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Autumn on Meetinghouse Hill.

Fall Activities In Vernon

After a relatively cool and wet Summer, Fall offers a variety of things to get you and your family out of the house to learn about and explore our town.

This September and October there are hikes that combine history and nature, learn about the real wildlife - bears and coyotes, and several opportunities to learn about our history and farming. Most of these will take you outdoors - the best place to be in Autumn in New England.

Most of the organizations sponsoring these events are members of the Vernon Volunteers' Collaborative. Learn more about VVC on their website. If you would like advanced notice of this type of event by email please join their MeetUp Group. You will also find upcoming events listed on the VVC website under the 'Events' tab. Some of the links below take you to MeetUp pages.

And this is not everything taking place in town in town. For example, on Saturday, September 16 the Rockville Community Alliance is holding its annual Rockville Fest. Rain date Sunday, September 17.

You can also visit our Tankerhoosen website and Facebook page.

Click on images for a larger view.

Jon Roe   

Meetinghouse Hill - Birthplace Of Vernon

SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 17, 2-3:30 p.m.: The Vernon Historical Society will host researcher JON ROE presenting an illustrated program on Meetinghouse Hill, a section of farm land along Hartford Turnpike which still contains the path that led up to the first church in Vernon.

Learn about the history and significance of the first meeting house, later uses of the property, and future plans to preserve this land as open space for passive recreation.

The program is free and open to the public. The Vernon Historical Society is located at 734 Hartford Turnpike in Vernon.

» Learn more.

Early Vernon Center Walk

SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 24, 1-3 p.m.: A three part walking tour of early Vernon Center, sponsored by the Vernon Historical Society, covers Old Meetinghouse Hill, the Elmwood Cemetery and the First Congregational Church.

A walk up Meetinghouse Hill led by JON ROE, follows the path taken by worshipers to the first church on the hill. At the top of the hill experience the spectacular view looking toward Hartford. Next we'll walk to nearby Elmwood Cemetery for a tour led by VHS Museum Director JEAN LUDDY. The walk concludes at Vernon Congregational Church where church historian LYNN SWEET will present a history of this church building, built in 1826 to replace the aging meeting house.

Those who attend the September 17 program will have the first opportunity to join the walking tour with space limited to 40 people. Interested people can contact the Society at (860) 875-4326 after the program to see if space is still available.

Rain date Sunday, October 8.

» Learn more.

Coyotes In Connecticut

SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 24, 1 p.m.: Join the Friends of Valley Falls for their Annual Meeting and a presentation by Wildlife Conservationist PAUL COLBURN who will present a program on the history of 'Coyotes in Connecticut,' an overview of the animal’s habitat, diet, behavior and reproduction. He will offer practical recommendations for coexistence with the coyote population of Vernon, and answer questions. He will also share coyote artifacts with the audience during this free program.

Colburn is a graduate of the Master Wildlife Conservationist Program at the State Department of Energy and Environmental Protection.

A short business meeting will precede the talk. Meet at Valley Falls Farm, 345 Valley Falls Road in Vernon.

» Learn more.

Civil War: The Ninth Corp at Antietam

SUNDAY, OCTOBER 1, 3 p.m.: The New England Civil War Museum (NECWM) hosts JOHN D. HOPTAK with a program on the Battle of Antietam. Antietam was fought on September 17, 1862, near Sharpsburg, Maryland and Antietam Creek as part of the Maryland Campaign. It was the first field army-level engagement in the Eastern Theater of the American Civil War to take place on Union soil and is the bloodiest single-day battle in American history with a combined tally of 22,717 dead, wounded, or missing.

JOHN HOPTAK is author of several books on the Civil War, a Gettysburg and Antietam national Park Ranger and licensed battle field guide.

The program will take place at the NECWM, 14 Park Place in Rockville.

» Learn more.

Riffle Bioassessment By Volunteers

SATURDAY, OCTOBER 14, 9-2: The Vernon Conservation Commission invites you to help evaluate the health of the Tankerhoosen River watershed as part of its annual Vernon Riffle Bioassessment by Volunteers (RBV).

No experience is necessary and training will be provided. Following the training session, teams of volunteers will visit several watershed streams searching for insects, worms and other small animals. Results will be submitted to the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, which will prepare a formal project report.

Meet at the Tolland County Agricultural Center, 24 Hyde Avenue, Vernon at 9 a.m. The program will be completed by 2 p.m. Refreshments will be provided. Volunteers should bring a water bottle and wear knee high boots or waders. To sign up, or for more information, contact Tom Ouellette at conservationcommission@vernon-ct.gov. Rain date Sunday, October 15.

» Learn more.

Talcottville/Talcott Ravine Walk

SATURDAY, OCTOBER 14, 1 p.m.: This is the fifth year of our popular History, Geology and Fall Foliage Walk - a loop hike beginning in Talcottville, passing through the Northern Connecticut Land Trust's Talcott Ravine and returning on the Hop River Rail Trail.

October is also Archeology Awareness Month, so we'll discuss the archeological survey at the Dobson West Mill site. The survey was done in 1980 prior to expanding I-84.

Speakers include geologist GARY ROBBINS from the University of Connecticut, GAIL FAHERTY from the Northern CT Land Trust, SUSAN BARLOW from the Manchester Land Trust and JON ROE, webmaster of The Tankerhoosen website.

Meet at the parking lot of the Talcottville Congregational Church at 10 Elm Hill Road in Talcottville. The two hour hike is just under three miles and a short section of the trail is steep and bumpy, so please wear sturdy sneakers or shoes. The hike is free and will be held rain or shine, but extreme weather cancels. We expect a large turnout and some of the trail is narrow, so please leave your dogs at home.

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Valley Falls Fall Foliage Hike

SATURDAY, OCTOBER 15, 9 a.m.: The Northern Connecticut Land Trust (NCLT) leads this Fall foliage hike along Railroad Brook gorge in Vernon.

Hike thru NCLT's Andrew Webster Knapp property to the Hop River Rail-Trail, then up to the ridge overlooking Valley Falls Park and Railroad Brook for some beautiful Autumn scenery.

This free hike is fairly challenging with up and down steep slopes. Meet at the Valley Falls parking lot off Valley Falls Road. Call KARL at (860) 649-4949 for further information.

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Black Bears In Connecticut

MONDAY, OCTOBER 16, 7 p.m.: Join the Vernon Garden Club for this presentation by PAUL COLBURN, Master Wildlife Conservationist, on 'Black Bears in Connecticut.'

The presentation focuses on the natural history of black bears in Connecticut, an overview of black bear habitat, diet, behavior, reproduction and current research efforts. It also provides practical recommendations for optimum coexistence with our black bear population. Black bear artifacts are shared with the audience.

The program is held at the First Congregational Church of Vernon, 695 Hartford Turnpike. Guests are always welcome.

» Learn more.

Strong Family Farm Harvest Festival

SATURDAY, OCTOBER 21, 10-2: The Strong Family Farm's annual festival will include children’s activities, pumpkin sales, pumpkin decorating, hourly tours of the farm, announcement of results of the farm’s 5th annual scarecrow contest, apple sales, hay bale mazes, pumpkin checkers, animals, vendors, music, and a farewell to the farm’s chickens (from its successful, summer adopt-a-chicken program). The chickens will become laying hens at another farm.

SPECIAL APPLE PIE BAKING CONTEST! Food will be offered for sale, including snacks, donuts and apple cider.

Limited parking for a donation of $2 in the farm field with entrance on Peterson Road is available. Parking is also available on side streets and at Center Road School with an opening in the corner fence by the training station.

» Learn more.

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