Hilltown Families


November 29th is Plaid Friday, a fun and enjoyable alternative to the big store “Black Friday,” and is designed to promote both local and independently owned businesses during the holidays… Small and independent retailers return a total of 51.1% of revenue to their local economy, and some businesses are giving back just a little bit more in different ways…

The Mountain Goat and Main Street I am not the only person to be sad about Northampton’s Mountain Goat closing. Like so many parents in the Valley, I can’t count the number of pairs of Merrell shoes I bought for my children there nor how many pairs of winter-grade mittens. The Mountain Goat sealed my love for Patagonia’s warm winter jackets and Smartwool socks. That’s to say I realized New England is… Read More

Back-To-School Labor Day weekend marks the return of school for many families! We’ve combed through our archives of questions we’ve asked our readers over the years that relate to this time of year and wanted to share a few gems that generated helpful community recommendations and suggestions that families with children going back-to-school (or just starting school!) can use. Be sure to check out our weekly post, Learn Local. Play Local. for… Read More

Americans spend billions and billions of dollars on kids clothes each fall in anticipation for the school year ($7.7 billion in August alone in 2011)! We asked our readers when shopping for back-to-school clothes for the upcoming school year, how can Western MA families make wise purchases? Here are 11 suggestions our readers offered… give a look-see and share your own ideas too!

QUESTION AND ANSWERS One of our readers, an expecting mother, is looking for places in Western MA to find maternity clothes. Any recommendations? Ilyza Sarah Earle recommends: “Hens & Chicks in Greenfield of course!” Nancyjo Craig Rongner recommends: “Savers in West Springfield.” Judy Bennett recommends: “Hens & Chicks in Greenfield carries consignment clothes for women and kids, including maternity.” Jennifer Shiao Page recommends: “Salvation Army in Hadley. Second Chances in Amherst. Kids… Read More

Note 7, Buying Local, Fairs, Markets, Stores ❥ By the time this goes up, the fall’s Twist Fair will have taken place. Don’t worry, though, you can still buy local crafts. If it seems like this is a valley teeming with artisans (okay, and therapists and cafés), I do believe it’s been proven true in the census or something, that our general lofty crafty factor is not just a figment of your… Read More

Environmental Working Group 2011 Shopper’s Guide Helps Cut Consumer Pesticide Exposure Environmental Working Group has released the seventh edition of its Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce with updated information on 53 fruits and vegetables and their total pesticide loads. EWG highlights the worst offenders with its “Dirty Dozen” list and the cleanest conventional produce with its “Clean 15” list. Analysts at EWG synthesized data collected from the U.S. Department of Agriculture… Read More

Buy Nothing Day Confronts the Economic Meltdown Now in its 17th year, Buy Nothing Day is celebrated every November by environmentalists, social activists and concerned citizens in over 65 countries around the world. Over the years, Buy Nothing Day (followed by Buy Nothing Christmas) has exploded into a global movement, inspiring the world’s citizens to live more simply and buy a whole lot less. Designed to coincide with Black Friday (which this… Read More

THE SHOPOCALYPSE IS UPON US … WHO WILL BE $AVED? There’s a new documentary film out that I’d like to catch, What Would Jesus Buy, produced by Morgan Spurlock (the same guy who produced Super Size Me). An interview with performance artist Bill Talen was recently aired on Valley Free Radio (home of the Hilltown Family Variety Show) that caught my attention. The film is a docu-“comedy” where Talen plays the role… Read More