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Massachusetts Travel Blog

Summer Fairs & Fun in Western Massachusetts

After the seemingly endless, brutal winter, we and our visitors are more ready for summer shorts and Chacos than ever before.

Luckily there are loads of fun summer events around here in Western Massachusetts, from various town fairs to the Eastern States Exposition. Thank you to masslive.com for the useful listing below.

There is a lot to do with horses in our neck of the woods, as well as arts and crafts and music. We are 20 minutes north of Northampton, and close to the I-91 corridor, so the Deerfield Inn is a good middle spot to stay. Not only family-friendly, but dog-friendly, too! Please call ahead to see if one of our dog rooms is available for you. The walks around here in our state forests are a marvel of streams, lakes, interesting geology and rare flora and fauna. All good stuff for dogs and dogparents.

Glasgow Scottish Festival: Celebration of Scottish and Celtic Culture; Look Park, Northampton; July 19; $16. (413) 862-8095

Northampton Sidewalk Sale Days: Downtown Northampton, July 24-27 (413) 582-0723

Western Massachusetts Apaloosa Horse Show: Eastern States Exposition, West Springfield; July 25-27. Free. (413) 737-2443 thebige.com/ese

Connecticut Summer Classic Horse Show: Eastern States Exposition, West Springfield; July 31-Aug 2. 413) 737-2443 thebige.com/ese

East Coast Gem, Mineral & Fossil Show: Eastern States Exposition, West Springfield; Aug. 8-10. (413) 737-2443 thebige.com/ese

Springfield Jazz & Roots Festival: Aug. 9, Court Square, Springfield springfieldjazzfest.com

Massachusetts Morgan Horse Show: Eastern States Exposition, West Springfield; Aug. 12-16. (413) 737-2443 thebige.com/ese

Westfield Fair: Russellville Road, Westfield, Aug. 15-17.

Dog Shows: Eastern States Exposition, West Springfield; Aug. 20-24. Free. (413) 737-2443thebige.com/ese

Cummington Fair: 97 Fairgrounds Road, Cummington, Aug. 21-24.
Springfield Indie Soul, Books, and Art Festival – Riverfront Park, Aug. 22-24; (413) 200-8870

Northampton Arts Council Transperformance: All-day rock concert to benefit Northampton Schools. Pines Theatre, Look Park, Northampton. 4-9:30 p.m., Aug. 26; (413) 587-1269

Three County Fair: Three County Fairgrounds, Northampton, Aug. 29-Sept. 1; (413) 584-2237 www.threecountyfair.com

Summer Fairs in Massachusetts

 

Another Reason to Visit Deerfield – Memorial Hall Museum

The oldest museum association in the country is opening again for the season. Located right here in Deerfield on Memorial Street, this three-story building, founded in 1870, in the original 1798 Deerfield Academy building, is filled with remarkable objects relating directly to Deerfield and its immediate environs. The native Pocumtuck people, Eastern European immigrants, and the African American experience are interpreted and presented here. Deerfield’s Arts & Crafts Movement, quilts, Hadley chests, paintings, photographs, tombstones, the famous 1704 hatchet-scarred door from the Sheldon house, as well as Bangwell Putt, the oldest-known rag doll in America who survived for so long partly because she was handled very gently by the little blind Clarissa Field who owned her, are just some of the things here to tell their stories. The impact of the continuum of history is very real and engaging in this special place which so lovingly preserves and documents Deerfield’s past. We invite you to stay with us at the Deerfield Inn when you visit this remarkable piece of history.

Open Tuesdays through Sundays, June through October (closed Mondays).

Hours: 11:00 am – 4:30 pm

Admission is $6 for adults, $3 for ages 6-21, and the little museum shop has some special pieces by area artisans.

And of course set aside plenty of time to visit Historic Deerfield and its absorbing exhibitions in the Flynt Center.

Memorial Hall Museum

Breakfast is the Most Important Meal of the Day!

“‘When you wake up in the morning, Pooh,’ said Piglet at last, ‘What’s the first thing you say to yourself?’

“‘What’s for breakfast?’ said Pooh. ‘What do you say, Piglet?’

“‘I say, I wonder what’s going to happen exciting today?’ said Piglet.

“Pooh nodded thoughtfully. ‘It’s the same thing,’ he said.”

A country breakfast is part of your stay at our Deerfield bed and breakfast- 7:30-10:00 – so no need to jump out of bed at crack of dawn. Sit, sip, relax, enjoy…

Check out our summer midweek special rate and the 130th birthday rate in July!

 

Come and Celebrate in July!

