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Out & About: ‘Trails + Trucks’ introduces people to River Park

  • People sit at picnic tables last Sunday at River Park in West Lebanon during the Trails + Trucks event. (Valley News — Liz Sauchelli)

Valley News Staff Writer
Published: 8/12/2020 9:56:00 PM
Modified: 8/14/2020 1:25:12 PM

I admit, what brought my boyfriend and me to River Park last Sunday for the “Trails + Trucks” event were the food trucks.

But after walking around the park off Route 10 in West Lebanon along the Connecticut River, it’s clear something special is being built there.

“Our plan is — with consultation from the community — is to develop that parcel into a multirecreational space while still maintaining the character of the waterfront,” said Duff Cummings, a member of the Friends of River Park nonprofit organization. “The Trucks + Trails event is our way of launching the concept and ... (promoting) community awareness throughout the Upper Valley.”

Each Sunday in August from 11 a.m.-5 p.m., people can get a meal from various food trucks, grab a space at a picnic table or meander around the trails in the park. There’s a hiking loop into a meadow and another that goes along the river. Signs dot the property warning people of poison ivy. Last Sunday, my boyfriend and I ate while listening to a bluegrass band play. The food trucks are set up in an open space, so if you go be sure to bring something to protect you from the sun. (I regretted leaving my straw hat at home.)

Face masks and social distancing is required.

The 6-acre parcel is part of the larger River Park project, which is being developed by Lyme Properties. The company bought the site in 2007 with plans for a mixed-use development including retail, office and biomedical space, along with an apartment building and single-family homes. Construction on the first building was set to begin in April, but COVID-19 delayed those plans, said Chet Clem, president of Lyme Properties.

“We decided that COVID was actually the right opportunity for us to start with the rough draft of the public access and trail system,” Clem said. “We’re big fans of the let’s-do-something-now approach and continue to improve upon it instead of continuing to study it and talk about just the idea. We took the version 1.0 approach.”

More than 200 people attended Trails + Trucks the first weekend it was held, according to organizers.

After Lyme Properties bought the land, they asked community members what they’d like to see there for recreation.

“What came out of that was an overwhelming desire to have access to the river,” Cummings said, adding that the nonprofit has been talking about putting in a boat launch, a fishing dock and possibly a swimming area.

They are also in talks about getting easements on the surrounding properties to connect River Park to the Mascoma Greenway and the trails at nearby Boston Lot.

“We really wanted to just show people what an incredible opportunity exists there both for access at River Park and of equal importance ... the opportunity for us for this to be part of the larger puzzle of regional recreation connectivity,” Clem said.

For more information, visit friendsofriverpark.org/trailsandtrucks.

Here’s a look at other events that are coming up in the next few days.


■Author David Macaulay, will discuss his latest book, Mammoth Science: The Big Ideas That Explain Our World, at 7 p.m. on Zoom during an event hosted by the Norwich Bookstore. Email virtual@norwichbookstore.com for link.

■The Blake Memorial Library in East Corinth (676 Village Road) will host an outdoor screening of The Little Rascals at 8:30 p.m. Bring blankets and chairs. blakememorial.org.


■Dartmouth’s Hood Museum of Art is hosting a “Virtual Mindfulness in the Museum” program from 12:30-1 p.m. Register at hoodmuseum.dartmouth.edu.

■Bring lawn chairs and blankets and watch Toy Story 4 at 6:30 p.m. at Lyman Point Park (167 Maple St.) in White River Junction. Social distancing guidelines available at hartford-vt.org.

■Carleigh Nesbit will perform from 7-7:30 p.m. as part of Fairlee Community Arts COVID Concert Series. Find info at fairleearts.org.

■The Vermont Symphony Orchestra’s Jukebox Quartet will perform from 5:30-7:30 p.m. on the back lawn of the North Universalist Chapel Society (7 Church St.) as part of the Music by the River concert series co-sponsored by Pentangle Arts. Advanced registration required by emailing director@pentanglearts.org.


■Head over to Blow-Me-Down Grange in Plainfield (1107 Route 12A) from 9 a.m.-1 p.m. for a socially distanced dessert social. Strawberry shortcake, blueberry special and baklava will be available for $5. Wear masks and practice social distancing. Facebook: “Blow Me Down Grange Hall & The Attic Antique Shoppe.”

