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Young birthday neighbor meets ‘Iron Man’ in S.F.

Hello, neighbor.

You all know by now that one of my favorite places in Franklin County is the Quabbin Reservoir.

The reason I bring this up at this time is because, as you will see below, there is a bus trip headed to Dana Common on Sunday.

Quabbin Gate 40 on Harwick Road will take you deep into Quabbin history.

Typically, you walk or bike to Dana Common, but on Sunday, Marty Howe will take you there by bus, and as you travel 1.5 miles to the center of Dana, you will pass cellar holes and stone walls built by the long disincorporated (April 28, 1938) town’s residents. It is considered by some to be one of the best historical hikes in the Quabbin Reservoir.

There are woodlands and open fields lining the path to Dana Common, which is eerie and peaceful all at once. You can stand near its schoolhouse cellar hole and visit many of the cellar holes of homes that once surrounded the common.

Two main roads head west out of the center of Dana and continue about two miles to the shores of the reservoir. Another heads south out of the center and leads straight to Pottapaug Pond, a section of the reservoir that has become a stopover for migrating birds.

In my opinion, there isn’t a better time of year to visit the Quabbin. Everything is green, the water appears crystal clear and the deepest blue, and wildlife thrives as babies are born.

You can see everything from soaring eagles and singing loons to mergansers and cormorants traveling with their families. There are deer and small woodland creatures running the land, and I’ve heard some people have seen a moose or two. I haven’t yet, but I’m still looking.

SWIFT RIVER VALLEY HISTORICAL SOCIETY will host a bus trip to Dana, one of the “lost towns” of the Quabbin Reservoir on Sunday at 11 a.m. Marty Howe will meet adventurers at the museum at 40 Elm St. in New Salem that morning.

The cost is $15 per person and reservations must be made by calling him by Friday at 978-249-7321.

Bring a bag lunch, bug spray, drinks, and binoculars.

Dana, which is one of the four lost towns, was disincorporated 75 years ago to allow the flooding of the reservoir to provide water to the Boston metro area.

I have taken several walks down the road to Dana center and I have to say that it’s a great place to spend several hours.

For more information, email: srvhsmuseum@gmail.com.

BEFORE I GO ON, I’d like to tell you about a thrill one of our younger neighbors got this past week.

Hunter Martin of Erving, who is the son of Ellen and Henry Jr., was surprised by his mom when she decided to take him out of school June 6, his 8th birthday, to go to Shelburne Falls to see what a movie production looks like. Warner Brothers was shooting scenes for the film “The Judge.”

Ellen said she thought maybe he’d get a glimpse of star Robert Downey Jr., though when she told him that she said it meant nothing until she added, “Iron Man,” another role Downey has made his own.

Ellen and Hunter watched the filming from Mocha Maya’s and just as they were about to leave, there he was, standing there in front of them outside of the coffee shop.

She said she asked “Mr. Downey” if he would take a picture with her son on his birthday. He agreed, and she said he spoke with Hunter for a bit, leaving him with great memories.

Ellen said she would like to send “kudos” to Robert Downey Jr., and so would I.

Ellen isn’t sure how she and Hunter’s father will ever top this birthday, but I’m sure they’ll try.

Happy birthday, Hunter!

BRIENNE PARADIS of Greenfield was the class valedictorian at Pioneer Valley Regional School this year. While deadline coverage in Saturday’s paper was unable to mention it, she delivered the valedictory at commencement this past Friday night. Paradis was also president of the National Honor Society. She also has participated in the Governor’s Statewide Youth Council, whose mission has been to advise the governor in making decisions and setting policy to improve the lives of young people throughout the commonwealth.

What’s going on?

OUR NEIGHBOR SCOTT SARICH of Colrain, who will soon be a graduate student at UMass, will talk on Thursday at 7:30 p.m. at Colrain Historical Society about the 28th Massachusetts Regiment in the Civil War as part of the society’s ongoing look at that war.

Scott is a re-enactor with the 28th Regiment, also known as the Irish Brigade. He will talk about the brigade’s war experience.

