Western Massachusetts Activities

Sunday Funday at the Shutesbury Athletic Club

Want to help veterans in need? How about pets in shelters? How about a fun place to bring the kids for a few hours? We have just the event for you! Sunday Fun Day at the Shutesbury Athletic Club! This great, family fun event happens on June 11 from 2-5pm. Bring your lawn chairs & blankets. Listen to live music, enjoy hot dogs, hamburgers, a raffle, and catch up with friends and neighbors. Kids can enjoy face painting and other fun activities!

How can you help veterans in need? Bring and donate any household items (see list below). We have partnered with Homeward Vets for this event. They have a simple mission: to help veterans in need. They do that by providing previously homeless veterans with home furnishings when they transition from homelessness and move into the community. They make a difference in every life they touch. You, too, can make a difference! Here is a sampling of the items needed:

Bed Frames – any size
Mattresses (NEW ONLY)
Night stands
Couch/ loveseat - clean and in very good condition and in move-in condition
Chairs – Dining room and living room
Kitchen Table with chairs
Pots and Pans                                                                                        
Cups/Plates (Dishes)
Curtains/ Shades                                                                                                                 
Shower Curtain (NEW ONLY)
Coffee Pot

If you would like to help animals at Dakin Humane Society, bring any of the following items to Sunday Fun Day and we will deliver to Dakin in Leverett.

Cats and Kittens

  • Canned cat food (cats prefer pate-style, rather than chunks-in-gravy)

  • Dry cat food (opened bags are okay; we give them to feral cat colony feeders)

  • Human baby food (chicken or turkey, meat & gravy-style only, no vegetables, please)

  • Cat litter (clumping and non-clumping)

  • Cat toys

  • Small ceramic cat bowls (busy kitties knock regular bowls over!)

Dogs and Puppies

  • Freeze dried beef liver (for training)

  • Kong rubber toys (to keep dogs busy)

  • Bully sticks (to keep dogs busy)

  • Hot dogs (for training)

Birds, Bunnies, and Other Small Animals

  • Large cages in excellent condition

  • Bird perches (varying sizes)

  • Washed greens

Maintenance Supplies

  • Large trash bags

  • Paper towels

  • Hand sanitizer

  • Dish soap

  • Bleach

  • Liquid laundry detergent

  • Facial tissues

Office Supplies

  • Postage stamps

  • Copy paper

  • Pens

The Shutesbury Athletic Club is located at 282 Wendell Road, Shutesbury, MA.




  1. Mary Godfrey. Athol. Mass 01331. on

    if we have none off the items you mentioned. Then can a monetary donation be giving to help buy the things you need. For the poor animals. Who do we make the check out to and where do we mail it. Thank you.
    • Pamela Sclafani on

      You can either bring your check, made out to Dakin Humane Society to the event as we will bring all donations to Dakin next week, or you can mail your check to Dakin, P O Box 6307, Springfield, MA 01101
  2. Debra Thompson on

    Hi as a volunteer at the Franklin county regional dog shelter in Turners Falls we are always looking for donations like Dakin Thank you

    5 Things to Do in the Winter in Western Massachusetts

    "The weather outside is frightful!" but there's still so much to do in Western Massachusetts in the winter!

    1. Yankee Candle, of course! Located in South Deerfield, MA, you will find more than 400,000 candles in over 200 scents! This is a special place where magic comes to life. From watching animated, singing characters to celebrating Christmas year 'round, this is a place where your whole family can experience an enchanting mix of shopping and entertainment. 

    2. Elmer's in Ashfield for a wonderful breakfast, lunch or dinner. They tout themselves as "Big time breakfast and Friday night dinner joint, Old Timey Natural Foods Grocery and Art Gallery". There's also The Old Creamery in Cummington, a retail store and cafe, but also a hub of activity and a social gathering place. If you're in the mood for a cup of fair trade coffee, craft beer, or some live music, head over to Shelburne Falls and Mocha Maya's!