■Thetford’s annual town-wide yard sale takes place from 9 a.m.-2 p.m. There will be multiple sellers at the Thetford Center Community Building (3923 Route 113) and others at private residences. Masks and social distancing requested. Facebook: “Thetford Town-Wide Yard Sale!”

■Join genealogist Scott Andrew Bartley for a “Find a Grave” program from 2-3 p.m. at Pine Grove Cemetery in North Springfield, Vt. Bartley will discuss cemetery stone preservation and demonstrate how to properly clean a gravestone. Sponsored by the Springfield Art and Historical Society. Masks required. springfieldartandhistorical.org.

■MaryAnn McGarry, Endowed Abbott Professor of Environmental Studies in the environment science and policy program at Plymouth State University will lead a walk about Forest Bathing from 5:30-7:30 p.m. at Acres of New Hampshire Organic Farm & Educational Homestead in Dorchester (218 Streeter Woods Road). Register by contacting D Acres via dacres.org or Facebook: “Forest Bathing with MaryAnn McGarry.” $10 donation requested.

■Folk trio Trifolium are set to perform an outdoor show at 7:30 p.m. at Farr’s Hill in Randolph (24 Elm St.) in a show sponsored by the Chandler Center for the Arts, which will also be livestreamed. Tickets cost $10. Social distancing and masks required. chandler-arts.org.


■New London Barn Playhouse alumni will perform at 7 p.m. during a livestreamed show titled “Barnies Shine On.” The performance will be available to watch through the week after it premieres via nlbarn.org. It’s free to watch the event, but the nonprofit organization is requesting donations.

Farmers markets

Woodstock: Wednesday, 3-6 p.m., Woodstock Green, Route 4. Masks encouraged. woodstockvt.com.

Lebanon: 3-7 p.m., Thursdays, Colburn Park, 51 N. Park St. Masks required. lebanonfarmersmarket.org.

Royalton: 3-6 p.m., Thursdays, Town Green, South Windsor Street, South Royalton. Facebook: “Royalton Farmers Market.”

Chelsea: 3-6 p.m., Fridays, North Common, Route 110 and Route 113. Masks encouraged. chelseafarmersmarket.org.

Hartland: 4-7 p.m., Fridays, Hartland Public Library, 153 Route 5. Order online Monday-Wednesday and pick up Friday. Masks required. hartlandfarmersmarket.com.

Newport: 3-6 p.m., Fridays, Town Common, North Main Street. Masks encouraged. Facebook: “Newport Farmers Market.”

Norwich: 9 a.m.-1 p.m., Saturdays, 281 Route 5. Masks encouraged. norwichfarmersmarket.org.

Randolph: 9 a.m.-1 p.m., Saturdays, 44 S. Main St. Masks required. randfarmmarket@yahoo.com.

Canaan: 10 a.m.-2 p.m., Sundays, Town Common, Route 4/Route 118. Masks encouraged. Facebook: “Canaan Farmers and Artisans’ Market.”


American Precision Museum: Open daily, 10 a.m.-5 p.m., 196 Main St., Windsor. $5-$10, $20 for family, children 6 and under free. Masks required. americanprecision.org.

Bradford (Vt.) Historical Society Museum: Fridays, 10 a.m.-noon, Third floor of the Bradford Academy Building at 172 N. Main St. New exhibit: “What’s Cooking, Washing and Sewing?” Masks requested. 802-222-4423, 802-222-9621, lccoffin@charter.net.

Billings Farm & Museum: Open Thursday-Monday, 10 a.m.-4 p.m., 69 Old River Road, Woodstock. $4-$16, children 2 and under free. Masks required for visitors older than 2. billingsfarm.org.

Hartford Historical Society: Open Fridays, 9:30-11:30 a.m. and by appointment, 1461 Maple St., Hartford Village. Volunteers needed for oral history project. 802-296-3132 or info@hartfordhistoricalsociety.com.

Montshire Museum of Science: Open Wednesdays-Sundays, 10 a.m.-4 p.m., 1 Montshire Road, Norwich. Tickets must be purchased in advanced. Masks required for visitors over age 3. $15-$18. montshire.org.

Vermont Institute of Natural Science: Open daily, 10 a.m.-5 p.m., 149 Natures Way, Quechee. $5-$10, children 3 and under free. Masks required. vinsweb.org.

Editor’s note: Submit Upper Valley-based events to the Valley News at calendar.vnews.com.

Liz Sauchelli can be reached at esauchelli@vnews.com or 603-727-3221.

Valley News

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