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A Gift of Memory

6/8/2018 | Carleton Whaley

It’s no surprise that the last 30 years have seen a rapid increase in technology, both in its complexity and its involvement in our lives. As technology improves, perhaps no career has been affected the way photography has. ...

A Home for Art and Artists

6/8/2018 | Carleton Whaley

Down along Route 32, just outside of Stafford Springs, CT, is an old mill building, one of many scattered throughout the old mill towns. Unlike many of the old mills, however, this one still has some life left in it. ...

Right On Target

6/8/2018 | Stephanie Trombley

Think of your favorite weekend activity. Perhaps it’s bowling, or laser tag. Maybe your friend group hits the movie theatre. Imagine breaking the cycle by throwing weaponry with your peers. Agawam Axe House in Agawam, MA is providing wild enjoyment for everyone by bringing axe-throwing to the East Coast. ...

One Man's Trash Can Become A Treasure

6/8/2018 | Stephanie Trombley

While shopping in department stores may seem convenient, nothing beats the feeling of finding a real gem to decorate your home. One Wilbraham, MA resident is setting out to take old furniture from run of the mill to rustic. ...

Editors Note

6/8/2018 | Stephanie Trombley

Everything starts on a small scale, and grows as time goes by. That’s how my becoming a writer has felt. ...

Best Blueberry Muffins

6/8/2018 | Debbie Gardner

Debbie Garner has been dabbling in the kitchen since she was about 10, and once she’s tried a recipe, loves to tinker with it to make it her own. ...

Board & Brush

4/6/2018 | Amber Wakley

Along the sleepy banks of the Scantic River, a beautifully restored historic mill has been transformed into a hands-on maker space, one that hones both artistic and utilitarian talents. Crossed with deeply rustic exposed beams and light-colored brick, Patty and Gary Hunter not only helped this unique space realize its potential, but all those who walk through the doors. This is Board & Brush (B&B), a creative do-it-yourself studio that’s becoming a hangout for locals and a destination for out-of-towners. ...

Slightly Smoky Ham and Bean Soup

4/6/2018 | Amy White

This recipe has a lot of delightful qualities. The best part is that this is a slow cooker recipe, that almost all of the work is done for you by that magical little machine, while you are at work, or wherever it is you go during the day. That is made even more wonderful by the aroma that greets you when you come ba ...

Thriving in Tie Dye

4/6/2018 | Amber Wakley

As the tepid winds of spring slowly breathe new life into our world, the promise of warmer days ignites a certain curiosity in us all. The restored light of longer days fuels wanderlust, luring our curiosities to explore the local landscape - and beyond.  Read More

Urban Artisan Farm

4/3/2018 | Carleton Whaley

Nestled in the industrial park on Albany Street in Springfield, MA, behind a bright green building labeled Gasoline Alley sits an old warehouse that holds the promise of a fresh future: Urban Artisan Farm. Although they have 2,500 square feet of garden space in Wilbraham, their main venture in Springfield is hydropo ...

Rustic Hospitality

3/2/2018 | Carleton Whaley

A few weeks ago, I sat with friends and strangers around an empty table, waiting to be served. Through the window, we had a view of the train tracks that crisscross through Stafford Springs. Soon, the cook emerged from a back room and set plate after plate before us, each better than the last. There were Stafford-in ...

Food & Brew

3/2/2018 | Amy White

In our November 2016 issue, we did an editorial on Cold Creek Brewery in Ellington, and in it, owner Jamie Boucher is quoted as saying, “Even when we expand I don’t want to move out of here as we’ve hopefully built up a lot of goodwill in town and that will help us move forward.” 

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Overcoming Obstacles

3/2/2018 | Amber Wakley

Six years ago when Brian and Tanya Miller competed in their first Obstacle Course Race (OCR), the two fell in love with a new species of sport. A sort of thrill-seeking endurance-race hybrid, both were drawn to the physicality required to navigate the course as well as the camaraderie that ensued while traversing ea ...

Go Explore

2/6/2018 |

The temptation to curl up into hibernation - that is until PunxsutawneyPhil peeps his head out to proclaim the onset of warmerweather - is oh-so real. Like a devious temptress, my ultra-softblanket perpetually beckons me to binge-watch Netflix, but I domy best to ignore its advances. While I& ...

