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By Ben Watson

WestCountyJudithFieldJudith Maloney and her son Field. Mathew Cavanaugh Photography

When Judith Maloney arrived in Franklin County with her husband Terry back in 1972, they had no idea they were going to settle down here. The couple had been living in San Francisco, where Terry had just completed his medical training at the University of California, and Judith had gotten her teaching certification.

“We figured this was just the cross-country road trip that everybody takes once in their lives,” Judith says.

But in this back-to-the-land era the young couple wound up buying a piece of land and settling in the town of Colrain, eventually building a post-and-beam house from timber harvested on Catamount Hill.

By Cori Urban
JohnErinLOOT

TURNERS FALLS—John D. McNamara has spent years hunting for treasure, and when asked what his favorite find has been, he smiles. It’s not an interesting industrial steel mold or a well-worn workbench or even drawings of silverware from the former Lunt Silversmiths.

“Erin,” he replies simply, looking at Erin K. MacLean, his business and life partner.

She blushes, and they laugh, the comfortable laugh shared between people who enjoy each other’s company and know each other well.

But if pressed for a favorite “thing,” he has found for Loot Found + Made, the business they run in Turners Falls, McNamara gives the nod to eye glass and fork and spoon super-sized steel or epoxy dies. “They are super decorative,” he says of the finds from about a dozen years ago.

Apple table

Looking to get out of the office and into the fresh air? Been meaning to do more physical activities and eat more fresh fruit? What about getting in some fun outdoor activities with the family before the cold weather hits? Picking your own apples is the perfect way to check these items off your list.

Franklin County, in Western Massachusetts, has orchards dotting some of the most scenic landscapes in Massachusetts. Pick from century old trees located in orchards that have been in the family for generations or from newer experimental orchards. While you’re at it, take a break, bring a picnic lunch, and take in the scenery or refuel at some of the orchard restaurants. Here are five of our favorite pick your own spots.

Head to Franklin County and leave life behind for the afternoon or weekend. Take to the rolling hills, meandering river valleys, and charming towns of western Massachusetts to unwind. Here are eight transcendent views to start you off.

Mt. Sugarloaf

South Deerfield, MA

The View

Whether you arrive at the top of Mount Sugarloaf’s south summit by driving (just a few minutes) or walking (about a half-hour) up the winding auto road, or by hiking up one of the marked trails, once the Connecticut River comes into view you’ll have no doubt that agriculture is alive and well in this valley. Lined with trees and productive farmland, and an occasional red barn and white steeple in the distance, this spectacular and quintessential rural New England view is both serene and inspiring.  

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We are replacing our shorts and sandals with sweaters and hats, but that does not mean the end of downtown street festivals! The 2019 holiday season officially kicks off this week in Franklin County and here are some festive and glowing celebrations to bring you out into the village centers.

"My husband is a motorcycle enthusiast and likes riding the Mohawk Trail"
"The county is peppered with old and new all mixed up"
"An air of peace and tranquility"
"Real community authenticity. Franklin County is not pseudo anything."
"More down to earth, no pretense, real people."
     
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