10 Towns in 10 Days: Hampden - Western Mass News - WGGB/WSHM

10 Towns in 10 Days: Hampden

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(Western Mass News photo) (Western Mass News photo)

Tucked in the woods along the Connecticut border, Hampden neighbors Monson, East Longmeadow, and Wilbraham. 

In fact, for its first 100 years, Hampden was known as South Wilbraham before splitting into a separate village and while it doesn't have a stop light, this village of 5,000 can get pretty busy.

Louanne Lortie, owner of The Bagel Nook, found a home on one of those busy routes. 

"It couldn't be a better spot.  We're right here.  This is Hampden.  Come and see us," Lortie said.

And people have! 

"I have a lot of regulars who come in every morning for their coffee.  They get the same bagel every day.  The regulars just come in, have coffee, and chit chat with each other," Lortie noted.

A short drive along Main Street will land you at the 'Mane Event' - a beauty salon and art gallery, all in one. 

"We are artists ourselves as hairdressers.  I love art.  I had all this space and I thought it would be really cool way to set us apart from a typical salon.  It's been really well received," said Barbie Bolaske, owner of Mane Event.

If you're an artist looking to display your work, you're going to have to get in line.

"I've been doing it for a couple years and I've never had blank walls.  We are booked all the way to the fall," Bolaske added.

There are plenty of scenic views in Hampden and the Laughing Brook Wildlife Sanctuary was a site of inspiration for children's book author Thorton Burgess.

It is believed that the beloved characters of Peter Rabbit and Reddy Fox were created here, so it's only fitting that Hampden is home to the non-profit, Link to Libraries, which donates new books to children. 

"We know that books are the key to brighter futures.  We know that kids who can read proficiently by the end of third grade have a much better chance for success in school and in life," said Link to Libraries President Laurie Flynn.

Since their inception 10 years ago, Link to Libraries has given out over 500,000 books.  They are currently sponsoring 72 schools in western Massachusetts and northern Connecticut. 

Western Mass News, Big Y, and Diamond RV wanted to help Link to Libraries with a check for $500. 

"Thank you so much. That means a great deal.  You have no idea how many books $500 will buy," Flynn said.
Hampden - it's a small town creating brighter futures in a big way!

Jacob's adventures will take him to nine other communities over the next two weeks. 
Join us at each location, between 11:30 and 1 p.m., to say hi while we broadcast live:

  • Tuesday, May 1 - Southwick: Summer House
  • Wednesday, May 2 - Hatfield: Good Stock Farm
  • Thursday, May 3 - Granby: Happy Day Family Farm
  • Friday, May 4 - Bernardston: Kringle Candle 
  • Monday, May 7 - Hadley: The Quarters
  • Tuesday, May 8 - Deerfield: Yankee Candle Village
  • Wednesday, May 9 - Brimfield: Brimfield Antique Show
  • Thursday, May 10 - Shelburne Falls: Bridge of Flowers
  • Friday, May 11 - Pittsfield: Balderdash Cellars

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