2024, ANNUAL “Spring Walks”

FRIENDS OF VALLEY FALLS are excited to bring you our yearly “Spring Walk” series once again.  PLEASE JOIN US!  All walks meet at the pavilion at Valley Falls Park, 300 Valley Falls Road, Vernon, CT 06066.  They are free of charge, leisurely and always informative and fun!


SUNDAY, May 5, at 8:00 am, Denise Animani will lead us through the various trails at the Park to view and identify the native and migrating birds that frequent the Park trails in springtime.  Bring your binoculars and bird apps (MERLIN is very popular) for an exciting view of the field, forest and migrating birds to be found here in spring.  The walk lasts about 1 1/2 hours.  Fingers crossed for good weather, if pouring rain we will cancel the walk on FaceBook by 7 am.

May 13, 2023

SUNDAY, May 19, 10-11 am WILDFLOWER WALK, led by Carol Hatch.  Who would guess the plethora of early spring wildflowers along the Park trails in early spring?  Carol is so familiar with where to find the hidden beauties along the trails at Valley Falls!  Wild orchids, who knew?  In case of pouring rain, we will post on Facebook by 9 am.

SUNDAY, May 19, 1-2 pm ROCKS, RAILS and INDUSTRY, led by Don Sierakowski.  Don will walk us through the history of the area with a focus on the history of the place and the importance of the introduction of the railroad industry to Vernon in the mid 19th century. In case of pouring rain, we will post to cancel on Facebook by noon.

May, 2018


Artists’ Day, September 10, 2023  postponed until Oct 1, 2023

Artists of all ages and skill levels are invited to bring their paints and easels to ARTISTS’ DAY at Valley Falls Farm, 345 Valley falls Road, Vernon, CT 06066, on  September 10.  Sunday, October 1, 2023.  Artists can come in the morning and choose a spot to set up, somewhere on the scenic grounds of the Farm to paint in “Plein Aire.”  Visitors are invited to come from 12-3 pm to watch the artists paint, enjoy the vistas and music provided by the group “Oh, Brother,” and perhaps purchase a painting by one of our talented local artists.  Dorothy Hall will speak in the Stable at 2 pm on “AI in the Art Community.”  The Heritage Center will be open as well.  Come with your family and friends and spend a lovely fall afternoon at Valley Falls Farm and Heritage Center.  Check in at the Red Barn basement for info.  Admission is free!

Parking is limited for artists at the barn lot.  Public Parking is available at Valley Falls Park, just a short path away from the action at the Farm and the Red Barn.

Grand Opening of the Heritage Center–June 2023

It has been a dream of Board Members and lots of current members over the years to open a museum quality exhibit to the public telling the story of Valley Falls, and the history of what we’re trying to preserve on these 8 acres.  Finally, in June of 2023, Vernon Mayor Daniel Champagne joined with FVF members to celebrate the completion and opening of the new Heritage Center, located at 345 Valley Falls Rd in Vernon.

The museum is now open on Sunday afternoons in June, July and August, from 1-4 PM.  The 8-acre property features a circa 1911 stable, dairy barn, root cellar, piggery, ice house and manure shed.  The buildings are complete with information panels and articles found within that tell the story of the previous owners, the tools they used, and the contributions they made while working and playing at Valley Falls.

We hope you are able to spend some time on a Sunday afternoon with family and friends to take a look at the history being preserved here!  Parking is available at the Barn.  Begin your tour in the basement of the barn at our welcome table.  Pick up a “Walking Tour Guide” and follow the map to enjoy all the buildings and their displays. End your tour back at the street level of the barn. 

Calendar, 2023

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 28 – Wildflower Walk, 10 am with Carol Hatch, meet at the pavilion at Valley Falls Park.
June 3 – Tree Walk  10 am led by Nicholas Cranmer, meet at the pavilion at Valley Falls Park.  National Trails Day

June 10 – Grand Opening of the Heritage Center, CT Open House Day, 12-4 pm

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

Annual Meeting, September 25, 2022

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.


Join Us, Saturday, June 11, 12-3 PM

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

Wonderful Birdwalk, 05/07/2022

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!

3-Walk Weekend, May 7 and 21, 2022

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!