Deep Fried Deli Rolls

2/6/2018 | Amy White

  Everything you love about a classic deli sandwich, but all wrapped up! These “Deep-Fried Deli Rolls” make great use of the deli meats and cheeses that already live in your fridge. Might we suggest trying these with your leftover corned beef from St. Paddy’s Day? The fried outer shel ...

Teaching With Trout

2/6/2018 | Amber Wakley

When you open the front door at Academy Hill School in Springfield you’re not entering just any K-8 educational system, because within these walls - which are vibrantly decorated with student art and topics that pique their curiosities - something undeniably special is happening. With a mission to enhance the ...

Opportunity Works

2/6/2018 | Amber Wakley

I n unison with the melodic hum of a table saw, pyramids of sawdust collect at the feet of craftsmen in a woodshop; the earthy smell of wood chips signals the completion of another masterpiece. In an adjacent maker-space, artists collectively create one-of-kind greetings that will make recipients feel loved this Val ...

Local Flavor

1/8/2018 | Amber Wakley

With consistent word-of-mouth rumblings aboutthe delicious food at Casa Bella Italian Kitchenand Bar, I FINALLY pulled up a chair at this cozyrestaurant in Hampden. Owned by Western Mass locals, MikeConnors and Mario Ferrentino, the inviting space opened inJune of 2016 promising quality ...

at Thistle Glass Crafts

1/8/2018 | Amy White

Back when Ellington was still a mostly rural town, the Thompson family opened an automotive business on Route 140, also known as Maple Street. Many years later, in 1997, Mary Thompson, a fourth generation Ellingtonian on her father’s side and third on her mother’s, renovated the location and opened a new ...

Editor's Note

1/8/2018 | Amber Wakley

In a month adorned with whimsical doily decor, things that glitter, and red and pink everything, the treasury of festive cheer denoting February has me thinking about the love in my own life. Contrary to my unapologetic cynicism towards Valentine’s Day, I firmly believe in the idea of true love; I met mine in ...

Behind the Book

1/8/2018 | Amber Wakley

There are great adventures that lay within the binded edges of a saddle-stitched book, particularly in stories constructed for basal readers. Vivid imagery, fantastical words and thoughtful takeaways inspire imagination, while illustrations contribute to the story shared. Nearly irresistible and often surprisingly p ...

Handcrafted Gift Shop

12/1/2017 | Amber Wakley

One of America’s most prized holidays, the fourth Thursday of the month serves as the cornerstone of tradition.  Indisputably the most anticipated meal of the year, the annual celebration is equivalently synonymous with ornamented floats, road races, and the inauguration of the holiday season.  ...

Two Toasty Beverages

12/1/2017 | Amy White

The holidays are here, and two flavors that say “’tis the season!” are gingerbread and peppermint. The holiday coffee recipes below offer a caffeine kick for those with a lot left on their list or a comforting cup to those ready to relax. Some added bonuses? They are made with all-natural ingredien ...

Handcrafted for the Holidays

12/1/2017 | Franceen Munson

With the holiday season upon us, our thoughts turn to making new memories, preserving the old, and perhaps handcrafting the perfect keepsake, card, or gift for family and friends. Or maybe this time of year just makes you feel crafty, and you’d like to finally try the Pinterest idea you saw. What better way to ...

Editor's Note

12/1/2017 | Amber Wakley

There it goes, 2017 fading from our rearview mirrors. Just like that, 2018 is upon us and we greet the coming days with fresh optimism and intentions. But I have to be straight with you, creating a January editor’s note brimming with gleaming perspectives has always been my annual struggle - I certainly apolog ...

Santa Suffield

12/1/2017 | Amber Wakley

We all know him - the jolliest rock star of the holiday season - good old St. Nick.  Dressed in red bearing a kind smile and warm heart, Santa represents genuine love, magic, and generosity.  He encourages us to be kind, teaching that there are few things that bring more joy than the act of benevolent givi ...

Homeland Tradition

12/1/2017 | Amy White

If you’ve ever driven down Route 140 near the Ellington town green, chances are you’ve passed The Scandinavian Gift Shop. Marked by the traditional orange-red painted Swedish horse out front, this shop has served as a gateway to Scandinavia since February 1964 when Siv Harvey first opened it.  < ...

