Saturday January 12, 2013

SOUTH DEERFIELD, Mass. -- Lovely devotional music provides a relaxing background as the world-weary visitor enters Himalayan Views at the Tibetan Plaza, 265 Greenfield Rd., in this scenic town.

"I always tell our customers," said manager Susan Blauner, "that Himalayan Views is their store. Our focus is to always place the well-being and support of our customers first as well as enabling them to have a beautiful experience when they come here. People literally come into the store just to be in this soothing environment."

And the visitor knows this is true, as peace descends slowly but surely, as time in the store elapses. The ambience of the shop? Ease and simplicity -- even though the space is filled with bright, vibrant colors.

To begin with, Himalayan Views features books by a group of local authors.

For example, you’ll find "First Comes Love, Then Comes Malaria" by Eve Brown-Waite, published by Broadway Books in 2009 in New York City. Her first effort, Brown-Waite’s tour de force centers upon her adventures in the Third World as a member of the Peace Corps along with the story of finding the love of her life.

Also on the emporium’s shelf is Marian A. Kelner’s "As a Sailboat Seeks the Wind: Collected Writings" (2010) along with Maureen Kennedy’s "The Path of Remembering: Who We Are and Why We’re Here." On hand, too, are "Totems for Stewards of the Earth, Volume 1" by Cie Simurro/Thunderbird Starwoman and "Danger in the Air," a new release from White River Press by Dusty J. Miller.

In addition, you can come across works by Lyn Clark of the Montague area. HV carries both "The Bolt Hole" (2007) and "Darthela’s Ashes ... the Continuing Saga of Summer Village" (2011). Nan Williams is featured with her "Wild Side Adventures: a Memoir," illustrated by Mary Jo Phelps.

Also on sale is Ed Rayher’s "All We Can Do Is Wait," a new book (2012) from Slate Roof Books in Northfield plus "The 5 Secrets of Marriage from the Heart" from the pens of Jack Rosenblum and Corrine Dugas.

Furthermore, you’ll find three works by popular local author Jim Ballard. They are "Mind Like Water: Keeping Your Balance in a Chaotic World," published by John Wiley and Sons; "Little Wave and Old Swell: A Fable of Life and Its Passing" (Simon and Schuster); and "No Ordinary Move: Relocating Your Aging Parents." The latter is book is co-written with Barbara Z. Perman and is accompanied by a CD.

Himalayan Views also has a nice selection of children’s books by area writers, including "The Little Yellow Trolley Car: A True Story" by Marie Betts Bartlett and "The Year of a Thousand Colors" by Lena Sclove.

Manager Susan Blauner invites all local writers with published books to contact her and join her bookshelf of writers in the greater community and her wide selection of Buddhist and spiritual writing. Blauner may be reached at413-665-5550 or himalayanviews@gmail.com.

"Part of what we do here," said Blauner, herself a published author and speaker of note, "is to educate. Quite often people come in to learn about meditation and Tibetan Buddhism among other pursuits."

Owner Sonam Lama is also the proprietor of Native Views, which features the works of local artisans and, in addition, sells Native American items and products. That shop also has an outstanding collection of books that puts the spotlight on Native American culture and history.

"I am pleased," said Lama, "to announce that we will be combining both stores -- Himalayan Views and Native Views -- at our latter store’s Mohawk Trail address (2217 Mohawk Trail) in Shelburne Falls. We have a target date of mid-February."

A storewide moving sale is now under way at the South Deerfield site, according to Blauner. "We’ll be offering 25 per cent off on every item under $75," she said.

Himalayan Views is packed with unique and thoughtful gifts for every occasion. Available are high-quality clothing, top-flight jewelry, and varied items such as the ever-popular singing bowls. For example, there are Pashmina shawls woven from the finest Cashmere.

Further, there are quilted cotton women’s reversible jackets, wooden boxes and other home décor, knapsacks, prayer wheels, earrings, woolen Nepal hats and mittens, meditation cushions, incense, plus wall hangings that depict Buddhist symbols -- to name just a few.

"We sell many handmade items from Tibet, Nepal, and India," said the amiable Blauner. "We also offer products made by local artisans, and we have works by local photographers."

HV is a real family store, too. There are plenty of free activities for children, such as treasure hunts, a chance to pet a pair of friendly pooches named Jay and Honey, coloring, and listening to relaxing CDs in the store’s Quiet Corner. For grown-ups, there is a ton of freebies: incense samples, lovely mani stones, parking, smiles and listening ears of staff, and the incomparable experience of playing a singing bowl on top of your head.

Meanwhile, the store’s owner, Lama, opened The Tibetan Inn of Deerfield, a unique bed and breakfast, at 261 Greenfield Rd. about a year and a half ago. Lama, a gifted stonemason, renovated his own home there, transforming it into a beautiful, two-room place to stay.

A complete breakfast is served in the morning. Every room has a flatscreen television, private bath, WiFi, plus all the amenities to ensure a delightful, relaxed stay. Guests can also enjoy a large area deck.

The Tibetan Inn, open all year, has earned outstanding reviews from Trip Advisor on the world-wide web.

Lama plans on adding another guest room sometime in the future. All furniture for The Tibetan Inn was bought from Douglas Auctioneers, which is down the road from the inn.

Sonam Lama immigrated to the United States from Tibet in 1986. As a stonemason, he has taught many students and enjoys always being a man of motion.

For information on The Tibetan Inn, call 413-665-5556. To learn more information about Himalayan Views, call 413-665-5550.