Stroll through History & Culture on a Housatonic Heritage Walk
Housatonic Heritage Walks Highlight Berkshire Natural, Cultural and Historic Heritage
Rich with cultural heritage and fascinating history, explorations of western Massachusetts’ Berkshire region lend themselves to studies of the local flora and fauna, watersheds and river ecology, local and national history, and even great literature. A home to everything from prehistoric landforms to icons of the wealth of members of generations past, the Berkshire are a perfect place for adventurers of all ages to explore and learn about.
This year’s Housatonic Heritage Walks bring nearly sixty opportunities for families to engage in inter-generational community-based learning about science, history, culture, literature, and more. Held over the course of two weekends, the walks aren’t all technically walks. While most of the events in the series involve walking tours, exploratory hikes, or other activities that take place on foot, families can take part in canoe and bicycle trips as well!
On Saturday, September 20th, and Sunday, September 21st, exciting events begin at 9am and continue throughout the day – all over the Berkshires! Families can tour the historic Colonial Theater, paddle the Housatonic, walk with cows at a local farm, and learn about the plants of the Berkshire Botanical Garden. Each and every event highlights a different – and very important – part of the Berkshires’ cultural heritage, and teaches participants about the roots of the Berkshire communities that we know today.
Additionally, on Saturday, October 4th and Sunday, October 5th, similar events will be held. Some of the first weekends most exciting tours and expeditions will be offered a second time, while many one-time events will take place, too. Highlights of the second installment of the Housatonic Heritage Walks include a paper-making demonstration, examinations of local history through stained glass, an Appalachian Trail hike, and tours of antique apple orchards.
While some events require registration, special equipment, and possibly specific skills (biking and paddling, for example), they’re all free and designed to help community members of all ages and backgrounds learn about the place in which they live. It’s possible that background information may be helpful to children working to understand complex local history, the specifics of which rely on understanding of the greater context in which they took place. However, children who are genuinely interested in a topic being shared need not miss an event for fear of lacking background knowledge – the gaps can always be filled in later, and researching out of curiosity can help support the development of some important skills!
[Photo credit: (cc) MOTT]