COVID-19, Shelburne Falls

My Very Quiet Village

When Hank and I returned to New England, we wanted to live in the country but be able to walk to things. That’s what we got when we moved to Shelburne Falls in Western Mass. We live on the Buckland side and it’s a short walk, oh, less than a half-mile, to a coffee shop, restaurants, small shops, a candlepin bowling alley, and our son, Zack’s Floodwater Brewing. You get to know the people living here very easily. And then there is the bustle of visitors who want to take in the quaint village, and in season, our famous Bridge of Flowers, and the potholes on the Deerfield River.

Ah, but all of that is on hold while we get through this COVID-19 health crisis.

Hank and I walked down to the village Saturday. Businesses had signs on their doors explaining why they were closed. The governor issued an order last week that only allows restaurants to do takeout; bars were closed. The village’s two markets, McCusker’s (part of the Franklin Community Co-op) and Keystone (owned by a family) were open, as well as the liquor store. So was Mocha Maya’s coffee shop, for takeout only.

And then our clever son, Zack was set up at the door of his brewery. He had scored bottles that he filled with the beer he makes. People could place an order on their phones and he would have the bottles, the outside sanitized, ready for them to take. By the way, he was donating $2 from each bottle sold to a local education foundation.

Zack said his experiment turned out very well. (I believe sometime this week his order of growlers should be in.) We were there when a woman said she was driving by and saw his setup and had to stop. She place her order standing on the sidewalk. Another man pulled in as we were leaving. While these sales can’t make up for a bustling, music-filled weekend at the brewery, I admire our son’s ingenuity.

Sunday I stuck to home. It was just too cold to venture into the woods, my hope that morning. So, I got back into my new book. I now know whodunnit and it’s up to Isabel to find out. But first I have to put her in some danger.

Today I am back in the newsroom. We are an essential business, providing news, which we are even making available for free on our website:

We are quite isolated there, as no one has been allowed in the building for a week now. It’s just a small crew; the rest are working from home. That is an option for all of us, but for now this works.

FREE WEEKEND: Thanks to all who got a free copy of Chasing the Case this past weekend. It was a hugely successful experiment. Not only were people getting a free copy, they were buying the two other books in the series … and a book I self-published.