By Henry Higgins
To many, winter means that the party is over and it is time to hunker down for a few months before we come back out and look if we can see our shadows. But it doesn't have to be that way! Winter can be just as, if not more fun than the rest of the seasons especially during the holidays. In my opinion, making the most out of the cold puts winter in the running for the best season. When else can you have fun, and feel like you are living in "The Polar Express." Winter possesses a magic that the other seasons fall short of. In Western Massachusetts, our proximity to the mountains and our culture makes it a great place to be. Here is a list of a few things for you and your family to do this season.
In Northampton, on Saturday December 1st we enjoy the Holiday Stroll as the city shuts down its main corridor to allow for citizens and vendors to gather on Main street and explore by foot. This is a great event to walk around and experience the holiday charm and take in the sights and sounds with your neighbors, friends and family. Local vendors and restaurants have tables set up so you can shop and eat your way around town! It's a great way to support our local businesses.
Friday, December 6th, the Amherst community comes together for the Lighting of the Merry Maple tree on the Amherst Town Common. The event is hosted by the Amherst Business Improvement District and Amherst Area Chamber of Commerce and features the Amherst Regional Middle School Chorus singing on the town hall steps, carriage rides from Muddy Brook Farm and ends with Santa arriving with the UMass Marching Band. Show up at 3 for apple cider and treats and stay until 8 culminating in the lighting of the Maple. Check out this video.
For those of you who are looking to get some holiday shopping done, check out the first annual red ticket month in downtown Amherst with the Amherst BID and Amherst Chamber of Commerce. For every $25 spent at participating businesses in Amherst, they will give you a red ticket and on December 21st, the red tickets will go into a pool and be drawn for prizes. There will be five drawn total, with the first 4 being a prize of $250, while the last one will be a prize of $1000. Additionally, on December 7th, participating businesses will be a part of the 20% off day. December 7th also features a Santa and Elf Stroll beginning at 12PM!
Also in Northampton, the Chabad-Lubavitch features the lighting of the Grand Menorah on Sunday December 2nd at 4PM. This year, Northampton Mayor David Narkewicz will be in attendance. According the the Chabad-Lubavitch, the event features "Sufganiyot, hot cocoa, hot latkes, live music and singing w/ Brian Bender, dancing, friends and — of course — the annual lighting of the Giant Menorah!". The menorah that will be lit will stand 10 feet tall and is one of 10,000 public Menorahs worldwide that stand to signify a universal message of religious freedom.
If you are looking for local gifts for your family, stop into the Northampton Winter Craft fair from December 7th-8th at Northampton High School. The event benefits Big Brothers Big Sisters of Hampshire County. The craft fair features 90 local artisans, live music, a children's book sale, and food from Hillside Organic Pizza. The price of admission to this event is $5 for adults and free for children. It's a fun way to support local artisans while helping a wonderful cause.
Though the frigid air may make you want to stay inside, remember that there are many great events taking place here in Western Massachusetts that you do not want to miss. Bundle up and enjoy - Happy Holidays everyone!
By Henry Higgins
Despite the warm summer days coming to an end, there is still plenty of fun in store for your family here in Western Massachusetts. There are many exciting and interesting events this fall, besides the obligatory apple-picking, football games, and hayrides. For starters, head to Mike's Maze in South Deerfield. Mike's Maze is famous for their elaborate corn field designs, and this year they are sporting a groovy display of Jimi Hendrix and Janis Joplin, a nod to the 50th anniversary of Woodstock. According to their website you can "take part in our many Attractions; ride on a horse drawn wagon, fire the mighty potato cannons, pick out your own Halloween pumpkin, and stay for lunch at the Corn Cafe, serving farm fresh food all day." Additionally, this years "Cornstock" features far out trivia for adults as well as instruments for kids to play in Mike's Music Garden. Mike's Maze is an impressive exhibition that will be sure to impress.
When people think of Fall, they often picture apple-picking. There is no shortage of orchards to choose from here in Western Massachusetts. In Franklin County, you can choose from Apex Orchards in Shelburne Falls, Clarkdale Orchards in Deerfield, or Pine Hill Orchard in Colrain. In Hampshire county, pickers can choose from Sunset Farm in Amherst, Park Hill Orchards in Easthampton, and the University of Massachusetts Cold Spring Orchard in Belchertown. Apple picking is a great way to get the whole family outdoors, support local business, and you get to take home locally grown apples at the end!
