Arts & Life

Knitters’ paradise: Webs, ‘America’s Yarn Store’ and a mainstay for Valley crafters for generations, turns 50

07-12-2024 3:03 PM

By EMILEE KLEIN

When Webs opened their doors on May 16, the first day of the store’s annual tent sale, store manager Angela Cheek watched as a rush of people flowed through the doors for three whole continuous minutes on a Thursday morning. Within an hour, the...


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Music in the sky: Summit House Sunset Concert Series returns to its 173-year-old home

07-12-2024 3:00 PM

By PAIGE HANSON

For the first time in two years, The Friends of Mount Holyoke Range have returned the Summit House Sunset Concert Series to its namesake, Skinner State Park’s historic Summit House. The Summit House, which sits at a 935-foot elevation on top of Mount...


150 years at home: Wistariahurst Museum in Holyoke to open retrospective exhibit July 22; reception July 17

07-12-2024 2:50 PM

By PAIGE HANSON

On July 22, the Wistariahurst Museum will open a new retrospective exhibit, “Wistariahurst at 150: Reflections of the Museum.”“This exhibit looks at Wistariahurst’s history as a building in the City of Holyoke — first as a family home; then as a...


Weekly Food Photo Contest: This week’s winner: Amy Dopp of Easthampton

07-12-2024 1:19 PM

Amy Dopp of Easthampton made this blueberry pie on the Fourth of July for her family, using fresh berries picked from Bird Haven Farm in Southampton. How to enter: Snap a pic of something delicious-looking and send it with your name, town and a...


A hobby that rocks: Self-taught Whately stone carver sculpts whatever inspires him

07-11-2024 1:29 PM

By PAIGE HANSON

Around 15 years ago, Frank Popkiewicz was in Aroostook County, Maine, when he found a stone, in a shape that he thought resembled a bear, face down in the Earth.Since finding that stone, Popkiewicz’s interest in stones and rocks has only increased...


Valley Bounty: Rising from the ashes: One year after tragic fire, J & J Farms in Amherst enters new chapter with community backing

07-11-2024 1:27 PM

By JACOB NELSON

For over two decades, J & J Farms stood alone as the last dairy farm in Amherst. Many other small New England dairies shuttered as the economy shifted even more in favor of mega-dairies, but the Waskiewicz family held on, milking cows while also...


Let’s Talk Relationships: Triggers happen: What to do when your buttons get pushed

07-11-2024 1:23 PM

By AMY NEWSHORE

We all get “triggered” at times in significant relationships with loved ones. This happens when we react so strongly to what the other person is saying or doing that our thoughts, feelings and behaviors are out of proportion to the current situation....


Only Human with Joan Axelrod-Contrada: Laugh more, stress less: How humor can help us through our most painful times

07-11-2024 1:23 PM

By JOAN AXELROD-CONTRADA

Songs that combine a good metaphor with a bouncy beat rocket me into my word-nerd, ear-worm stratosphere. “Everyday I Write the Book” by Elvis Costello tops my list.How cool to think of our lives as books that we’re writing! Costello frames the song...


Speaking of Nature: Selective mowing: Finding the right balance of how much and how often to cut back the grass

07-09-2024 1:17 PM

By BILL DANIELSON

I think it is safe to say that most everyone is familiar with the notion of something called “No Mow May.” Basically, the concept promotes the idea that all mowing be put on hold during the month of May in order to allow our pollinators to get the...


This hiking club’s first rule? No diet talk: The Body Liberation Outdoor Club is coming to the Valley

07-05-2024 1:05 PM

By MELISSA KAREN SANCES

The founder of the Body Liberation Outdoor Club saw “The Fat Babe Pool Party” in “Shrill,” the Hulu series about a heavy woman’s journey to embracing her body, and felt like she was in a dream. In the fourth episode of Season 1, the main character has...


Valley Bounty: Blueberry fields forever: Family farm in Heath cultivates connection to a special summer crop

07-05-2024 12:44 PM

By JACOB NELSON

“This is a farm, but it feels like a wild place,” says Meredith Wecker about The Benson Place. “That’s why I fell in love with it.”The Benson Place is a diversified farm that Wecker runs with her husband, Andrew Kurowski, and is best known for their...


