Blog :: 2014

Welcome to our blog! Here you will find posts about can't miss properties, local events, and more! Here at Maple and Main Realty we pride ourselves on our knowledge of the Northampton area. Feel free to leave a comment, we would love to hear from you! If you have any questions, don't hesitate to contact us

Amtrak Train Connecting Northeast Corridor Reopens in Northampton

After years of hearing rumors of the Amtrak Train "The Vermonter" extending service to include Union Station in Northampton, MA, the day has finally arrived! We realtors at Maple and Main Realty, have been speculating and wondering how this new development will effect real estate inventory and value in the Pioneer Valley. We will certainly continue to remark upon this change, and it's effects, as time marches on. In the meanwhile, it is very exciting that we can now take a train from NYC to Vermont, and beyond. Though, it seems (based upon the attached article from The Daily Hampshire Gazette), that we can expect some delays, and some glitches still to be worked out. Nevertheless, this is great news!

Back on line: Amtrak’s new Vermonter draws capacity crowd for first public run

 

JERREY ROBERTS<br/>The Vermonter stops in Greenfield Monday.

Photo Credit: Jerrey Roberts

 

NORTHAMPTON — With years of planning, construction and preparations leading to this day, a collection of eager passengers braved the cold Monday at Union Station to wait for the first passenger train to and from Northampton in decades.

 

Ruth Klepper of Florence was one of the first passengers to arrive at the station off Pleasant Street. Thirty minutes before the Vermonter was supposed to arrive, Klepper was standing on the platform waiting.

 

Not only was she among the first passengers to arrive to greet the train, she was also one of the first ones to buy a ticket, which she bought in person in Springfield, she said.

 

“I like trains. I always do go by train and this is the first, so I definitely had to get on this one,” Klepper said, bundled up and holding her suitcase.

 

She was headed for Brattleboro, Vermont — $18 one way — where she planned to stay for a few days and come back on New Year’s Eve. Previously, if she wanted to catch the train, she generally drove down to Springfield to do it.

 

“To get to Springfield, it’s taxi to the bus, bus to the train, it’s terrible,” she said. Now she doesn’t have to do that, she said.

 

A few minutes later, the Wheatley family arrived. Justin and Laura Wheatley had their two children, 5-year-old Owen and 2-year-old Layla, along to ride the train with them to Brattleboro.

 

“We just thought it would be so much fun to do this on the very first day of service, and with two little children we thought that would be an easy first trip,” Laura Wheatley said.

 

Justin Wheatley said he has always enjoyed riding trains and the children like playing with trains. 

 

“There is just something magical about them,” he said.

 

The family, who now live in Northampton, used to live in England, where Justin Wheatley is from, and took many more trains there, they said.

 

In Brattleboro, they planned to stay the night and return the next morning, also by train.

 

Grace Campbell, a freshman at St. Michael’s College in Colchester, Vermont, was getting on the train to return to school for a few days. She planned to visit her roommate for her roommate’s birthday, she said. If the train was not running, Campbell would have her parents drive her there, a four-hour trip one way.

 

Campbell did take the train when it was in Amherst, which is closer to her home in Belchertown, but she is happy that the train will move quicker now, she said. The train also had plenty of room for Campbell’s skis, which she brought with her to school.

 

Campbell’s mother, Ellen Campbell, said she would eventually like to take the train up north, as well.

 

“I want to go to Montreal,” she said.

 

Looking at her phone, Grace Campbell read an email that said the train was going to be nearly an hour late. Few complaints could be heard, however, as most were so excited to ride any train at all.

 

Bob Jeffway Jr. said he was watching the tracks get laid down for the past two years near his office in South Deerfield, and decided he had to ride the first train. He boarded at Northampton and got off in Greenfield, where his parents picked him up.

 

“There’s probably more buses and it’s probably less expensive, but I do like trains and you can just get on and go, and now they’ve got wireless and power,” said Jeffway, who lives in Leeds.

 

The train soon arrived, only about 10 minutes late, and people gathered to make a line to board from the platform. Campbell kissed her dog, Bear, goodbye.

 

President on board 

 

The doors opened and passengers from points south spilled out. Among them was Eric Olson, who traveled from Northampton down to Springfield by train that morning, got a drink and rode back, he said.

 

Passengers filled nearly every seat on both sides of the train cars. Passengers getting on in Northampton squeezed in where they could.

 

Though most passengers likely didn’t know it, Amtrak President and Chief Executive Officer Joseph H. Boardman rode the train along with them. In a special car near the back of the train, Boardman answered questions about the future of the service to Northampton, Greenfield, and eventually Holyoke.

 

On the platform and beyond, many people have expressed interest in commuter service with multiple trains traveling north and south through Massachusetts, but Boardman said commuter service would likely take a big investment of money.

 

“Just because we sell out a train does not mean we’ve covered all our costs,” Boardman said. “Unless there’s a policy decision that goes along with that expansion, it’s not going to happen.”

 

At the same time, Boardman said this country needs to spend more money on infrastructure to keep up with other countries in rail, air traffic and highways.

 

“We spend billions globally on defense and we argue locally about millions,” Boardman said.

 

Boardman said the inaugural run was going well, and the train being late did not surprise him, with the volume of passengers getting on and off, as well as the conductors getting oriented with the new route. 

 

Overall, the benefits of the train service would be mostly economic development, Boardman said.

 

“This line connected to the northeast corridor is probably the biggest advantage you could have,” he said.

 

Behind the president’s car was a theater car. Set up like an actual movie theater, the car’s rear wall was a floor-to-ceiling window, which allowed for a view of the track the train passed by. Rear-facing seats held company executives watching the show. Such seats are not open to the public because they do not meet train safety standards, according to an Amtrak spokesman.

 

After a short ride, the train arrived in Greenfield at about 4:50 p.m., nearly a half-an-hour late after stopping for so long in Northampton. Passengers staying on board to points north didn’t seem to notice, as most of them had their laptops, phones or books, or were taking naps in their seats.

 

Off the train, Tupshin Harper had ridden up from New York City, where he lives on the Upper West Side of Manhattan. He grew up in Greenfield and was excited to be able to take the ride he just took.

