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Exploring the Hawley State Forest

Looking for a fun, educational way to get some exercise--while practicing social distancing?

It is easy to accomplish all of this in the Kenneth M. Dubuque state Forest, or as most people call it, the Hawley State Forest--and it is easy to keep social distance in its 7,882 acres with over 35 miles of trails. Hawley was once a bustling town, but now only has a little over 300 people. It is a great place to explore our New England woods and see relics of Old New England.

For this walk, bike, ski, or snowmobile ride, park beside the East Hawley Fire Station on Plainfield Road (East Hawley Road) near the intersection of Ashfield Road (see map). You can see the church from there. (Did you know that to be an incorporated town in early Massachusetts, you had to have a church?) If you walk in the trail you will soon come to the charcoal kiln. This is a fabulous stone structure as you can see in the photos. It is a great place to take children to learn about how charcoal was made. Why was it so important to have a charcoal kiln? What was charcoal used for? Massachusetts has 80% more forests now than it was a century ago. By 1876, much of the timber had already been cut.

If you want to keep hiking, continue up Kiln Road. You will cross at the base of a small beaver pond. (Beavers were were highly sought after by early trappers for their pelts and were nearly all killed by 1876. They started returning to Massachusetts in the 1920s and were also reintroduced. This is a whole other study you can do with your children.) When you get to the intersection of with Penobscot Road, turn left and shortly on the right you will find and old foundation. BE CAREFUL OF THE OLD WELL near the northeast corner of the foundation between two maples. What is the big structure in the middle of the foundation? It is the base of the old central chimney.

Most early New England houses had a big chimney with a big fireplace for cooking, a beehive oven, and two additional fireplaces in the “fancy parlor” and the regular parlor. Sometimes they contained a smoking chamber too. Fancy houses often had fireplaces in the upstairs bedrooms. This how they heated the house. The fire going all day would heat that central core of stone or brick, which would help the house retain some heat over night. I have read that the average indoor temperature in winter was 45 °F. How long would you estimate since a house had been in this spot from the size of the trees growing in the basement?

If you want to keep going, you can head to another old foundation near the corner of South Road and Middle Road on the Periwinkle Trail. It is about another mile farther. (I did an entire loop on my cross country skis, catching the last of the snow which is about 6 miles.) Why is it called the Periwinkle Trail? This is easy to answer in the spring; Myrtle or periwinkle plus day lilies and old lilacs are plants that tend to be long lived and if you see them in the woods there is a good chance there is a foundation nearby. Be very careful near old lilacs because there were commonly planted near wells. How does this foundation differ from the other? Which of the two foundations do you think is better sited and why? Other than the foundation pictured here there is more cool historic stuff up this trail but it is not a good ski trail, so I did not go there.

I then continued down South Road so I could go around the block, down Middle Road, which has a lovely large beaver meadow beside it as you approach Hunt Road. It is one of many in the Hawley State Forest. There are also several old dams. The one pictured here is near the corner of Hunt Rd and Penobscot Rd. I hope to go to the other side of the Hawley State Forest near Hallockville Pond off of West Hawley Road for my next post on water power. Hawley has a very high altitude, hence lots of snow, but I doubt I’ll be on skis again this season. I took these photos on March 26th.

If you're interested in further reading on life in early New England, I recommend Diary of an Early American Boy by Eric Sloane. It's great reading for readers in middle school and up!

Yours Truly,

Carla Ness of Delap Real Estate and her dog, Jack. (photo taken earlier in the season)

New Practices in the Time of Covid-19

Due to the spread of Covid-19, Delap Real Estate has cancelled office hours until further notice. During this time, our agents will be working remotely and will continue to provide a high level of service to our clients while staying committed to everyone’s health and safety. We have provided some basic information below, and encourage you to contact us with any questions. Our agents’ phone numbers and email addresses are available here.

Open Houses

In accordance with state and federal guidelines limiting group gatherings, we are not scheduling open houses at this time.

Social DistancingShowings

We are still showing properties both virtually (through FaceTime/video tours) and in person. For in-person showings, our agents will wash/sanitize their hands before and after entering the property, keep at least 6 feet of distance from others, and will ask prospective buyers do the same. Agents will open bathroom, closet, and other doors in advance, so that prospective buyers not need to touch anything as they move through the space.

