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Massachusetts Travel Blog

The Pioneer Valley and Birders Go Together

Tuesday, July 19th, 2016

Snowy owl on Deerfield farm farrowThe Pioneer Valley is a hot spot for birders. Fans gather every year in the spring for  hawk watching, especially along the ridge line at Mount Tom in Easthampton, and the muddy road down to the south meadows in Deerfield was clogged when a young snowy owl landed up here for a few weeks. The blue herons that come down to Broughton Pond are like something from a medieval tapestry in their stylized elegance.

When our children were in elementary school, we would always volunteer to be on any field trip that meant we could listen to Tom Ricardi, a wildlife rehabilitator who runs the Massachusetts Birds of Prey Rehab Center from his home in Conway, Massachusetts. He spent more than thirty years as a Fish and Wildlife Game Warden, and has always been especially interested in birds of prey. His stories of rescuing birds that have been victims of the dangers of man and machine are compelling. He has rescued a golden eagle shot in the eye by a hunter, an eastern screech owl from a barbed wire fence, and his center is a labor of love. Some of these birds he is able to rehabilitate entirely, and others that can no longer fend in the wild help with breeding programs. I remember Tom saying he would put mirrors all around the nest of new fledglings and feed them with an oven glove that looked like an eagle’s head so there was never any human imprinting. He has helped introduce strong chicks into the nests of bald eagles in Barton’s Cove when DDT build-up caused the adults to lay thin-shelled eggs that cracked before their own chicks could hatch. Love those kind of success stories!

You can also get up close to some of these majestic birds in a hands-on program with Chris Davis, master falconer, at New England Falconry in nearby Hadley. Experience the handling and flying of a trained Harris hawk while learning about the special adaptations of raptors and the need for their conservation – hawking glove provided! Something quite different that one or two members of your family can do, while the others can be non-participants but still get a sense of the majesty and thrill of these awe-inspiring birds.

For more information about birding at the Mass Audubon Arcadia Wildlife Sanctuary, click here.

See other bird-watching programs at the Hitchcock Center for the Environment here.

Let our Deerfield bed and breakfast be your home-base for your birding adventure. We’re located in the heart of the Pioneer Valley, just a short drive from these exciting encounters.

New Exhibitions at Memorial Hall Museum

Thursday, June 16th, 2016

Memorial Hall Museum in Deerfield, MAThe Pocumtuck Valley Memorial Association was founded in Deerfield, Massachusetts in 1870 as the very first historical society in Western Massachusetts. It is a charming three-storied building with 19 rooms of art, culture and history, all housed in the original 1798 Deerfield Academy building, acquired by antiquarian and historian George Sheldon to house the collection of Deerfield and area memorabilia he had been assiduously amassing.

Memorial Hall Museum and its gift shop are open June 1 to October 30, Tuesday through Sunday, 11 am–4:30 pm. Admission is $6 for adults; $3 for youth and students 6-21.

There are some wonderful new exhibitions open for the season, and this museum with its beautiful gardens is a delightful and special sidebar visit to the museum houses of Historic Deerfield.

MUSIC ROOM   In celebration of the 100th anniversary of Memorial Hall Museum’s 1916 wing, the Music Room has been renovated and reinstalled with three centuries of musical instruments, furniture, and artwork. Franklin County’s first piano, Hadley chests, and portraits, will be featured in this special exhibition.

CHILDREN OF DEERFIELD: PHOTOGRAPHS BY FRANCES AND MARY ALLEN  Celebrated in 1901 as the “foremost women photographers in America”, Frances and Mary Allen’s photographs from 1885 to 1915 provide a unique glimpse of childhood in rural New England.  This exhibition features idyllic photographs of children on the farm, at play, or in costume in old Deerfield.

RELICS AND CURIOSITIES IN MEMORIAL HALL  Conch shells used for dinner horns? Wreaths made from human hair? Weapons made with sharks’ teeth? Out-of-the-ordinary curios and keepsakes are featured in an exhibition with an emphasis on intriguing narratives and “otherness.”  This exhibition features rarely seen relics and curiosities gathered and preserved in Memorial Hall since 1799.

Join us at Deerfield Inn and explore this historic treasure for yourself!

