Holidays

Celebrate New Year's at Northampton's First Night

There is only one outdoor festival in Western Massachusetts celebrating First Night and that of course is in Northampton. This 12 hour family friendly festival kicks off at noon at the Academy of Music with a presentation of SHOW Circus Studio's eye-popping Holiday Party. 

There are literally hundreds of performers at 20 various venues in an astounding array of entertainment throughout the night. For a list of performances, click here.

One of the things I love about this festival is that the fireworks take place at 6:15pm. Plenty of time for the little ones to enjoy various performances, check out the fireworks, and then either stay for more fun, or head home just in time for bed.

Later, event goers will gather at the Hotel Northampton for the raising of the ball. D.J. Johnny Memphis pays homage to the New Year by spinning tunes that will have you dancing in the streets by midnight.

Of course you can enjoy some of the activities, such as the fireworks free of charge, but to get the most of the evening, purchase A single bargain-priced button which opens the doors to every event at every venue.

For more information, check out First Night Northampton.

 

Pamela Sclafani is the Marketing Manager for Coldwell Banker Upton Massamont. She lives in the Pioneer Valley and enjoys everything it has to offer, gorgeous scenery, hills and mountains for hiking, lakes for paddle boarding, the change of seasons, and the close proximity to Boston and New York.

 

Ring in the New Year!

As 2017 approaches, you might be contemplating how to ring in the New Year. How about hosting a neighborhood party? A New Year’s Eve party isn’t just a way to have some fun; it’s a chance to get to know your neighbors. Read on for some ideas on how to host an extra-special soiree in your home.

Make Your Own Bubbly Bar

If you really want to dazzle your friends and neighbors, transform your bar cart into a mobile bubbly bar. Fill it with all kinds of beverages: wine, champagne, and ready-to-mix juices and soda. Use drinkware in different sizes to add a touch of whimsy. Here’s a fun extra: Include a fortune cookie inside each glass. Before guests sip their beverage of choice, they’re treated to a prediction about the year ahead.

Go Glam

If there was ever a time to get glitzy and glamorous, it’s New Year’s Eve. But don’t just think about your wardrobe and jewelry; look to your party decor. What’s an easy way to jazz up your party and make it festive for a midnight toast? Add some sparkle to your wine, martini and champagne glasses (and even your bottles of bubbly). Check out this tutorial on how to make your own sparkling drinkware. It’s an interesting idea that adds a sophisticated touch to your New Year’s celebration.

Get Inventive with Photos

If you want to go all out, spring for a photo booth at your party for a fun way to document the festivities. Don’t want to go that route? Designate an area in your home as a photo zone. Bring in some creative props (colorful boas, cowboy hats, and 2016 glasses are all musts). Ask your guests to put their goals in writing on a chalkboard square, and then snap a photo of their resolutions. It’s a great memento and a fun reminder of what they hope to accomplish.

Happy New Year

This New Year’s Eve, make a connection with your neighbors by hosting an unforgettable bash. By implementing a few of the ideas above, it’s easy to ring in the New Year in style.

 

 

Bright Nights is Bigger and Better Than Ever!

Bright Nights at Forest Park in Springfield! If you haven't been in a while, or at all, it's time to make the short trek to Springfield!

First of all, did you know that Bright Nights was named as one of the Top 100 Attractions in North America? Seven Times! And it's right in our backyard here in Western Massachusetts!

Did you also know that Bright Nights features more than 650,000 lights along a three mile tour? It's amazing!

Since 1995, when Bright Nights first opened, there have been more than 3.8 million visitors!

In addition to the lighting display there are other things to enjoy!

  • If you'd like to see Bright Nights a little differently, enjoy the display via a horse drawn wagon or carriage. They depart every half hour from 5:30PM-8:30PM, Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays, weather dependent.
  • On December 25 and January 1, there will be Free craft making for kids at Santa's Magical Forest (while supplies last).
  • Don't forget to visit the gift shop to bring home a memory of Bright Nights! Just take a left after Seuss Land and experience Bright Nights out of your vehicle.

The Hours of Bright Nights are:

Sunday through Thursday – 5PM to 9PM

Friday, Saturday and Holidays* – 5PM to 11PM

For more information, visit their website at: http://www.brightnights.org

 

 

 

 

Holiday House Plants

The winter winds are blowing here in Western Massachusetts and our gardens are resting beneath a fresh blanket of snow. Bring your gardening indoors with bright and colorful house plants, which are a fine way to show off your gardening expertise. Many of the plants that bring joy during the holiday season are outdoor plants that are brought indoors before the first frost.

Christmas Cactus Symbolic of the holiday season, the Christmas cactus is a colorful and festive addition to any décor. Hardy and easy to care for, Christmas cactus requires good filtered sunlight, nutrient rich soil, and neglect. Over-watering is the major cause of problems when raising indoor cacti so only water when soil is thoroughly dry. Many houseplants, including Christmas cactus are sensitive to “city water” treated with fluoride. If your tap water is fluorinated, water your plants with purchased water with a pH of 7.5 or collect rainwater or melt snow to provide the healthy, uncontaminated moisture houseplants crave.