The talk will be preceded at 7 p.m. by a business meeting. Refreshments will be served and the public is welcome.

For more information, call 413-624-3453.

ARE YOU OR IS SOMEONE YOU KNOW A HOARDER? I know a couple, but won’t embarrass them here. Anyway, Arms Library in Shelburne Falls will host a free talk on compulsive hoarding on Friday at 7 p.m. so if you are knee deep in “stuff” but can’t stop collecting, you might want to attend.

For more information, contact the library at 413-625-0306.

THREE CHURCHES WILL PRESENT a multi-media event in Ashfield on Friday and Saturday. “Palestine 2013: Art, Crafts, Films, Food and Politics” will be held beginning at 6:30 p.m. with an opening reception on Friday at the First Congregational Church in Ashfield. An authentic Middle East feast will be held at 6 p.m. on Saturday. The event will open at 1:30 p.m. on Saturday.

St. John’s Episcopal Church in Ashfield and Charlemont Federated Church in Charlemont are co-sponsors.

Reservations for dinner on Saturday may be made by calling Kate Stevens at 413-625-6967.

THE LITERACY PROJECT will host “Bloomsday” pub-style on Sunday from 7 to 9 p.m. at The People’s Pint on Federal Street in Greenfield.

Revelers may enjoy select readings from James Joyce’s “Ulysses,” along with the favorite meal of the fictitious Leopold Bloom: Gorgonzola sandwiches and red wine.

The project is hoping to draw attention to itself and its mission.

DO YOU HAVE A LOVE STORY TO SHARE? What about a special wedding memory? If so, contact Recorder Editor Chris Harris, who is putting together a “Celebrations” supplement and is looking for your stories and photos to fill it.

Please call Chris at 413-772-0261, ext. 265 or email her at: charris@recorder.com.

I WROTE A STORY ABOUT TANYA BARTON of Leyden this past week. The 32-year-old woman competed in Special Olympics in Boston over the weekend. She ran the 100-meter dash and competed in the softball throw.

Her mom, Mary Lou, called to tell me that Tanya unfortunately didn’t win this year, but she had a lot of fun.

Glad to hear it, Tanya. You did us proud!

RICHARD MESSER, director of dining services at Northfield Mount Hermon School, has received the Morrow Award, which is given annually to a non-alumnus/a who has contributed to the character of the school and its students through dedicated service.

Richard began his career at the school in 1988 and has served on numerous committees since then. He lives on campus with his wife, Sandy, who is an English teacher at the school. He has three daughters: Sarah, Emily and Anna.

Congratulations, Richard!

OUR YOUNG NEIGHBOR BRAD HASTINGS of Gill, who is a freshman at Pioneer Valley Regional School, has been selected to attend the 2013 New England Leadership Conference being held at Stonehill College in Easton this summer. The conference, which is sponsored by the National Federation of High Schools, selects student athletes from all over New England to participate in the four-day residential conference.

Congratulations, Brad! Have fun.

I TOLD YOU SEVERAL WEEKS AGO about a fundraiser, “Tape a Teacher,” being held at Sanderson Academy to benefit Relay for Life. The school raised $570, so not only was kindergarten teacher Katy Morey taped to the wall, but so was Principal Budge Litchfield.

That must have been fun for all.

SOME OF YOU MAY REMEMBER that I published a wedding photo months ago asking for your help in identifying the people in it. I am happy to say that Tom Musiak got one response from one of you and now knows that the man in the photo was his uncle.

This is one of the many ways we help each other, so thank you for reading my column and responding to your neighbors.

To contact Anita Fritz, a staff reporter at The Recorder, send an email to: anita.alice.fritz@gmail.com or call 413-772-0261, ext. 280 or call her cell at 413-388-6950. You can also reach Anita on Facebook at Anita’s Neighbors. Information to be included in Neighbors may also be sent to: neighbors@recorder.com up to noon two days before you want it to run (Friday for Tuesday’s column and Wednesday for Friday’s column).

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