Things To Do with Kids in MA :: Family Friendly Deerfield Inn

Wednesday, April 13th, 2016

We have family-friendly rooms at the Deerfield Inn, and a kid’s menu for the under 11 – “healthy (groan) but good” as Abby said. Sometimes you want to leave the children with mom and get away for some time for yourselves, and we can do that too, but there are some delightful children activities in our neighborhood, even in the winter.

Consider Magic Wings just down the road from us – a warm and inviting ecosphere of flowers and flutterbies that will charm you all. You might spot a bright parrot or two, and watch out for hitchhikers when you leave! Those butterflies seem to choose the brightest clothes to settle on…

Just beyond is the self-named ‘Scenter of the Universe’, the huge and spectacular headquarters of the famous Yankee Candle. Check out all the wacky and wonderful candles like the Boyfriend – hmm, what does that one smell like – jealousy and despair or chocolates and flowers? Or Wet Lab? Marketing Manager Jack Dog likes that one. Children enjoy the Bavarian Village where a train and carriages rush around, the Nutcracker King has his castle, and it is always winter.

And drive on a bit more and you come to the Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art. You don’t even have to have a child in your life to know The Very Hungry Caterpillar with its beautiful design for small hands and sweet message, The Mixed-Up Chameleon to learn about color, or The Very Quiet Cricket with its laugh out loud surprise at the end.

Eric Carle is a local author and illustrator. His dream was to create a center for picture book art to promote and encourage literacy. There are thousands of picture books from all over the world, reading time, plays, recitals, author visits, performances, hands-on learning activities, ever-changing galleries and exhibitions. In fact this part of northwestern Massachusetts is awash in talented illustrators and children’s book authors. Natasha Lowe lives right here in Deerfield! You can buy autographed copies of her books in the gift shop!

The calendar of events at the Eric Carle Museum for 2016 is full of incredibly fun things to see and do throughout the year.

Come and stay, with or without children to share these pleasures with! You might just want to bring out the kid in you and enjoy these magical places by yourselves!

 

Fly Fishing the Deerfield River

Friday, March 18th, 2016

Fly Fishing on the Deerfield RiverSome of the finest fly fishing for trout found in the northeast is right outside our back door. Flowing from Vermont, and with bottom releases from hydropower dams, the Deerfield is perfectly cool even in the summer months. In addition to the resident fish population, Massachusetts Department of Fish & Game stocks rainbow and brown trout throughout the river. This gently flowing, tree-lined river is one of the most charming and scenic in the region. Along with our traditional 1884 inn and farm-to-fork tavern, it makes for the perfect setting for the fly fishing enthusiast or those traveling with one.

If you have always wanted the chance to learn how to fly fish on one of the most beautiful and perfect rivers, your time has come! We have two packages for you from April to August. Get 20% off your room of choice and add on a 4-hour afternoon fly fishing trip with all you need to get started. You will come back knowing how to roll cast and overhead cast and how to get your fish in the net. If you are an intermediate angler, you can enhance your skill knowledge.

And another fun way to experience the river is by a float trip. Cast out a line and let the drifting do some of the work! Bring in rainbows, browns, and brookies to the net.

The Deerfield River is one of the most productive trout rivers in New England, and these packages offer an excellent opportunity for the novice or the more advanced angler to learn the many miles of heavily populated trout water using the strategies and correct imitative flies that fish are keying in on during the spring and summer.
Pristine waters, bubbling plunge pools, narrow runs and riffles make for a conveyor belt of beautiful trout hungry for the hatching insects floating within the edge of the seam!

Your expert guides – Mike and Jonathan, have been on the rivers around here as soon as they could walk. They know the pocket water, rapids, riffles, and deep pools, every bend, every eddy. They know what fish are out and about and when. They have patience and sharp eyes. Being out on the river is one of the happiest and most serene places they know. From beginner to expert – if you have a question about their domain, they will have the answer.

They also tie flies, nymphs, and streamers for luring the right fish; flies with delightful names like woolly bugger, crickhopper, and hothead. There is even a specific Deerfield fly that you can see on the wall in a frame as you enter Champney’s, tied for us by a local angler – but that’s another story!

For these packages, you will need a 2016 MA fishing license, and don’t forget to bring in your suitcase when you come to stay at Deerfield Inn:

  • extra set warm clothing
  • waterproof jacket
  • hat
  • polarized sunglasses
  • sunscreen
  • water
  • snacks
  • camera

Franklin County Community Meals :: Deerfield, MA Charity

Tuesday, November 17th, 2015

food bank in Deerfield, MAWe have two ways to give a hand up this year.