 

“I’ve been looking forward to this for years since I first heard that they were making this change maybe two or two and a half years ago,” Harper said.

 

He vowed at that time to be on the first train up from New York, and he kept his promise, he said.

 

This spring, he plans to move up to Greenfield from New York, and is looking forward to making the return trip, he said.

Comments

  1. Julie Zuckman on

    I was there. The train was only a little late (ten minutes) pulling into Northampton, which was explained by the large crowds in Greenfield and the presence of visiting dignitaries and their extra cars on the train. The river views in the stretch between Mt Tom and downtown Holyoke are spectacular! Now our city is fully plugged into the Northeast Corridor without needing a car. Next, speedy train to Boston -- in another 20 years?

    Tipping During the Holidays

    We recently got a dog - a 1 one-year-old mixed breed rescue dog from Tennessee.  It feels like "52 pick up" a lot of the time, and I feel so grateful to the people who have helped me with the transition to dog ownership - most especially, the people I pay to help her work out her puppy energy, and learn some doggie manners.  This time of year, I always make sure to tip the people who help make my life run more smoothly - such as our dog walkers and our wonderful house cleaner.  Before we moved from NYC to Northampton, it felt as if we relied on a myriad of people to help make hectic city-living feel easier, and we made sure to tip those people come holiday time.  I would say the list is smaller, living here in the Pioneer Valley, but there are certainly any number of people whom we want to be sure to thank at this time of year.  To that end, I came across this piece on the Apartment Therapy blog about holiday tipping. 

     

    A Real Life Holiday Tipping Guide for the Rest of Us

     

    When I was a teenager, I was mystified by the holiday tipping guides in magazines: do all grownups have a hairdresser/dogwalker/doorman, and fret annually about how much/whether to tip them? Growing up- nd 14 years in customer service- has taught me that it doesn't have to be so fraught...

    1a. Tip whoever you want.

    1b. Think about who made your life better this year, and tip them. 
    The barista who starts making your usual when she sees you cross the street and hands it to you as soon as you walk up to the counter. The library clerk who spent 45 minutes teaching you how to use email. The daycare worker who really seems to get your kid. The hairdresser who comforted you through a breakup. The friendly, efficient bus driver who drives so smoothly on your morning commute.

    2a. Tip however much you want/can afford...

    2b. ...But perhaps consider the recipient's income level.
    The library clerk probably makes minimum wage, and there's a good chance the barista does, too, while the hairdresser at a swanky salon might make big bucks. Tip whatever you want, but don't bow to the perverse pressure to give higher tips to people who make more money/work at fancier places.

    3. A tiny treat can do the trick. 
    Cash is great, and always helpful, but a little thoughtful something can make such a difference in someone's day. During insane holiday seasons at a bakery and a candy shop, customers dropped off bottles of wine for us to enjoy once our loooooong shifts were over. So fun! Cards are incredibly meaningful, and dollar store chocolate can provide exactly the burst of goodwill needed to get through the rest of the day.

    4. Did they sacrifice their holiday so yours could be better? Tip.
    If you're thrilled and grateful that your favorite coffee shop or restaurant or museum is open on a holiday, consider expressing that gratitude to the employees. Chances are, working on that holiday is mandatory, they're probably missing out on celebrating with their family and friends, and they're probably not being paid any special overtime. A verbal 'thank you' is lovely, as is cash.

    5. Good cheer is the greatest gift of all. 
    Working a 12-hour shift with no breaks? Fine. Missing all of the holiday festivities? That's okay. No holiday pay? No problem. Getting yelled at because the store you work for is out of Cabbage Patch Dolls/yule logs/wreaths on Christmas Eve? So, so terrible. I have had profanities yelled at me because the shop I worked for closed at 3pm on Christmas eve (information that had been readily available for weeks) and those few minutes broke my heart. I'm missing seeing my grandparents for this? I know that all of you are kind, civilized, and delightful, but remember that some of the people in line with you are not. An extra smile or friendly greeting goes along way towards erasing the damage done by jerks. Cash helps, too.

    6. Don't worry about doing it wrong.
    Every holiday tip, treat, and thanks, no matter how large or small, meant so, so much to me. Knowing that a customer or patron had gone out of their way to sign a card, or bring us a box of candy, or give an extra dollar warmed my heart to no end. Thank you, and happy holidays!

    (Image credits: Natalie Grasso)

     