Meet the dinosaurs of western Mass: The Rock Fossil and Dinosaur Shop makes the prehistoric accessible for kids and adults

07-05-2024 12:40 PM

By PAIGE HANSON

Driving down the road on Route 5 in South Deerfield, commuters are met with a prehistoric surprise: a giant volcano with a huge dinosaur statue smack in front of a bright-green shack. Most find themselves asking, “What in the world is this...


Weekly Food Photo Contest: This week’s winner: Alex Barron of Easthampton

07-05-2024 10:28 AM

Alex Barron of Easthampton prepared this piyaz (a bean salad or meze in Turkish and Persian cuisines) with kale, tomatoes and dill from Mountain View Farm. The beautiful robins-egg-blue bowl was handcrafted by Ida Barron at Easthampton Clay.How to...


‘It’s not as hard as it looks’: Stompin’ Boots weekly line dances and classes rapidly growing in popularity

07-05-2024 9:50 AM

By ALEXA LEWIS

When Shellie Stone went to Nashville two years ago, she was intoxicated with the city’s quintessential culture of  music and dancing, and immediately took to the dance floor. Stone, who had been line dancing for fun since attending her first class...


Around and About with Richard McCarthy: Handling our devices: Or, are our devices handling us?

07-05-2024 9:50 AM

By RICHARD MCCARTHY

When I was a teenager, among the last things in the world I thought would render me uncool and out-of-it when I got older was technology. In fact, I don’t remember ever using, or even coming across the word “technology,” except my knowing MIT stood...


Speaking of Nature: Become a part of the background: Reasons why you can, and should, take up nature bathing

07-02-2024 1:20 PM

By BILL DANIELSON

Sometime back in the 1980s, in response to increased urbanization and technological development, the government of Japan decided that it was a good idea for people to turn off their electronics and get back to nature. Thus it was that the concept of...


The long view: Reflecting on 30 years in local journalism

06-28-2024 3:25 PM

By STEVE PFARRER

In the early 1990s, I answered an ad for a reporting job at the Gazette. I had editorial experience — I’d worked as a copywriter, a copy editor, and a proofreader — and I liked writing, but I’d never worked for a newspaper, unless you counted a few...


Book Bag: ‘Pickett’s Dream’ by Christopher Carlisle; ‘Like Father, Like Son’ by Lesléa Newman; ‘Sabor Judío: The Jewish Mexican Cookbook’ by Ilan Stavans & Margaret E. Boyle

06-28-2024 12:58 PM

By STEVE PFARRER

Pickett’s DreamBy Christopher CarlisleAustin Macauley PublishersChristopher Carlisle, at one time the Episcopal chaplain for the University of Massachusetts Amherst, later co-founded Cathedral in the Night, a Christian outdoor service and community in...


Weekly Food Photo Contest: This week’s winner: Betsy Feick of Florence

06-28-2024 12:57 PM

Betsy Feick grew these gooseberries in her plot at Grow Food Northampton's Organic Community Garden. “I rinsed them, cleaned off the stems and flower ends and they are ready for the freezer,” she said. “Eaten plain, they burst in your mouth, sweet and...


There is a Season with Molly Parr: A veggie recipe I can’t not share: Garlic-marinated fried zucchini inspired by an ancient Roman Jewish dish

06-28-2024 12:56 PM

By MOLLY PARR

I go back and forth with sharing this recipe for garlic marinated zucchini. On the one hand, it’s extremely delicious, especially served with some slices of thick sourdough and fresh mozzarella. It takes time to salt, fry, and then marinate, but it’s...


Your Daily Puzzles

Cross|Word

An approachable redesign to a classic. Explore our "hints."

Flipart

A quick daily flip. Finally, someone cracked the code on digital jigsaw puzzles.

Really Bad Chess

Chess but with chaos: Every day is a unique, wacky board.

SpellTower

Word search but as a strategy game. Clearing the board feels really good.

Typeshift

Align the letters in just the right way to spell a word. And then more words.


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