Appointments

We will be happy to “meet” with you by video or phone conference, and spend as much time as necessary to develop a plan to find your dream home—or get your property on the market. We are also available to meet in person, using the same safety measures described above for showings.

Everything Else

Whether you are in the middle of a closing, just embarking on a house search, or looking to put your property on the market, we know that many questions are likely to arise. Please feel free to contact us about any aspect of your current or future real estate endeavors. We will do our best to supply the information and resources you need to move forward now or formulate a plan for later.

As of today, everyone at Delap is healthy. We will continue to exercise an abundance of caution to preserve the health of our agents, clients, and the community at large. We are sending good wishes to all of you and your families in this difficult time. Please stay safe—and practice as much social distancing as you possibly can. We will do the same!

Home Projects for Winter Weekends

House projects can be tricky in winter. Other than snow removal, there isn’t a ton you can do to improve your home’s curb appeal this time of year. But that doesn’t mean you need to defer all projects until Spring. There is plenty of work you can do inside to breathe new life into your home. Much of it can be accomplished in a weekend and for under a hundred bucks!

Rearrange

Whatever you want to call it—feng shui, space flow, reconfiguration—getting your furniture into just the right spots can make a huge difference to the impact of a room. If things feel off and you just can’t figure out why, ask a friend (or your realtor!) too look at the space with you. Sometimes all it takes is a set of fresh eyes to see the true potential of a space.

Do a Deep Clean

Once you’ve done the routine work of tidying, dusting, and vacuuming, try going a bit deeper. From washing windows and wiping down doorframes, to scrubbing bathroom grout and cleaning light fixtures, there is a lot you can do to make your home feel sparkly and new with just a little elbow grease.

Style Your Bookshelves

Tidy up your reading materials and make some space on the shelf for one or two non-book items (a plant, or a nice piece of pottery, for instance). This will add style and draw the eye to this otherwise utilitarian area of your home.

Do a Sofa Makeover

If your couch is starting to show some wear, dress it up with a new slipcover, some accent pillows, or a cozy throw.

Winter Home Project IdeasOrganize Your Kitchen

Kitchen clutter can be a real drag. If you have stacks of pots and pans living on top of your stove for instance, consider a pot rack. Whether it’s hanging, wall-mounted, or free-standing, an item like this can add visual appeal as well as providing storage space.

Paint

A fresh coat of paint on walls, trim, or doors can go a long way to making your home feel fresh and cared for.

Update Fixtures

From the pulls on your kitchen cabinets to the knobs on your interior doors, updating hardware can make a big difference for not a lot of bucks.

Event Listings in the Pioneer Valley

Looking for something to do this weekend?

Here are some some great resources to help you find out what's going on in the region on any given day.

Pioneer Valley, Western MAValley Advocate Events

If you’re a local, you probably already have this site bookmarked. But it’s still worth mentioning for its comprehensive Western MA events calendar. 

MassLive Events

Searchable by location, category, and keyword, this is a great way to look for specific types of entertainment for you or your family members.

Explore Western Mass

With tabs such as “Things to Do,” “Food & Drink,” “Lodging,” and “Events,” this site is a great resource for both locals and visitors to the area.

Hampshire County: The Other Side of Massachusetts

In addition to categories such as “Explore,” “Eat,” and “Shop,” this site will also show you events with discount tickets available. Handy!

Hilltown Families

From food tours to art classes to preschool open houses, this site showcases events for adults, kids, and everything in between.

Western MA Junction

With categories such as Music, Arts & Entertainment, and Family fun, this site lists a great variety of events, with a special focus on music.

Thinking Outside of the Box

Holiday Giving TipsLooking for new ways to give—or give back—this holiday season?

Here are three of our favorite ways to help others and bring new meaning to the holidays.

Pass along things you no longer need.

Does your home feel cluttered? Has your child outgrown a bunch of clothes this year? Is your linen closet overflowing with extra towels or blankets? Take a pass through your home and round up the things you no longer need. If the items are in good condition and fall into any of the following categories, they are very likely needed at your local homeless shelter:

  • Clothing (especially warm socks, gloves, coats, hats, and any item that can be worn as a layer)
  • Toiletries (such as shampoo, soap, lotion, feminine hygiene products, toothpaste, new toothbrushes, hairbrushes, and razors)
  • Blankets and towels
  • Diapers and baby wipes

Make a financial donation in someone’s honor.

