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Let’s Go to The Hops!  To Northfield, with the Aeronauts

On Saturday I'm going to a concert amidst many very very tall plants....20 feet high, beautiful green hops plants are what they grow at Four Star Farms in Northfield. They also grow other grains, but on Saturday it will be all about the hops.  It's their first ever Aeronaut Field Day, sponsored by the Somerville MA brewer of the same name.  The brewers are celebrating their hops supplier out here in rural Northfield. It sounds like a most excellent place for a big party with two stages, 0

“Mr Burns a post-electric play” at New Century Theatre: a long night

In the play's third act, the actors don masks to look like The Simpsons characters. As the Bart Simpson and Mr Burns characters sang what felt like a nearly endless string of songs about dying in the third act of "Mr Burns a post-electric play," I gazed at my watch. My God, man, just die, so this long, long series of songs can finally end, and we can all go home.  New Century Theatre's most recent production of Anne Washburn's dark comedy is a long theater 0

Wineglass holders are common accoutrements for any fashionable Tanglewood picnic. Max Hartshorne photo. Tanglewood almost made the cut last week, except for our fear of pending rains that detoured us to another destination to the north. Every season Tanglewood looms as an important event I don't want to miss, but when I examine the calendar, the window seems to shrink and shrink. But once we settle into the comfort of the great expanse of Tanglewood lawn, and set out some of our picnic and get 0

Two Down in Deerfield

Two local retail businesses have closed down in South Deerfield. Sadly, it was a chef-owned bistro, a small celebration sort of restaurant, which could not keep going. The staff was notified by a text, then the next day, they were closed and gone.  When MRKT first opened, it took me a while to understand what they were doing with the place. Then after a series of glowing reviews and good word of mouth, they got some people in the door. But there were too many bad 0

The Ashfield Lake House: Rejuvenated with New Owners Dre and Chris

I have been reading about Chris and Dre Rawlings' purchase of the venerable Ashfield Lake House on Facebook for a few months. I've followed Dre's reports of the sad state of the kitchen floorboards, and read many comments from people who have been coming in and raving about the place. So on Saturday night, we decided that a paddle and a visit to the "NEW" Ashfield Lake House was in order. We rendezvoused with our friends Charlie and Jen and hit the beach at 5 0

Luna Gale at New Century Theatre: Riveting from Start to Finish

The cast of New Century Theatre's Luna Gale at a talk-back after Thursday's show at Smith College. "Luna Gale" is the best play I've seen New Century Theatre perform in the five years I've been enjoying their annual summer slate of shows at Smith College's Mendenhall Center for the Performing Arts. From start to finish, we were transfixed by the fast-paced dialogue, spot-on characters, and the impressive four-sided rotating set that provided realistic rooms, shifting between a social worker's office, a home kitchen, a break 0

Our Edgartown home for a recent visit

Harbor View Hotel, Edgartown Mass. For most of my life, I've strolled down North and South Water Streets in Edgartown, Mass with the confidence and pride that comes with being a landowner. Our family house once stood on Cummings Way, just off North Water. My grandmother Essie bought the house just after the war, and for five decades she spent the summer at this house with a view of the Edgartown Lighthouse from the magnificent back porch.  Our family cherished the times we spent celebrating Essie's 0

Valley Venture Mentors event: What can you tell me in two minutes

The pitchers are ready with their two-minute pitches at the VMM meeting in Greenfield. What can you tell me about your business in two minutes? That was the challenge a few weeks ago when Valley Venture Mentors met for the first time in Franklin County, bringing 10 entrepreneurs nursing their own small businesses and hoping for attention and funding to the John Olver Transit Center for some good old fashioned networking. First, Paul Silva set the stage. "We want to know whose ass you've kicked!" 0

Green River Festival 2015: Sharing A Tradition with Newbie

Above: The Straybirds. It's July again in the Valley and the best punctuation mark in this glorious vacation month is the annual Green River Festival at GCC. The weather over the weekend was perfect--hot, making bringing an umbrella to sit under a must, and the legions of old friends and acquaintances who I get to run into and see every year. One couple we know said they broiled under the sun--but this is just another reason to not try and get so close up front, 0

How building Interstate 91 changed the Valley and country

    (Laying down stones on Interstate 91 under construction in 1962.)  In 1919, after World War I, the army wanted to test out its fleet of vehicles to see what they needed to improve. They created a three-mile long caravan of trucks, jeeps and soldiers, plus a marching band, and set off across the US. The roads were ridiculously bad, and on one day they collapsed 41 bridges trying to drive over them.  Thankfully there was one young officer along the trip who would remember how bad 0