As I mentioned above, Hayrides and Haunted houses are integral to the fall experience. For residents of Franklin County, check out the Hicks Family Farm in Charlemont. This year they feature a haunted corn maze as well as a pumpkin patch. For Hampshire County residents, check out McCrays Farm in South Hadley. McCrays features haunted a few different hay rides, ranked by level of frightfulness, as well as a haunted house that is regarded as one of the best (or worst) in the area. For more information, visit http://www.fearonthefarm.com/. Another hayride attraction in Hampshire county is DementedFX in Holyoke. Ranked as the #1 haunted attraction in Massachusetts, this place is sure to knock your socks off. DementedFX has events from September 27th-November 2nd.
If you're looking for something a bit more laid back, check out the Berkshire Botanical Garden Harvest Festival in Stockbridge. The Harvest takes place on October 12th and encompasses the entire 20 acre garden campus. The Harvest has activities for children, hay rides, live entertainment, over 100 regional artisans and vendors, as well as a farmers market and plant sales. This event is a great way to escape the hustle and bustle of daily life and enjoy the bucolic atmosphere of the Berkshires. Check out https://www.berkshirebotanical.org/about for more information.
Fall is a pleasant time to get out and enjoy what we have here in Western Massachusetts. Don't wait; before you know it you will be looking out your window at the snow falling wishing you did more!
By Henry Higgins
The summer months are upon us here in Western Massachusetts, and with the warm weather comes exciting festivals and events for all ages. Events can be found all over the Valley, ranging from concerts, historic festivals and fairs that have been around since ships were made of wood. Events such as these draw crowds from all of New England, and it's no wonder. Who wouldn't want to eat good food, drink craft beer, listen to great music, and enjoy the laid back atmosphere of the happy valley? We do summer right here. No glitz or glam, just good times with good people. Now, let me get into the actual events.
The biggest and most recognizable event of the Pioneer Valley is the Green River Festival. This event boasts some serious artists: Lucinda Williams, Suitcase Junket, and Angelique Kidjo just to name a few. The festival is hosted at Greenfield Community College from July 13-15. Tickets are $129.99 for the Weekend, $34.99 for Friday evening, $69.99 for Saturday, and $64.99 for Sunday.
Another festival that draws a hefty crowd is the Glasgow Lands Scottish Festival in Florence. The festival turns 25 years old this year, and continues to sport Highland dancers, Celtic Music, and plenty of kilts! The festival is on July 21st and admission prices range from $5-$16, and kids under 6 get in for free.
A fair that will also remind you of days gone by is the Three County Fair in Northampton. Also known as the Tri-County fair, this event is the oldest agricultural fair in the country, beginning in 1818. The fair has run continuously for 200 years, and continues to grow every year. The fair features the classics such as fair food and rides, but with its agriculture focus it also has restored tractors, and of course farm animals for the kids. At night, the fair turns its attention to the Demolition Derby, two hours of non-stop entertainment. The fair runs from August 30th-September 2nd. Admission price is $12 for those over the age of 12, and those under the age of 12 and above 65 get in free.
Instead of melting away this summer, get out and enjoy what the Valley has to offer! Be sure to keep up with our blog during the summer, as we will be mentioning other events as they approach!
The Jones family recently held their 60 year celebration of living and working in Amherst and beyond at the Amherst Golf Club on September 27th with many friends, family and colleagues. The community event was co-hosted with the Amherst Area Chamber of Commerce.
Jones Group REALTORS® began in 1958 when Denison H. Jones founded the company from the living room of his Amherst home. In 1970 D. H. Jones Real Estate Company had grown and moved into its current 200 Triangle Street offices in Amherst. In 1992 Gerald L. Jones assumed ownership of the company, while Andrew Jones and Wendy Jones Boisseau assumed leadership and management of Jones Properties. For sixty years Jones Group REALTORS® has grown with three locations in the center of Amherst, Belchertown and Northampton, and with more than 60 experienced real estate professionals all with vast knowledge and deep roots extending throughout the Valley. Jones Group REALTORS® is in partnership with Leading Real Estate Companies of the World®, a network of independent real estate brokerages spanning 70 countries and including more than 130,000 real estate professionals who, collectively, sell more property than any of the large national brands. Locally owned and fiercely independent, the Jones name has become known for service excellence and providing a truly local perspective on real estate in the Five College Area and Upper Pioneer Valley.