    Comments

    1. No comments. Be the first to comment.

    Rising Costs of Natural Gas and Electricity in Western Massachusetts

    tech &lt;div&gt; &lt;p&gt;I am always cognizant of whether or not to bring extra layers when visiting certain friends houses in the wintertime. I often I travel with my fuzzy slippers, an extra fleece and a hat (for indoors)! Having lived in the&amp;nbsp;&lt;a href=&quot;http://mapleandmainrealty.com/other-ma-real-estate/pioneer-valley-real-estate/&quot;&gt;Pioneer Valley&lt;/a&gt;&amp;nbsp;for 8+ years, I now know what to expect from specific friends with regard to level of house warmth. Some people run hot and like to keep their houses cool. Many (most? all?) people are concerned about the cost of heating their homes, and, therefore, keep the thermostat to 66 degrees or lower. Some people have pellet or wood stoves which creates a warm and toasty environment within their homes. Many people in the&amp;nbsp;&lt;a href=&quot;http://mapleandmainrealty.com/northampton-area/northampton-area-real-estate/&quot;&gt;Northampton, MA&lt;/a&gt;&amp;nbsp;area live in older homes that are underinsulated and/or have older windows - so a draft exists regardless of where the thermostat is set. We recently moved to a new house that is&amp;nbsp;&lt;a href=&quot;http://dsireusa.org/incentives/incentive.cfm?Incentive_Code=MA99F&amp;amp;re=0&amp;amp;ee=0&quot;&gt;Tier Three level of energy efficiency&lt;/a&gt;&amp;nbsp;- for some reason, 68 degrees on the thermostat within our highly insulated home feels more like 75 degrees! But, I digress. I came upon this interesting article on the BusinessWest blog about the rising costs of energy and wanted to share it.&lt;/p&gt; &lt;p&gt;EDC Sounds Alarm on Rising Costs of Natural Gas, Electricity&lt;/p&gt; &lt;p&gt;&lt;em&gt;CHICOPEE&lt;/em&gt;&amp;nbsp;-- The Economic Development Council of Western Mass. voiced its concerns Tuesday regarding the rising costs of natural gas and electricity in the region.&lt;/p&gt; &lt;p&gt;&amp;quot;More expensive energy affects all of us negatively. All of us need to be concerned. Individuals face a reduction of disposable income and increased hardship,&amp;quot; the agency said in a prepared statement. &amp;quot;Businesses face reduced competiveness that threatens job growth and retention. Municipalities face increased energy costs while facing decreasing revenues. Hospitals and higher-education institutions must divert more resources to energy purchases, thus diverting resources from their core missions. Shrinking business and consumer spending reduces investments in those things that define quality of life in Western Massachusetts.&amp;quot;&lt;/p&gt; &lt;p&gt;Through a series of meetings and discussions with entities familiar with the issues, the EDC infrastructure committee released the following findings:&lt;/p&gt; &lt;ul&gt; &lt;li&gt; &lt;p&gt;Recent and future closings of oil- and coal-fired plants have boosted, and will continue to increase, Massachusetts&amp;#39; dependency on natural gas for electric power generation. Nearly 50% of all electricity in Massachusetts is generated by natural gas, and that proportion is rising. These conditions, when combined with inadequate supplies of natural gas, are resulting in dramatically increased power costs during the winter.&lt;/p&gt; &lt;/li&gt; &lt;li&gt; &lt;p&gt;Gas companies serving this region are reaching the limits of their capacity to serve new customers. Berkshire Gas will stop adding customers in Greenfield at the end of 2014, and in Amherst in 2016. Columbia Gas is reaching the end of its capacity to serve Northampton and Easthampton. It could serve 10,000 more customers in the region if it had additional capacity. The inability to serve new customers will negatively affect economic growth in the region.&lt;/p&gt; &lt;/li&gt; &lt;li&gt; &lt;p&gt;Kinder Morgan is proposing a pipeline-extension project through Northern Mass. that will increase natural-gas supply to Berkshire, Franklin, and Hampshire counties as well as Eastern Mass.&lt;/p&gt; &lt;/li&gt; &lt;li&gt; &lt;p&gt;NU/Spectra proposes an expansion of the Algonquin Pipeline that would increase natural-gas supplies available to the Springfield area and Eastern Mass.&lt;/p&gt; &lt;/li&gt; &lt;li&gt; &lt;p&gt;Several New England states have been working to bring electricity generated by Hydro Quebec to the region.&lt;/p&gt; &lt;/li&gt; &lt;/ul&gt; &lt;p&gt;EDC Infrastructure Committee Chair Paul Nicolai summarized the committee&amp;#39;s work, suggesting that &amp;quot;supplying cost-effective, responsibly clean energy for our people and businesses is a complicated problem requiring balanced approaches and moderate thinking. EDC has struck that balance and encourages policymakers to do so as well.&amp;quot;&lt;/p&gt; &lt;p&gt;At a recent meeting, the EDC board of directors approved a resolution supporting the following actions, which, if implemented, will help to provide an adequate, stable supply of energy at competitive prices:&lt;/p&gt; &lt;ul&gt; &lt;li&gt; &lt;p&gt;Increase natural-gas supply by permitting both natural-gas pipeline-expansion projects proposed for the region and state;&lt;/p&gt; &lt;/li&gt; &lt;li&gt; &lt;p&gt;Increase the sources of power generation by enabling the purchase of hydro-generated electricity from the north;&lt;/p&gt; &lt;/li&gt; &lt;li&gt; &lt;p&gt;Continue support of conservation and renewable-energy technologies; and&lt;/p&gt; &lt;/li&gt; &lt;li&gt; &lt;p&gt;Encourage a regulatory environment that promotes market stability and competitive outcomes.&lt;/p&gt; &lt;/li&gt; &lt;/ul&gt; &lt;/div&gt; &lt;p&gt;&amp;nbsp;&lt;/p&gt;