Sugar Pumpkin Cheesecake

10/31/2017 |

Sugar Pumpkin Cheesecake Smaller sugar pie pumpkins are more than decorations, they have been bred for flavor in cooking. They are wonderful in pies, and also in this special recipe. A rather stunning cheesecake for fall and winter holidays. 1 cup sugar pie pumpkin purée ...

Community Cupboard

10/31/2017 |

   Sonia Taylor-Smith is a woman with a mission. She is making a difference, one student, one family, and sometimes even by one can of soup at a time. She has a fervent wish to help all students accomplish their goals, regardless of differing abilities. That wish sometimes includes the whole family. Meetin ...

Local Tails

10/31/2017 |

What made you decide to get chickens? I have had my five chickens for just under a year and a half. The reason that I really wanted to get chickens was because I thought they were cute! My aunt has always had chickens, and my sister’s piano teacher has too. Whenever I went to either of their houses, I l ...

Sweet Success

10/31/2017 | Amy White

When Gerry Cote was 19, he decided to start his own donut shop. First, he visited a donut maker in Avon to observe the business model and learn the tricks of the trade. Then he signed a twelve-year lease on a defunct 7-11 store on Windsorville Road in Ellington, renovated it with the help of his father, figured out ...

Editor's Note

10/31/2017 |

As a kid, I always greeted the arrival of Thanksgiving with boundless anticipation. Years later, those fervent recollections have long but faded and more than ever I relish in these humble traditions. Far beyond an elaborate meal, each year the table is set with nostalgic memories and gratitude for the good in life ...

The Handcrafted Gift Shop

10/31/2017 |

One of America’s most prized holidays, the fourth Thursday of the month serves as the cornerstone of tradition. Indisputably the most anticipated meal of the year, the annual celebration is equivalently synonymous with ornamented floats, road races, and the inauguration of the holiday season. As feast fav ...

Local Tails

10/3/2017 |

Kim and her husband Karl started with horses but fell in love with miniature donkeys at first glance, “Karl and I were at a horse show and someone was walking around with a mini donkey foal.  We just had to get one,” Kim says. They purchased Badlands and two other donkeys from a breeder in New Hamps ...

Made in Connecticut - American Woolen Company

10/3/2017 |

Four years ago, Warren Mills in Stafford, one of the last, oldest operating mills in the Northeast was preparing to close the doors on its iconic Furnace Avenue building for good. Difficult news to digest - not only for  workers facing layoffs - but also the community at large. The 160-year-old mill has roots t ...

On A Roll With Auntie Cathie

10/3/2017 |

As cooler air summons the varied patinas of autumn, many find themselves gravitating back to the kitchen once again.  Dormant ovens refresh themselves as roasted vegetables take the place of summer salads and ice cream confections are exchanged for savory, spiced desserts.  These warm, unparalleled flavors ...

Pressing On at Applebrook Farm

10/3/2017 |

As I meander along the back country roads that connect Ellington and East Windsor, I notice signs that tell me I’m heading in the right direction, to Applebrook Farm in Broad Brook. When I arrive, proprietors Tom and Sharon Muska are hard at work, preparing for the season’s opening day, set for a day and ...

Editor's Note

10/3/2017 |

While every season has its rewards, for me, fall is center stage.  Even though the thought of transforming leaves signals the end of long, warm days, the onset of a changing season serves as a welcome barometer for transformation.  Like many, my summer months were jam-packed with activities, obligations an ...

Kids in the Kitchen

9/6/2017 |

Katherine Zahirovic skirts the edge of a large table, carefully arranging a collection of colorful placemats and nylon knife sets.  Reaching into a large red bag, she assembles a collection of ingredients, including everything from almonds to a pineapple.  Today she’s setting the table for a “H ...

Modern Stitchery

9/6/2017 |

As cooler weather gestures an onslaught of vibrant patinas, Kate Hutton is briskly preparing for the changing season.  Perched in the crook of a couch she parallels courses of yarn, interlocking and progressing by row to create garments characteristic of New England, but with a modern twist.  Each stitch r ...

