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Are We There Yet?: Curiosity, By George!
By Rebecca Dravis On: 10:18AM / Friday September 19, 2014
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I miss Curious George.

Let me explain. "Curious George" was the one cartoon on PBS my daughter watched regularly from the time she was a toddler pretty much up through first grade. Her first, second and third birthday parties were all George-themed. I loved the show and the monkey as much as she did ... maybe even more.

Last year, in second grade, she might stumble upon the show and watch it for a few minutes. We also made sure to catch the oh-so-cute George movie, "A Very Monkey Christmas," around the holidays. But this year, George is no longer a constant companion in our house.

And I miss him terribly. Every day, 8 a.m. and 3 p.m., George would fill our house with his innocent naughtiness, his zeal for discovery, his love of friendship and fun. So if my daughter doesn't want to go to "Curiosity Day" at the Berkshire Athenaeum on Saturday, Sept. 20, I just might go without her!

From 10:30 a.m. to noon, kids of all ages are invited (even 39!) are invited to come meet Curious George himself. There will also be snacks, crafts and all sorts of activities to encourage every child’s curiosity, including five different activity stations that will promote Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math as part of the Full STEAM Ahead programs coming soon to the Berkshire Athenaeum. This family event is free, and no registration is required but children under 10 must be accompanied at all times by an adult over 18 years of age. 

I wonder if adults over the age of 18 need to be accompanied by a child?

The other family events this weekend also seem to be centered on Saturday, including the "Miles for Moments" family fun day to raise money for and awareness of Moments House, which supports friends, neighbors and families living with a diagnosis of cancer. The event, to be held at Burbank Park on Onota Lake in Pittsfield, includes a 5K walk and run as well as a kids fun run at 11 a.m., followed by a full day of music, crafts and more through 5 p.m.

Also on Saturday is the highlight of the weekend-long celebration in Lee, Founders Day. The event does kick off Friday night with the "Taste of Lee" street fair, but the hometown parade on Saturday at 11 a.m. is an annual highlight - this year made all the more special by a visit by Ronald McDonald, who will be marching along with bands, firemen, clowns, veterans and Parade Grand Marshal Smitty Pignatelli. In addition to the parade, there are plenty of other activities for the kids and the whole family: see the complete schedule here.

Enjoy this last official weekend of summer!

Rebecca Dravis is the community editor at iBerkshires. She can be reached at rdravis@iberkshires.com.



     
Are We There Yet?: Late-Summer Outdoor Fun
By Rebecca Dravis On: 01:10PM / Friday September 12, 2014
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Fall is in the air, folks, even if it's not on the calendar yet. Fall is my favorite time of year - not too hot, not too cold. So in that vein, I present four late-summer outdoor activities for this weekend, which except for the possibility of some showers on Saturday afternoon is supposed to be a good one.

Before the rain hits on Saturday, Sept. 13, head over to Williamstown for the Williamstown Community Chest's annual Fun Run. This community event consists of two races: 5K Run and a 1-mile Kid’s Run/ Family Walk. The Fun Run races are open to everyone, veteran runners or first-time runners, along with daily walkers or occasional walkers. Families with pets and strollers are also welcome to join the fun. Both race events begin at 10 a.m. at the Williamstown Youth Center, 66 School St. Sign-in and registration will begin at 9 a.m. The cost for the 5K race is $10 per runner and for the one-mile Walk/Run $10 per individual or per walking family. For additional information, call 413-458-2443 or visit williamstowncommunitychest.org.

Stay in Williamstown in the afternoon and head over to Bonnie Lea Farm at 511 North St. (Route 7) for an open house from 1 to 4 p.m. Even if it's raining a little, a farm is still a neat place to visit. Guests can get details on lessons, the BLF Interscholastic Equestrian Association (IEA) Team and the adult lesson schedule, as well as meet the farm's horses, cows, goats, chickens, ducks - and this year’s foals. Don’t forget to wear your boots - especially if it's raining!

On Sunday, Sept. 14, rise with the chickens to help the dogs and cats. The Berkshire Humane Society will host “Woofstock,” the shelter’s annual dog walk, at Camp Russell in Richmond. The day kicks off with a pancake breakfast from 8 to 11 a.m. in a pavilion overlooking the lovely Richmond Pond. Registration for the walk is at 10 a.m. with the walk beginning at 11 a.m. Great prizes will be awarded to individual walkers and teams of walkers who collect the most pledges. Throughout the day, there also will be a full schedule of vendors, demonstrations, raffles, games and classes for dogs and their people, such as Musical Sits and Downs, Recall Races, Costume Contest, Best Tricks. Marki’s French Fries and Fried Dough will be providing delicious snacks as well as a bounce house for kids. For more information, call 413-447-7878, ext. 31, or visit berkshirehumane.org.

