman, director of public program at Old Sturbridge Village. “Women typically had five or six children and they worked straight through their pregnancies – handling all the endless chores necessary in running a household.

    Unlike today, there were no ready-made strollers, swings, porta-cribs and playpens,” Friedman says. “Moms made do with what they had. For baby walkers, they simply placed ladder-backed chairs flat on the floor so babies could push the chair and toddle behind. Antique chairs were often worn flat on the back from generations of children learning to walk.”

    With so much cooking done at hearthside, fire was the number one danger for children in early New England households. “No doubt one of the earliest words children learned was ‘Hot!’ ” Friedman says.

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    Mother’s Day Episode on HFVS (05/09/09)

    Mother’s Day Episode

    WXOJ LP – 103.3 FM – Valley Free Radio
    Northampton, MA
    Saturday mornings from 9-10am

    05/09/09 PLAYLIST

    listen LIVE via streaming audio | request a song | subscribe to free podcast
    archived shows | contests | myspace | facebook

    • The Dream Jam Band – “Nicky Nicky Knock Knock” [The Dream Jam Band]
    • Justin Roberts – “From Scratch” [Pop Fly]
    • Claire Bloom – “Of What Became of the Parents of the 49 Children” [Nonsense Stories and Poems by Edward Lear]
    • The Hipwaders – “Always Mom” [Goodie Bag]Music
    • Tom Paxton – “Ride My Bike” [I’ve Got a Yo-Yo]
    • Recess Monkey – “Ice Pack” [Field Trip]Music
    • The Bacon Brother & Mickey Hart – “Pots & Pans” [Dog Train]
    • Jetta and the Jellybeans – “Good Pet Mommy” [Tell Me What You Want to Be]Music
    • Station Id: Steve Weeks [www.steveweeksmusic.com]
    • Tomie De Paola – “Strega Nona”
    • Anne Bobby – “Old Mother Hubbard” [A Child’s Introduction to Poetry]
    • Laura Freeman – “Mother Hubbard’s Dog” [A Baker’s Dozen]
    • Twink – “Grandmother Meets the Wolf” [The Broken Record]
    • AudraRox – “Moms & Dads” [Park Slope Parents]
    • The Dream Jam Band – “Look Around” [The Dream Jam Band]
    • Caspar Babypants – “Bug in the Cuff” [Here I Am!]Music
    • Spiral Up Kids – “Friends” [Spiral Up Kids]Music
    • Paul Simon – “Mother and Child Reunion” [Negotiations and Love Songs 1971-1986]
    • Stevie Wonder – “I Wish” [Songs in the Key of Life]

    Suggested Events 05/09/09-05/15/09

    Learning to fish in Chesterfield, MA

    Fishing derbies are happening this time of year. On Saturday (May 9th, 2009) from 9-11:30am, children ages 14 and under are invited to Chesterfield's Annual Fishing Derby at the Bisbee Pond, sponsored by the Chesterfield 4 Seasons Club. Bring your fising poles and bait. Food and prizes will be offered. (Photo credit: Sienna Wildfield)


    If you have a family-friendly event or educational program happening in Western Massachusetts that you’d like to let us know about, post your event on ourSuggest An Event page.  The events below are “suggested.”  Please take the time to confirm that these events are happening, along with time, location, age appropriateness and costs before attending.


    There are several Mother’s Day activities happening in the area (listed below). Here are a few links for Mother’s Day:

    CHILDREN’S BOOK WEEK (May 9th-17th)

    In celebration of Book Week and School Library Media Month, Education World presents dozens of book-themed activities, lessons, and projects, from our archive! Included: How to write better book reports, stage a “Literature Day,” compose Harry Potter haiku, plus additional classroom activities for teaching about fairy tales, folk tales, biographies, and more!  Click HERE to discover more.


    Tune in to the Hilltown Family Variety Show on Saturdays from 9-10am on Valley Free Radio (VFR), 103.3FM (Northampton, MA), or listen via streaming audio at www.ValleyFreeRadio.org for our Mother’s Day Episode of HFVS.

    Every Saturday VFR offers four hours of commercial-free, quality family program from 6-10am, including Spare the Rock, Spoil the Child from 7am-9am. It’s better than Saturday morning cartoons!

    New music we’re listening to:

    • Spiral Up Kids by Spiral Up Kids
    • Here I Am! by Caspar Babypants.

    Music from both CD’s is featured this week on HFVS.

    Suggest an Event | Local Forecast | Get Directions | Free Museum Passes | Farmer’s Market | Family Centers (Ages 0-4) | Facebook

    Events Happening in the Hilltowns

    Saturday – 05/09

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    Join the Peaceable Planet Mother’s Day Puppet Parade in Northampton

    Beth Fairservis of Northampton, MA writes:

    Sun Puppet

    The Sun Puppet (Photo credit: Sienna Wildfield)

    Join the Fourth Annual Peaceable Planet Mother’s Day Puppet Parade in Northampton, MA on Mother’s Day. The task is simple. Take some time to consider:  How care for our mothers, for our children, for other cultures mother’s and children and care for Mother Earth is important to you.

    Find an image or words and some kind of medium to express it, like paint, collage, sculpture, a costume or making a puppet, (we also have puppets who need carriers if you would like to jump in one!) or just come and walk with your mothers, babies, and friends!

    And join me and the Great Mama puppet, who will be pushing the Earth in a baby carriage, the sun puppet, the wind, the Grandmother and Grandfather, the Milk Mama and many others:

    • When: Mother’s Day, Sunday, May 10th
    • Time: 11 am, we march at Noon
    • Where: The Bridge Street School, in Northampton, at the bottom of town on Rte 9, as you round the corner to get to the bridge towards Amherst. The School will be on your left.

    We will march to Pulaski Park in Northampton, MA and have a brief ceremony in the name of Julia Ward Howe and then you are all welcome to come to my house for a potluck celebration of life-giving mother energy!

    Please let me know if you are planning on coming: Beth Fairservis  bethbirth@crocker.com.

    Joyous Spring to you all!

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