Housatonic Heritage walks
September 9 @ 9:30 am - 4:30 pm
Housatonic Heritage explores the past, present and future in the Berkshires, in open spaces and downtowns, at historic sites and along trails. Walks set out from many places between Pittsfield and Northwest Connecticut, weaving together many times and places, people and lived experiences, and all of them are free. They will continue on Sunday and on weekends through September.
Walking tour of Historic Lee — 9:30 to 11:30 a.m.
Tracie Etheredge from the Lee Historical Society will lead a walking tour of Main Street, including learning about the important buildings, people and historical events that occurred in town. Meet at the town picnic gazebo next to the post office on Frank Consolati Way. (The walk will run about 2 hours and 1.5 miles — to save your space, write to email@example.com)
Tours of the Beckley Blast Furnace in East Canaan, Conn. — from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Learn about the historic iron industry of the Upper Housatonic Valley, by the Friends of Beckley Furnace. Built in 1847, the furnace produced high quality iron until 1918, and is one of the last surviving examples of the 19th and early 20th century blast furnaces that were once commonplace CT sights, and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. There were 21 furnaces in northwestern CT, as rich veins of iron ore were discovered in the hills near the town of Salisbury. During the American Revolution, CT-forged iron helped fuel the manufacture of American weaponry, most notably the cannons used by the Continental Army, Union weapons for the Civil War, and railroad car wheels. Tour begins when you arrive and will run about and hour and 0.4 mile. 140 Lower Road, East Canaan, just off US Routes 44 and 7)
Hike the cliff loop trail to the Chinkapin Oak in Mary Moore Preserve Sharon, Conn. — 10 a.m. to noon
One of the most popular properties of the Sharon Land Trust, the Mary Moore Preserve sits on the southwestern reach of the Red Mountain range. Maria Grace will lead a moderate walk through farm fields, forests and boulder fields. The short climb to the lookout offers a view that encompasses three states (and benches so you can take a rest). The loop around the cliff trail from the parking area passes by dramatic, moss-covered boulder fields and the State Champion Chinkapin Oak. The walk will run about 2 hours and 2.5 miles — to save your space, write to firstname.lastname@example.org. Meet at the parking area at 24 Williams Road in Sharon)
Forest ecology at Bidwell House — 10 a.m. to noon
Explore the woodland trails of the Bidwell House Museum with forester Tom Ryan, from the Mass. Dept. of Conservation and Recreation. Participants are encouraged to ask questions and will learn about tree and plant identification, carbon sequestration, climate and wildlife habitat adaptive forestry. The walk does not include a tour of the museum interior, which, for a fee, can be arranged after the free Heritage Walk. The walk will run about 2 miles — to save your space, write to email@example.com. From Monterey center, take Tyringham Road to Art School Road.
Charles Finney Homestead and Cunningham Nature Preserve in Warren, Conn. — 10 to 11:30 a.m.
The Warren Land Trust and Warren Historical Society will lead a family-friendly walk in the woods on the WLT’s new Cunningham Nature Preserve. On this walk over flat but uneven terrain (sturdy footwear recommended) you can explore the natural and historical highlights of this significant property, which includes the birthplace of Charles Finney, famous in his day as the father of American revivalism and president of Oberlin College. The walk will run about 1.5 hours and 2 miles — to save your space, write to firstname.lastname@example.org
From the intersection of routes 45 and 341 in Warren, continue a half-mile mile on Route 341 West. Turn left onto Reed Road, continue .6 mile and turn left onto Cunningham Road, and continue to the end of paved road.
Shaker Muntain Hike — 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Hike the Shaker Trail across Route 20 from Hancock Shaker Village to the HSV North Family Site and to Mount Sinai, a spiritual “feast ground” for the Shaker community.