No Reservations

9/6/2017 |

There’s wanderlust in all of us, the urge to pursue scenic highways, off-beaten paths, and otherworldly landscapes.  Hitting the road for a new destination rejuvenates the spirit, a grounding experience that doesn’t necessarily wane with age.  It’s a big, beautiful country, that’s w ...

Editor's Note

9/6/2017 |

Summer’s looming end is swooping in quickly and the back-to-school season is a melancholy cue of another fading season.   Often met with a begrudged transition, the return of another academic year reflects a new beginning and anticipation of a fresh adventure. It’s been nearly thirty years since I f ...

Kindness Rocks

8/28/2017 |

They’re precariously speckled across town, representing hallmarks of kindness with the intention of unexpectedly brightening someone’s day. Small rocks – some ornamented with colorful pictures and others with inspiring messages – have been serving a larger purpose in the town of Enfield.  ...

Mangia Bene

8/28/2017 |

A caramelizing bath of extra virgin olive, a sizzling cut-to-order vitello filet serves as a melodic accompaniment to the muted thud of a quick-tapping knife.  In its rustic simplicity, ebullient marinara simmers quietly while the metallic rattling of long-handled kitchen tongs signals the assembly of a perfect ...

Peachy Keen

8/8/2017 |

With joy, Kathleen Smedberg walks the sunny slopes of her 65-acre farm in Wilbraham.  While her happiness stems from her ability to live and toil in the outdoors, today her delight is pointed at the hundreds of peaches that hang just above her head.Read More

Chef's Garden

8/8/2017 |

It’s just a few hours before dinner service at The Federal Restaurant & Bar on Friday afternoon.  Inside, white linens are smoothed over tables and polished flatware is set in order of use.  Outside & ...

Paddle Faster Bluegrass Festival

8/8/2017 |

The Michaels – Todd, Tracy, Sarah and Katie – are a bluegrass family.   The Appalachia-born music - traditionally featuring fiddle, five-string banjo, guitar, mandolin and upright bass – has shaped ...

A Cut Above

8/8/2017 |

New England is no stranger to the farm-to-table movement, a full-circle food philosophy boasting locally sourced, sustainable ingredients.  The concept encourages you to “know your farmer” and understand the journey of your food, which is ideally ...

Blueberry Fields Forever

8/8/2017 |

Tucked away in the quiet, tree-covered hills of Beffa Road in Stafford Springs – just after the asphalt gives way to dirt – rows of lush bushes are laden with indigo-colored berries.  The peace and tranq ...

Editors Note

8/1/2017 | Amber Wakley

Throughout the [nearly] last three years it’s been an extraordinary delight discovering the best bits of what our region has to offer.  As an outlet for honest-to-goodness content, each one of these pages serves as an antidote to mainstream media, an o ...

PYO Guide

7/5/2017 |

Ahhhhh, summer. Time for sleeping late, lounging in the sun,  and of course eating fresh, local produce. We’ve put together a list of pick-your-own farms in the area - blueberries, raspberries, peaches, apples and pumpkins, oh my!Read More

Kombucha Basics

7/5/2017 | Amber Wakley
berwakley@gmail.com

“Welcome to my kitchen,” Crystal Morawitz says with a wide smile as she looks up from a boiling pot on her stove. “I’m making kombucha!” Hailing from Alaska and now living in the hills of Stafford Springs, both she and her partner [in crime], Rob Miltimore, ...

Authentic Fare

7/5/2017 | Amber Wakley

Central Mexico is a long way from Agawam, Massachusetts, but that’s not stopping the Diaz family.  The menu, conceived by Guerrero-born Jose Diaz and his mother Ana, is simple and authentic – featuring flavors indigenous t ...

Secret's In The Sauce

7/5/2017 | Amy White

Meet Gary and Larry McNeff, the masterminds behind Mac Brothers Gourmet Foods. In the 1930s, their mother’s father, E. W. Stevinson, owned a restaurant in Kansas City, Kansas. Every day, grandpa would make a batch of his favorite barbecue sauce, and ev ...

More Than Just Mud

7/5/2017 | Amber Wakley

It’s the early morning hours on the New England Trail at Rising Corners Road in Agawam.  Gleaming dew droplets cling to blades of grass, shining like pearls in the warming sun.  Down a path of tussled gre ...