A writer for Harper’s Magazine came to visit Deerfield and wrote, “Old Deerfield …is one of the most beautiful rural towns in New England…Its spacious street stretches along the terrace and a bowery aisle of magnificent elms, under which the houses stand, separate, with gardens and grassy banks, in neighborly seclusion…Back of the town rises the Deerfield mountain, and on all the other sides are the unfenced fertile meadows far beyond which lie gracefully rounded hills of various outline, waving along the horizon, and rich with the verdure of oaks and maples, beeches and chestnuts. The scenery has a friendly and gentle character, not too bold, or harsh, or inaccessible, but amenable everywhere to human culture and habitation. It has a fullness and tenderness and finish that must often have recalled to the early settlers much of the landscape of Mother England who had driven them away.”

The bit about the elms and Mother England gives it away, but this was written in 1875, and could be describing this village pretty much as a visitor can experience it in 2014.

This was written just seven years before the inn’s carriage house and stables were built, and nine years before the inn, restaurant, and guest rooms followed with a quiet opening in July.

We can’t offer “a double room with running water – $3.00” as promised in a brochure from the 20′s, but we can offer a good number of rooms starting at $130 – midweek or weekend – during the month of July to celebrate our 130th birthday.

Make sure to mention JULY when you call to get this special price.

Afternoon tea and cookies, a country inn breakfast, and three-month membership to the museum houses and exhibition center of Historic Deerfield will all be included in your stay.

July 130th Birthday special

130th Birthday This July

Summer in Deerfield

Fireworks added!

Make your plans now to avoid disappointment! The Deerfield Inn will be 130 years old this summer, so we have some rooms available in July as a gift to you for just $130! Afternoon tea and cookies, a full country inn breakfast, and free passes to the museum houses of Historic Deerfield are all part of your stay.

Summers in Deerfield are a delight. The days can be filled with hiking, biking, antiquing, reading and chatting outside on an Adirondack chair or in a cozy air conditioned nook inside. The iced tea pitcher is bottomless, we have bikes you can rent for a spin, we have rooms for families, rooms for dogs, and a Relaxing Room for a soothing massage.  Call us at 413-774-5587 and ask if we have a birthday room open to you. (PS Not available with any other discount deals.)

Yankee Editors’ Pick

yankeeCover

Unexpected and a very delightful surprise! Here is the press release: Historic Deerfield, MA – Newly re-opened for just over a year, the Deerfield Inn has bounced back from an 18-month renovation after a five-foot wall of water took out much of the first floor during Hurricane Irene. So astounding was the come-back that the editors of Yankee Magazine, the only magazine devoted to New England travel, home, food and feature stories, have named the Deerfield Inn a 2014 Best of New England Editors’ Choice, designating it as the “Best 19th Century Inn.” Deerfield Inn is in good company in Yankee Magazine’s Travel Guide (on newsstands now) which features more than 300 Best of New England Editors’ Choice winners.

The Editors’ Choice Award singles out a select group of choice lodging, dining, shopping, attractions destinations and events throughout New England each year. “Reading the special Travel Guide section of Yankee and the Editors’ Choice winners is as close to sitting down with a Yankee editor and getting us to spill our favorite places as one can get,” shared Yankee Editor, Mel Allen. Freelance travel writers, David Lyons and Patricia Harris, contributed to the decision making, sharing their personal nominations for Editors’ Choices from Massachusetts.

“Just into the second year after our renovation, we couldn’t be more delighted to receive a Yankee 2014 Best of New England Editors’ Choice Award,” commented Jane Howard, co-innkeeper with her husband Karl Sabo, at the Deerfield Inn. “The affirmation of excellence from Yankee editors and freelance travel writers is a great gift, and testimony to the historic significance of the Deerfield Inn,” finished Howard.

Located in historic Deerfield, the Deerfield Inn and Champney’s Restaurant & Tavern re-opened in April, 2013 after a post-Hurricane Irene total transformation. Offering 24 versatile guest rooms, with handicapped accessible, pet-friendly and family-friendly options, the historic theme of the Deerfield Inn has been beautifully captured with period wallpapers and paint. Yet, the modern amenities including flat-screen TVs, complimentary wi-fi, a guest computer work-station, and a decidedly eco-friendly approach are very much there for today’s plugged in traveler. Additionally the “new” Champney’s takes a nano-local approach to cuisine. Foods are butchered, baked, kneaded, sliced and diced in-house. The restaurant stalwartly supports local growers, foragers, and producers. Good and fresh food is prepared with respect and creativity. Innovative renditions of classic favorites, comfort foods, and some eclecticism take advantage of what the farmers bring to the kitchen door. A wide selection of craft beers and creative and fun cocktails round out the mix. Open seven days a week, year round for breakfast, lunch and dinner, you’ll gather at a fine New England table when you visit Champney’s Restaurant & Tavern and the Deerfield Inn.

Yankee Magazine is based in Dublin, NH. Founded in 1935, Yankee is the preeminent magazine devoted to travel, home, food and feature stories exclusively focused on New England.