Need a thoughtful gift for a friend or loved one who already has everything? Instead of a physical object, make a donation in their name. Whether it’s Heifer International, the ASPCA, or the Red Cross, there are numerous organizations out there that will do something useful with your donation. If you want to check into an organization before giving money, you can look them up on Give.org.

Give a few hours of your time.

There are plenty of ways to help people out, just by showing up and spending some time. Here are some ways to do that:

  • Serve food at a soup kitchen.
  • Bring some treats or cards to a local nursing home and visit with residents who may not get other visitors over the holidays. (Remember to call ahead to schedule your visit.)
  • Bring a warm meal to an elderly neighbor.
  • Lend an ear to someone who is having a hard time. Whether it’s a close friend, a neighbor, or a colleague, there is probably someone in your life who is going grieving a loss or going through something else difficult. Invite that person over for coffee or a meal, and let them know you are there for them if they would like to talk.

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It's the Time of the Season for … Hygge

Cozy reading nook on couch with lamp and bookshelvesEight Tips for Adding Warmth and Coziness to Your Home

With Thanksgiving behind us and a fresh blanket of snow on the ground here in the Pioneer Valley, it feels like time to settle in by the fire, curl up with a good book, pour a cup of tea and luxuriate in the coziness of home. The Danish call this feeling of coziness hygge (pronounced h(y)oo), which the Oxford Dictionary defines as “a quality of coziness and comfortable conviviality that engenders a feeling of contentment or well-being.”

There are parts of our homes that tend to spark feelings of coziness naturally; A breakfast nook with the morning sun slanting in, a comfy couch with a blanket draped over the back, or any spot near a fireplace. If your home contains these things, congratulations—hygge slam dunk! But if not, never fear. There are plenty of other ways to infuse your house with a feeling of warmth and comfort this winter.

Boost your home’s coziness factor by adding any of these elements:

  1. Rugs. Not only are they kind to your feet on chilly winter mornings, rugs can really soften the vibe of a room and create defined and inviting areas within a larger space.
  2. Blankets and throws. They’re great for warmth, of course, but also for adding a touch of softness to more modern, angular furniture.
  3. Pillows. Well…what’s cozier than a pillow?
  4. Plants, flowers, or fruit. Anything organic, really—even a piece of beautiful driftwood—will bring softness and a sense of comfort to a room.
  5. Texture. Whether achieved through fabrics, prints, or objects with different surfaces, texture can make a space feel more inviting.  
  6. Books. Stacks of them. Preferably somewhere near an overstuffed chair and a reading lamp.
  7. Soft, warm light. So break out those candles, fairy lights, or Edison bulbs for an instant feeling of warmth and comfort.
  8. Good smells. Whether its from bread baking in the oven or a woodsy-scented candle, the right smell will trigger a sense of “home” like nothing else.

 

Delap Will Bike 4 Food

Delap Real Estate: Biking for Food in Western MA

 

Hello! 


Delap is participating in an exciting local event! Bike 4 Food is an annual bicycling event in Hatfield, MA. Bikers of all levels can ride to raise money to alleviate hunger. Celebrating its 9th anniversary, the Bike 4 Food Benefit boasts bringing hundreds of individuals, businesses, and organizations together to raise funds for the Food Bank of Western Massachusetts. 

Cyclists can choose from 10, 25, 50, or 100 mile riding routes through the bright fall colored pioneer valley. Anyone can ride alone, with friends, family, or coworkers. Every $1 raised will provide 3 meals to our neighbors.

To date, Bike 4 Food has provided 1 million meals across Western Massachusetts. 

Sign up to volunteer, ride, or just donate if you can’t make it out to the event on September 29th!

Delap will be volunteering and riding in the event. Come out and join us on Sunday, September 29th :) 
 

WillBike4Food → Will Bike 4 Food Facebook Page

https://www.bikereg.com/wb4f2019  → Registration

https://www.pledgereg.com/wb4f2019  → Donate

https://www.foodbankwma.org/events/wb4f/volunteer/ → Volunteer
 

We hope to see you there!