Second Chance Ranch

6/6/2017 | A

Cradled on a gentle crook of East Street against dense woodland and pristine farmland is a beautiful haven for both horses and humans. It’s incredibly peaceful; the serenity is interrupted only by whistling birds, a symphony of grasshoppers and the happy grunts of content hor ...

Built on Family

6/6/2017 | Amy White

Whenever I tell someone I work in Ellington, I am invariably faced with a look of puzzlement. “Ellington? Where’s that?”  “Between Vernon and Somers?” (This usually doesn’t help).

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On Target

6/6/2017 | Amber Wakley

With eyes narrowed and his bow drawn, 8-year-old Eli focuses his concentration to the center circle of a target just down range.  With the quick release of his first three fingers his arrow shoots; its fluorescent g ...
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Pedal for Patients

6/6/2017 | Amber Wakley

Inspiration comes in many forms: nature, art, kindness, love, loss.  It’s being filled with the urge or ability to do or feel something; from the Latin word inspirare is to ‘breathe or blow into.’< ...
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Turned & Sculpted

5/1/2017 | Fanceen Munson

Approaching the home of Rosanna Coyne, master woodworker, one starts to see neatly placed chunks, blocks, logs, and trunks of wood weathering and drying in the elements in Hampden, Massachusetts. Stepping into the federal style home that she designed, one realizes the incredible level of skill and artistr ...
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It's About Thyme

5/1/2017 | Amy White

If you have ever driven up Route 83 in Somers heading toward Springfield, you are sure to have noticed a bright pink post and beam barn with a green door and white trim. It was built in 1830, and, like so many Connecticut Tobacco Valley barns, had hinged sideboards originally used for opening the barn to dry the tobacco that hung from its rafters. Today that barn is the home of Kassandra…It’s About Thyme…Herbs Unlimited, a unique shop owned by Katherine Mashiak, who grew up with the nickname Kassandra, or Kassy, for short. ...
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Local Roots

5/1/2017 |

Amongst the sprawling acres of fields and greenhouses at E. Cecchi Farms, there’s more than just produce and plants rooting in, but also a long-standing family tradition of agriculture. Here, embedded in the soil is a rich tradition of timeless work and diligent farming practices, one that has been passed down through five generations. It began in 1946, when Erminio Cecchi left his father’s farm in Agawam, purchasing a forty acre plot to start his own business in Feeding Hills. Under the shade of a large maple tree, Erminio sold his yield and thus began a legacy of providing the community with fresh, local produce. ...
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A Peachy Place to Be

5/1/2017 | Amber Wakley

This story begins at the home of Helene Pickett, who co-founded the beloved Wilbraham Peach Festival in August of 1985.  Positioned on the couch she begins to thumb through a plastic tote filled with saddle-stitched program books, pictures, ...
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The Little Red Store

5/1/2017 | Amber Wakley

Situated on a precarious corner in the Stafford Hollow – the original center of town – there’s a little red store with a treasured history. The gable-ended building is draped with warm nostalgia and timeless charm; its rustic ambiance is a point of pride for locals and an intriguing stop for visitors. This is Mill Pond Country Store. Established in 1845, the country store has always lent itself as a local hub and the façade has gone nearly unaltered over the last 175 years (a true rarity for commercial buildings of this period). At its inception most arrived by horse and buggy, while others used furs in exchange for goods. And while some things have changed over the nearly two centuries, it has always been a place for community and conversation. ...
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Born From the Heart

5/1/2017 | Amber Wakley

In the front yard of a modest ranch home in East Windsor you can hear a pleasant commotion inside; the warm breeze blowing inward exchanges itself with happy laughter tumbling out. Rainbow bits of thick chalk are sprinkled across the driveway and a downscaled plastic yellow wheelbarrow leans against its replica in the meticulously kept garden. Approaching the breezeway curious voices, chattering toddlers and even a few squeals escape through the screen door – this is the Dziadul Family. ...
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Latest News

A Gift of Memory

Posted on 6/8/2018


A Home for Art and Artists

Posted on 6/8/2018


Editors Note

Posted on 6/8/2018


Best Blueberry Muffins

Posted on 6/8/2018


One Man's Trash

Posted on 6/8/2018


Right On Target

Posted on 6/8/2018


Board & Brush

Posted on 4/6/2018


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