Hilltown Families


February’s ever present Valentine hearts have Pain Specialist & yoga instructor Ginny Hamilton ruminating on the physical heart’s connection to love. As is so often the case, her son’s compassion reminds her how our bodies and emotions are intertwined. The Heart of the Matter, in this month’s Off the Mat: Reflections on the Practice of Parenting.

As a teacher and a mother, September brought homework back to the forefront for Pain Specialist and Yoga Instructor Ginny Hamilton. How do we make the time to keep our commitments to our own needs and growth? Doing our Homework, in this month’s Off the Mat: Reflections on the Practice of Parenting.

Contentment is a nine year old in summer. Inspired by time with her father and son, Pain Specialist & Yoga Instructor Ginny Hamilton reflects on how elusive – and easy – contentment can be.

“Flames burn out not because light is shared but because fuel is gone.” In this month’s Off the Mat: Reflections on the Practice of Parenting, Pain specialist & yoga instructor Ginny Hamilton plays with fire, burnout, and sharing our light.

Time flies, gravity anchors us, and children grow. Maybe time wrinkles, children anchor us, and the universe grows? Pain Specialist Ginny Hamilton explores limits versus possibility, in this month’s Off the Mat: Reflections on the Practice of Parenting.

How Things Work

What makes the car stop? How are car brakes different from bicycle brakes? Train brakes? Roller coasters? How do hydraulics work?

These questions pepper my days these days. Raised for sugar, spice, and everything nice, my mechanical engineering knowledge is woefully inadequate. Thankfully, in his updated masterpiece on machines, The Way Things Work Now, author David Macaulay and his illustrated mastodons describe the inner workings of the toilet tank, stapler, and radio, along with Wifi and RAM. And hydraulics.

I’ve been reading about the power of pressure. When a fluid is compressed, it exerts pressure in all directions.  A container not strong enough to withstand the pressure will leak or otherwise be damaged. Properly contained, the fluid will transfer the force of its power into the world around it.

Hilltown Families List of Weekly Suggested Events

[caption id="" align="alignright" width="240"] To find out about more event, be sure to visit our Suggest an Event Bulletin Board to see what our readers have recently shared! Have an event to share? Feel encouraged to self-post community events here at any time![/caption]

Suggest EventIf you have a community event, educational program, or service-learning opportunity happening in Western Massachusetts that you’d like to let us know about, self-post your event at any time on our Suggest An Event bulletin board. The events below are “suggested.” Please take the time to confirm that these events are happening, along with time, place, age appropriateness, and costs before attending.

Enhanced PublicityServing Western Massachusetts since 2005, Hilltown Families supports development and enhancement of our local economy and community. Local businesses, individuals, schools, and non-profits are encouraged to partner with Hilltown Families through sponsorship and advertising. Let us help get the word out about your after school/homeschool class, event, camp, workshop, fundraiser, business/school, service, open house, volunteer opportunity or general announcement. Deliver your message to thousands of families living throughout the four counties of Western MA while supporting the community development work of Hilltown Families! Click HERE to find out more.

Hilltown Families is currently recruiting our newest Interpretive Writer and Development & Sales Officer. Click on the banner above to see the full job descriptions, as well as a slew of other available volunteer and intern positions. We look forward to hearing from our community!

Bulletin Board

[caption id="" align="alignleft" width="40"] Sep 23[/caption]

Join The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art in Amherst on Saturday, September 23 for Elephant & Piggie Art-ventures with Mo Willems and Tom Warburton! In We Are in an ART-ivity Book!, Mo Willems and Tom Warburton have created the first-ever Elephant and Piggie activity books, full of hands-on fun! Meet Mo and Tom. Get books signed. Take your photo with Elephant & Piggie, watch films, and create art! Book signing from 12:30 – 2:30 pm. Limit 1 book from home/unlimited books from The Carle Bookshop. Can’t make it to the event? Reserve signed books online, call 413-559-6333, or

[caption id="" align="alignleft" width="40"] Sep 23 & 24[/caption]

The 19th Annual North Quabbin Garlic and Arts Festival is September 23 & 24 from 10am-5pm in Orange, MA. There’s something for everyone at this fabulous family destination. Over 100 booths are vibrant with local artists, farmers, fabulous food, chef demos and skills for local living. Enjoy amazing music, performance, spoken word and dance on three stages. New! ‘The World We Love,’ a giant handcrafted globe in the kid’s activity tent- add your vision and join the celebratory parade at the end of each festival day. Plus hula-hooping, horse-drawn hayrides, and garlic games all weekend. Only $5.00 adults, Kids 12 & under are free! More for travel/parking info and program visit www.garlicandarts.org; Follow festival updates daily on Facebook.

[caption id="" align="alignleft" width="40"] Sep 25[/caption]

Monday, September 25, 2017, 10am-3pm: Soar into spring with Homeschool Day at the New England Air Museum in Windsor Locks, CT. Open exclusively for homeschoolers and their families, and featured activities include: hands-on build & fly challenge activities, interactive flight science demonstrations, open cockpit experiences in historic aircraft, aircraft quests, fight simulators, and more! Virtual Flight Center access available for additional $5 per person. Tickets available for purchase on the day of your visit on a first come first served basis. Pre-registration required. Children ages 3 and under admitted free. www.neam.org for an online registration form. Please call 860-623-3305 x313 for questions.