Wrapping up what hopefully will be a sunny Sunday is the Berkshire Food Festival on Main Street in North Adams from noon to 4 p.m. The event, one of the largest festivals of its kind in Berkshire County, features the cuisine of at least 20 restaurants, along with micro-brewed beer and wine tasting, an eclectic mix of live music and drawings for gift certificates from participating eateries. Come hungry, leave happy.

What more can you ask for in a weekend?

Rebecca Dravis is the community editor at iBerkshires. She can be reached at rdravis@iberkshires.com.

 



     
Are We There Yet?: Fun on the Weekends
By Rebecca Dravis On: 11:32AM / Friday September 05, 2014
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Ah, is that a collective sigh of relief I hear that the kids are back in school?

My daughter started third grade, where they were told they will have nightly homework for the first time. Wow. Which means weekends are going to be the time to play now that weeknights will be spent doing somework (after Girl Scouts meetings and religious education and karate class and viola lessons, that is).

In the spirit of embracing weekends, this Saturday, Sept. 6, offers a chance to check out two gems in the Berkshires for free.

First, Berkshire County residents and people who work in Berkshire County are invited to visit Pleasant Valley Wildlife Sanctuary in Lenox free of charge. The sanctuary grounds are open dawn to dusk, and the office and gift shop will be open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The sanctuary offers a well-maintained and clearly marked seven-mile trail system that takes visitors around beaver ponds, through hardwood forest, and to the summit of Lenox Mountain. Pleasant Valley also offers an All Persons Trail that makes the sanctuary universally accessible. Special introductory half-price memberships will be available, and the gift shop (where members receive a 10 percent discount) will be open as well. Registration is not required, and even though the weather is not looking great, it's something to consider.

Alternatively, if your family is more into art and history, consider Family Day at Chesterwood, which runs from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Chesterwood is the former summer home, studio and gardens of America’s foremost public sculptor Daniel Chester French, who sculpted the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C. Visitors are requested to enter the Barn Gallery for free admission stickers and site and exhibition guides. Chesterwood is located at 4 Williamsville Road. Along with free admission to the historic studio, residence and grounds, which feature woodland walks and formal perennial gardens, special activities for children and families throughout the day will include a clay modeling hands-on art activity and a self-guided scavenger hunt. Visitors are encouraged to bring picnics to enjoy on the grounds. Again, watch the weather.

If you'd rather stay inside on Saturday, it's the first Saturday of the month, so there's always the kids do-it-yourself workshop at Home Depot from 9 a.m. to noon and Bowey the Clown at the First Saturdays at the Spectrum in Lee at 11 a.m.

If the storm does blow through on Saturday, look for the sun to shine for a fun (and educational and delicious!) family festival on Sunday, Sept. 7. From noon to 5:30 p.m., the Festival of Sharing Roots is held at St. Joseph Church on North Street in Pittsfield. Booths representing seven international cuisines highlight the cultures that comprise the community. Entertainment on the stage will feature music and dance by local players. Kiddy Land, face painting and games will be fun for the family. Crafts and tagged items will be on sale starting at 9 a.m.

Stay cool, stay dry and stay busy!

 

Rebecca Dravis is the community editor at iBerkshires. She can be reached at rdravis@iberkshires.com.



     
Are We There Yet?: The End of Summer Stinks
By Rebecca Dravis On: 01:18PM / Friday August 29, 2014
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On Thursday, Aug. 28, 2014, the heat in my house kicked on in the overnight hours.

Say what?

With the exception of a semi-uncomfortable warm day here or there, August was a mild, lovely month, filled with temperatures in the 70s and blue skies. Twice in August I ventured to evening shows at Tanglewood and ended up needing long pants and jackets.

Lovely. As someone who hates extreme weather - on both ends - I have enjoyed this month immensely. And this last weekend of August, Labor Day weekend, the unofficial end of the summer, looks like it will start off just as perfect, with bue skies and temperatures in the 70s predicted for Saturday, Aug. 30.

So why not get out and about on Saturday? I have two suggestions on where to take the family.

First, in Pittsfield is the fourth annual Berkshire Dream Center neighborhood block party at Morningside Community School. Morningside holds a special place in my heart, as I am a "graduate" of the school, though I won't date myself and divulge what year I wore an ultra-fashionable two-piece polka dot dress and sang "The Rainbow Connection" with my fellow fifth-graders. This event, which runs from noon to 3 p.m., aims to bring the community together with free food, face painting, raffles, bounce house, hair cuts, balloon animals, pictures with Alex the Lion, a hula hoop demonstration and participation for children, games, music and more. For more information, call 413-522-3495 or visit berkshiredreamcenter.blogspot.com.