      Comments

      1. No comments. Be the first to comment.

      Rising Costs of Natural Gas and Electricity in Western Massachusetts

      tech &lt;div&gt; &lt;p&gt;I am always cognizant of whether or not to bring extra layers when visiting certain friends houses in the wintertime. I often I travel with my fuzzy slippers, an extra fleece and a hat (for indoors)! Having lived in the&amp;nbsp;&lt;a href=&quot;http://mapleandmainrealty.com/other-ma-real-estate/pioneer-valley-real-estate/&quot;&gt;Pioneer Valley&lt;/a&gt;&amp;nbsp;for 8+ years, I now know what to expect from specific friends with regard to level of house warmth. Some people run hot and like to keep their houses cool. Many (most? all?) people are concerned about the cost of heating their homes, and, therefore, keep the thermostat to 66 degrees or lower. Some people have pellet or wood stoves which creates a warm and toasty environment within their homes. Many people in the&amp;nbsp;&lt;a href=&quot;http://mapleandmainrealty.com/northampton-area/northampton-area-real-estate/&quot;&gt;Northampton, MA&lt;/a&gt;&amp;nbsp;area live in older homes that are underinsulated and/or have older windows - so a draft exists regardless of where the thermostat is set. We recently moved to a new house that is&amp;nbsp;&lt;a href=&quot;http://dsireusa.org/incentives/incentive.cfm?Incentive_Code=MA99F&amp;amp;re=0&amp;amp;ee=0&quot;&gt;Tier Three level of energy efficiency&lt;/a&gt;&amp;nbsp;- for some reason, 68 degrees on the thermostat within our highly insulated home feels more like 75 degrees! But, I digress. I came upon this interesting article on the BusinessWest blog about the rising costs of energy and wanted to share it.&lt;/p&gt; &lt;p&gt;EDC Sounds Alarm on Rising Costs of Natural Gas, Electricity&lt;/p&gt; &lt;p&gt;&lt;em&gt;CHICOPEE&lt;/em&gt;&amp;nbsp;-- The Economic Development Council of Western Mass. voiced its concerns Tuesday regarding the rising costs of natural gas and electricity in the region.&lt;/p&gt; &lt;p&gt;&amp;quot;More expensive energy affects all of us negatively. All of us need to be concerned. Individuals face a reduction of disposable income and increased hardship,&amp;quot; the agency said in a prepared statement. &amp;quot;Businesses face reduced competiveness that threatens job growth and retention. Municipalities face increased energy costs while facing decreasing revenues. Hospitals and higher-education institutions must divert more resources to energy purchases, thus diverting resources from their core missions. Shrinking business and consumer spending reduces investments in those things that define quality of life in Western Massachusetts.&amp;quot;&lt;/p&gt; &lt;p&gt;Through a series of meetings and discussions with entities familiar with the issues, the EDC infrastructure committee released the following findings:&lt;/p&gt; &lt;ul&gt; &lt;li&gt; &lt;p&gt;Recent and future closings of oil- and coal-fired plants have boosted, and will continue to increase, Massachusetts&amp;#39; dependency on natural gas for electric power generation. Nearly 50% of all electricity in Massachusetts is generated by natural gas, and that proportion is rising. These conditions, when combined with inadequate supplies of natural gas, are resulting in dramatically increased power costs during the winter.&lt;/p&gt; &lt;/li&gt; &lt;li&gt; &lt;p&gt;Gas companies serving this region are reaching the limits of their capacity to serve new customers. Berkshire Gas will stop adding customers in Greenfield at the end of 2014, and in Amherst in 2016. Columbia Gas is reaching the end of its capacity to serve Northampton and Easthampton. It could serve 10,000 more customers in the region if it had additional capacity. The inability to serve new customers will negatively affect economic growth in the region.&lt;/p&gt; &lt;/li&gt; &lt;li&gt; &lt;p&gt;Kinder Morgan is proposing a pipeline-extension project through Northern Mass. that will increase natural-gas supply to Berkshire, Franklin, and Hampshire counties as well as Eastern Mass.&lt;/p&gt; &lt;/li&gt; &lt;li&gt; &lt;p&gt;NU/Spectra proposes an expansion of the Algonquin Pipeline that would increase natural-gas supplies available to the Springfield area and Eastern Mass.&lt;/p&gt; &lt;/li&gt; &lt;li&gt; &lt;p&gt;Several New England states have been working to bring electricity generated by Hydro Quebec to the region.&lt;/p&gt; &lt;/li&gt; &lt;/ul&gt; &lt;p&gt;EDC Infrastructure Committee Chair Paul Nicolai summarized the committee&amp;#39;s work, suggesting that &amp;quot;supplying cost-effective, responsibly clean energy for our people and businesses is a complicated problem requiring balanced approaches and moderate thinking. EDC has struck that balance and encourages policymakers to do so as well.&amp;quot;&lt;/p&gt; &lt;p&gt;At a recent meeting, the EDC board of directors approved a resolution supporting the following actions, which, if implemented, will help to provide an adequate, stable supply of energy at competitive prices:&lt;/p&gt; &lt;ul&gt; &lt;li&gt; &lt;p&gt;Increase natural-gas supply by permitting both natural-gas pipeline-expansion projects proposed for the region and state;&lt;/p&gt; &lt;/li&gt; &lt;li&gt; &lt;p&gt;Increase the sources of power generation by enabling the purchase of hydro-generated electricity from the north;&lt;/p&gt; &lt;/li&gt; &lt;li&gt; &lt;p&gt;Continue support of conservation and renewable-energy technologies; and&lt;/p&gt; &lt;/li&gt; &lt;li&gt; &lt;p&gt;Encourage a regulatory environment that promotes market stability and competitive outcomes.&lt;/p&gt; &lt;/li&gt; &lt;/ul&gt; &lt;/div&gt; &lt;p&gt;&amp;nbsp;&lt;/p&gt;

      Comments

      1. Brenda Valle on

        I am 71 years old and I keep my temp. at 62 degrees. I cannot afford to raise it higher.

        Who Needs a Buyer Agent? You do!

        Before I became a realtor, I had no idea how real estate agency was structured, who represented whom, etc. When we were looking for our first home, all those years ago, sometimes there would be a second realtor at a showing in addition to our realtor, other times not. I never gave it much thought at the time.

        DLR_0842

        As a realtor, I feel that having a buyer agent as your personal advocate and guide through the process of purchasing real estate is invaluable. Agency relationships can be confusing if you don't understand the structure, and I often take time with clients to explain these intricacies.

        When a seller forms a listing contract with a seller or listing agent, they agree on a brokerage fee (same as a sales commission) for the sale of their property. The brokerage fee includes payment for both a seller agent and a buyer agent and is built into the purchase/sale price of the house. A buyer can proceed with the purchase on his or her own, without the help of a buyer agent, and some people choose to do this - but you may find yourself in unchartered territory in doing so.

        The Benefits of Working with a Buyer Agent:

        1.  You have an advocate who knows you, knows what you are looking for, and has their ear to the ground helping you to pinpoint houses that may be of interest.

        2.  You have a professional advocate who knows the market, the geographical area, many other realtors and people in the area - so that he or she may help you fine tune your search.

        3.  If you find yourself in bidding war, your agent can be invaluable in helping you make the most desirable offer to get the house you want.

        4.  Your agent will help you negotiate a fair price for the home, and they will help you negotiate if any issues come to light during inspection.

        5.  Your agent will stay on top of important dates such as the signing of the purchase and sales agreement, the finance commitment date (the date by which the bank states that you will officially be receiving your mortgage for the purchase of the home), and anything you need to do to prepare for your closing date. In addition, if you need more time for your inspection period, or your mortgage commitment date, your agent will help negotiate extensions for these deadlines, so that you are still protected within the sales agreement.

        6.  You have a knowledgeable person who can recommend any number of resources for you in your move, whether it be related to the home you are purchasing, or the town/city you are moving to itself. From finding a home inspector, to finding a real estate attorney, contractors for your home, recommendations of local services, etc -- a buyer agent is a wealth of information.