First, the Deerfield Inn and Champney’s will be collecting non-perishable food items to go beneath the tree, starting on December 1st. Every time you come by to enjoy a plateful of something delicious here, please bring something that can go towards a plateful of food for someone else in Franklin County.f

There is a second way to help. Pop a dollar or whatever you can spare in the envelope in the check holder, and this will go to the Franklin County Community Meals program. 1 in 5 children in Western Mass is “food insecure” meaning they miss meals or do not have enough to eat. That is something I know we all want to do something about.

We are surrounded in this most rural part of western Massachusetts with fields and rivers, producers and growers, foragers and farmers. We have orchards, acres of bounty, and yet there was the need to provide nourishing meals to more than 20,000 last year. 247,000 pounds of food was distributed at food pantries. Twelve percent of our residents are on the poverty line; people both young and old.

Share the bounty with the county, and help us spread the joy of a good meal! Thank you!

Flamenco Dance Troupe :: Exclusive Deerfield Performance

Thursday, October 15th, 2015

flamenco dancersOn Sunday, October 25th, while on a tour, we are lucky to have a flamenco troupe of one singer, one musician, and two dancers from the language and flamenco school Carmen de las Cuevas in the heart of the Albaícin, Granada, Spain coming to perform here at the Inn from 7-9 pm.

If you have never experienced the fire of flamenco, this is your chance. And if you know what this music and dance is like, then you won’t want to miss the opportunity to get that emotional, physical rush!

The price is $12 which includes the show and authentic tapas, and tickets are available now at BrownPaperTickets

(If we have space at the Inn, tickets on the night will be $20.)

Here is the word on three of the performers:

“My name is Paco Fernández. I am from Granada and I began to dance when I was very little. My people don’t like flamenco, but I wanted to dance and to tour Japan, France, Germany, and the US. Currently I dance at the flamenco caves and pubs in my city. People say that I have an aggressive dance-style. Therefore they call me ‘The Savage.'”

Born in Almería, Spain, Jorge has shared a passion for guitar since age nine. Thanks to his father’s love for music, he grew up listening to famous Andalusian guitarists such as Paco de Lucía and Manolo Sanlucar. After years of training, he began his artistic career in Granada, Spain, accompanying a diverse range of singers and dancers from all parts of Spain and from many other countries such as France, Italy, Russia, Germany and Egypt. Despite being a flamenco guitarist, throughout his career he has played several “fusion” show with musicians of Jazz, Rock and other genres. Today he works as a flamenco guitar teacher at the renowned flamenco school, Carmen de las Cuevas, in Granada.

“My name is Sandra Santiesteban. I was born in Granada. A love for flamenco was born in me when I was very young. It was difficult for me to pursue this passion for flamenco because no one in my family was a flamenco performer. I currently work at various flamenco bars and caves in Granada.”

Sandra took her first steps of flamenco dance in Algeciras, Cádiz, the town in which she was born. After several years of flamenco dance studies, she moved to Granada, passing the entrance exams for the Mario Maya International Center for Performing Arts. There she completed her training with Mario Maya and other flamenco masters including Belén Maya, Rafaela Carrasco, Manuel Liñan and Antonio Canales. Upon completing her studies she began to dance at flamenco caves and clubs in Granada, at festivals and in international tours. She currently teaches flamenco at Carmen de las Cuevas in Granada, Spain.

Exciting Summer Activities in Deerfield, MA!

Tuesday, June 16th, 2015
Summer activities in Deerfield, MA

A ravishing jacket by Marlene Housner

Plan ahead for your summer! We have family-friendly rooms, but call well ahead as these rooms sell fast.

For artisan arts and crafts lovers, there is the spectacular Berkshires Arts Festival, now in its 14th year in Great Barrington on July 3-6. An hour and a bit from us, but a pretty and an easy ride, and so worth it! Jewelry, glass, mixed media, sculpture, wood, wearable art, leather, ceramics, fiber, photography… They have food, music, workshops and demos. The festival starts at 10am, and it is truly a beauty.

We have tickets here for $2 off admission, and the first four to make a reservation to stay with us will get complimentary tickets for the Festival! Call us at 413-774-5587, or make a reservation online, putting Arts Festival into the comments line.

