Hilltown Families

Graveyard Tours Support an Interest in Local History and Cultural Studies Graveyards are filled with stone markers that chronicle a community’s history. Everything from the names of buried people to the...

Haunted Building and Tours Support Curiosity, and Learning! Towns across Western Massachusetts have tales of haunted historic buildings, ghost sightings, and supernatural suspicions that lead people to wonder whether a place...

American writer, Washington Irving's story, The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, doesn’t take place in Massachusetts, but it does show how the idea of a legend or passed down history is often...

Called “pompions” by the first European colonists, pumpkins were a food essential to winter survival – and they were grown in many more varieties than they typically are today. The...

There are so many different uses for pumpkins! One of America’s oldest native crops, modern day uses include carving as ornaments for Halloween, prepared as pies, and highlighted as a...

While Colonial Americans did not celebrate Halloween, their interest in pumpkins was food-based rather than a holiday decoration. Support a farm to table interest by incorporating fresh pumpkin into your culinary...

In addition to bountiful harvests, autumn brings with a dramatic change in the color scheme of the local landscape. Leaf peeping is a favorite activity of folks from out of state...

En plein air is a French expression meaning “in the open air.” It’s used in English to describe a painting style that occurs outdoors. Made possible historically by the manufacturing of...

Really want to entrench yourself in local art history? Then paint at the summit of Mt. Holyoke! The mountain (not the college!) is the site of Thomas Cole’s 1836...

Crisp fall days are a great time for outdoor hands-on science! Using fall-harvested crops and the natural phenomena of autumn as inspiration, families can explore everything from weather prediction to animal...

Think about this: How do you think American landscape painting helped to inspire the early conservation movement in the late 19th century? What interesting colors stand out to you during fall foliage walks?...

Phenology - the study of seasonal change in plants and animals - helps to illuminate the slow and subtle daily changes undergone in the living things around us. By combining leaf...

Fall in Western Mass is when nature literally takes center stage; a destination visitors outside the area flock to because of the gorgeous dynamism of the season. The trees and their...

Exploring Literature, Art & History through Nature Trails Hiking is an engaging way to explore seasonal patterns with family and friends. It requires very little gear, just walking shoes, a water...

Guide Hikes Connect to Nature In The Maine Woods (1864), Henry David Thoreau writes: Talk of mysteries! — Think of our life in nature, — daily to be shown matter, to...

Self-Guided Hikes in Western Massachusetts The following is a list of places to discover in your community with friends, family, or on your own. Before exploring, become aware of the literary,...

Autumn in New England is rich with many traditions filled with the bounty of local farms and the seasonality of our region. In addition to the robust fall harvest and...

During the autumnal months, communities celebrate the change of season with festivals that bridge agricultural and cultural traditions. These festivities not only celebrate the harvest season but also the cultural traditions...

Fall festivals are a community space that act as an intergenerational gathering place for folks to come together in the spirit of the season and share in the harvest and local...

Food connects us. It’s an integral part of our cultural identity and is often prepared with the idea of sharing, giving, and enjoying together. Nothing indicates the beginning of autumn...

Participate in the tradition of apple-picking and support local agriculture! Check out these orchards and farms in Western Massachusetts for Pick Your Own Apples!

Poetry of William Cullen Bryant “The Planting of the Apple-Tree” Did you know that William Cullen Bryant, a 19th century poet (and Schoolhouse Poet like John Greenleaf Whittier) planted over 800...

What family recipes do you still make that have been passed down generation after generation? Can you recall and share the history of their origin with family and friends?

In the 1800’s, the traditional academic year was quite different in New England than modern day education. An element of seasonality was incorporated into how the school term was determined. 19th...

Here in Western Massachusetts there are many preserved historic school houses people can visit to learn more about schooling and education before the 20th century. Here are six historic schoolhouses to...

An interest in one-room schoolhouses can be a lens into learning about New England history, education, and local industry. Here are three free community-based events coming up this month that supports...

In this video by Kylee Reschke, five Fireside Poets from the 19th century are introduced. Discover why they are called the Fireside Poets (also known as the Schoolroom Poets) and why...