Friends of Valley Falls board of directors has been planning for 2023. Much of the work revolves around the opening of the Heritage Center. Our year began with good news: we were awarded a $6,200 grant from CT Humanities! The grant will help to mount the final displays and exhibits, as we continue to try to create a new year of experiences and events to facilitate our Vernon community connection. “Preserving History and Nature at Valley Falls”
May 13 – Birdwalk, 8 am with Denise Animani, meet at the pavilion at Valley Falls Park.
May 27 (raindate May 28) – Wildflower Walk
June 3 – National Trails Day, Park and Farm Walk
June 10 – Grand Opening of the Heritage Center, CT Open House Day
September 10 – Artists’ Day
September 24 – Annual Meeting of The Friends of Valley Falls, Bev York presents “Rachel Carson”
September 30 – National Public Lands Day, Volunteer Appreciation
Please join us for the Annual Meeting of The Friends of Valley Falls on Sunday, September 25, at 1 PM, in the basement of the red barn at 300 Valley Falls Road. During a brief business meeting, annual reports will be distributed. Jean Luddy, Director of the Vernon Historical Society Museum, will tell us about her research into Vernon’s oldest and newest burial grounds, each has a story to tell. The Old Burial Ground, located on Bamforth Road has stones that reflect Puritan attitudes toward life and death and offers clues to the lives of our earliest residents. Valley Falls Cemetery–established in the late 20th century–serves a different type of community.
“The Friends of Valley Falls” began in 1972 as a small group of environmentally concerned Vernon residents determined to make an impact on the preservation of this beautiful place and its natural resources……50 years later, thanks to all of us, come and see what can happen! Refreshments, and time to chat, follow the meeting as always on a lovely fall day at Valley Falls.
Parking is available at the Park, 300 Valley Falls Road. Limited handicapped parking is available at the barn.
FRIENDS OF VALLEY FALLS will host an Open House and Farm Tours on the hour at 12, 1 and 2 PM in co-operation with the State of CT Open House Day (https://www.ctvisit.com/CTOpenHouseDay#section-185 ) annual celebration of Ct Museums and local attractions……Scenic Valley Falls Farm, soon to house the Heritage Center Museum, is an example of a “Gentleman’s Farm” from the early 20th century. It consists of an 1850’s farmhouse, a stable, piggery, woodshed, manure cellar, root cellar, and a 1911 barn, across Valley Falls Road–owned by the Town of Vernon.
Tours of the farm buildings (except the farmhouse, which is a private residence), complete with stories of the previous owners, and our interpretation of the “workings” of the buildings long ago, are always a fun way to spend time in a glorious, bucolic setting.
The Farm is located at 345 Valley Falls Road, Vernon. Parking is available at Valley Falls Park, just down the road. Limited handicap parking is available at the Barn.
Valley Falls Farm, 2016
Denise and fellow birders, 2022
We really enjoyed the “Birdwalk” with Denise Animani on Saturday, May 7….after two years of COVID avoidance, we were able to resume FVF’s popular “3-Walk Weekend” series this year! Birders got to the Park at 7:30AM on a freezing early May morning to see what migrating birds were passing through Valley Falls Park in the early spring. Denise Animani shared her wealth of information on bird migration patterns, bird songs, and bird-spotting once again. We saw, or heard: Birdwalk, 2022 (2)nearly 40 species of birds! A wonderful way to resume our series of walks at Valley Falls Park!
We are delighted to be able to continue our well attended series of spring walks that we call “3-Walk Weekend” beginning at 7:30 AM on May 7, 2022. We’ll meet at the pavilion in Valley Falls Park early enough to get a good glimpse of the wonderful selection of spring birds who frequent–or fly through–the park in the spring. Denise Animani will identify the birds, and spot them for those of us struggling to get the caps off our binoculars. Bring your binoculars, any bird apps (Merlin), your bird lists, and suitable shoes. Fun for everyone, moms too!
On Saturday afternoon, May 7 at 1 PM, Jon Roe will meet us also at the pavilion and take us on a “History” walk throughout Valley Falls Park. If you have wondered about the origins of this scenic beauty, it’s historic treasures, the “Braille Trail”, and lots more, join us and find out all the answers! Bring friends!
Our third walk will take place on Saturday, May 21, at 10 AM. We will meet with Nicholas Cranmer, a UConn grad student in the Department of Natural Resources and the Environment, at the pavilion in Valley Falls Park. He will lead our walk on the Park trails, pointing out tree identification details and notable trees found here. Bring family and tree ID questions!
As you are paging through your Jan/Feb, 2022 issue of Yankee Magazine? On page 8, you might recognize a familiar sight featured in the “Let it Snow!, standout shots from around New England.” It’s a photo submitted by photographer Giovanni Dumeng (@giotakesphotos) of the Valley Falls red barn! This one-page feature in each issue of YANKEE depicts six quintessential New England scenes. Using Yankee’s Instagram hashtag #mynewengland, anyone can send in a photo for a chance to be featured in an upcoming issue. Yankee selects photos to fit a common theme. This issue’s theme is “Let it Snow.” The photo shows our red barn dressed in snow, right after a storm. If you doubleclick on this photo, you may be able to get a glimpse of the manure shed down the road to the right……check it out!
“FRIENDS OF VALLEY FALLS” along with five other Vernon area non-profit organizations applied for and received a grant from Connecticut Humanities, (https://www.cthumanities.org) our State affiliate of The National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH). The funds are intended to support organizations that serve the community. Funds will enable organizations to resume or expand services curtailed by COVID-19 restrictions. Grants totaling $46,600, are a welcome relief to the six organizations: Friends of Valley Falls ($8,000), Arts Center East ($10,600), Strong Family Farm ($9,100), New England Civil War Museum ($5,500), Vernon Historical Society ($7,100), and The Vernon Corale ($6,300). Our thanks also to our local members of the CT General Assembly and Gov. Ned Lamont for their foresight in approving these truly needed funds! As this especially difficult year ends, we thank YOU for your continuing encouragement and support!
What could be better on a crisp fall afternoon than watching “Plein aire” artists at work? You might bring a blanket and picnic lunch…. afterward, stroll the Farm grounds while listening to the guitar-mandolin duo of Judy Handler and Mark Levesque. The artists will be painting at their chosen spots, in this most scenic Vernon venue. Free lemonade, provided by the Vernon Arts Commission. Tours of the historic farm buildings will be given on the hour by local historian, Jon Roe. A fun afternoon for you and your family, SUNDAY, October 10, 1-3 pm.!
Please park at the Valley Falls Park parking lot. You can take the trail up to the Red Barn from the parking area. A shuttle will be available if needed.
The ANNUAL MEETING of the Friends of Valley Falls will be held on Sunday, Sept 26, 2021, at 1 pm, at the Red Barn, 350 Valley Falls Road, Vernon. Join us on a perfect fall afternoon to hear committee reports of happenings in FY 2020-2021. We will hold Board Member elections and Ann will update us on the progress at the “Heritage Center.” The public is invited, guests are always welcome! Jon Roe, local historian will review his research on the Farm’s nefarious former owner, “Count” Hans von Munchow.
The Red Barn, 350 Valley Falls Rd, Vernon