Nifty Living in Paradise ❥ Sharing the Love!

Mash Notes to Paradise by Sarah Werthan Buttenwieser

Note 8, Friends Who Also Love Paradise

When 5,500 come out early on a Saturday morning to run and walk in support of women who have experienced domestic violence, you know you're in a pretty unique spot on earth! (8th Annual Hot Chocolate Run. Photo credit: Ellen Carter)

Amongst the nifty things about living in a nifty place is this one: you are not alone in your love of the place and its people.

No question that when I first saw the slick jewel tones on the trees (it was pouring) during my first visit to Hampshire College, I thought this was a very pretty place. I don’t remember much more than that. But pretty quickly after turning on Robert J. Lurtsema early in the morning during that first semester, as directed by my mother’s dear friend who was at the time living in Hartford, I began to appreciate that I’d moved to a charmed area.

Way back then, I liked the bus system between the colleges, the Yellow Sun Co-op in Amherst and the fact that I could partake in a volunteer task force endeavoring to secure free after school care for children in the town of Amherst. I could not tell you how I found my way into that group, now; I was perhaps the only college student amongst the adults. But they were extremely welcoming. I went on to do plenty more organizing on campus and off over my decades here (I still do). What hasn’t changed for me is that this is a place where getting involved is truly a matter of course.

As recently as this last election, I was out there with my family holding signs for our mayoral candidate of choice.

❥ These days, my middle kids use the PVTA bus and I’m more likely to rave about my pal Monte’s morning radio (or on Saturdays, Bill Childs’ Spare the Rock Spoil the Child) and we heart our co-op, River Valley Market.

But I digress: the sense that we live in a special place for all sorts of reasons (including the high level of community engagement) is one I regularly know others feel, too. It’s nice to share.

I’ve been meeting somewhat regularly recently with three other writer types—idea sharing and cheerleading and holding one another accountable. It so happens we are all four of us besotted with this place.

  1. My friend Amy wrote an essay about a roundabout search for an oven to bake a loaf of Mark Bittman’s No Knead Bread during the snowstorm and power outage event of October in which her love for this little spot she recently began to call home (again) shines through. Note: my kids are the Baskinettes.
  2. My friend Naomi shares her small town amour on her blog.
  3. My friend Megan’s blog is entitled Life in the Little City. Her focus is essentially to highlight her particular fondness for Paradise.

❥ Heck, when over 5,500 people participate in a run and walk to support women, who have been experiencing domestic violence, you have to know you’re in a pretty unique spot on earth, right?


Sarah Werthan Buttenwieser

Sarah is a writer, who lives in Northampton with her husband and four children. She contributes to Preview Massachusetts Magazine, as well as other publications and writes a parenting blog Standing in the Shadows at the Valley Advocate. She moved to the Valley to attend Hampshire College—and found the Valley such a nice place, she stayed!

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