Led by Bill Bernbeck and Rick Ryer, the hike will include stops at remains of mill sites, the North Family dwelling site (active from 1821-1867), and the summit of the mountain, where the Shakers held special celebratory services twice a year in the mid-19th century. This is a moderate to strenuous hike, and the walk does not include general admission to the Village. For a fee, admission to the Village can be arranged after the free Heritage Walk. The walk will run about 3 hours and 2.5 miles — to save your space, write to email@example.com
The Stockbridge-Munsee in Stockbridge — A walking tour with OLLI
Stockbridge was founded in 1737 as a mission and unique partnership with the Mohican nation. The Mohican community held their own township within the Commonwealth. They learned English from European incomers, and the Mohicans remained self-governing. The Stockbridge-Munsee community have worked with Housatonic Heritage and other local partners to create a tour of the most important Mohican sites along Stockbridge’s main street.
Osher Lifelong Learning Institute member Michael Forbes Wilcox will lead a walking tour along Main Street to learn about the Mohicans who lived here for centuries and in Stockbridge in these 50 years and are still present today. Stops include the Carriage Barn at the Mission House, the burial ground and the site of the 2021 archeological dig for the Mohican meeting house. This walking tour has been developed by the Stockbridge-Munsee Community, highlighting the years in which they lived in Stockbridge. Presented in partnership with Housatonic Heritage Area. The walk will run about 1.5 hours and 1 mile — to save your space, visit https://berkshireolli.org/event-5366255
Tour the Ellen Battell Stoeckel Estate in Norfolk, Conn. — 1 to 3 p.m.
Barry Webber of the Norfolk Historical Society leads a guided tour of the unique and historic Ellen Battell Stoeckel Estate, which is the summer home of Yale University’s School of Art and School of Music, and several of the historic buildings have recently been renovated. The tour will include an overview of the family’s history, a timeline of the development of the estate buildings, and how it is used today. Walking is on paved surfaces but includes hills. The walk will run about 2 hours on .25 mile — to save your space, write to firstname.lastname@example.org
The tour will start at the Norfolk Historical Society, 13 Village Green, to view the exhibition “Shedding Light: Two Hundred Years of Art & Music in Norfolk”
Walking with Both Eyes Open in Washington, Conn. — 1 to 2 p.m.
Etuaptmumk is a Mi’kmaw saying that translates to “Two-Eyed Seeing.” As attributed to Mi’kmaw Elder Albert Marshall, this concept refers to learning from one eye the strengths of Indigenous knowledge, and from the other eye the strengths of “Western” scientific knowledge. The Institute for American Indian Studies staff offer a guided walk along our museum trails and learn about scientific and Indigenous understandings of local animal and plant life as you become more familiar with this idea.
End at our replicated 16th Century Algonkian Village for a discussion with one of our Indigenous educators about lessons that can be learned from their traditional understandings of the environment. NOTE–Does not include a tour of the museum interior. An inside tour, for a fee, can be arranged before or after the free Heritage Walk. The walk will run about 1 hour and 1 mile — to save your space, write to email@example.com
Drive on Route 67 North through Roxbury and turn right onto Route 199. Follow Rt 199 North for 2 miles to Curtis Road on left and drive to the end. Or From North Western Conn., take Rt 7 South to New Milford and Route 67. Follow Route 67 South to Roxbury and turn left onto Route 199. Follow Route 199 North for 2 miles to Curtis Road on the left and drive to the end.
The weather prophet of Beartown, Levi Beebe — 2 to 4:30 p.m.
Beartown State Forest is a ghost town. Throughout the 1800’s Beartown was a vibrant agricultural community, now only mere traces remain. It was also home to Levi Beebe, a locally renown folk weatherman, who famously predicted the incredible Blizzard of 1888–his proficiency being due to his careful study of the clouds and air currents from his lofty home. Join Alec Gillman of the Mass. Dept. of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) to discover more about the life and times of this curious celebrity, where he lived, and how he predicted the weather from this seemingly remote place. Some areas may be wet. Attendance and parking is limited.
The walk will run about 2.5 hours and 1.6 miles, with the option for a longer 3.8-mile hike loop to additional cultural sites, and will set out rain or shine — to save your space, write to firstname.lastname@example.org. Take Beartown Mountain Road/Benedict Pond Road to access from state forest main entrance, 69 Blue Hill Road, Monterey, Mass., and follow Benedict Pond Road for 4.6 miles to trailhead. Parking is roadside.
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