County Fare: Face-lift given to Cheshire Cobbles parking lot


The town of Cheshire is celebrating its 225th birthday this year, but the residents of Notch Road and the community at large have yet another reason to celebrate. The parking lot that gives access to hike the Cobbles has had a facelift because one person made it his mission.

This once dirt area becomes a muddy mess in rain and gets littered with trash by those who visit the entrance to this landmark along the Appalachian Trail.

Joe Prince, a local neighbor, took on the chore to cut the grass and pick up trash over the past few years. All along he had been planning a renovation from dirt to asphalt and over a recent weekend it went from eyesore to awesome! After donating so many hours maintaining the Cobbles parking lot over the years, this resident put the proper resources together and got the job done.

Prince expressed his thanks to the businesses and agencies who did not hesitate to donate their services and needed materials when called upon. They include Duke's Sand & Gravel of Adams, Thermo Experts of Pittsfield, Lane Construction, D.M. Intelisano Paving & Sweeping of Dalton, Soco Restorations of Sheffield, and Mass Wildlife in Dalton.

Gateway City Library trail

Recognizing the integral role that public libraries play in their communities, Massachusetts Center for the Book has added a Gateway City Library Trail to its live app, MassBook Trails. The Berkshire Athenaeum in Pittsfield is celebrated on the trail for providing democratic access to reading and 21st-century gateways to opportunity for their patrons through digital connectivity and programming that enhances life-long learning and cultural assimilation.

"This trail underscores the unique history, architecture and attributes of each Gateway City library," explains Sharon Shaloo, executive director of Mass Center for the Book.

Available on the web and as a free download, MassBook Trails was launched in 2017 with two literary walking tours in Boston and two statewide trails: Literary Museums of Massachusetts, and African American Writers Heritage Trail.

Berkshire County sites featured on the Literary Museums Trail include the Susan B. Anthony Birthplace, Adams; William Cullen Bryant Homestead, Cummington; Crane Museum of Paper Making, Dalton; The Mount, Edith Wharton's Home, Lenox; Herman Melville's Arrowhead, Pittsfield; and Norman Rockwell Museum, Stockbridge.

The Samuel Harrison House in Pittsfield, and the W.E.B. Du Bois Boyhood Homesite and the James Weldon Johnson House, both in Great Barrington, are included on the African American Writers Heritage Trail.

MassBook Trails may be found in the app store and through Google Play. It is also available on the web at

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It Takes a Village

The Village Closet in Cummington, a donation center for free baby, children's and maternity supplies, has just surpassed $100,000 worth of items distributed for free to local families since its move to the Berkshire Trail Elementary School building in 2016.

The Village Closet is managed by It Takes a Village, a nonprofit located in the Hilltowns of Western Mass., providing free postpartum support to families with infants and young children.

"There is such a need for low-cost baby items," said Lisa Goding, co-executive director of It Takes a Village. "We see a lot of families struggling."

The Village Closet carries clothing in sizes from newborn through teen, and maternity and nursing clothes for mothers. Families can find a selection of strollers, high chairs and baby swings, and often furniture such as rocking chairs, cribs and changing tables.

The Village Closet provides feeding items such as baby bottles, infant formula and nursing supplies, linens like sheets and blankets, and a large selection of cloth and disposable diapers and wipes.

Volunteers also deliver items to families who lack transportation. All supplies are free to anyone who needs them, regardless of income or town of residence.

It Takes a Village hopes to bring even more families to the Village Closet this summer, and is hosting several family friendly events throughout July and August.

A "Parent Summer Cafe & Curious Child Program" will run from 10 to 11:30 a.m. Tuesdays, July 10 through Aug. 28, at the Berkshire Trail Elementary School, 2 Main St. There will be free activities for children with a professional child educator, and parents can gather at the Village Closet for coffee, conversation, or even just some alone time to catch up on personal work or emails.

The popular "Moms With Mugs" group will continue on the fourth Tuesday of each month. It Takes a Village will also sponsor several educational opportunities for parents, including a free talk about family sleep issues with sleep expert Beth Grams Haxby on July 10.

More details are available at and the It Takes a Village Facebook page.


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