    3.The Botanic Garden at Smith College. This garden was founded over 100 years ago and is home to thousands of plants. They are open year round from 8:30am-4pm and a donation of only $2 is suggested for admission.

    4. Ice Skating at UMASS Mullins Center. It's only $6 for adults and $5 for children under 12. Check their calendar for dates and times.

    5. The Great Falls Discovery Center in Turner's Falls shows the natural, cultural, and industrial history of the Connecticut River watershed. The Center’s building and exhibits are fully accessible and are free and open to the public. Inside the main building, walk-through dioramas show the plants, animals, and landscapes of this 410-mile-long river from its arboreal source near the Canadian border, through forests and farms, past villages, towns, and cities, all the way down to the estuary at the Long Island Sound.


    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.

    Building An Eco Friendly Home

    Are you looking for eco-friendly, money saving methods and materials for building your new home? Do you want a comfortable and stylish home with all the latest smart home gadgets, yet wish to construct it in a way that has as little negative impact on the environment as possible? Not to worry, with planning and a close working relationship with your architects, builder, and interior designer, you can reach your goals of good stewardship of the earth’s assets while knowing you are building an energy-saving home with materials and products that do not negatively impact the environment.

    Prevent Frost Heaving With Frost-Protected Foundations Climatic conditions in North America result in high levels of spring frost that settle down on and around the house. Many energy-efficient focused builders follow a practice of installing frost-protected shallow foundations (FPSF) that raise the frost depth by directing heat loss towards the foundation. Talk to your builder and consider the benefit of this practice for your building situation.

    Advantages Of Pre-Cast Wall Panels Using pre-cast wall panels is also a financial sound, eco-friendly option. These panels make homes look beautiful and are thermally efficient: made of insulating foam and concrete. Thermal panels deliver superior quality insulation, enhancing thermal efficiency. Additionally, they are resistant to moisture, highly durable, non-combustible, and even provide soundproofing through walls – which means no more worrying about the neighbor’s barking dog! Another option, CarbonCast insulated wall panels and claddings provide stellar insulation, enhance ambiance, and provide decades of energy-efficient sound proofing from outdoor traffic noise. SIPs or Structural Insulated Panels also serve as a highly effective option, replacing conventional framing material and differ forms of insulated wall panels. Sips are pre-assembled and do not contain concrete. They are, in fact, made of polystyrene foam fit between oriented strand board to serve trifold functions of sheathing, insulating and framing – all in one! Mostly used as support for roofs, walls and flooring, SIPs are very energy efficient and offer an R-value improvement of 15-40 percent.

    Energy - Efficient Windows For The Home How to plan your house is directly related to how energy efficient and eco-friendly. Placing operational skylights and savvy window panels help improve the natural ventilation, reduce heating and air conditioning use and also trap the sunlight during winters, keeping the house warm. Low-e window coating or low-emissivity window coating employs a thin metal or glass coating that lets the majority of the sun’s light radiation enter the room while blocking the harmful radiation. They boost the R-value and reduce the U-factor. Technological advancements enhance operational skylights, wind turbines, and windows with rooftop monitors – all accessible via an app and functional on the go.

    Keep The Pipes From Freezing Heat tape with automated temperature controls installed under sidewalks and driveways eliminate the need for snow removal – saving a lot of time and sparing a lot of labor. If geothermal energy is an option, the pipelines beneath the concrete could heat up the garage floor, basement, and other areas, causing the snow to melt. Again, at the touch of an app: a relatively inexpensive “fix” for a chronic problem.


    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.


    5 Steps to Buying Your First Home in Western Massachusetts

    The Pioneer Valley is a wonderful place to live! With mountains for hiking, lakes for paddle boarding, great restaurants, nightlight, theatre, museums, and shopping, the towns in Western Massachusetts have New England charm with big city activities.  If you’re thinking about buying a home in Franklin or Hampshire County, a little preparation will go a long way.