We are delighted to invite our friends, neighbors, clients and colleagues to our 60th Anniversay Celebration!
Celebrating 60 Years
of Bringing You Home
The 10th anniversary of Amherst Survival Center's Empty Bowls event is coming up in just a few short weeks! On Monday, March 19, 2018, the center will be aiming to raise upwards of $20,000 for our neighbors in need with the help of ticket buyers and local sponsors. Empty Bowls is an effort to support the folks in our area who need help with the basic essentials that so many of us are fortunate to have in abundance, such as food, water, and cold-weather clothing. However, the Amherst Survival Center moves even a step beyond just the basic necessities of life, and provides services such as job fairs, job skills classes, exercise sessions, and community support groups.
With a $40 ticket purchase you will be welcomed to The Pub in Amherst for a delicious soup, chili, or stew dinner donated by local restaurants such as Johnny's Tavern, Black Sheep and Osteria Vespa. In addition to the soup, salad, and bread, $40 ticket buyers will leave the event with a beautiful, locally crafted, pottery bowl donated by Pioneer Valley artists. One notable artist to mention is Tiffany Hilton, who this year will be donating 150 hand thrown clay bowls to this worthy cause. It should be noted that there are also $30 tickets available, however these discounted tickets do not come with a locally crafted bowl.
For tickets click here. We are honored to once again be a sponsor for this heart-warming community event, and we hope to see you there at The Pub in Amherst center on Monday, March 19 from 4-8pm!
It's that time of the year again, the most wonderful time of the year, that is. In what feels like a blink of an eye, 2017 is coming to an end, and with optimism, we all prepare for and look forward to an even better 2018. But before we jump ahead to the countdown on the night of New Year's, there are many holidays that will serve as the best opportunities for each of our families to come together in love and unity. Whether you'll be stringing lights on a pine needle Christmas tree, or lighting symbolically luminous candles on the Hanukkah menorah, we can all come together this winter, at many of the wonderfully spirited Holiday Events, being held in our local communities. ValleyVisitor.com shares all of the festive holiday events happening across the Pioneer Valley, from Chicopee to East Windsor, CT, to Six Flags New England!
In Northampton, The Pioneer Valley Ballet performs The Nutcracker at the Academy of Music, December 8th-10th., and Look Memorial Park is alive with their Winter Wonderland Holiday Light Display through January 1st nightly until 9pm. Stroll downtown to shop in many locally owned stores with unique gifts.
In Amherst, talk a walk downtown and vote for the prettiest holiday window while shopping or dining. On December 16th there is a fun "Flash Mob Caroling" event. Bring your bells and instruments! Enjoy a free Holiday Concert on Sunday, December 17th from 4 – 6 pm at The Pacific Lodge, 99 Main Street. Conductor Timothy Todd Anderson conducts your friends and neighbors in a rousing, endearing, familiar tribute to the season. For more info check the Amherst Business Improvement site.
Bright Nights at Forest Park, in Springfield, is described as "more than 650,000 lights along a 3 mile path," with stocking decorating, and horse-drawn wagon rides, offered during specific days, The Bright Nights Gift Shop, which will be filled with festive souvenirs and gifts, and plenty more surprises, all of which will end on New Year's Day.
For families with little ones, Publik House & Breakfast with Santa, in Sturbridge, is sure to put the kids into a bought of holiday delight. Ending this weekend, kids of all ages can sit and chow down with Santa for breakfast from 8:30AM - 10:30am on: Saturdays, December 2 & 9, 2017 and Sundays, December 3 & 10, 2017. A mouth-watering Yankee Breakfast Buffet spread, serving: Belgian waffles, french toast sticks, bacon and sausage, corn beef hash, and much more, held at the Historic Publik House Inn, will make the whole family want to yell "Ho, Ho, Ho!"
Arguably, there may be nothing better than having Six Flags New England in our backyard, and there's no better time to enjoy one of the country's best amusement park in Agawam. ValleyVistor describes the Six Flags Holiday in the Park experience as being able to, "celebrate alongside your favorite Looney Tunes characters dressed in their Christmas-best... you have the opportunity to meet toy soldiers, sing along with our roaming and charismatic carolers, take a peek at what's hiding under the tree with our ebullient elves, and visit the North Pole," Batman the Dark Knight sleigh ride, is promised to be the craziest, fastest sleigh you'll ride all winter, then after it all, enjoy the jaw dropping cirque show, Frost - A Holiday Cirque Extravaganza! The dates for the Holiday Park vary, and it will be open New Year's Eve.
