Litchfield, CT --
Contact: Janet L. Serra
For Immediate Release
On the verge of becoming the nation's newest designated Heritage Area, the Upper Housatonic River Valley in western Connecticut and Massachusetts is celebrating the beauty and heritage of the region with River Summer, 2006. In the Litchfield Hills, which comprise the Connecticut portion of the area, guided walks in August and special events in September offer the chance to explore the region's outstanding history and scenery.
A major part of that history is early America's finest iron making industry which supplied cannons and supplies for the Continental Army in the nation's fight for independence, and iron for the wheels of trains that opened up the western United States. That era will be the focus of the ninth annual Blackberry River Iron Heritage Walk on Saturday, August 19 with informative talks to bring the past alive and tours of actual structures.
The highlight is the Beckley Iron Furnace, which produced iron from 1847 until 1919. The highly regarded iron from Beckley was used for weapons, tools, and structures as well as train wheels. Beginning at 9:30 a.m. at the East Canaan Congregational Church, participants will walk down historic Lower Road to the 1869 Beckley Furnace Educational Center and the Furnace itself, and on to the site of two other furnaces, which now are part of a vineyard for the Land of Nod Winery.
BACK TO NATURE
The natural beauty and nature of the area will be the focus of two earlier events. A nature hike in Black Rock State Park in Watertown on August 5 will take in two looped sections of the park, including a climb to Black Rock and a walk along the steep wooded ledges covered with pine, hemlock and oak that are the lovely setting for Black Rock Pond. Hikers are advised to meet in the park's main parking lot at 9:30 a.m. and to bring water and a snack.
The 39th annual Audubon Festival at the Audubon Center in Sharon August 12th and 13th will feature nature walks for all ages and abilities. One of the longest running events of its kind, the festival will feature birding skills and the chance to learn a bit of botany with experienced naturalists leading small groups. Music food, exhibitors, animal programs, and entertainers round out the days.
September events will celebrate the bounty and variety of this rich area. A Grape Stomp at DiGrazia Vineyards in Brookfield and a Corn Maze at White Hollow Farm will salute the agricultural heritage, as will the Connecticut Antique Machinery Association Annual Fall Festival in Kent September 23 and 24, exhibiting the steam-powered machines that aided early farmers.
Open Garden Days at the Promisek/Beatrix Farrand Garden in Bridgewater on September 25 is the chance to see the fine garden designed by Farrand, one of the founders of the American Society of Landscape Architects. The 56th Antiques in a Cow Pasture Antiques Market in Salisbury on September 9th shows off another facet, the long history that means prize antiquing in the region. Finally, the Oktoberfest at Old Heidlebeg Restaurant in Bethel September 22-24 is just for fun, with an oompah band and lots of bratwurst and beer from Munich on the menu.
To Celebrate Art, Culture and Nature in Litchfield Hills, and to receive your Free River Summer 2006 Brochure and an Attractions and Lodging Map call 800-663-1273 or contact the Northwest Connecticut Convention and Visitors Bureau, PO Box 968, Litchfield, CT 06759, (800) 663-1273, or check the Internet at www.litchfieldhills.com. .