    1. First and foremost, know your credit score. There is only one official free credit report website according to mass.gov, and that is www.annualcreditreport.com.

    How much can you afford? To understand your finances, the importance of credit, how much you’ll need for a down payment and closing costs, mortgage rates, and the Western Massachusetts housing market, check out this website: http://markethttp://myhome.freddiemac.com/buy/what-you-can-afford.html

    2. Shop for a loan. Look to commercial banks, mortgage companies, and/or credit unions. This website, http://www.hud.gov/buying/booklet.pdf, will help you shop, compare, and negotiate a mortgage that’s right for you.

    If you are a first time home buyer, look into the Federal Housing Administration (FHA). Your down payment may be as low as 3.5% of the purchase price. Get more information here: http://portal.hud.gov/hudportal/HUD?src=/buying/loans

    3. Shop for a home. Coldwell Banker is here to help! We’ve been helping people find the home of their dreams for 110 years. Start with our website: www.coldwellbankerUMR.com and search for the home of your dreams, and a Realtor in your community.

    When you’re ready to make an offer, your Coldwell Banker Realtor will advise you on negotiation strategies and be there to provide objective advice that protects your best interest in the transaction. Our Realtors work with lenders, home sellers, and other real estate agents every day and will use their knowledge and experience to assist you.

    4. After your offer is accepted, get a home inspection, http://portal.hud.gov/hudportal/documents/huddoc?id=92564-cn.pdf and shop for homeowners insurance. Lenders typically require proof of homeowner’s insurance. 

    5. The Closing. Your Coldwell Banker Realtor will be there for you every step of the way. Knowing the process before the closing might make you feel a little less nervous. After all, this could be the biggest purchase you’ll ever make. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has resources to help:  http://www.consumerfinance.gov/owning-a-home/process/close/.


    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.

    Small Lots Big Design - How Good Design Enhances Small Lots in Northampton, MA

    In 2013 the City of Northampton hosted a “Small Lots, Big Design” competition. The purpose was to demonstrate how good design can enhance small lots throughout the city. 

    Since the end of the competition, Bruce Volz, of Shop Development LLC has seen his project progress to the point where it is almost complete. 

    Bruce is also the co-owner of VCA, custom builders of unique furniture and architectural millwork in Northampton. His passion is in the design and quality of the pieces his company produces. His clients are varied and can mostly be found in New York and California. So it goes to say that this Small Lots, Big Design project has been a labor of love for him. He has never been involved in the construction of buildings. He paid three firms to come up with a design that he could get behind. In the end he chose Jones Whitsett Architects, and construction began in the Spring of 2015. 

    Within walking distance to downtown Northampton, each two story building is made up of two single story dwellings, an upper and a lower dwelling. Each is efficiently organized to provide homeowners a spacious two bedroom apartment, including an outdoor deck and covered parking. The dwellings are low maintenance. The construction exceptional. Standards include double glazed windows, air-source mini-split heating/cooling, solar hot water, and LED lighting.

    Inside the homes is all Bruce. The wood used in the counter face is reclaimed wood from a barn that previously stood on the property. Same with the barn doors in the home. The counter tops are recycled paper and resin. The floors are natural ash and teak. The cabinets were made in his company, designed by his people, all excited to be a part of the process. The homes have a rustic but polished look. Every pain staking detail is Bruce.

    These homes are truly a work of art. Three of the four homes have been sold. There is an open house this weekend (Sunday, November 6, 2016 from 1-3PM) so feel free to stop in and take a tour. Or for a private viewing, please call Dave Ryan of Coldwell Banker Upton Massamont at 413-977-9184 or visit ShopDevelopmentNoho.com for renderings, systems, and more information or http://bit.ly/2dBAyzU for more details.


    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.


    Apple Picking in Western Massachusetts

    The leaves are starting to change and we are smack dab in the middle of apple picking season! This is a perfect time to take a leisurely drive down a quaint New England scenic route, enjoy the gorgeous scenery, and stop at a local orchard.