Or, you could head north, just across the border into Bennington, Vt., where the annual "Vermont Stinks" Garlic Festival will be held from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. (and again on Sunday, if you want to brave the possibility of rain showers). Admission is $5 per adult and $1 per child under 12; the festival features food and crafts from more than a100 different vendors all made from garlic and herbs, as well as music, children's activities and more. The festival is held just 1.5 miles west of the four corners in Bennington at Camelot Village on Route 9. I went one year and still remember trying garlic ice cream ... I'm not sure I have ever gotten that memory out of my mind. More info can be found at lovegarlic.com.

If local food (not necessarily made with garlic) is more your thing, here's something for Sunday, Aug. 31: You can feel young again and join Williams College students at the second annual Spring Street Food Fair in Williamstown from 4 to 7:30 p.m. Students get vouchers to try out local eateries offerings but the community can join in on the tasting fun with cold hard cash, too. Note that Spring Street will be closed to cars during this time.

And as for the holiday Monday ... well, if the kiddos already have started school, make them do some homework. If they start next week, make them get some sleep before all the homework comes. And enjoy your holiday weekend!

Rebecca Dravis is the community editor at iBerkshires. She can be reached at rdravis@iberkshires.com.



     
Are We There Yet?: Holding On To Summer
By Rebecca Dravis On: 12:43PM / Thursday August 21, 2014
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This can't possibly be the last weekend before Labor Day weekend ... can it?

Boy, the summer flew by, especially with the kiddos out of school so late. There was hardly any "Mom, I'm bored" time at all. (Hope I didn't just jinx myself for next week!)

But with another nice weekend on the horizon, there's still time to enjoy some summer fun.

If you don't mind a little drive, the epitome of summer fun is happening just over the mountain to our east in Cummington: the 146th annual Cummington Fair. The fair actually starts tonight, Thursday, Aug. 21, and runs Friday, Saturday and Sunday, Aug. 22-24, though this weekend's weather looks better than tonight or tomorrow's for sure. Gates open at 4 p.m. Thursday and will be open 4-9:30 p.m. Friday, 7 a.m.-9:30 p.m. Saturday and 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday.

What's at the Cummington Fair? All the usual fair stuff: midway rides, fried food, agriculture, craft barn and exhibit halls, as well as a comedian, classic cars and much more. Visit the fair's website for more details.

If you're looking to stay closer to home, wherever in the Berkshires "home" may be, on Saturday and Sunday, Aug. 23 and 24, the Lenox Library holds its annual book sale. Yes, I know, books make you think of back to school, but there's bound to be a lot of good beach reads in the thousands of books the library will have for sale. The sale runs from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and the library is right on Main Street in Lenox.

Also on Saturday, Aug. 23, in South County is the last chance to see a free Inside/Out performance at Jacob's Pillow in Becket. You can bring a picnic and watch METdance, a contemporary jazz company based in Houston. Showtime is 6:15 p.m. but come earlier to enjoy the lovely Pillow grounds.

On Sunday, Aug. 24, the Hubbard Avenue Barnes and Noble will present a special storytime and signing with Christine Sulborski, author of "Alex's Winter Adventure." This is to get you past summer AND fall and right into thoughts of winter! This free event is at 2 p.m.

One last Sunday event to mention: Motorama in downtown North Adams from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Main, Holden and Eagle Streets will be closed to all but pedestrian traffic as downtown North Adams fills with hundreds of cars, trucks, motorcycles, snowmobiles and tractors. Attendees can enjoy music, 50/50 raffles, food, shopping and more. The Downtown Celebration last week had lovely weather and a great turnout, so here's hoping Motorama can duplicate that.

As for me, well ... I actually haven't decided what I'm going to do yet. I love a weekend where I can go wherever the wind takes me!
 


Rebecca Dravis is the community editor at iBerkshires. She can be reached at rdravis@iberkshires.com.



     
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Children's Etiquette Classes Scheduled
Clark Art Receives $118,000 to Digitize Book Collection
10X10 Upstreet Arts Festival Seeks Submissions
NBCC's UNITY Program Announces 2014-15 Teen Programs
iBerkshire Tag Sales: Sept. 20-21
A Reading Room With a View: Sawyer Library To Be Dedicated
Schedule Set for North Adams' Minor League Hockey Team
Pipeline Debate Hinges On Energy Needs, Demands
Adams Farmers Market Deemed Success
MCLA Volleyball Wins on Road

 




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Are We There Yet?: Curiosity, By George!
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