Exploring The Last Green Valley – Walktober 2021
Wednesday at 3:20 p.m. marks the Autumnal Equinox, the official end of summer and the start of the seasonal change towards winter. For some, autumn is their favorite time of year with cool sweater weather and the colors of fall leaves changing from shades of green to bright red, brilliant yellow, deep orange and light tan to tawny browns. For others, autumn represents the dreadful start of the cold seasons with frost and snow on the forecast and shorter days of sunlight. I find something beautiful and enjoyable in each season and all months, but for us at The Last Green Valley, autumn means one thing – Walktober is here!
This year marks the 31st Annual Walktober in The Last Green Valley National Heritage Corridor. There are more than 180 unique opportunities to explore and experience the wonders of our region – the very things that make this region such a wonderful place to live and visit. We invite you to discover our region’s history, farm fresh foods and the natural beauty of October in The Last Green Valley.
Walktober would not be possible without the 120 partner organizations, members and volunteers who have created these experiences and adventures just for you. They are the heart and soul of Walktober and are eager to share their walks, hikes, paddles, and programs with you, your family and friends.
A season full of Walktober kicked off on Saturday with a sunrise hike in Scotland led by TLGV’s Kyle Gregoire and concludes on October 31st with a sunset hike I am leading at Wyndham Land Trust’s Bull Hill in Woodstock and Thompson. In between are six weeks of opportunities to get out and explore the many cultural and natural resources that make our region special.
During the first two weeks of Walktober there are several walks that caught my eye and I hope my schedule allows me to participate in many adventures throughout all of Walktober. Many of the weekends I am busy with walks of my own or at events with the TLGV Ranger Van and Information Booth, but here is a quick sample of a few you might also find interesting.
It has been to long since I had the chance to visit the Palmer Arboretum in Woodstock (Walktober #174) and there are three opportunities to visit during Walktober with tours of the arboretum on Wednesday, Oct. 6 and Oct. 16. The family-friendly tours of the two-acre arboretum begin at 10 a.m. and focus on the history and uses of the trees planted there with some of the plantings made more than 100 years ago.
Sept. 25th is packed with lots of interesting Walktober adventures. Franklin hosts a hike through history to the 9-mile marker at 10 am. In Griswold starting at 10 am, Bob Panko of the Friends of Pachaug Forest is leading a hike and talk on the Forest’s Ecosystem. Bob has offered several programs at Pachaug over the years and his walks are always informative. Norwich’s Healthy Living Festival (Walktober #52) and the Lebanon Historical Society’s Antique Show (Walktober #44) are two events you might like to attend. For those of you with children you will find plenty of options as well. Join me at 10 am for our Acorn Adventure all about beavers at West Thompson Dam (Walktober #48), then at 2 pm enjoy Discover a Spring House at Blue Slope Country Museum (Walktober #42). I always enjoy my visits to the museum and visiting the reconstructed old spring house is a great way to learn more about the ingenuity of our region’s farm families.
Sept. 26 is also packed with interesting events. You can spend the whole day with the Friends of Sturbridge Trails starting with a sunrise hike at 6:30 am (Walktober #43). In Plainfield Gray Ledge Tree Farm and Boy Scout Troop 73 from Lisbon host American Flag Walk (Walktober #54) in Plainfield offered at 10 am and 1 pm, tracing the history of the American flag. If you’re interested in our forest and trees, you might be interested in Trees and Flowers in Fall at the Stephen and June Skorupski Woodland in Monson, MA (Walktober #55). The property is owned by the town and Opacum Land Trust. The hike begins at 1 pm.
Walktober is here, and the list above is just a sampling of the next two weeks of September! It kicks into high gear during the month of October, and I’ll be sharing some highlights in in the weeks ahead.
The 2021 Walktober Guide is available and can usually be found in your local library, town hall, and other tourism information locations throughout the region. You can also contact TLGV at 860-774-3300, or firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll mail one to you. Better yet, check out the full Walktober Guide, as well as additional walks and experiences that were added after the print guide was published by going to the TLGV website at https://thelastgreenvalley.org/ and click on the Walktober tab to download the full guide. That is also where we will post any changes and new information.
There is no better way to experience our region than during TLGV’s premier event – Walktober. We live in a beautiful place called The Last Green Valley National Heritage Corridor. I hope you’ll join us during Walktober and discover again how we can care for it, enjoy it, and pass it on.
Bill Reid is the chief ranger of The Last Green Valley National Heritage Corridor. He can be reached at email@example.com.
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