A Walk in the Woods

By Elle O’Casey

This year marks the 9th annual Trek to Taste event. On Saturday, June 3, Woodstock will join communities and parks across the country to celebrate National Trails Day during Trek to Taste. This free event is community co-generated with collaboration by more than 30 area organizations. It takes place on the trails of Marsh Billings Rockefeller National Historical Park and Woodstock’s town parks. Trek to Taste combines healthy activities, farm fresh food, music, the arts, and local history for a day-long celebration.

Trek to Taste starts at 10:00am and goes until 3:00pm. Activities include guided walks, hikes on your own, tastes of local food, educational displays, activities for children, live music, and much more.

Trek to Taste, 2016

Trek to Taste, 2016

Start your ‘trek’ by parking at Billings Farm and Museum. Walk across the street to Marsh Billings Rockefeller National Historical Park and head toward the Forest Center. There, you’ll be able to enjoy displays and tastes prepared by Upper Valley students who have been studying local food and farms. If you would like to explore the park on your own, grab a map and venture out on any of these three options, stopping along the way to sample delicious, healthy foods from local producers:

  • Walk to the Pony Pasture 1 mile — EASY! This family-focused walk features art activities with ArtisTree, a display by VINS and dairy treats with Billings Farm & Museum, and other special snacks.
  • Hike to the Nordic Ski Cabin 2 miles — MODERATE! Follow the historic Mount Tom carriage roads through the heart of the national park to the Youth Base for Trek to Taste. Join the Woodstock Union Middle/High School students local farm treats, fun, and merriment.
  • Trek to South Peak 4.5 miles — HEARTY! It’s the best view around! At the top, you will be rewarded with gourmet tastings of local foods provided by members of Sustainable Woodstock.

There are a number of guided hikes are offered at 10:30 and 12:00, all starting from the Forest Center. Stop by the big tent to pick up your map or sign up for a guided hike.

Whether or not you get out on the trails, don’t miss wonderful music by Vermont Fiddle Orchestra from 12:00pm to 3:00pm at the Forest Center. After a walk in the woods, return to the Forest Center for an ice cream social from 1:00-3:00pm. At 2pm, the Annette C. Compton Fiertz Trail Stewardship award will be presented to an individual or organization nominated for their dedication and efforts in trail stewardship in Woodstock.

Trek to Taste is a splendid example of collaboration by community organizations. Along with Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller NHP’s own program of activities, thirty different groups, from ArtisTree Community Arts Center to the Upper Valley Farm to School Network, from the Woodstock Trails Partnership to the Billings Park Commission, participate in this festive occasion. Many of them will show exhibits about their work. This is a great opportunity for area residents to learn about the many interesting and important projects that contribute to the Woodstock area’s viability and vitality. The exhibits also represent an invitation to get involved in these projects: consider volunteering your time and energy to an organization that appeals to your own interests.

One thing that Trek to Taste demonstrates is how fortunate we are to have this national park—the only one in Vermont—in our town. Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller is a unique educational resource, offering activities, exhibits and a library exploring the Woodstock roots of the American conservation movement as well as teaching about forest ecology and management. The Park takes its educational mission seriously and offers numerous programs and tours that aren’t just for tourists. Anyone who lives here, for example, should find the program on Woodstock’s Civil War heritage fascinating. Besides, the Park’s carefully preserved woods and trails are simply beautiful.

Trek to Taste is free and open to all. It’s a great way to get to know the trails of Woodstock, Vermont’s national park.

For more information on the event, partner organizations, schedule for the day and trail map, go to trektotaste.info or call (802) 457-3368 ext. 22.

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