Long weekend filled with festivals and behind-the-scenes peeks at The Last Green Valley

Start the long weekend early with Walktober adventures beginning Thursday, and find fun all weekend long with more than 65 opportunities to enjoy the 35 towns of The Last Green Valley.

The adventures waiting for attendees include a rare behind-the-scenes look at Otis Library in Norwich, a crash course on how a tree becomes the wood floor in your home at Hull Forest Products, and a look at how Connecticut DEEP is managing Hopeville State Park and dealing with the invasive Southern Pine Beetle.

“Most of these Walktober events are geared towards families,” said Lois Bruinooge, executive director of The Last Green Valley. “This is the perfect way to spend the long weekend together, make memories that will last a lifetime and do it on a budget.”

Here’s a sampling of Walktober Events from Oct. 5-9:

Hopeville Pond State Park – Pitch Pine/Scrub Oak Sand Plain, Oct. 5, 9-11 a.m. Hopeville Pond State Park, Rte. 201, Griswold, CT. Join foresters from the Connecticut DEEP for a guided walk through the Pitch Pine – Scrub Oak Sand Plain of Hopeville Pond State Park.

Behind the Scenes at Otis Library, Oct. 5, 1-2 p.m. Otis Library, 261 Main St., Norwich, CT. 860-889-2365. You are invited to a private tour of Otis Library given by a knowledgeable staff member.

4th Annual BIG-little Apple Festival, Oct. 7, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Killingly Grange Hall, 801 Hartford Pike (Rte. 101), Killingly, CT. Park on corner of Rte. 101 & Dog Hill Rd. 860-705-3643. Enjoy all things fall harvest & APPLES once again at this popular annual event. Festivities include: an Apple Pancake Breakfast, live music, a “Salon De McIntosh” art show, reenactors, traditional crafts, primitives, children’s activities, chrysanthemums, apple pies, pumpkins, candy apples, cider & donuts, apple sauerkraut hot dogs and a basket raffle. Admission is free.

Black Tavern’s Annual Craft Fair, Oct. 7, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., The Black Tavern, 138 Center Rd., Dudley, MA. 508-943-8782. No admission fee for this great annual craft fair, but there will be a lot to tempt you, so be prepared. Pick up a unique gift as you visit The Black Tavern, listed on the National Register of Historic Places!

From Forest to Flooring, Oct. 7, 8-9:30 a.m., 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and 1-2:30 p.m., Hull Forest Products, Inc., 101 Hampton Rd., Pomfret, CT. 860-377-0117. You’ll have 3 chances to take this walking tour today! Learn how locally-grown trees are sustainably harvested and the fascinating process of turning logs into lumber for flooring, furniture, post & beam timbers, and railroad ties and pallets. This is an easy, interesting and very popular behind-the-scenes, 90-minute tour of a modern sawmill and lumber manufacturing facility.

Norwich Founders Day at the Leffingwell, Oct. 7, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., Leffingwell House Museum, 348 Washington St., Norwich, CT. 860-889-9440. Celebrate the Founding of Norwich in 1659 at the Leffingwell House Museum. During your tour of this historic museum, take part in a “Find the Founder” artifact/scavenger hunt and look for historic artifacts from the 35 Founding families. See the John Mason Sword. Hear the bells ring as the 35 family names are read, and listen to the Founders Day Proclamation from the City and State at noon. Light refreshments will be served. Living history presenters, “Crew of the Raven,” will be present. $5 fee.

UConn Horsebarn Hill and Animal Barns Walk, Oct 7, 1:30-3 p.m., 2618 Horsebarn Hill Rd., Storrs, CT. Voluntary registration suggested allowing email update in case of postponement due to weather at http://cag.uconn.edu/eForms/admin.form.php?fid=163. Join us for a walk around UConn’s Horsebarn Hill to enjoy views of the surrounding UConn Forest’s fall foliage, visit the animal barns and learn about what’s going on at the College of Agriculture, Health and Natural Resources.

Camp Laurel Back Trails Hike, Oct. 8, 9-11 a.m.; Camp Laurel, 175 Clubhouse Rd., Lebanon, CT. 800-922-2770. Come to Camp Laurel and enjoy this beautiful property as we hike the “Back Trails” of the camp.

Gray Ledge Tree Farm Leaf Hunt, Oct. 9, 10-11:30 a.m. and 2-3:30 p.m., Gray Ledge Tree Farm, 210 Lathrop Rd., Plainfield, CT. 860-564-8769. Visit Gray Ledge Tree Farm on your quest for fall foliage color. Find and identify hardwood tree species by their colorful fall leaves, using the “Plant Science 101” approach. Bring something to collect (and later preserve) your finds. Great for children.

Where the Buffalo Roam, Oct. 9, 10-11:30 a.m., Creamery Brook Bison, 19 Purvis Rd., Brooklyn, CT. 860-779-0837. Take a walk to see the bison and their handling facilities. Warm up after the walk with Wild Rice and Bison Soup. Remember to wear walking shoes that can get dirty.

The Last Green Valley National Heritage Corridor is the last stretch of dark night sky in the coastal sprawl between Boston and Washington, D.C.  The Last Green Valley, Inc. works for you in the National Heritage Corridor. Together we can care for it, enjoy it and pass it on! To learn more about the organization, visit thelastgreenvalley.org.