The Return of Residential Programming!
There is no doubt that Covid impacted residential life and programming at BHMA for the better part of two years. Prior to March 2020 our BHMA residents were staples at UMass, Mount Holyoke College, and local businesses throughout Western Massachusetts. Despite Covid barriers our mission to provide enrichment for our residents did not cease. If we could not go off campus, then we would bring others to us virtually. Our residents were able to continue practicing their religion by attending Zoom services. The UMass Kinesiology Department purchased workout equipment and donated the items to BHMA. Twice a week UMass students provided a virtual low impact workout routine for BHMA residents to maintain personal physical health. Despite the challenging times our community truly came together!
As we transition into post-Covid times we are excited to share all of the new and exciting adventures our residential team has been able to offer since summer 2022. Join us on a walk down residential “activity lane” as we share what we’ve been up to and what we’ve learned in the last few months!
Did you know that there are over 400 waterfalls in Massachusetts! They cascade, break around boulders, and fall in long streams of water. Several of the falls are in Franklin and Berkshire Counties, making it easy to see them – especially with the short distances it takes to hike to the various falls. There are diverse types of falls, such as fans, cascades, and plunging falls, with varying heights; some are an impressive 850 and others a mere 15 feet. Our BHMA residents have been able to venture out to many of these nearby breathtaking sites. We recommend you visit Bash Bish on the border of Massachusetts and New York. Bash Bish Falls in the state park of the same name lies outside of Mount Washington, MA and Berkshire County. The waterfall plunges 80 feet, running through rocky terrain from Bash Bish Brook.
Don’t forget to check out Doane’s Falls in Doane’s Falls Reservation is near Royalston, MA in Worcester County. Doane’s Falls plunge, cascade, and even have a block style look as the water falls from Lawrence Brook into the river below. The height is about 175 feet total drop, despite some “shelving” made by rocks. The path is easy to moderate and takes 0.3 miles one way to see the lower portion of the falls.
Our annual trips to the Bridge of Flowers (located in Shelbourne Falls, Ma) and the Trolley Museum went off without a hitch. The bridge with its graceful arches was constructed in 1908 for trolleys to convey raw materials from the railroad yard in Buckland across the Deerfield River to the factories in nearby hill towns. As a concrete structure, it could bear heavy loads better than the iron bridge that it parallels. With the arrival of motorized vehicles in 1927 the trolley bridge became obsolete and the trolley company went out of business. Tearing down the bridge would have been prohibitively expensive. What’s more, it carried the pipe that furnishes water to the town of Buckland. Instead the small town (now home to many local artists) decided to adorn the bridge with perennials plants. Indirectly becoming a tourist attraction. The same trolleys that were once in service are on display (and for a small fee can be ridden) a short walking distance from the bridge.
The New England Sea Aquarium allowed us to discover the magnificence of aquatic pals in their natural habitats. The New England Aquarium is home to thousands of aquatic animals—from northern fur seals to giant Pacific octopus to African penguins.
The month of July we were back into the full swing of things! Our residents were able to frequent the EcoTarium, Good Harbor Beach, and Southwick Zoo. The EcoTarium Museum of Science and Nature in Worcester, MA offers an indoor-outdoor experience to visitors of all ages. Guests are encouraged to explore three floors of interactive exhibits, live animal habitats, daily Science Discovery programs, hikes through forest and meadow nature trails, outdoor imaginative play, and a train that surrounds the forty-five plus acre campus. Good Harbor Beach is in Gloucester, MA. It provided the students an opportunity to swim, build elaborate sandcastles, and hunt for seashells/sea glass. The weather cooperated for most of the day to allow for such festivities. The Southwick Zoo is a 300-acre, privately owned and operated, zoological park located in Mendon, Massachusetts, United States. It was opened in 1963, and remains family-operated to date. We have spent nearly four hours each visit taking in our surroundings. The giant cats attraction seemed to be unanimously a fan favorite of the residents!
This gala trip was a success! Our residents voted and decided our trip would be to Water Park of New England. There are plenty of slides and attractions to keep the good times rolling all day. There are four different water or raft slides throughout the park. Prefer to take things slow? The Coconut Grove Adventure River lets you leisurely ride around the water park while floating on a tube. Afterwards, they enjoyed a Hibachi dinner at the nearby Tokyo Japanese Steakhouse. It “maki” our special day!
Apple picking and the Big E in New England are synonymous with classic fall fun! They are without a doubt a couple of our favorite autumn activities here at BHMA. Outlook Farm located in Westhampton, MA provided the perfect opportunity for us to spend a couple of hours outside strolling through the rows of apple trees in search of the best ones to take.
The Big E, formally known as The Eastern States Exposition, and billed as "New England's Great State fair", is the largest agricultural event on the eastern seaboard and the fifth-largest fair in the nation. We spent the day exploring food options that were beyond anything thought possible! We highly recommend the fried oreos! Residents took to the skies to ride the roller coaster and Ferris Wheel.
As October is upon us, we look forward to attending the YMCA weekly to swim and maintain our physical appearances. Boltwood has returned to BHMA! We are fortunate to have UMass students, similar in age to our residents, visit BHMA campus and provide entertaining activities. The year will also be filled with Best Buddies adventures, Special Olympic sporting events, the UMass Body Shop (images below) which will help us focus on our physical health, outdoor hikes and trails, bowling, dinner outings, movie nights, Jericho dances, sledding and our famed karaoke nights