        7.  Your agent provides a buffer between you and the seller, so that when any question or issue comes up, they go to bat for you to get your questions answered, and your issues sorted out, to the best of their ability.

        8.  A buyer agent will connect you directly to the MLS (Mulitple Listing Service), so that you can be aware of houses coming on the market in real time. Other real estate sites can have outdated information or even misinformation. This access to the MLS makes looking for a house much easier for the buyer.

        9. You have a personal (and confidential) advocate who can explain every nuance in the process of locating and purchasing a home.

        So, if you are looking for a home - ask around to find a buyer agent with whom you feel connected. You will be happy you did!

         

         

        RECTANGLE Textiles Pop-Up Shop at Maple and Main Realty

        We are excited to be hosting a pre-holiday Pop-Up shop at the Maple and Main Realty office (28 North Maple Street in Florence) next Thursday, December 11th from 5:30-7:30 pm - featuring local artist Adele Mattern's new line of textiles for the home, Rectangle Textiles (Facebook and Instagram as "Rectangle Textiles", www.rectangletextiles.com website to be launched soon!).  Special guest, Local Interior Designer Sally Staub will be on hand with photos of some her inspired interior design projects as well!  RSVP to Julie Starr.

        photo 2

        Rectangle Textiles is a contemporary line of home textiles: simple yet bold, handmade with natural dyes.  Local Artist Adele Mattern updates traditional techniques with fair trade and artisan groups to develop pillows, placemats, napkins, tablecloths and more.

        Moving On After a Breakup

        It seems that the statistics are on target, and many of us has either chosen to part ways with our significant other, or knows a number of people who have chosen to do so. As a person who has tried to be a support to the people in my life who have decided to make this life shift, and as a realtor (since often the reason for the sale and or purchase of a new home has to do with the dissolution of a long term relationship) - I found this piece on Apartment Therapy to be so relevant. We all want our homes to be a place of comfort and refuge. When we are licking our wounds from a recent split, it's so important to do our best to redefine the space we inhabit (and especially when it was shared with said ex) so that it can remain that place of comfort and refuge. If selling the home you shared with an ex isn't an option (as it often isn't for many people) - here are some great suggestions for things you can do to reclaim your home.

         

        5 Redecorating Steps for the Recently Consciously Uncoupled

        Eva's Sense of Clarity

        Breakups are hard. It doesn't matter if you were the dumper or the dumpee, if you hyperventilate at the thought of your ex, or if you are firmly resigned. Either way, if you once lived as a couple, you now need to dismantle the evidence of the home you worked to create together. At times the process might be soul-crushing. Other times there are practical considerations. And ultimately, there's a new glorious opportunity. Here are five steps to regroup at home:

        1. Yes, Perform Triage: Hide some of the prominent reminders of your ex, or obvious emotional triggers -- like photos of you kissing on the beach in Tulum last winter - or stuff that obviously belonged to the other person. Rip off the bandaid and get them out of sight - either send it packing, head to Goodwill, or tuck it deep in a storage bin. This is no time to wallow amongst the remnants of your immediate past.

        -> Things Fall Apart: Living Alone in a Space After a Breakup

        2. But Don't Overcompensate: Resist the urge to go all Left Eye Lopes on everything your ex touched. Your history as a couple is also inextricably tied to your own personal history as well. So pack up that stuff, but hold off on throwing it all out the window. There's always time to do it later, but for now, give yourself some time to get some perspective. Think of it as a time capsule to be dug up at a later date, to be examined under a more archeological eye that comes with time and distance. You might decide you still really like that Norwegian wool blanket you used to canoodle under, despite the fact that it was a gift from the ex.

        3. Then Replenish Necessities: There's a practical side to all of this. If your ex owned the dining room table, and there's now a gaping hole where you used to eat your meals, you need to replace certain necessities that get used every day. It might be a microwave, or a vacuum cleaner, but you'll need it before long.

        -> Breakup Shower: Would You Throw One? Would You Want One?

        4. Let Yourself Indulge a Little: I'm not suggesting you hire Kelly Wearstler to gut and redecorate your apartment. But do things for yourself that weren't necessarily possible before, or weren't a priority. Hang up your favorite Michael Jackson poster, or hire someone to come and deep clean your home if you can afford it -- whatever little acts of kindness you can grant yourself during this transitional -- and perhaps unhappy -- time.

        5. Finally Reclaim Your Taste: Turn your decorating "we" into a decorating "me." If your own style has been buried under an ugly wagon wheel coffee table, or you've forgotten how much you love black bedrooms, this is the moment to remember your individual needs and taste. Grab onto that knowledge with both hands, and don't let go. Figure out what you like and take the steps to make your home reflect that.

        via 5 Redecorating Steps for the Recently Consciously Uncoupled | Apartment Therapy.

        Interesting Local Restoration Project

        In the context of most other countries, the United States is relatively young, of course.  But living in New England, where Europeans settled here relatively early, we have access to a good deal of local history with regard to those settlers.  Just up the road from Northampton sits the bucolic Historic Deerfield, "an authentic 18th Century Village" with a number of historic museum homes and demonstrations of colonial-era trades.  There is an interesting restoration project currently in the works, of the historic Barnard Tavern in Old Deerfield.  This piece in the Daily Hampshire Gazette tells the story of the restoration, and a bit about the tavern itself.