Into horses? June 25-27 brings the Arabian Horse Show of New England to The Big E, with the Championship Arabian Horse Show on July 8-11, the Appaloosa Horse Show on July 24-26, the Summer Classic Horse Show on July 30-August 8, and Friesian Championships on August 27-30. Erin, who is one of our team leaders, can make her horse smile on command! FaceBook!

Being the most rural region of Massachusetts, we celebrate farming and farmers around here. July brings sheep shows to West Springfield in July, and there are kennel club dog shows aplenty in July and August.

Check out www.TheBigE.com for the listing of events and discount advance tickets. An easy shot from the inn down I-91 to exit 13B, one mile farther on rte 147.

See you this summer at the Deerfield Inn!

Spring Activities :: Hampshire County, MA

Monday, April 20th, 2015

Massachusetts Pottery Studios

With thanks to visithampshirecounty.com, this blog is to let you know about a couple of activities that you and your family might find fun in Hampshire County this spring. We have family-friendly connecting rooms, and there is still space available on crisp April nights before the May Commencement and Parent Weekends.

Bees, Butterflies, and Bugs: Starting April 7, you can explore The Art of Eric Carle: Bees, Butterflies, and Other Bugs at the Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art (April 7 through August 30). As a child, Carle became very interested in small animals, a curiosity sparked by his father, who would take him on walks in the woods and fields, exploring the tiny creatures that lived there. Carle says “I remember the excitement of lifting stones or peeling back the bark of dead trees to discover the living things that crawled, crept and scurried about there.” The exhibition celebrates the wings, stings, and crawling things that have appeared throughout Carle’s work, ranging from allergy tab advertisements he created in the late 1960’s to perennial picture book favorites including The Very Hungry Caterpillar and The Grouchy Ladybug.
Bowls: Nine western Massachusetts pottery studios open their doors to visitors on Saturday and Sunday, April 25 and 26, for the 11th Asparagus Valley Pottery Trail. This free, self-guided springtime event showcases both the work and the work spaces of a group of nationally-known local potters, along with 12 guest potters from around New England and as far away as Oregon State. In barns, reclaimed factory buildings, and even a converted Airstream trailer, visitors will find much more than bowls along the trail: tableware, garden sculpture, architectural tile, and decorative pieces in a range of styles and prices. All nine studios will be open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. both days with work for sale, and several of the studios will offer demonstrations during the weekend. This is one of the most gorgeous and interesting trails ever.

Deerfield Spring Sampler Craft Fair :: March into Spring

Wednesday, February 25th, 2015

tools to create jewelryThink ahead beyond this snow to the promise of spring. The Old Deerfield Spring Sampler Craft Fair is held in West Springfield at the Big E on March 7 and 8. Extraordinary crafters, free demos for DIY ideas, music, good eats, and the chance to win $50 shopping certificates. If you have ever been to the Craft Fairs held here in Old Deerfield, you will know that these fairs organized by PVMA are juried, and considered by Yankee magazine to the be among the best in New England. Four free passes to the first four to book a room on this weekend!

BUT WAIT – there is more! You can check out The Jurassic Roadshow on March 28 and 29 at the Clarion Conference Center in Northampton. The Western Mass Mineral, Jewelry and Fossil Show will be there as well. This is your chance to come and stay with us at the Deerfield Inn and bring your small fossil or dinosaur fans with you. (We have family-friendly guest rooms.) You can check out the gems, rocks, and jewelry, and little ones can see local fossil dinosaur footprints, insect trails, and more. And you can bring your own fossils to have them identified by a professional geologist or paleontologist! Cool!

Visit Deerfield’s Arts & Crafts Movement!

Monday, August 11th, 2014

Old Deerfield Painting Group
Did you know that the Arts & Crafts Movement was really significant in Deerfield and its history? From the last quarter of the nineteenth century in particular, women in Deerfield, both permanent residents and summer visitors, were drawn into the arts and crafts movement, many of them looking for a way to express themselves in paint, silks, copper, silver, and clay. You can see an exhibition all about that when you visit.

Also open for viewing at the Flynt Center of Historic Deerfield is an exhibition of  gorgeous craftwork pieces from their extensive collections.

As an addition to the  metalware, (more…)