a love letter to the Hilltowns & HOST

a love letter to the Hilltowns & HOST

When my husband and I found ourselves drawn to Western Massachusetts and moved into an odd but charming tree-house-like home by a stream set back in a hemlock forest named Frog Hollow, I didn't know I would not only find Home but Belonging. (There were past neighborhoods with friends and family, but never a feeling of a greater connected community.)

In the eight years since we moved from the city to rural life, we have come to know so many wonderful people here in our little village of Ringville in Worthington and the surrounding Hilltowns. (And Western Mass in general!) Fellow artists, creatives, dreamers -supportive and welcoming people, and this area seems to continue to draw them here. This incredible Landscape. More affordable space to live within Nature and her many daily gifts. A slower pace.

Grateful to have joined the Hilltown Arts Alliance, I had always dreamt of living somewhere where there could be Open Studio Events but never imagined a rural version happening here. This year marks our fourth, and they just keep getting better and more vibrant. (With beautiful brochures designed by my talented husband!) I help promote the event on our social media, enjoyed making grids on our colorful instagram account...
Over the weekend we welcomed 40-60 visitors down our one-lane dirt driveway! Sorry to everyone who had a rough time parking or getting over the bumps, hoping to smooth things out for next year. (Well, we are going to need a tractor soon anyway, since we recently just purchased the 10 acres next door! ((*OMG & Hooray!)) Imagining more pollinator gardens up there, a place for us (...and maybe someday, visitors) to create or read, or just Be. Land that welcomes, feeds and protects the diverse and beloved Nature that also visits us just below at Frog Hollow. This former city mouse feels a bit like Beatrix Potter these days...so fortunate and grateful.
The event itself was very rewarding- talking to visitors all day about what I do, my process and influences. It isn't always easy for me so I really enjoyed the questions and curiosity about the amulets themselves and the environment I work in.
I love setting up the little former hall & closet as a once-a-year amulet shop, so fun to create spaces to display and give information about what has inspired each collection, who gets donations when they are sold. So many told me that it was like stepping into another world, another time, or my favorite: a fairy-land.
There were people that I hadn't seen in decades, new friends and neighbors, and some very appreciated sales. All connections and conversations that will keep me company here until the next one.
At the close of each day (though a bit introvert/hsp/empath/ADHD/whatever-I-am-drained) I forced myself out to our evening HOST social events. Both were well worth pushing through the strong pull to plant myself on the couch for the evening with fuzzy pants and animals around us...
Our gathering at Sena Farm Brewery, getting an invitation to sit with the folks we've known the longest here, our beloved neighbors and the generation here that has known each other for decades, through children and grandchildren...was in tears and felt such Belonging that I didn't know I needed.  Acceptance for someone who always feels a bit out-of-place.

Night two at Glendale Ridge Vineyard was equally joyful...meeting friends and new artists on the tour, welcoming two dear Huntington people into the Hilltown Arts Alliance. Wish I had taken more photos through it all, but was so focused on conversation, celebrating our community, our visitors, and the hard work we all did to get here. Hoping to get to connect with these talented, encouraging and kind people more often. Being a solitary maker can be hard, so it means more than I can express to have this community that supports each other so well.
Back to the studio to make it messy again, prepping for my next event:
the Brews For Buns- 2nd Annual Fundraiser ... feeling energized and more Hopeful, a bit more confident that I am on the right track.
Much-needed. Thank you for being here too.



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