        Hardware, cast nails and plaster samples are all being reused when possible in the restoration of <br/>Barnard Tavern. Recorder/Paul Franz

        Layer by layer, piece by piece: Bringing a historic tavern back to life in Old Deerfield is painstaking work

        For Bill Flynt, Historic Deerfield's lead architectural conservator, exploring one of Old Deerfield's 18th-century buildings is like stepping into a time machine. That's the experience he aims to give the museum's visitors, but many of the buildings have had multiple owners and restoring them to their original state takes a bit of archaeology.That's where Flynt comes in, along with John Nawrocki and Ernie Zuraw, the museum's two expert restoration carpenters.Since 2005, they've been working on the historic Barnard Tavern, which will eventually open as an exhibit to give visitors a sense of what it was like in the 1790s when it was one of the most prominent public houses along one of the main routes to Boston.The work is expected to take a few more years.To piece the restoration puzzle together, Flynt said he used historic documents, inventories, floor plans and dendrochronology -- tree ring dating -- as well as his own experience and knowledge of historic building construction practices and materials.Over the centuries, the tavern has changed hands multiple times and has gone through a series of renovations, all of which have involved removing or altering parts of the original layout.It was constructed in 1795 by Deerfield resident Salah Barnard as an addition to the Frary House, which he built as a home in the mid-18th century. The tavern was operated by Barnard's son, Erastus, until around 1805, Flynt said. In 1797, the tavern's ballroom was the site of the founding of Deerfield Academy, according to Phil Zea, Historic Deerfield's president.In the 1860s, the tavern's ownership changed frequently. It served as rental space, a store and as housing. Each of those uses required minor renovations. Flynt said the first major restoration was done when the tavern was purchased by C. Alice Baker in 1890. The 1950s brought another major restoration project under the auspices of the Pocumtuck Valley Memorial Association."It's taken some time to sort all that out," said Flynt. "It's my job to pull it all apart and find out what goes with what period and put it all back the way it was."Much of that sorting out required pulling down walls and masonry with crowbars to look for evidence of what changes were made and why. If a door looks out of place or the style doesn't match the time period, Flynt will search through the museum's property to find one that does."In the ideal restoration, nothing's been changed and you can just come in, clean up and paint," said Flynt. "This one obviously takes a lot more work."But, said Flynt, there will always be some questions that can't be answered, such as what the original configuration of the bar in the tap room looked like, whether any of the walls were wallpapered, or exactly how the layout of the front hall has changed over the centuries."That space appears to have been modified one or more times," Flynt said.

        Getting to work

        Once Flynt has it all figured out, it's time for Zuraw and Nawrocki to get to work.

        "We're trying to save as much of the original building as possible for future generations," said Zuraw. "Wherever it's possible, we try to use the same materials."

        Some of those materials -- old forged nails, pieces of wood and chunks of plaster from the building's entryway painted with red-and-pink floral designs -- could be seen laid out on an impromptu table built from floorboards and sawhorses in one of the tavern's dining rooms.

        Much of the plaster in rooms throughout the building must be replaced. A walk through the tavern's tap room reveals the process: the walls that have been finished are off-white and smooth, while the lathe -- strips of wood nailed to the wall that act as an anchor for the plaster -- is visible on the ones that have not.

        According to Nawrocki, the entryway's plaster will likely be restored using the same type and color of paint that would have been used originally. That work will be contracted out to a professional painter.

        Upstairs, in the tavern's cavernous ballroom, a similar process is under way. Flynt has scraped away parts of the wall trim to reveal a faux-marble paint scheme, which he said was probably done in the 1800s. The room's original door, painted in the same style, leans against the back wall.

        Flynt said he's taken flake samples of the paint and sent them to a lab to be chemically analyzed. When the results come back, they'll be used to guide a painter in replicating the scheme throughout the room.

        "Sometimes you'll take a wall that you thought had three layers of paint, but when you put it under a microscope you see that it's actually got eight layers of paint and the first layer was something completely different than you expected," Flynt said.

        Mixing new and old

        Some pieces of wood the carpenters are using have been taken from other buildings in Old Deerfield that were built during the same time period, Zuraw said. Not all of the work can be done with original materials, though. Some just hasn't stood up to the test of time.

        If it's too far gone, Zuraw said, they use modern methods to recreate it. "We try to stick to what they would have used back then."

        Replacement work of that sort can be seen in the hallway connecting the kitchen to the tavern's other rooms, where Nawrocki said extensive termite and carpenter ant damage forced them to replace some of the wide pine boards on the walls.

        "There're a lot of termites in the whole village," Nawrocki said.

        The new wood on the walls still has a fresh-cut smell and stands in stark contrast to the weathered floorboards, but Flynt said they'll begin to take on a more uniform look over time as sunlight oxidizes them.

        While the new wood will eventually blend in with the rest of the building, it will never be exactly the same, Nawrocki said. Many of the original boards were cut from old-growth trees, making them irreplaceable.

        One of those boards -- a solid 16-foot plank -- serves as the seat of a wall bench that runs the length of the ballroom. Boards like that, said Nawrocki, are rare these days and most are found through word of mouth and networking with other carpenters.

        Modern methods are often used, said Nawrocki, during repairs to the building's framing. When the carpenters want to keep some of the old timbers, they add steel plates to strengthen the structure.

        Not all of the renovation work is as much fun as reproducing period molding or door frames. Some of it is just downright dirty.

        Nawrocki's least favorite part is crawling through rat droppings and cobwebs while repairing the building's frame.

        "It's not prime stuff," he said, chuckling. "Most of the framing was that way."

        Zuraw said he's also encountered fecal matter and dead critters while reinsulating the building.

        "We find all sorts of things like that," he said. "It's no fun."

        Though they've both worked on other historic buildings in Old Deerfield, restoring the Barnard Tavern is the biggest project Zuraw and Nawrocki have undertaken there.

        "They've worked on smaller wood roofing projects, window cap replication, cornice rebuilding, timber framing repairs, masonry repairs, molding replication and general restoration carpentry, but the Barnard Tavern is the only whole-house restoration we've tackled since either was hired," Flynt said.

        Learning the trade

        Flynt began his career in preserving historic architecture after graduating from Williams College in 1975. He worked for a contractor who specialized in dismantling and re-erecting historic barns for a time, then went through the University of Vermont's graduate program in Historic Preservation, after which he began working for Historic Deerfield.

        Nawrocki, who lives in Ashfield, said his involvement in restoring old buildings started out of necessity; his own house was built in the 1880s and needed a lot of work.

        "Buy an old house and you'll learn how to do it pretty quickly," he said.

        A carpenter by trade, Nawrocki said many of the contractors he's worked with over the years sent similar jobs his way.

        "After a while, that's all the work I was doing," he said.