[caption id="" align="alignleft" width="40"] Add your class[/caption]

Hilltown Families has put together an After-School Classes & Enrichment Programs Directory of classes and programs happening across Western Massachusetts throughout the school year. Our community is rich in learning opportunities to supplement the interests of children, teens, and life-long learners and our directory makes it easier to find these gems while connecting families with resources that support their interests and education. — Have a class or program you’d like to include in our directory? Click here to find out how to have it added. New and updated opportunities are added throughout the year.

[caption id="" align="alignleft" width="40"] Add your school[/caption]

Hilltown Families Preschool Directory: Are you looking for a preschool that fits your child’s personality and reflects your family’s values? Check out our growing Preschool Directory, covering all four counties in Western Massachusetts, and find the perfect place for your young one! — Have a school you’d like to include in this list? Click here to find out how to have it added.

ADVERTISE HERE: Reach thousands of families in Western MA while supporting the community development work of Hilltown Families! See your summer camp, class, community event, school, open house, audition, homeschool program, workshop, volunteer opportunity, wellness program, local business, after-school class, or non-profit featured here in the Bulletin Board section of our list of Weekly Suggested Events and in our weekly eNewsletter, reaching thousands of families living throughout the four counties of Western MA while supporting the community development work of Hilltown Families! Find out more about our advertising options and how you can partner with Hilltown Families in your online marketing by emailing us at at sales@hilltownfamilies.org.

Become a Contributing WriterJOIN OUR TEAM OF CONTRIBUTING WRITERS: Interested in becoming a Contributing or Guest Writer for Hilltown Families? We welcome writings that reflect the community-building and educational efforts parents, teens, teachers, artists, activists and community leaders work towards and accomplish, and how that affects, supports and empowers our families. All writing styles welcomed, including local reviews, DIY posts, seasonal cooking/local food, and community-based educational & community service learning opportunities/resources. Send your query to info@hilltownfamilies.org.

September 23rd-29th, 2017


Suggest an Event | Cultural Itineraries | Forecast | Museum Passes | Weekly eNewsletter | Farmers’ Markets | Storyhour & Playgroups| Berkshire Family Fun | Advertise/Sponsorship | en Español

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“Hilltown Families has made it oh so easy to in a few minutes find fun outings and events for our family. It’s also a wealth of information about this wonderful place that we live in. Thanks for making it so accessible.” – Amy Cullen (Williamsburg, MA)

Mindfulness is something you can practice at any time, in any place. Still, if you don’t know anything about how to meditate or practice mindfulness, you may want to find guidance and support in the form of community-based classes or groups. Luckily, Western Massachusetts is home to many organizations, courses, and sanctuaries for people to learn about and practice mindfulness (and yoga!).

For decades, Yoga Instructor Ginny Hamilton has taught people information about the external structures in which they work – navigating the subsidized housing system or the legislative process. Now she teaches tools for pain relief, what to stretch, and what to strengthen to bring their bodies into balance, so they can do their work – in their jobs and in the world. Explore the body of work and the work of the body in this month’s “Off the Mat: Reflections on the Practice of Parenting.”

What’s an anxious Mama to do when presented with a last minute chance to travel to Alaska with her Dad? In this month’s “Off the Mat: Reflections on the Practice of Parenting,” Hilltown Families contributing writer, Ginny Hamilton, contemplates her daddy’s dreams, her mother’s heart, and spending two weeks away from her son.

With a desire for independence must come a responsibility to allow yourself to be open to interdependence. It’s always a surprise how much people actually want to help and it’s up to us sometimes to lower our barrier and to let them in. This is something Ginny discovered when taking her newborn child out into the world.

This May, yoga instructor Ginny Hamilton is spending time out of town with her teacher and with her students, away from the responsibilities of motherhood. In this month’s “Off the Mat: Reflections on the Practice of Parenting,” she contemplates outer and inner peace, Mother’s Day traditions, and hand written letters.

In this edition of “Off the Mat: Reflections on the Practice of Parenting,” Hilltown Families contributing writer, yoga instructor Ginny Hamilton, sees the unseen through her practice and through her son. She shares, “Writing this piece had me reflecting (pun intended) about how I tend to focus on what needs fixing, not what’s working. My son also reflects my sparkling eyes, boisterous laugh, and stubborn persistence. Well, the last one he gets from both sides.”

Note 17, All Those Classes Everywhere Sometimes, when you hear friends from big cities discuss the options for classes available—chess clubs for preschoolers or some such, ballet barre workouts for adults, you get the idea—it’s acceptable to get momentarily jealous. As I delve down a rabbit hole that is simply called yoga by others less prone to rabbit hole diving afflictions, I’m reminded that for a not-urban spot, we are incredibly well… Read More

Michelle Ryan of Chesterfield, MA writes: I’m a yoga teacher from Chesterfield, MA. I and my fellow yoga teacher and “Chesterfielder” Sarah Prince, are writing to you in an effort to reach out to yoga teachers throughout the Hilltowns.   Sarah and I came up with an idea as a way for Hilltown yoga teachers to work together to network with each other, market ourselves and help effectively bring the benefits of yoga… Read More

Family Yoga By Rachel Besserman and Damon Arthur Blanchette (HF Guest Bloggers) Family yoga practice evolved in our family out of a need first for partner yoga, and a practice of intentional touch and connection. We started with the book Partner Yoga by Cain Carroll and Lori Kimata N.D. as our entry guide, and then improvised from there. Eventually our four year old son Emmet wanted to join in too because he… Read More

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