Neighbors: Get out and enjoy our parks

Hello neighbor.

It’s time to get out and enjoy Franklin County’s parks. So many towns have pretty impressive parks, where children can play and adults can sit, relax or read ... whatever you feel like doing.

Greenfield has several parks. There’s something for everyone. Montague is finishing up its renovations on Unity Park. Children can play on the structures and then the entire family can take a walk along the bike and walking path. It’s a nice walk along the river and canal.

Many of the county’s towns have nice, recently renovated, safe parks.

We’ve also got a few lakes, where individuals and families can enjoy a quiet, refreshing time.

There’s Lake Wyola in Shutesbury, Laurel Lake in Erving, and Lake Mattawa in Orange. There are also rivers where you can find a peaceful spot and have a picnic.

So, head out to our parks, lakes and rivers and spend some time there this summer. They can be a little crowded on really hot, humid days and on weekends, but sometimes you get lucky and it’s just you and nature.


FIRST CONGREGATIONAL CHURCH IN GREENFIELD will hold a supper on Friday from 6 to 7:30 p.m. at the church at 43 Silver St. The menu will feature ham, potato salad, baked beans, coleslaw and strawberry rhubarb cobbler.

The cost is $10 for adults and $5 for children under age 12. Make reservations early at 413-774-3449.

THE MILLERS RIVER WATERSHED COUNCIL will hold its Great Solstice Ice Cream River Paddle on Friday, the longest day of the year, beginning at 5:45 p.m.

The route will cover the Millers River Blue Trail, starting from the Alan E. Rich Environmental Park in Athol. It will finish six miles downstream at Riverfront Park in Orange.

If you would like to park at Riverfront Park and take a shuttle to Athol, be there at 5:30 p.m.

For more information or to register for the shuttle van, contact the council at 978-248-9491 or email: by Wednesday.

MONTAGUE CENTER CONGREGATIONAL CHURCH will hold its Strawberry Supper on Saturday at 5:30 p.m. at the church in Montague Center. The church will serve baked stuffed chicken breast, rice, gravy, salad, hot vegetables and, of course, strawberry shortcake on homemade biscuits.

The cost is $10 per person. Children 10 years old and younger are $5.

To make reservations, call 413-863-2398. Walk-ins and take-out orders will be welcome.


FRIENDS OF GILL WILL HOLD a strawberry supper on Saturday at 6 p.m. at the Gill Congregational Church to raise money for its scholarship program. The menu will include barbecued chicken, baked potato, coleslaw and homemade strawberry shortcake.

Reservations are suggested, but walk-ins will be welcome while the food lasts. Take-out suppers will be available.

The cost is $11 for adults and $6 for children under 8 years old.

For more information, call 413-863-2212.

Remember, those scrumptious native strawberries won’t be around for long, so take advantage when you can.

FRANKLIN COUNTY 4-H YOUTH FAIR will be held in Heath on Saturday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the fairgrounds.

There is no entrance fee and parking is free.

Throughout the day the 4-H food booth will be open and there will be horse-drawn wagon rides and a petting zoo.

The show will happen throughout the day, also, and there will be plenty of exhibits. The main exhibition hall will feature clothing, vegetables, foods, canning, arts and crafts, quilts, posters, photography, fruit, flowers, woodworking and equine arts, to name a few.

Get out there and support some of our youngest, most hard-working neighbors.

For more information, call Shirley Toombs at 413-625-2168.

PIONEER VALLEY INSTITUTE WILL PRESENT its final program of the spring with a hike in and around a portion of the Great Swamp in Whately on June 29 beginning at 10 a.m.

The walk, which will be led by naturalist Nancy Goodman, will last about four hours.

Participants should meet Nancy in the Nasami Farm parking lot at 128 Main St. in Whately (she will have an orange traffic cone on the trunk of her car).

The cost is $5 per person, but PVI members and children are free.

Nasami Farm is part of the Great Swamp, one of the largest and best examples of a “perched” swamp left in Massachusetts. A perched swamp is not connected to a water table, but instead is perched above it on layers that prevent draining, usually associated with old glacial lake beds.

Bring along comfortable, water-resistant boots and rain gear, plenty of water, lunch, binoculars, bug spray and, if possible, a copy of the book “Bark” by Michael Wojtech.

You must pre-register by emailing Nancy at: You can also leave your name and telephone number at 413-775-1671. Directions will be given when you preregister. Do not use Map Quest as its directions take you to North Street in South Deerfield.

Have fun.

I RECEIVED AN EMAIL FROM REX EADS, an avid fisherman who said he is going to be in the area from June 26 through June 29 visiting museums, libraries and people with stories and artifacts connected to the old Montague City Rod Co.

Rex said he has been researching the company from afar — he lives in Portland, Ore. — and said this will be his first trip out here.

He wanted me to get the word out, so that any of you who have information about Montague City Rod Co. might be able to make some time for him.

He is working on a book covering the rich history of the company, which had its roots with the Bartlett brothers of the Pelham Rod Co., which later became Montague Rod and Reel Co.

Rex said the company is significant because it built more bamboo fishing rods than any other company in history. He said more than half of the bamboo fly rods listed on eBay were made by Montague City Rod Co.

He currently owns more than 300 Montague bamboo fly rods, some dating back to the 1890s.

If you would like to contact Rex, do so at:

To contact Anita Fritz, a staff reporter at The Recorder, send an email to: 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: up to noon on the day before you want it to run.

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