        Nawrocki began learning young. His family was full of carpenters and woodworkers and he said he enjoyed watching them work as a child. Eventually, he, too, picked up the craft. After being self-employed for 30 years, he came to work for Historic Deerfield in 2001 and began working on the tavern in 2005.

        Zuraw, who lives in Cummington, said following a brief stint as a truck driver, he became interested in preservation while working for various masonry companies.

        "I was able to work on some of the oldest buildings in the county," Zuraw said. During one of those jobs, he was lowered into the chimney of the Jethro Coffin House, Nantucket's oldest building, on a chain ladder so he could repair the brick.

        He eventually branched off and started a contracting business, which he owned for about 20 years. Then, the recent financial crisis made bidding for jobs difficult, so he took the restoration craftsman job at Historic Deerfield.

        Flynt said he expects the interior renovations to pick up during the winter, but the project will probably take a few more years to complete. Since Zuraw and Nawrocki are the only two restoration carpenters on staff, they are frequently called to help with other projects. Exterior repairs take priority during the summer.

        Once the Barnard Tavern is fully repaired, Flynt said it will be decorated with authentic furniture by the curatorial department and opened as a museum.

        "We are aiming to have the tavern appear as it did during the 1796-1805 period when it was operating as a tavern."

        Tom Relihan can be reached at trelihan@recorder.com.

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        via Layer by layer, piece by piece: Bringing a historic tavern back to life in Old Deerfield is painstaking work | GazetteNet.com.

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        Homeowners' Liability and Coverage Can Extend Beyond the Home.

        We just got a new puppy.  She has A LOT of energy - and she can jump!  Having been taken down by a darting dog at the dog park in Northampton, MA just a couple of years ago myself - I can just see our girl Charlie inadvertently doing the same thing to some poor, unsuspecting dog park patron.  Luckily, when this happened to me, I was sore and stunned, but not injured.  I'm not sure whether most home insurance policies cover pet-related incidents, but, as realtor and a homeowner, I was interested to come across this article on the BusinessWest blog about how homeowners' insurance can cover certain incidents outside of the home as well as in the home.

        Homeowners' Liability Often Extends Beyond the Home

        By JOHN E. DOWD Jr.

        One misconception about homeowners' liability insurance coverage is that it covers only incidents in the home. In actuality, the comprehensive personal liability (CPL) coverage under a homeowners' insurance policy is really not associated with any location, other than the limitations and exclusions on the policy.

        Here are some examples of what probably would be covered by CPL:

        o Sports incidents: for example, you are playing golf and you drive a ball that hits someone in the head and disables them. If you are found liable, as long as you were not doing it professionally, your policy will likely provide coverage.

        o After shopping at your local market, you accidentally drop a bottle of olive oil in the parking lot, and it shatters and bleeds the oil onto the pavement. Another shopper comes along, slips, and seriously injures herself on the pavement. While the assumption is that the injured party will take action against the market, the typical practice of attorneys is to go after everyone associated with the incident.

        o You are on vacation at a hotel, and you are so excited to leave the room to enjoy a sightseeing tour that you forget to turn off the faucet. The running water causes significant damage to the hotel structure. The hotel decides to go after you for damages. Your CPL will defend you and may pay out damages if you are deemed liable.

        o Your kid lends his skateboard to a friend, and the friend, who may not be experienced with the skateboard, gets seriously injured trying to make a maneuver. Parents can be held liable for this injury, and there is a very good chance this will be covered by the CPL coverage.

        o If your dog bites a stranger at the park, your CPL will cover you as the owner and responsible party for the dog, as long as the policy does not exclude coverage for your dog breed. Some homeowners policies exclude coverage for breeds deemed dangerous, such as pit bulls.

        Additionally, the CPL coverage will usually extend coverage for the following items, even if an incident happens away from the insured premise:

        o Trailers that are not attached to a motor vehicle;

        o Motorized golf carts;

        o Watercraft that does not have a motor or is not more than a specified amount of horsepower;

        o Sailboats below a certain length;

        o A vacation residence (however, certain conditions may apply, so you also may need to schedule it); and

        o Non-motorized bikes.

        Here are examples where coverage does not exist and is excluded by nearly every homeowners' insurance policy:

        o Your cars, which are clearly excluded if registered for road use. This is exactly why you need to get a separate auto insurance policy;

        o Motorized recreational vehicles, especially if they are off the premises;

        o Any incident related to business; and

        o Intentional acts.

        Policies vary, so it is important to review your policy to see what may be covered and what may not be covered. Additionally, some policies allow you to endorse a coverage that may not be on the policy. This is why it is so important to sit down with your agent to address additional risks you may have and make sure coverage for those risks is addressed.

        Liability coverage is perhaps the most important coverage you should have, simply because most of these cases involve attorneys, and if coverage exists, the insurance companies provide for your defense, as well as any settlement up to the limits of your policy. Again, an annual review of your personal risk exposure with your agent is essential. It could be a very short conversation with your agent from year to year if nothing has changed in your life, but more often than not, changes do occur that could expose you unnecessarily to a potentially uninsured loss exposure. Ignorance is never a good defense.

        One thing that you should carefully note is that, if you are involved with any activity where you charge a fee of some kind, there is a good chance that the insurance company will deem this to be a commercial exposure and will therefore not cover the activity under your CPL. Your agent or broker is always available to answer these questions, and you should never hesitate to put him or her on the spot.

        Discover recent real estate listings in the Northampton, MA area here. For more information. any real estate needs, or to schedule a showing, contact us today!

        via Cover Story | BusinessWest.

        Matisse at Mt. Holyoke

        One of the reasons I love living in Northampton is that although it is a relatively small city - there is so much culture to take advantage of here, and in neighboring cities and towns as well.  Take, for instance, the exhibit of rare Matisse drawings currently on exhibit at Mount Holyoke College Art Museum.  I think we will spend our Saturday afternoon digesting Halloween candy, and taking a beautiful fall drive down to South Hadley to view this compelling exhibit.  How about you?

