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Bits & Bytes: Chestnut Preserve harvest; ‘Fall into Chesterwood;’ Hopkins forest to welcome hunters; ‘Deadly Chateau Shenanigans’

Seventy-five to 100 hunters are awarded permits annually to hunt in Hopkins Memorial Forest, which is closed to other users during the hunt.

Laurel Hill Association to present second annual chestnut harvest

Stockbridge — Volunteers from the Laurel Hill Association and the American Chestnut Foundation invite the public to harvest seeds at LHA’s Stockbridge Chestnut Preserve Monday, Oct. 9, from 9 a.m. to noon. Seeds from the trees will be stored over the winter and planted in ACF’s Springside Park seed orchard in Pittsfield and in other seed production orchards. Those interested in participating are asked to meet at the preserve on South Street/Route 7, about half a mile south of the Red Lion Inn. Participants should wear long pants, long sleeves and sturdy boots or footwear, and bring thick gloves and water. Snacks will be provided. At 2 p.m., ACF members will plant potentially blight-resistant American chestnut trees at Gould Meadows on Interlaken Road, an event that the public is also invited to attend. For more information, contact LHA at


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The studio at Chesterwood. Photo: Paul Rocheleau

‘Fall into Chesterwood’ to celebrate autumn season

Stockbridge — Chesterwood will hold its final program of the season, “Fall into Chesterwood: A Fun Family Event,” Monday, Oct. 9, from 1 to 5 p.m.

Along with admission to the historic studio, residence and grounds, the event will feature music by Mamma’s Marmalade, a dance performance at 2:30 p.m. by Sayer Mansfield and Shawn Ahern, and a presentation at 3 p.m. by Arlene Kiesler about local songbirds. Apple cider and cider donuts will be served. The program will also include a guided hike led by Elia Del Molino at 1:30 p.m. on Chesterwood’s Ledges Trail, which was restored this summer by Greenagers. Hiking boots or sturdy shoes are recommended for those planning to take part. Activities for children and families will include pumpkin carving and a self-guided scavenger hunt. The event will conclude with a late-afternoon stroll along Chesterwood’s woodland walks, decorated with carved and lighted pumpkins.

The event will be held rain or shine. Admission is $10 for adults, $5 for youth ages 13–18, and free for children 12 and under and Friends of Chesterwood. For more information, contact Chesterwood at (413) 298-3579 or


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Hopkins Forest to open for deer-hunting season

Hopkins Memorial Forest. Photo courtesy Williams College

Williamstown — Williams College’s Hopkins Memorial Forest will be open to deer hunting by special permit during the 12-day shotgun season this fall.  The 2017 Massachusetts deer shotgun season runs from Tuesday, Nov. 7, to Saturday, Dec. 9–excluding Sunday, Dec. 3–and a limited number of complimentary permits will be issued to hunters from local communities.

Seventy-five to 100 hunters are awarded permits annually to hunt in the forest, which is closed to other users during the hunt. Hunter surveys from recent seasons indicate that four to eight deer are typically harvested from the area each year and such reductions in the herd help to minimize browse damage to the forest’s understory and herb layer and protect ecological research areas. Due to possible conflicts with other forest uses, no hunting aside from the 12-day deer shotgun season is allowed.

Applications are due by Wednesday, Nov. 1. They will be evaluated on a first-come, first-served basis and permits will be issued to selected hunters by mid-November. Williams College gives preference in awarding permits to its neighbors, although hunters have come from across the state. Hunters may obtain a no-fee permit application by contacting the Center for Environmental Studies, 55 Mission Park Dr., Williamstown, MA 01267; (413) 597-2346; or


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The Comical Mystery Tour in ‘Deadly Chateau Shenanigans.’ photo courtesy Ventfort Hall

Ventfort Hall to host ‘Deadly Chateau Shenanigans’

Lenox — Ventfort Hall Mansion and Gilded Age Museum will present “Deadly Chateau Shenanigans,” a murder mystery dinner theater performance by the Comical Mystery Tour, Sunday, Oct. 15, at 5:30 p.m.

The new who-done-it finds Zca Zca Grabmore ensconced in her chateau in the south of France with her devoted maid, Sue Fley. Zca Zca is out to prove that she’s smarter than the three supersleuths Detective Codumbo, Jessica Fetcher and Inspector Jacque Coosteau, but the table is turned and someone gets the better of her.

In production since 1995, the Comical Mystery Tour has had over 50,000 audience members view and/or participate in its programs.

Tickets are $40 per person and include a full-course dinner with a cash bar. Reservations are required by Tuesday, Oct. 10. Seating is limited.  For information or reservations, contact Ventfort Hall at (413) 637-3206 or



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