Annual Holiday Stroll in Shelburne Falls the Day After Thanksgiving

Moonlight Magic Kicks off the Holiday Season in the Village of Shelburne Falls
Friday, November 23rd, 2012

This annual holiday event begins with the “Lighting of the Village” at approximately 4pm.  At 5:15pm, the annual Parade of Lights will cross over the Iron Bridge spanning across the Deerfield River from Buckland to Shelburne. Mole Hollow Candle Co. will again be providing 1,200 luminary candles which will line both sides of the streets throughout the village as Santa, the Grinch, the Snow Princess and many more make their way through town. (Photo credit: Sienna Wildfield)

Moonlight Magic is a community tradition held annually on the Friday after Thanksgiving coinciding with the annual “Holiday Lighting of the Village” in Shelburne Falls, MA. Many special features add to the traditional festive evening of family fun and holiday spirit in this classic New England village on the Mohawk Trail. The streets are filled with luminary candles, caroling, sidewalk sales, art events and craft demonstrations; Vendor tables are set along the sidewalks with local non-profit group’s holiday wreaths, baked goods and crafts; Live music and roving performers will be present on both sides of the river throughout the evening.; and Stores, galleries and restaurants stay open late for special holiday promotions.

The streets and local venues will be filled with music too. Many local vocal and instrumental groups will perform at designated sites and along the streets, including Uncle Hal’s Crabgrass Band, Last Night’s Fun Celtic Band, and the Expandable Brass Band. If your in need to warm up, stop in anytime at Memorial Hall Theater where children and their families can watch cartoons (traditionally Looney Tunes) on the big screen from 5:30-8pm, and families can stop into Santa’s Workshop at the Shelburne-Buckland Senior Center.

The Shelburne Falls Trolley Museum will be open too. This will be a rare opportunity to ride the brightly lit and beautifully restored Trolley No. 10 after dark. While you wait for the Trolley, warm up by the potbelly stove and enjoy a cup of warm cider in the museum’s classic restored wooden caboose.  Take the Trolley to the Museum’s visitor center for interesting historic period displays of life in the area one hundred years ago. The kids will love the operating displays of toy trains.

Thanks to the Academy at Charlemont, a shuttle service will be provided with stops at Eddie’s Wheels, Christopher’s Grinders, the Trolley Museum, Buckland-Shelburne Elementary School, and Arms Academy from 4-8pm. The Iron Bridge will be closed to vehicular traffic so that folks can stroll back and forth enjoying events and open shops on both sides of the river.

Community Service: Shelburne Falls Trolley Museum

Families Can Volunteer at the Shelburne Falls Trolley Museum

Volunteers at the museum provide rides on the trolley and other historic railroad equipment, guide interpretive tours, repair the railroad tracks and are in the process of restoring many of the historic buildings and railroad equipment in the former Boston and Main railroad yard.

Help to preserve local history and an important part of the evolution of transportation by volunteering at the Shelburne Falls Trolley Museum!

The museum is home to trolleys, a pump car, and information and memorabilia related to local history and the history of train and trolley transportation. Volunteers at the museum can help with many different tasks, depending on skills, interest, and age.

“There are opportunities for almost every interest in railroads and history here at the museum”, says Sam Bartlett.  The museum has an extensive collection of historic rail road equipment which is still used in operation. This includes a hundred year old “pump car” used by track repair crews which also rolls out on the weekends for visitor rides.

Volunteers under the age of 16 must be accompanied by an adult (who is also volunteering), but can choose activities based on their abilities and interests. Older kids can train to be pump car operators (12+) or to be motor operators or conductors on trolleys.

There will be a volunteer training session on May 19th, 2012 for new volunteers! Call the museum at 413-625-9443 or visit www.sftm.org for more information.

[Photo credit: (ccl) Brian Fisk]

A Day at the Shelburne Falls Trolley Museum

School’s Out

Engineer Polly Bartlett shows the boys how to operate the pump car at the Shelburne Falls Trolley Museum. (Photo credit: Karen Bayne)

School’s out! The last time it was this hot, my family and I had just moved to Northampton from a sleepy Connecticut suburb, there were two weeks until school started, and we knew nothing and no one. We spent every hot afternoon at Look Park, running through the much beloved sprinklers. Now that it is summer again, we are more or less unpacked and ready adventures. My boys are 11, 6 and 4. The age span can be a challenge for us. My summer goal is to find places we can frequent that satisfy us all, build bridges between the boys’ different ages and temperaments and wear them out so they will sleep heartily at night.