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        Seldom seen: Rare Matisse drawings on exhibit at Mount Holyoke College Art Museum in South Hadley


        Copywright 2014 Succession H. Matisse / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York" />Copywright 2014 Succession H. Matisse / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

        By STEVE PFARRER Staff Writer

        Thursday, October 23, 2014

        Henri Matisse was one of the giants of early 20th-century art -- an influential painter, printmaker, sculptor and collage artist who became particularly noted for the expressive colors and strong brushstrokes of his paintings.

        But Matisse (1869-1954) also loved to draw, whether making studies for later paintings, stand-alone portraits or sketches he used for experimenting with new ideas or examining compositional problems. As John Stromberg, the director of the Mount Holyoke College Art Museum, puts it, "He was restless. He was often looking for new ways to express an image, and drawing was a key to that."

        The college's museum is taking a fresh look at some of those drawings -- many apparently rarely seen even by Matisse scholars -- with an exhibit drawn from a collection built by Matisse's youngest child, the late art dealer Pierre Matisse. The show has been curated by noted American artist Ellsworth Perry, a printmaker and painter whose own lithographs have been inspired by Henri Matisse's work.

        The exhibit, which runs through Dec. 14, includes 45 Matisse drawings, predominantly from the latter part of his career, when he became partly disabled and found drawing easier to do than painting or printmaking. There's a wide range of work, from quick sketches of the human figure, to more studied portraits and still lifes, to small series that look at the same subject from different perspectives.

        But all of it, Stromberg says, shows "the sureness and economy of his line and his interest in shape and open forms. ... Matisse was always experimenting, looking for ways to innovate." Stromberg notes, for example, that the artist would vary the look of the eyes of many of the subjects of his portraits, even within a study of the same person or similar people.

        In a sequence of images of a veiled woman ("Femme voilé") in the exhibit, for example, the first depicts a woman with slanted, slightly hooded eyes, while in a second and third drawing her eyes have become more rounded. In another sequence, this time focused on female heads, the contours all form heart-shaped faces, but the overall impression is of noticeably different faces.

        Matisse lent a bit more detail to one of the exhibit's larger drawings: a 1937 self-portrait, done in charcoal, that shows the artist wearing a suit and tie, glasses, and a serious expression, his head tilted to the left.

        But even here, Matisse was playing with a conventional image: Behind his self-portrait is a shadowy, partially visible second image of his head, like a double exposure photograph.

        An appealing proposal

        Stromberg said the genesis of the exhibit can be traced to last winter, when he had a conversation with the Pierre and Tana Matisse Foundation in New York City, which has a huge collection of art -- not just that of Henri Matisse -- and lends items for exhibits. The foundation had given a three-year grant to Mount Holyoke for arts education, and Stromberg says staff there told him they'd also be happy to lend the college some of Matisse's drawings for a show.

        "That was a very appealing proposal, of course," he said. "But I also thought it would be interesting to have an artist curate it." His thinking was that an artist could bring a different perspective to the show than he would as an art historian.

        With that in mind, he contacted Kelly, whom he's known for some time; Stromberg helped coordinate a show of Kelly's at Boston University when he worked there in the 1990s as the school's art gallery director. Kelly's drawings had also been paired with Matisse's a few times in exhibits elsewhere.

        Kelly, who lives in New York state just over the Massachusetts border, said he'd be happy to curate a show, for which he initially reviewed some 500 high-resolution Matisse images from the foundation's collection, Stromberg says. Then, to get a sense for what he might select for the Mount Holyoke exhibit, and for how he'd display the work, Kelly had a scale model of the actual gallery space installed in his studio.

        In keeping with the flavor of Matisse's generally spare drawings, there are no wall labels, only numbers, for the 45 works on exhibit. An informational pamphlet, available for use in the gallery, contains titles and dates of the works, although a fair number of the drawings are undated. However, Kelly also requested the drawings be given custom-made frames to highlight the shape and size of each piece.

        There's no particular order or organizing theme to the exhibit, either, but Stromberg sees that as part of Kelly's different approach to the show. "I think he basically picked what he liked," he said with a laugh, "though he's made some great choices."

        An inveterate drawer

        In fact, the eclectic mix of drawings, and the fact they've been chosen by another artist, gives the show a certain sense of intimacy.

        Aside from their detail, or lack of it, the drawings are made from a variety of materials -- pencil, ink, charcoal -- and Matisse's lines can vary in intensity. One undated work, "Tête de femme" ("Head of Woman"), consists of just a handful of very thick lines of ink. But they clearly convey the face and neckline of a young woman, with neck-long hair parted to the side, and a slightly pensive look on her face.

        Another, the more finely drawn "Nu à la fenêtre" ("Nude at a Window"), from 1944, could have been the first draft of one of Matisse's colorful, semi-tropical paintings inspired by his long residence in southern France. A nude woman, seen mostly from the back and side, stands alongside a window frame that's largely filled with the spreading foliage of a tree. Other greenery can be seen in the room; in the drawing's lower left corner, the artist's hand is shown sketching the scene.

        There are a few detailed still life drawings, such as a bowl of lemons on a table, and portraits of women in hats and in various hairdos; somehow, even with just a few lines, they all look quite sophisticated, with something of the legendary "je ne sais quoi" often associated with French women.

        Stromberg notes that Matisse, though an inveterate drawer, may have done less of it earlier in his career, and that many of those drawings have since made their way into private collections and museums. But those in the college's show, predominantly from the late 1930s to early 1950s, are likely to be of considerable interest both to casual viewers and art historians, he added.

        "I think it's safe to say that many of these have seldom been seen," Stromberg said.

        As a bonus to the show, a collection of Kelly's lithographs from the mid-1960s is displayed in an adjoining gallery -- images of leaves, flowers and fruit that mix both detail and abstraction.

        But the focus is on Matisse and what many consider his mastery of the "less is more" approach to drawing. As Stromberg said at the college when the exhibit opened, "A seemingly simple curve could simultaneously define a shoulder, establish its place in relation to the picture plane, suggest its volume, outline the shape of the upper torso, and lend an emotional tenor to the sitter."

        via Seldom seen: Rare Matisse drawings on exhibit at Mount Holyoke College Art Museum in South Hadley | GazetteNet.com.