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Leader in South Deerfield clears away an eyesore, and makes room for expansion

This old yellow house has stood next to the Leader Home Center in Deerfield for decades. Today it was torn down, to make way for a new store building. For as long as I remember, there has been an old yellow house right next to Leader Home Center in South Deerfield. This is one of the most important businesses in our small downtown and they have an interesting history. Back in the 1990s, the owner, Grant Gagnon, called the store Elder Lumber, and he had 0

Take Magazine starts off with a bang at the Ashfield Lake House

Michael Kusek was all smiles as he launched Take magazine at the Lakehouse. Cars lined the road leading to the Ashfield Lake House last night as rain drizzled down. Inside, the place was packed, and big stacks of magazines were piled up for all to peruse. It was the launch party for a new magazine published by a man well-known in Northampton, Michael Kusek, and his big smile expressed how happy he must have been to have all of these people there to celebrate the 0

At Baltimore's Bo Brooks, cracking crabs for dinner

I trained it down to Baltimore for one reason. My friend Pam Scott, VP of Communications for Red Lion Hotels, told me her company had just opened a new hotel, and I wanted to check it out. Well, maybe there were a few other reasons too, namely, that Baltimore is a fun city and I wanted to try eating cracked crabs.   Last night we piled into the HotelRL Baltimore's 1973 Volkswagen Bus, which is tricked out with limo-style seating and a new diesel engine (still 0

Aboard the Amtrak, thinking of the possibilities

How about this for a cross country train? Many people don't want to pay for the sleeper cars, so this might be a better way to relax on long trips. I'm heading southbound on the Amtrak train out of Greenfield, the second time I've taken this journey. Today my destination is Baltimore, where I am going to check out a new hotel that's been opened by Red Lion hotels. Once again, I marvel at the amount of debris that the recent track upgrade left on 0

Tully Lake Awaits

Tully Lake is located north of Athol, a beautiful state park great for camping. We're heading for four days of relaxation around the campfire at Tully Lake in nearby Athol. This state park is unique, because the camp-sites are located away from where the cars are parked. So we don't have to put up with that familiar car-camping sound of car doors opening, alarms going off, and especially, music blaring from car stereos.  Instead, at Tully, they provide garden carts which are used to transport all 0

Atkins Farms now open in North Amherst's Mill District

It's been quite a long road for Cinda Jones, who has a vision of her North Amherst Mill District becoming the next bustling commercial neighborhood in Amherst, and yesterday was a big day. Cinda knows that food and drink are the keys to get people to visit a new shopping destination, and so far she's done well by recruiting a first-rate restaurant, Bread and Butter, and now, a grocery store. Atkins is officially a part of the Mill District on Cowls Lane!   Be prepared to 0

Greenfield Rec Tennis League: Losing ain't all that bad

Ever since I visited my old friend Harry in Atlanta I have been interested in playing more tennis. During my visit, we set out on a Friday night and played doubles with his regular group, and I realized that I loved the game and vowed to find a way to play more. Then my local friend, Curtis Rich, told me about the Greenfield Recreational Tennis league, where three divisions of players have regular matches throughout the summer.   I signed up and soon I was facing 0

South Deerfield's downtown: The good and the sad

Are the empty storefronts in our little town indicators of what is to come in the future? I was saddened recently when the one high-end restaurant in South Deerfield, called MRKT, closed its doors in July. There is now a sign that says 'for lease' and like the general store around the corner, it seems unlikely that the for lease sign will go away any time soon.  I did my time trying to revitalize our village. I opened and ran the GoNOMAD Cafe for five years 0

Art in the Orchard: What a wonderful stroll in Easthampton

'Song of the Birth of the Stars, by Mark Fenwick, is one of the most memorable of the 28 outdoor sculptures you'll find at Art in the Orchard this year. We had a magical summer evening last week when we visited the Park Hill Orchards in the rolling hills around Easthampton for their bi-annual celebration of outdoor art known as Art in the Orchard. New for this year are spiffy handicap accessible men's and women's bathrooms, along with a new roster of art by sculptors 0

A South Deerfield to Greenfield bike path: Can we create it?

Above: The path for bikes along the newly resurfaced Routes 5 and 10 is best between Yankee Candle and Magic Wings, but after that gets too narrow to safely ride -- such as the section shown below. What if there was a safe and easy route to ride a bicycle between South Deerfield and Greenfield? I think a lot of people would ride this route. I have a dream that we could create such a bike path, and provide not only a tourist attractor, but 0