Trails, woods, and nature have inspired many a human soul throughout our history…and will continue to do so. In “Woods…lovely dark and deep” written by Frost, or in Emerson’s description of the universe as “composed of nature and the soul,” or in Thoreau’s “Walden” which embraces the simple living in natural surroundings, we are told of its magnificence. And although these words move us, there is nothing like a direct line to the source by immersing yourself in nature.
Deborah Lewis of can make this quite easy for you. My wife “Georgie Jet” and I recently did a day hike with Deborah and about ten of her fellow adventurers in Litchfield, CT. It was a day of exercise, food, wine, conversation, and contemplation – and all we had to do was show up with a small pack and some water. Having a guide made everything stress free. Deborah had our trail mapped out, our pre-ordered lunches packed, and local knowledge of the 4000 acre wildlife sanctuary in which we hiked. She also organized a mid-hike wine tasting at the Haight-Brown Vineyards where we were permitted to eat our packed box lunch of delicious sandwiches.
White Memorial Conservation Center
Our hike, which is sometimes billed as a snowshoe trail when conditions allow, was a relatively flat 1 ½ hour walk through the wooded trails of the , around Bantam Lake on a stretch of the one mile boardwalk that runs through the wildlife refuge, and up a short hill in historic Litchfield before stopping at the Haight-Brown Vineyard for lunch. Then, of course, tipsy or not, there is the 1 ½ hour return trip.
It was great having a small group to hike (and talk) with, and the time flew by. The preserve is Connecticut’s largest nature sanctuary, and is in both Litchfield and Bantam, CT. We were fortunate to have Deborah’s architect husband Lance along, who taught us about some notable architects (namely Marcel Breuer) whose houses still stand in all their glory in Litchfield, and were actually viewable right alongside our walk.
There is also the White Memorial Conservation Nature Museum on the grounds if you want to learn more about the wildlife (birds, beavers, foxes, bears, etc.), plant life, and geology. We saw a beautiful red-tailed hawk as we ended our hike that is so often seen that it has been named (was it Veronica?-something like that).
The Haight-Brown Vineyard has a cozy tasting room with a fireplace overlooking the rows of grape vines where gourmet cheeses, chocolates, and wines are served. They blend Connecticut grapes with others creating some unique quality wines. I liked their “Bubbly Blend” – a sparkling Chardonnay and Seyval Blanc as well as their German style Riesling. They went well with my box lunch of brie and prosciutto on a baguette-um um good!
Get Out and About
For those of you, like me, who sometimes need a little motivation, not to mention a knowledgeable and experienced outdoors person/planner/organizer, a trip with Deborah (check her impressive resume) and Bredeson Outdoor Adventures, could be right up your alley. Give up control and enjoy the ride. Be a passenger not the pilot for a change. I loved the day and it was so nice not having to figure out exactly where to go while letting mother goose lead us through natural Connecticut, with its brooks, lakes, wildlife, and plants. The sights, smells, sounds, and peace are a panacea for the mind, body, and soul. I look forward to doing a snowshoe hike here next year…..or maybe one of Bredeson’s other awesome trips. Where will it be?…Bavaria?…Italy’s Dolomites?…Maine’s coast?…The French or Spanish Pyrenees?…Vermont?…Switzerland?
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