For more information or to book a reservation at New England’s “Best 19th Century Inn,” please visit www.DeerfieldInn.com or call 413-774-5587.

On Your Bike!

country bikes to rent

Thanks to our friend Henry – our Champney’s equivalent of Cheers’ cerebral Frasier Crane – we have two extraordinary and special country bikes that guests can rent. These bikes have big fat tires and a high gear, so you can sail up Eaglebrook hill like a Tour de France pro.

Recall the joy and wonder of the first day you (successfully) balanced and navigated a two wheeler? Well, our new ‘Large-Tire Country Bikes’ are guaranteed to replicate those feelings exponentially. We affirm this from personal experience!

These bicycles are as simple, stable, and maneuverable as they are fun. They have all terrain tires for sand, mud, slush, and easy road riding. A rental from morning to noon or noon to sunset is $39 for the pair; $25 for just one bike for a half day. We have a lock and key for you, as well as go-faster racing green bike helmets.

Ride them in confidence and comfort as you savor fresh country air and enjoy one of the most beautiful historic regions of New England.

The Inn will provide you with a custom-drawn map and a choice of some fascinating self-directed half day bicycle tours. And, for a nominal cost, picnic lunches are available for your bike baskets.

What a fun way to explore the area! You can put a sandwich and a bottle of water in the basket on your way to West Deerfield with a stop by the Deerfield River for a paddle and a bite to eat, before riding onward to Clarkdale Fruit Farm to fill the basket with apples and peaches for the downhill back. Or, if you prefer, just pedal about Historic Deerfield and the meadows at your leisure.

This is far and away the best and most memorable way to experience the rich history of Old Deerfield. Come ride with us!

Deerfield Inn Brochure from the Mid-1920s

A lovely gift from a friend of the Deerfield Inn who found this brochure in one of the boxes his grandmother had stored in her attic.  You can’t see the car on the front very well, but peering through a jeweler’s loupe, a car guy we know dated it to the early 1920s. It shows the  influence of the art deco period,  he said, when cars had become  accepted as a normal part of everyday life. “This beautiful piece of machinery probably belonged to someone who could afford a bit more than the basics, and for whom it meant not only the adventure and anticipation of  travel, but was also an endorsement of the   influence of the exciting new themes sweeping art and design.”

A room back then could cost  $6  ‘with bath or with running water,’ which is rather mysterious wording, and a dinner in the Old Prints Dining Room cost $1!

Still “Truly a delightful, friendly place to visit…” with rooms that are “quite charming and comfortable!”

1920's Brochure

 

 

March is Massachusetts Maple Syrup Month

We have had the perfect season so far for swiftly-flowing sap for Massachusetts maple syrup.  There are many sugar houses in our neighborhood, including Williams Farm of Deerfield just along the street. Folks line up for their pancake breakfasts in the Williams’ handsome wooden barn filled with that unmistakable and delicious aroma of boiling sap.  Look for more local maple syrup in our menus and small white pitchers of it with pancakes and waffles at breakfast and brunch!

Oysters are a Kiss from the Ocean – How to Shuck an Oyster

Question: Which of these foods are said to stir passion? An oyster, an avocado or a turnip?

Oysters you immediately say. But why? Maybe it’s the zinc in the oysters, maybe it’s the mythology that has become accepted as gospel, maybe it’s wishful thinking.

Increasingly, fishmongers play up the equivalent of a wine terrior.  Apparently the waters where the oysters are grown and the species all make a difference to the taste. Our fishmonger makes a point of letting us know the exact location of where our oysters are gathered and he recognizes their very distinct flavors from an almost melon-like sweetness, to a minerally brine.

Fishmonger MJ Gimbar describes oysters  as creamy and velvety. “It’s like a kiss from the ocean.”

Our oysters are fresh off the boat at $2.00 each on the half shell with a wonderful mignardise. If oysters aren’t for you, it seems that turnips are up for the challenge of inciting amorous tendencies! So if a half dozen oysters aren’t in the budget, you can get that aphrodisiac effect from a humble root vegetable.

Here’s how to shuck an oyster:

 

  • ·  Step 1

How to shuck an oyster step 1

Wiggle (don’t jab) the knife in from the hinge of the shell. Turn it like a key. Once you have leverage, you can pop off the top shell. Make sure the cup-side of the shell is on the bottom.

  • ·  Step 2

How to shuck an oyster step 2

Slide the knife along the top to severe the abductor, which is the muscle attached to the shell.

  • ·  Step 3

How to shuck an oyster step 3

Then slice along bottom, make sure you hold steady to preserve the liquor inside. Your oyster will now slide right off.

Come enjoy oysters at our beautiful Deerfield bed and breakfast located near Greenfield.