We spent last year following the Massachusetts Walking Tour day by day, since they had come to our back yard (almost literally). But this year the Walking Tour has been in the Connecticut River Valley–in the river itself, paddling down the river from Northfield to Longmeadow, and highlighting the opportunities to enjoy the river that are available along the Connecticut River Paddlers Trail. It’s a long ways from my home. Two hours by car, in fact. But my friend Jennifer, another fan of the Walking Tour, offered to drive us out for one of the concerts. And it really did take two hours of highway driving to get there.
We met up with the travelers (they still hike–their canoes were downhill from where the concert was) at the top of the mountain at Skinner State Park. The Summit House offers great 360 degree views of the surrounding countryside, including amazing views of the river below where we stood. Jennifer and I ate our picnic dinner outside, taking in the views, then headed into the Summit House for the concert.
Walking Tour concerts follow a set format;
the first hour includes several local musicians
who are afforded the opportunity to entertain the audience
prior to the Walking Tour’s troop of musicians who always offer their music the second hour of the show.
Each night’s concert varies because of the different musicians who perform each night.
There are always surprises, of course. We had heard about Kristen (aka “Bubbles”) and her ability to play her ukelele while hula hooping. But in person, well, pictures hardly do the experience justice. We can only say, you really need to see this for yourself.
The second hour is close to the same each night, as the Walking Tour offers the same tunes (usually) each night. But having watched them in action every night last year, I learned that even this repeating of the same songs offers a difference as the days go by.
Each night, their harmonies are a little tighter, and their voices sounds a little sweeter. For those of us who are able to participate in more than one show, we are able to join in on the choruses with a little more confidence each night as well.
After the concert, we said our goodbyes, took one last look into the distance, then headed back down the mountain.
We did not say goodbye, but rather, fare well. Last year we worked together for months prior to the tour, obtaining support letters, plotting out their travels, and contacting venues for their nightly concerts. Local friends pitched in with offers of their backyards for the traveling musicians to camp each night. And then there were all the other things that come up. And it all worked. Now we’re ready to do it again next year. Once the tour is over, we will soon be back to work, looking ahead to next year’s planned tour, which will come back east to the Ten Mile River Watershed, (tentatively Foxboro, Wrentham, Plainville, North Attleboro, Attleboro, and Seekonk),
putting to use all three of the Easy Walks book series, and celebrating the tenth anniversary of this one-of-a-kind event.
As of this writing, there is still time to join up with the Walking Tour as they finish their trek along the Connecticut River. Otherwise, make sure to leave time in 2019 in mid-June. They’ll be back, and we’ll be celebrating with them. Happy Trails!
Marjorie Turner Hollman is a personal historian who loves the outdoors, and has completed three guides to Easy Walking trails in Massachusetts, “Easy Walks in Massachusetts 2nd edition,” “More Easy Walks in Massachusetts,” and edited “Easy Walks and Paddles in the Ten Mile River Watershed.” A native Floridian, she came north for college and snow! Marjorie is a Certified Legacy Planner with LegacyStories.org, and is the producer of numerous veterans interviews for the Bellingham/Mendon Veteran’s History Project. http://www.marjorieturner.com