Black Friday Alternatives to the Mall in Western MA, 2018

Smart Black Friday Alternatives to the Mall

Download a copy of Learning Ahead: Cultural Itinerary for Western MA for Nov/Dec. (38 page PDF) for the holiday season.

Local Organic Christmas Trees! Justamere Tree Farm in Worthington, MA, has cut your own and pre-cut Christmas trees available Friday, Saturday, & Sunday after Thanksgiving, and weekends in December. Come by the farm between the hours of 9am-4pm to select your very own locally grown Christmas Tree. Their gift shop, in the post and beam barn, will feature their very own artisanal maple products for sale. Also, handcrafted wreaths and swags made on the farm are available. Experience a wonderful destination and a beautiful drive into the Hilltowns, creating a new tradition with your family. Visit them at for more information & directions or email them at

People have been skating on ice for many hundreds of years, although this “early” skating was pragmatic rather than recreational. “Skate” is derived from the Dutch word “schaats,” which means leg bone, as the first skates were simply lengths of animal bone strapped to the bottom of boots. When wood, and then iron, blades were introduced as a replacement to bone, skaters gained more control and speed, and skating for sport and fun began to rise. Our local skating culture traces its roots to Scottish immigrants, who brought skates with them when they resettled in the U.S., and can be a great topic to explore on and off the ice while learning about world and New England culture and history. Find local skating resources in our post, 24 Ice Skating Rinks in Western Mass.

This Friday, come enjoy a day full of Thanksgiving farm fun at the Hancock Shaker Village! All the farm animals will be out and about, including the farm’s heritage breed turkeys. Woodworking and blacksmithing demonstrations will be available all day, as well as arts and crafts activities. Learn all about what Thanksgiving meant to the Shakers. For a full list of activities, please visit Thanksgiving on the Farm. Hancock Shaker Village. 1843 West Housatonic Street, Pittsfield, MA

From Hanukkah to Diwali and Christmas, communities all over the world mark the coming of winter with a festival of lights. There is something deep and powerful about creating light in the midst of the darkness and it is no surprise that this ritual inspires such faith and hope to people around the world. This holiday season, Naumkeag in Stockbridge will be illuminated by thousands of shimmering lights and displays. Come embrace the holiday spirit and the continued presence of light amidst the darkness with an evening of music, community cheer, and fun children’s activities. Naumkeag. 5 Prospect Hill Road, Stockbridge, MA

Night is often the best time to observe animals in the wild. This is especially true for the majestic owl. It can be easy to forget that owls are all around us save for the occasional mournful hoot one hears late at night in the depths of the forest. This moonlight owl prowl will explore fields, forests, and wetlands, in search of owls and other nocturnal creatures. Mass Audubon Pleasant Valley. 472 West Mountain Road, Lenox, MA

Kick off the holiday season with the Springfield Museums! Starting at 11am is the Spirit of Springfield Big Balloon Parade, led by the giant Cat in the Hat balloon, the Spirit of Springfield parade will travel Main Street from Lyman Street to Locust Street at 11 am. Kick off the holiday season with the Springfield Museums. At 11am is the Spirit of Springfield Big Balloon Parade led by the giant Cat in the Hat balloon Travel from the parade to the Museums for a day filled with family-friendly, fun activities. See amazing gingerbread creations by local bakeries, schools, adults, and kids displayed along with festively decorated holiday trees, enchanting lights, and a backdrop of beautifully painted murals celebrating popular sci-fi and the wonders of astronomy. Meet the Grinch, the furry green recluse who lives above Whoville, sing carols, support interest with museum displays, and so much more. The Lighting of the Quadrangle happens at 5pm. The spectacular architecture and beautifully landscaped grounds of the Quadrangle will sparkle and shimmer against a dazzling outdoor lighting display. This festive holiday celebration features appearances by Santa Claus and the Grinch, rides on a fanciful train, performances of holiday music by the Sci Tech Band and special guests, visits to the Gingerbread in Space exhibition and free warm cider and cookies! 413-263-6800. Springfield Museums, 21 Edwards Street. Springfield, MA (FREE w/Museum Admission)

Friday, November 24, 11am
Go Green on Black Friday! Hike the “Little Tom” ridge from Bray Lake to a scenic vista overlooking the Pioneer Valley. The hike is approximately 2.5 miles round-trip at a moderate pace on rolling, uneven terrain with one short very steep section. Meet your friends and family at the Bray Lake Warming Hut, near the park’s Route 5 entrance in Holyoke. 617-699-2387. Mount Tom State Reservation, Holyoke, MA.

Friday, November 24, 4-9pm
Moonlight Magic in Shelburne Falls will once again kick off the holiday season. The popular annual “festival of lights” features thousands of luminaria lighting up the village filled with an eclectic variety of stores, galleries, and restaurants offering special holiday promotions, in-store treats, and holiday cheer. Vendors from across the valley contribute a rich assortment of items, including baked goods, maple products hand-crafted in the region, arts and crafts, delicious food, and hot drinks. The Iron Bridge will be closed to vehicular traffic creating a pedestrian mall so shoppers can stroll back and forth across the Deerfield River enjoying events and shops on both sides of the river. At 5:15pm, shortly after the town officially lights up, the Parade of Lights will begin in Buckland across from Lamson Factory Outlet Store, featuring Santa, the Grinch and Max, Clifford, and the Snow Princess. The Parade marches down Conway Street, through the Village of Buckland and then crosses the Iron Bridge into Shelburne. Santa and Mrs. Claus continue to Santa’s Workshop at the Shelburne-Buckland Senior Center on Main Street. 413-625-2526. Shelburne Falls, MA (FREE)




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