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Step up to Walking WeekendS 2007; Events boast best features of region.

Byline: Bonnie Russell

Hear spilled secrets from the lips of a winemaker's wife, learn about a dangerous invasion, meet Edgar Allen Crow or peek into nature's medicine chest and give the mind a workout. All this - while exercising the body, too.

Area residents and visitors may choose from more than 92 themed walks in the 35 towns of the Quinebaug-Shetucket Heritage Corridor during the 17th annual Walking WeekendS, scheduled for Oct. 5-8 and 12-14. And while there are 92 different walks on the schedule, some are repeated - so there are actually 115 walking opportunities.

"The Wine Maker's Wife Tells All" will be presented at 11 a.m. Oct. 5 by Dick and Linda Auger, owners of Taylor Brooke Winery, Route 171 in Woodstock. Adults are welcome to take this easy one-hour walk through the vineyards and the production area and enjoy a tasting.

Mrs. Auger said she will tell the story of how they got into the winemaking business.

"It all started as a hobby that got out of hand," she said with a laugh.

Guests will learn about the wine-making process - including the difference between white and red grapes - and will tour the vineyard, Mrs. Auger said.

"We'll taste wines, get history, taste some more wines and go into the vineyard," she said.

"Invasion at Capen Hill" will be presented by naturalist Jerry Suprenant at 10 a.m. Oct. 6 at Capen Hill Nature Sanctuary, on Capen Road (off Route 20) in Charlton. Mr. Suprenant will lead a two-hour walk through woods and meadows, identifying plants and noting how a few invasive species are greatly affecting native vegetation, according to Barbara Frederick, director of the sanctuary.

Ms. Frederick said one of the invaders is the multiflora white rose. "Years ago they were planted there to keep the cattle in," she said.

Ms. Frederick said children ages 7 to 12 are invited to the "Edgar Allen Crow and Capen Hill" interactive talk and walk at 2 p.m. She said she will introduce the children to Edgar (Capen's Hill's crow) and other animals inside the building, adding that there will be an opportunity to pet the creatures. The children will also learn what a sanctuary is and why it is important, and then Ms. Frederick will lead a 1-1/2 hour nature walk over trails, around ponds and into meadows.

"This is a good chance for children to learn what we are all about," she said.

"Nature's Medicine Chest" will examine the range of medicinal plants and remedies used during the lifetime of Clara Barton (1821-1912). Participants will learn the history of medicine throughout the 19th century, including Clara Barton's role as a Civil War nurse and founder of the American Red Cross.

"The walk follows a path from Clara Barton's childhood home through the camp grounds of the Barton Center for Diabetes Education," said Cynthia Dias-Reid of the Clara Barton Birthplace Museum.

The walk begins at 2 p.m. Oct. 7 at the Clara Barton Birthplace Museum on Clara Barton Road, Oxford. After the free walk, guests are welcome to take a guided tour (for the price of admission) of the Birthplace Museum and make a scented potpourri.

As in past years some popular walks will be repeated and new ones introduced. The mission of introducing folks to the treasures of the region has remained unchanged, but the format of listing the walks is new this year, said Toni Briere of Quinebaug-Shetucket Heritage Corridor Inc.

Events are listed in a calendar instead of a brochure. The print was too small using the brochure style, Ms. Briere said. "We had to make it larger just to fit in all the days."

Walking WeekendS 2007 is sponsored by QSHC and The Savings Institute Bank Trust, and is supported by local businesses, towns and individuals. Calendars are available at area town halls, libraries, museums and information centers. A complete list of the walking tours and related information can be found on the corridor's Web site at www.thelastgreenvalley.org.

For more information about QSHC or the Walking WeekendS, call (866) 363-7226.

WALK SAMPLER

Oct. 6

9 a.m. French River Paddle Adults and children over age 8 meet at Green Brier Rec. Park off Route 12, Oxford and hike 1/2 mile to observe native flora and then take a 5-mile canoe trip. Disembark at Hodges Village Dam for transport back to vehicles and canoe retrieval. Participants must bring own canoes and wear own approved life vests.

Limit 12 canoes; to register, call (508) 987-0979.

9:30 a.m. Once Upon a Mill Wheel Tour See what's left of Old Hodges Village on this one-hour family walk. Park at Hodges Village Dam office, Howarth Road, Oxford.

10 a.m. Wild Westville Parents and children age 10 and older can explore wilds with park rangers on this one-hour trek. Take Exit 3 off I-84 to Route 20 west, turn onto Route 131 east (Main Street), then right on Wallace Road for a mile. Turn left down the hill; park outside gate.

1 p.m. Lake Chargoggagoggmanchauggagoggchaubunagungamaugg This two-hour walk meets at Memorial Beach Thompson Road, Webster, to explore the historic pony bridge, stump pond, old bulkhead, Memorial Beach and Veterans' Memorial. Discover the ecology and geology of the lake.

3 p.m. Mill Village Memories This two-hour adult stroll meets at Lions Bandstand directly off Riverside Drive Route 12 across from the town hall, Thompson.

Oct. 7

10 a.m. A Forest Legacy Adults and children over 6 can explore Cole Forest on this hilly two-hour walk led by the Southbridge Trails Committee. Meet at the Community Center (former Armory), Southbridge. Park in the Chestnut Street lot.

1 p.m. Homes and History of Thompson Hill Meet at the 1842 Old Town Hall, Chase Road, Thompson. Rain date Oct. 8.

Oct. 13

10 a.m. Promenade in the Park Moderate one-hour walk for adults through historic Roseland Park on Roseland Park Road, Woodstock.

10 a.m. An Uncommon Stroll Tour the Town Common in this easy two-hour stroll. Park behind building in Town Hall Parking lot on Maple Street, Sturbridge.

1 p.m. Proud Voices This 1-1/2 hour walk in historic graveyards meets at Black Tavern Museum across from Nichols College, Dudley.

Oct. 14

1 p.m. How Clean is the Water? Hands-on participation is encouraged on this 2-1/2 hour moderate walk along the Little River Greenway. Meet at Murphy Park, Putnam.

2 p.m. Historic Steerage Rock Woods This 1-1/2 hour hilly hike for adults and older children is hosted by Hull Forest Products on Brimfield property on Harnois Road.

ART: PHOTOS

CUTLINE: (1) WEBSTER - In inset photo, a family strolls along the isthmus connecting Memorial Beach with a small island in Webster Lake; and (2) children fish under the wary eye of a duck along the lake's shoreline. (3 STURBRIDGE - Walkers check out the Tantiusques mine on Leadmine Road during last year's event.

PHOTOG: T&G FILE PHOTOS
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Publication:Telegram & Gazette (Worcester, MA)
Date:Sep 30, 2007
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