We are very lucky to be in the Pioneer Valley region during the holiday season. There is plenty festive, memory making events and opportunities suitable for all families to enjoy this year!
By Tiffani Rice, Intern, UMass Amherst
By Tiffani Rice
As the year of 2017 flutters by, it's time to slower the pace and relish in the vibrancy of our unique community, as we gather at the annual Paradise City Arts Festival. Hosted in Northampton during the 3-day Memorial Day Weekend, you and your family will be immersed in representations from over 240 mindfully selected artists and craftsmen through the visual arts, exciting fashion and design, incredible live music, and much more! Brace yourself as you will be blown away by the exceptionally beautiful ceramics, jewelry, leather, paper works, photography, and sculptures crafted by the Festival's gifted artists! Expect to indulge in the best food from all around the Northampton area, from restaurant appearances from the best in the business, such as Local Burger, Pizzeria Paradiso, Bart's Homemade Ice Cream, just to name a few. Get a taste of the world as you chow down on "exotic curries, pad thai, wood-fired pizza, fresh lobster rolls, pulled pork sliders, dim sum, locavore burgers, overstuffed burritos," and of course plenty more. This year the Arts Festival will be showcasing three exciting additions to the Northampton show, "Exhibition Buildings, a Sculpture Promenade and a new location for the Festival Dining Tent and Soundstage." The Arts Festival is an experience worth sharing with your neighbors and greater community. Don't suffer from #FOMO (fear of missing out), make memories that will last a lifetime. This festival is just one of the dozens of reasons why Northampton and the Pioneer Valley is the perfect place for you and your family to call home, and you just may see a friendly Jones Group REALTOR smiling your way.
Featured in the March issue of Boston Magazine, this icon of American Federal style architecture offers the discerning buyer the rare opportunity to purchase a historic residence that has remained in the ownership of a single family since its construction in 1822. Built by Dr. Robert Starkweather (1765-1858), who practiced medicine in Chesterfield for more than fifty years, and currently owned by Dr. Starkweather's great, great, great grandson, this property has never before been offered for sale. The beautiful center hall Colonial features many finely preserved period details including a hipped roof, symmetrical windows, fluted pilasters, a fan light over the front entrance, twin chimneys , eight fireplaces, high ceilings, beautiful original moldings and wide-plank hardwood flooring. Without compromising the structure's historic integrity and character, this home this has been tastefully updated with a modern kitchen containing custom cherry cabinetry and French doors to the spacious dining room and library affording additional light and beautiful views of the rear gardens, orchard and hayfield. This spacious fourteen room residence includes five bedrooms, three and a half baths, two offices, a wine cellar, a two bedroom guest house (the "Doctor's Cottage") and a twin-bay connected garage. Situated on five plus acres, this house offers convenient commuting to Northampton and the five college area; tennis (5 min.), swimming or fly fishing at the "Bend" in the "wild and scenic" Westfield River (10 min.) and golf at the semi-private Worthington Golf Club (15min.). Chesterfield is two hours west of Boston, and three hours from New York City.
416 Main Road, Chesterfield, Massachusetts is a member of our Luxury Portfolio International Collection.
(Photo taken from Mt. Sugarloaf, Sunderland, MA)
Fall is in the Air! As the weather shifts to cooler temperatures, the month of October brings beautiful fall foliage to our Pioneer Valley. Whether we visit local festivals and craft fairs in our picturesque towns, go apple picking/harvesting, spend an afternoon of "leaf peeping," or hiking, every year we are amazed at the beauty around us right here in our own backyard!
It is also a time of reflection and planning for the coming year. We're hearing from some of you who are already preparing homes for the spring market; and from those of you who would love to move before the holidays. Our three offices located in Amherst, Belchertown and Northampton currently have a wonderful variety of properties that are waiting for new owners. We're hosting open houses so that you may visit our homes presently on the market and see for yourself why it may be a good time to move. Stop by one or more of our open houses this weekend and during the month of October and meet our team!