Life at VHC with Kids

Greetings readers! This is my very first blog post entry and I’m excited to give you a glimpse of life at Village Hill Cohousing from the perspective of a parent of a young child. My family, which includes me, my wife and our now 4 year old son, moved here in June 2023. We were eager to start getting to know our neighbors and build community with other families with young children in the Valley. Before arriving here, the community set up a welcoming play space in the smaller dining room, which we also refer to as the “kids room” in the Common House. It has books, toys, art supplies and a cozy futon mattress on the floor. Since our unit is small, we spent the summer moving between our home, the kids room and, of course, the great outdoors around VHC, to find places to play in and explore – and get a respite from the heat.

As summer came to an end, I began planning for Halloween – one of my favorite holidays! I decided to organize and host a kids Halloween party in our Common House. I partnered with the Neighborhood Engagement Team (NET) “up the hill” in the greater Village Hill condo community and we planned a combination adult costume parade and outdoor gathering / kids crafting and games party. We invited folks from the larger Village Hill neighborhood, cohousing, North Commons and from my son’s school. Despite rainy, chilly weather on the day of the party, it was a huge success! Members of VHC volunteered to help set up and run activities, including limbo, pumpkin painting, and a “no hands, hanging donuts” eating contest. People contributed snacks, cupcakes and apple cider. My wife, Annie, aka “DJ Annie RUOK” DJ’d the party and it was so much fun to see people letting loose and dancing in costume! 

Our community continues to be conscientious about COVID. We utilized HEPA filters, open windows, a ceiling fan and a CO2 monitor to increase ventilation and monitor air flow. It was a little chilly in the room but the young people did not mind and it gave us all an excuse to dance to stay warm!

As winter approached, a small team of us decided to throw another kids-centered event called the Welcome Winter party. We were particularly interested in inviting families from North Commons to participate; part of our effort to build relationships with the renters in that building and to open up our Common House to more community-building events. One of the event organizers from North Commons, Starrcrystal, made an amazing spread of (mostly) vegetarian food and Mariel (VHC resident) got a big pizza to share. We set up a couple crafting activities, the most popular being “Make your own tissue paper lantern.” And once again, the amazing “DJ Annie RUOK” DJ’d for us. And yes, the limbo stick made another appearance! 

We hope to have many more family-centered events at VHC as we continue to think of ways to make our community welcoming and accessible to parents of young children and to celebrate our fabulous young people who are such a joy to live in community with!

Happy New Year from VHC!

New year, new look! Welcome to the redesigned VHC website. We hope you’ll easily find everything you need to learn about our community.

Pictured on this page is a series of friendship bracelets that one of our members’ daughters, Anya, made for people who contributed to her Ovarian Cancer Five Boro Bike Tour fundraiser. It’s just one small example of ways our community came together to support each other in 2023.

At VHC we have a lot to look forward to this year, like welcoming new neighbors, including VHC’s first newborn! 2024 may even bring solar panels to the common house and chickens to the garden. We know there will also be some challenges that we will face together in achieving our sustainability goals, caring for our land and one another, and learning even better ways to organize ourselves for shared decision-making.  

If your travels this year bring you to the Northampton area, we’d love to have you join us for a meal, work day, or other event by emailing 

If you’re in the area, come join us for an upcoming meal or event:

Sunday, January 7, 3pm. VHC Live! Screening & Discussion of the film The Ritchie Boys 

Wednesday, January 10, 6pm. Board Games 

Thursday, January 11, 6:30pm. Community Meal 

Saturday, January 20, 9am-4pm. VHC Work Day 

Wednesday, January 24, 6pm. Board Games 

Saturday, January 27, 6pm. Community Meal  

Sunday, January 28, 10:30am. Monthly Members’ Meeting. Hybrid. (Zoom link available) 

Sunday, January 28, 12pm. Tour for Visitors. RSVP at 


Mondays, 4-5pm & Thursdays, 5:30-6:30pm. Social Gatherings 

Thursdays, 8:30 am. Coffee+ in the Common House Fridays, 11 am-2 pm. Co-working in the Common House

Growing fruit trees on our land

Karen highlighted at a recent full circle meeting that Grounds has divided up all of our land into 13 areas and is examining each to come up with a plan for further planting and improvement. This issue, we want to highlight the area behind the carports on the North side, between VHC and the North Commons development.

A sub-team from Grounds Circle is interested in planting native fruit and nut trees on the hillside between Village Hill and North Commons. The tentative purposes are to grow native foods for the community, create wildlife habitat and reduce the impact of invasive plants that reduce wildlife habitat.

Potential plants include pawpawAmerican persimmonCanadian plumAmerican chestnut and others. Details about these plants are here. There is a map of the site with potential plant placements in the small dining room in the common house. Look for the VHC map with circles of colored paper on it.

We hopefully will move these maps to a more visible area near the mailroom. Our plan is to finish making an overall plan, one that may take years, and show it on the map. Then each planting season we will pick a piece of it to tackle and slowly we will fill in the map to show the areas that have been worked and the ones that remain.