I decided to surprise Matt on Father’s Day with a short day trip to Shelburne Falls. The Shelburne Falls Trolley Museum is home to trolley car #10. This trolley belonged to the Shelburne Falls & Colrain Railway company which closed up shop in 1928. It was saved by a farmer, used as a chicken coop and then refurbished in 1999.  It is a charming little trolley, with a shiny dark wood interior, the original frosted glass windows at the top and fresh exterior boards painted a perfect farm yellow. Our tickets were punched, the lights came on, the kids sat at attention for the short ride.

While the conductor turned the line around for our return trip, we had a bit of a history lesson from the guide.  We learned that car #10 was a combination car. It carried both cargo and passengers. One side hauled cotton, apples and vinegar from the farms to town and the other side carried passengers, usually workers or students who used the trolley to commute to high school in Colrain.  High school feels like a world away to me now, but I pictured my boys as teenagers, commuting by trolley in 1920, hopping on, eyeing the barrel full of apples in the cargo section, borrowing the fare from a friend, swimming in the Deerfield River to cool down once they reached home again.

Bridge of Flowers, built in 1908 by the Shelburne Falls & Colrain Railway company. (Photo credit: Isaac Bayne)

When #10 headed back, we found ourselves in a race with the pump car on the nearby track. Engineer Polly, along with a teenager and her grandpa were flying down the track pumping the handles, hair whipping everywhere.  My six year old assures me that we won, as trolleys cannot be beat. The boys were intent on riding the pump car, because they are the fastest ever. I thought maybe Theo was too young so Matt took Isaac and Henry first. Polly, our engineer, assumed control of our family for a short time, as she explained the purposes and rules of the pump car. Henry was to stand on the side and hold on to the bar in the center.  Isaac and Matt face forward and pumped side by side at the back. Polly pumped at the front and controlled the foot break.

On the way back, Henry was allowed to pump, as she determined he was both tall enough and old enough to follow the instructions. When I took Theo on he held on tight with two hands and kept his feet on the platform. He will have to grow a few more inches until he can pump without it bumping his chin, but he has just turned 4. Polly instructed him not to wave at daddy, as she wanted both hands on the bar. When we coasted in, Theo did not wave but gave a big smile, with a “hello there!” He was quite pleased with himself. All the kids got a “I drove the pump car” sticker.  Before we left, the boys crawled all over the yet to be restored little caboose. They climbed up to the upper seats, admired the wood burning stove & the “closet potty” in the corner. We poked around the museum for a bit, enjoying this store house of trolley treasure, with telegraph machines and electric trains running.

Glacial Potholes in Shelburne Falls, MA. (Photo credit: Isaac Bayne)

Since we were in Shelburne Falls, we crossed the famous Bridge of Flowers, which was built in 1908 by the trolley company itself. Just a few years after the trolleys stopped running, the town itself saved this bridge transforming it into a glorious garden. I expected to have a difficult time in engaging the boys in the viewing of a garden, but walking on a foot bridge over a river was entertaining for Theo. Henry was happy to direct my attention to the smell and colors of different roses and Isaac was pleased when I set the camera to macro and showed him how to photographs the flowers close up.  On the far side of the bridge, we visited the Glacial Potholes. My kids are easily impressed by geological formations (also known as rocks), and these were very impressive rocks which can be very safely view from the observation deck. The boys itched to get down and scramble in the river bed, but the glacial potholes are actual holes in the river bed left by stones swirling in the river when it swelled with the melting of the glaciers. We left with promises to find another spot for river scrambling and swimming. There are many hot days of summer ahead.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Karen Bayne

Karen grew up in Manhattan and lived in Connecticut before moving to Northampton with her husband Matt to raise their boys. Her sons Isaac, Henry and Theo are 11, 6 and 4,  leaving Karen on a search for all the “just right adventures” that will wow them and wear them out.  She works as a birth doula, childbirth and parent educator in the greater Northampton area. She writes about mothering at Needs New Batteries and about birth in our culture at Gentle Balance Birth.

Staycation Location: Shelburne Falls, MA

Local Day Trip to Shelburne Falls, MA

Bridge of Flowers in Shelburne Falls, MA

Bridge of Flowers (Photo credit: Sienna Wildfield)

The summer vacation time is in full swing! And, with frugality more in than ever, more and more vacationers are opting to stay close to home. Within forty five minutes of Springfield, Holyoke and Northampton is the delightful town of Shelburne Falls, Massachusetts.

Shelburne Falls is located in the Franklin County area of Massachusetts along the scenic Mohawk Trail. It is also home to the Shelburne Falls Trolley Museum. The museum is a great operating attraction for families of all ages. Featuring restored Trolley Number 10, the original trolley which ran across the Bridge of Flowers, plus an operating pump car and steam locomotive display.