- Delap 

Attracting Fall Home Buyers

Hello All! Delap Real Estate: How to Attract Fall Home Buyers

Are you considering putting your house on the market soon? Buyers are looking. In Autumn, Buyers and Sellers are more motivated to take the real estate process more seriously, before Winter really closes in. 


Here are some tips to attract the Fall home buyer:
 

  1. Clean up your yard. Make sure to cut and pull those persistent summer vines, bittersweet especially. 

  2. Get creative with curbside flowers. Decorate with Autumn decor. Marigolds, mums, pumpkins.

  3. Wash your windows, inside and out. Remove the screens, if you can, and clean those as well.
    They may not look dirty but they are.

  4. Change your furnace filter. Better for you and your family’s health.

  5. Consider cleaning out the fireplace, if you haven’t already. Decorate inside with lit candles for the showing. 

  6. Bring in the light, turn on the lights. Ensure your home is well lit. Lighting improves a home’s atmosphere.

  7. Prepare some autumn snacks to enjoy and share with potential buyers. The smells of apples and cinnamon
    are just an added bonus.

  8. Consider playing soft background music if you can.
     

Remember, in the end, everyone involved wants to say goodbye
to a good home and hello to a good home. Let’s all work together to make that happen.

 

- Delap

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Art in the Orchard

Happy Thursday! Looking for something to do this weekend? Have you ever been to Art in the Orchard at Parkhill Orchard? There’s an outdoor art gallery in our community! Parkhill is a working fruit farm and walking sculpture exhibition. This year’s exhibition is the fourth biennial featuring all new works by exciting artists. 

Art in the OrchardWalking the sculpture trail is free! Art in the Orchard welcomes voluntary donations with a suggestion of $5 per person and $20 per group. If you can, of course, please support this local family farm through donation, Pick Your Own Fruit, or by purchasing any of the yummy produce and goods sold at their farmstand. Art in the Orchard is open until Thanksgiving 2019. 

Take a stroll through the winding fruit gardens, pick your own apples, and experience incredible visual art. One of my favorite pieces is the Big Red Frame near the parking area. One of my favorite artists performed an acoustic cover of her song there, with incredible views surrounding her. 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9aFqnlOGytE&t=269s

Plus! On Sunday September 8th, at 3pm, Bread and Puppet Theater will present The Diagonal Life Circus. Admission is by donation, $10-25 suggested.
 

Parkhill Orchard
82 Park Hill Rd
Easthampton, MA

Art In the Orchard on Facebook
AIO Photo Gallery
Parkhill Orchard Easthampton MA

Bread and Puppet Theater
Glover, VT

 

https://breadandpuppet.org/tour-schedule

 

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    Fall Home Maintenance

    Delap Real Estate: Fall Home Maintenance Tips

    Welcome back from vacation! Best wishes to those heading back to school. Whether you’re getting ready to move, staying exactly where you are, or unsure where to go next, Autumn is a time of beginnings. For one, fair season is upon us! Just one of the many Fall traditions that makes Western Massachusetts a charming exciting place to live. 

    As you know, Fall is the perfect time to dive into any home repairs that can improve your carbon footprint and save you money. Don’t forget to take care of your home as winter approaches! :-)
     

    Fall maintenance tips:

    • Clean your gutters.
    • Don’t start wood burning season without a clean chimney! It’s a fire hazard :)
    • Make a day of cleaning up the yard and/or garden. Celebrate with a bonfire!
    • Plant some bulbs!
    • Plant perennials!
    • Winterize your Home

      • Caulk around windows if there are cracks.

      • Close up your fireplace, all the way.

      • Replace weatherstripping around doors.

      • Add drapes and heavy rugs to your home, providing extra insulation. 

      • Buy a water heater blanket at a local hardware store to keep your tank from losing heat

      • Clean furnace

        • Change the furnace filters

      • Shut off outdoor water so your pipes don’t freeze!

      • Consider window insulation film for added protection.
         

    For those of us who don’t know everything, I find that a quick google search and a Youtube how to are very helpful with getting tips and insight from people who have found solutions already. Why stress when an answer exists? Head to your local library if you’re in need of a computer or internet!

    Remember deep breaths and to spend time outside in the fresh fall air. Next post on Thursday!
     

    - Delap :)

     

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