Cyclamen Popular as a seasonal, easy-care houseplant, Cyclamen varieties typically show their best blooms between Thanksgiving and the Christmas Holiday. With a bit of tender, loving care, Cyclamen plants will add a colorful accent to the home for years to come. Cyclamen colors range from pink, purple, to red with sturdy, eye-catching leaves in shades of deep green swirled with grey-green markings. Cyclamen plants prefer indirect light and a cool location away from drafts. This hardy interior plant does best in temperatures between 55 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit. If temps drop below 50 degrees F. the plant will suffer and leaves turn yellow and drop.

Amaryllis Presently multiple spectacular flowers grown from a single large bulb, the Amaryllis brightens any décor. Widely available during the holidays season at garden shops and home and garden centers, the Amaryllis make a lovely gift of striking beauty that will re-bloom for years to come. Bulbs are planted in a pot in the garden if the weather is warm and move indoors when the mercury drops. In addition to spectacular blooms the Amaryllis presents thick, long strapping leaves to add visual interest and a touch of greenery. The hardy Amaryllis prefers indirect sunlight or dappled shade. When grown indoors, rotate the pot periodically as the plant will lean to the light.

Poinsettias Forget the drab, dull red Poinsettias that graced your grandmother’s home at Christmas. Today, gardeners have developed poinsettias that are hardy and available in a broad choice of colors, many with variegated flowers or variegated leaves. Poinsettias are sensitive to changes in temperatures and do not do well in drafty location. Make sure to locate your plant in a spot where the temperature consistently remains above 50 degrees F. Place your plant in sunny location and water sparingly. Too much water will cause leaves to drop and inadequate light will make the plant grow tall and spindly.

Northampton Holiday Stroll 2016

The 2016 Northampton Holiday Stroll takes place Friday, December 9, 2016 from 5-8pm. Main Street, Northampton will be closed down to vehicles from the Academy of Music to Strong Avenue. Attendees can enjoy music, hay rides, food and drink from local cafes, face painting, street entertainers and so much more!

Get there early for even more fun! In addition to the following schedule of events, there are also many ongoing activities which can be found here: http://www.northamptonholidaystroll.com

3pm – Get an early start to the Stroll with the Smiffenpoofs!

4pm -  Pioneer Valley Ballet presents the Nutcracker at the Academy of Music

4-8pm - Smith College Museum of Art -- Free Second Friday

  • 4:15-4:45pm Smith College Campus School Chorus performs at the SCMA
  • 4-6pm  Art making for all ages - Journey Journals: make your own travel sketchbook
  • 6-6:30 Guided conversation exploring a work of art in the SCMA
  • Plus Holiday Shopping at SCMA all day long (10am-8pm)!

5pm - Sticks & Bricks Holiday Trunk Show!  Stroll on down for one-of-a-kind, handmade gifts by local artists (head to Market Street, just under the railroad bridge on your left!)

5-6:30pm - Sam the Minuteman!  Look for him walking up and down Main Street.

5:30pm (or so) - Local's burger eating contest!  In Main Street, near Local

6pm   - Local Chorus inside UU Church
           – Smithereens, 6-7pm; Location tbd
           - ringing of the Smith College carillion

6pm - Valley Rock Choir!  Location tbd


6-7:30 - Live greek music in the street in front of Filos Greek Taverna

6-8pm - Book launch and First Annual Bad Rap Contest at the Parlor Room: Celebrate the publishing of 'The Pencil Bandits' by local youth author Henry Reade and enter the first annual Bad Rap Contest.  Anything goes; just for fun!  15 and under category; prizes awarded.  Bring your friends! 


6:15pm – Mayor Narkewicz - book reading (a selection from Wind in the Willows) at 
Broadside Bookshop

6:30pm – Nota Bene – inside Silverscape

6:30pm - Pioneer Valley Capella; location tbd

6:30pm – Celtic Heels performance – in the street in front of City Hall

7pm – Spirit of the Heart martial arts demonstration; in front of City Hall

7-10pm - Rise Up and Sing -- Hope & Courage Sing-along; Northampton Friends Meetinghouse, 43 Center St.

7:30pm – Community carol sing-along with Jonathan Harvey (Pioneer Valley Symphony Chorus) in the Unitarian Universalist Church

7:30pm – Pioneer Valley Ballet presents the Nutcracker at the Academy of Music

 

 

Pamela Sclafani is the Marketing Manager for Coldwell Banker Upton Massamont. She lives in the Pioneer Valley and enjoys everything it has to offer, gorgeous scenery, hills and mountains for hiking, lakes for paddle boarding, the change of seasons, and the close proximity to Boston and New York.

 

How to Make the Perfect Hard Boiled Egg

With Easter coming up soon, there is one decorating job to get done, "Color Easter Eggs".  If you and your family follow this tradition, then this post is for you....

There is a science to making the perfect hard boiled egg. Whether it is for Easter or egg salad, or a protein packed breakfast a hard boiled egg makes a great meal.

1. Put the eggs in a single layer in a saucepan, covered by an inch of cold water.

2. Gently bring the eggs to a boil will help keep them from cracking.

3. Add a tablespoon of vinegar to the water to keep the egg whites from running out of any eggs that happen to crack while cooking,

4. Add a half teaspoon of salt to help both with the preventing of cracking and making the eggs easier to peel.

5. When the water starts to boil, remove the pan from the heat for a few seconds.

6. Remove the pan from the heat.

7. Cover the pan and let sit for 12 minutes.

8. Remove the eggs with a slotted spoon and place them into a bowl of ice water.

9. Eat within 5 days.

10. Enjoy!

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