    My kids are older now but every year when they were little we would pick apples at the local apple orchard, go home, peel and core them and bake fresh apple pies. The kids loved it! The whole house smelled amazing and it’s the perfect cozy dessert to share on a chilly New England fall evening.

    Making an apple pie is as easy as pie! And also, I cheat. I buy the ready made pie crust so what could be easier than that? Click on the picture below for a recipe I found on Pinterest that is basically the one I use but with gorgeous pictures. 

    Check out these local apple orchards:

    Franklin County

    Apex Orchards, 225 Peckville Road, Shelburne Falls, MA 

    Bear Swamp Orchard, 1209 B Hawley Road, Ashfield, MA 

    Clarkdale Fruit Farms, 303 Upper Road, Deerfield, MA

    Dole Farm, Peckville Road, Shelburne, MA

    Hamilton Orchards, 22 West Street, New Salem, MA

    Mohawk Orchards, Colrain-Shelburne, MA

    Pine Hill Orchards, 248 Greenfield Road, Colrain, MA

    Quonquont Farm and Orchard, 9 North Street, Whately, MA


    Hampshire County

    Atkins Farm, 1150 West Street, Amherst, MA

    Bashista Orchards, 160 East Street, Southampton, MA

    Dickinson Farms, 134 South Street, Granby, MA

    Kielbasa Orchards, 290 Bay Road, Hadley, MA

    Outlook Farm, 136 Main Road, Route 66, Westhampton

    Round Hill Orchard, 1 Douglas Road, Southampton

    Small Ones Farm, 416 Bay Road, Amherst, MA

    South Hadley Farm, 10 Pearle Lane, South Hadley, MA


    For detailed information on the above orchards, http://www.pickyourown.org/MAwest.htm. Enjoy!


    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.



    Why We Love Western Massachusetts-The People

    Stone buildingMarcia Brooks, agent with the Coldwell Banker Upton-Massamont REALTORS South Deerfield Office, offers a well shared opinion of the Pioneer Valley and why we love it here!

    The Pioneer Valley is a hidden gem that has carefully and lovingly been polished over the past 40 years to reveal its' inner beauty.

    SF Library

    There is a wealth of resources to mine; Historic, Cultural, Recreational and Educational .....all available for the taking.

    It is a preserved way of life that has been cherished for generations. Its' simplicity is both cultivated and progressive enough to stay on the cutting edge.

    SuguringWe offer the original farm-to-table living.....which city dwellers relish.

    While we might appear to be too far out in the country for some, we know otherwise.

    It is an easy trek to Boston, New York, or points north and south whenever the mood strikes.But mostly, it is the people that live here--that bring it all together.  Whether it's festivals Winter Racethat celebrate the rivers, the hills, the libraries, the arts, the fruits of our labor,  or simply.....the four seasons.  It is a special way of life .... the spirit of a community and knowing your neighbor.

    It is Americana at its best.

                   -Marcia Brooks, 2014

    Why We Love Western Massachusetts - DAR

    Tim enjoys fishing with his son

    Tim enjoys fishing with his son

    Tim Parker, Coldwell Banker Upton-Massamont agent, enjoys the DAR State Forest on Cape Street in Goshen, MA.  Just on the Ashfield, border where Tim resides with his family, this state forest delivers the best opportunity for year-round recreational activities.

    Whether you love boating, fishing, swimming, camping, cross-country skiing, biking and more!

    Mass.gov offers Trail maps, Campground map and more information to tTim Biking with friends at DAR State Foresto visit this recreational treasure.

    Tim cross-country skiing with friends. Four season recreation at his front door!

    Tim cross-country skiing with friends. Four season recreation at his front door!

    "I love the year-round recreational activities that Western Massachusetts offers", said Tim.  "If you love the outdoors, check out the DAR State Forest and all that it offers you and your family."

    Be sure to LIKE Tim on Facebook....