Ancient Glacier Pot Holes - Geological Wonder (Shelburne Falls, MA)

Ancient Glacier Pot Holes: Geological Wonder (Photo credit: Sienna Wildfield)

Besides the operating trolley museum, other town features include:

  • Cafes, such as McCusker’s Market Co-Op
  • Artisan Shops, including handblown glass demos at Angelic Glass
  • Restaurants
  • Historic Bridge of Flowers(photo above)
  • Famed Glacial Potholes of the Deerfield River

Read the rest of this entry »

Moonlight Magic in Shelburne Falls, 2008

Moonlight Magic in Shelburne Falls on November 28th, 2008

It’s exciting and magical! Moonlight Magic takes over Shelburne Falls on Friday, November 28, 2008 from 4:30 – 10:00 PM.

Moonlight Magic is a community tradition held annually on the Friday after Thanksgiving coinciding with the annual “Holiday Lighting of the Village.” Many special features add to the traditional festive evening of family fun and holiday spirit in this classic New England village on the Mohawk Trail. Stores, galleries and restaurants stay open late for special holiday promotions. The streets are filled with caroling, sidewalk sales, art events and craft demonstrations. There will be vendor tables along the sidewalks with local non-profit groups holiday wreaths, baked goods and crafts. Live music and roving performers will be present on both sides of the river throughout the evening.

 

  • The Shelburne Falls Trolley Museum will be open. This will be a rare opportunity to ride the brightly lit and beautifully restored Trolley No. 10 after dark. While you wait for the Trolley, warm up by the potbelly stove and enjoy a cup of warm cider in the museums classic restored wooden caboose. Take the Trolley to the Museum’s visitor center for interesting historic period displays of life in the area one hundred years ago. The kids will love the operating displays of toy trains.
  • Mole Hollow Candle Company, a local candle company, provides 1500 luminary candles to line the village streets and sidewalks. The town lights up about 4:45 pm with the help of many volunteers. Bridge Street,
    the main thoroughfare, will become a pedestrian walkway to allow space for street performers and holiday strollers.
  • Santa will arrive about 4:45 PM on Deerfield Avenue and will be serenaded to his workshop at the Shelburne Senior Center. Children will be greeted at Santa’s Workshop for the first part of the evening.
  • Cartoons will be shown on the big screen in the Memorial Hall Theater.
  • Singing and instrumental groups will perform about town.
  • There will be family fun and children’s activities such as cookie decorating, ornament making, and candle dipping. Knights in armor will greet people at Wandering Moon. Many of the village merchants will have in-store promotions and specials. Shelburne Falls is a great place to find one-of-a-kind and hand-made gift items.
  • At the Shelburne Senior Center there will be a craft sale and the Mountain Lodge.
  • A. F. & A. M.’s will offer soups and other items from their kitchen.
  • Around the corner at the Village Information Center, Shelburne Falls Women’s Club will hold their annual Cookie Shoppe. The Friends of Arms Library will be holding their annual holiday book sale. Craft fairs will be held in the Eagles Hall and at the VFW. Many other private and non-profit groups will be offering items at sidewalk sales throughout the village.
  • The Village Information Center, open throughout the evening, will provide accessible public restrooms.

 

 

More information online at www.sftm.org or www.shelburnefalls.com


Do you have a local community event you would like to share on Hilltown Families? Email hilltownfamilies@gmail.com and let us know.

Get Involved and Discover the History of Railroads

Volunteers Keep 111 year old Trolley on Track
New Member Orientation Day April 19th

Based in the old Boston & Maine freight yard, the Shelburne Falls Trolley Museum, in  Shelburne Falls, Massachusetts, is a non-profit educational organization that has restored one of the original trolley’s, Trolley No. 10, originally used to transport passengers, apples, mail, milk and other freight. (Photo (c) SFTM)

With a “ding-ding” of the bell, Sam Bartlett ratchets up the electric power on car Number Ten. The hundred and eleven year old wooden trolley responds and pulls away from the station at Salmon Falls. Sam is a motorman and wears several other hats at the Shelburne Falls Trolley Museum, a stone’s throw from the glacial potholes and Historic Bridge of Flowers, a former trolley bridge that connected Shelburne Falls with Colrain.

After it’s heyday of carting back and forth, the trolley was retired and spent sixty-five years as a chicken coop. That’s until a team of volunteers and train enthusiasts step in and transformed both train and station into a viable museum that explores both the mechanics of trains and history of the railroad.

Today, volunteers at the museum provide rides on the trolley and other historic railroad equipment, guide interpretive tours, repair the railroad tracks and are in the process of restoring many of the historic buildings in the former Boston and Main railroad yard. If your family has an interest in discovering more about both our local history and locomotive workings, parents and age appropriate children might like to discover volunteer opportunities at the museum. As the museum gears up for the spring operating season and opening day in May, they are on the lookout for fresh recruits interested in restoring and carrying on the traditions of the trolley car era. Read the rest of this entry »

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