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Outdoor Voice: Holyoke Mountain

– June 27, 2015 –


Local Treasures

Where can you find…

  • a favorite hangout for hawks, falcons, and hang gliders
  • a kettle of broadwings
  • a combination of micro-climates rarely seen in New England
  • plant and animal species that are globally rare
  • remnants of the first summit house in New England
  • picnic sites tucked in among large rocks and sloping stretches of grass
  • breathtaking views of the Connecticut River threading through farmland, city, and forest
  • a mountain range that runs east to west, instead of north to south
  • writers


They’re all in our backyard – on the slopes and summit of Mount Holyoke.

For more than 10,000 years, the mountain and surrounding area was home to Native Americans.  In the 1600?s, Elizur Holyoke surveyed the area and named the mountain after…himself.  A city, a college, and the entire mountain range were later named after that mountain – and thus after Elizur, as well.


The Changer and the Changed

old_summithouseAs populations shifted, so did perceptions of the mountain – and the activities thereon. Native Americans saw Holyoke Mountain as a spiritual site, and considered themselves as stewards. In the 16- and 1700’s, the mountain was viewed by English settlers as a resource for farming and early industry.

And in the mid 1800’s, Mount Holyoke became a site of renewal and transcendence for visitors, artists and writers.  The first summit house appeared, and guests have arrived ever since.


 Saturday June 21: Outdoor Voice! Writing Retreat

Why carve out time to drive up a winding, narrow road just to sit there and write? For one thing, the small difficulty of actually getting there deepens the pleasure and wonder that accompanies your arrival.

The air is different; the sounds of the world sift up through vast layers of light; and the view is, well…stunning.  And then there’s the writing.  Mount Holyoke offers new landscapes, invites the imagination, and opens us up to new ways of seeing.  There’s timelessness – of place and writing – for an entire day.


That Kettle of Broadwings…?

File:Julie_Waters_broad_winged_hawkBroadwings are a type of hawk, and kettle describes the way they circle as they rise on columns of warm air.  Like water boiling.

When the broadwings reach the top of the warm air column, they stream out and soar.  As their glide begins to slow, they find  another column to lift and carry them along.  Dozens, hundreds, and even thousands of broadwings have been spotted in a single kettle.

Rising, circling, soaring – sounds like writing to me.


Join us for a day of writing and renewal –

Mount Holyoke, Skinner State Park

Saturday, June 21

8:30 – 4:30


For further information and registration, click here.



For more information, contact Kathy here.


Main Street Writers

- Writing support for individuals, groups and organizations -

664 Main Street, Suite 60, Amherst MA
(413) 221-4652

- Celebrating out 28th year at Main Street Writers -

Main Street Writers

- Writing support for individuals, groups and organizations -

664 Main Street, Suite 60, Amherst MA
92 Race Street, Gateway City Arts, Holyoke MA
(413) 221-4652


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