This year marks the 20th anniversary ofWalktober, which was formerly known asWalkingWeekend. Each year, about 100 guided and self-guided tours are organized in the dozens of towns that make up the Quinebaug and Shetucket rivers valley National Heritage Corridor— the area that’s become popularly known as The Last Green Valley because of its large swaths of undeveloped lands.
Many of those tours take visitors through some of the former mill towns and mills that once thrived during the country’s Industrial Revolution, as well as through historic farms, buildings and villages.
The walks begin on Friday, Oct. 1, with “Dear Old Downtown Danielson,” the quaint village in Killingly that remains a commercially viable downtown made up of local businesses.
Walktober ends on Saturday, Oct. 30, with three separate tours, one in the Goodwin Forest in Chaplin, another at theWaldo House Museum in Scotland and a tour of the historic waterfront in downtown Norwich.
That final walk in Norwich, Walktober officials say, was one of the first tours to make up the itinerary of walks whenWalkingWeekend first launched in 1990. Local Historian Dale Plummer will lead the walk that will start along the mouth of the Shetucket River.
Other tours that will make up this year’sWalktober schedule include an Oct. 3 tour of the Robbins & Kennedy cemeteries in Voluntown to hear about the lives of some 39 CivilWar veterans buried there; a look at a centuries-old farm in Ashford on Oct. 2 that is being brought back to its original farmstead roots; a canoe tour of Mansfield Hollow and the Natchaug River on Oct. 3; and a children’s hike, on Oct. 8, on the inner trails of theWoods at Long Pond in Brimfield, Mass.
Walktober organizers recommend that those taking part in any of the tours dress in layers and wear comfortable shoes, bring insect repellant and be aware of the age-appropriateness of each walk. While dogs are welcome on some walks, organizers caution that only leashed dogs, and those that are friendly and vaccinated, are allowed.
The tours are conducted rain or shine, unless the guide determines that conditions are not safe or optimal for the tour.