Vernon Events Articles Summer 2017

Friends Of Valley Falls: Artists’ Day At Valley Falls Farm

We like to think of Valley Falls Farm as the most scenic corner in Vernon. The pasture, the red barn, and the iconic stable on the hillside paint a picture unique to our community – and – dare we say, unique in our State.

Thanks to the generosity of our community, we were able to preserve this scenic corner in 2000. Our early years of ownership focused on the repair and restoration of the seven structures on the property. By 2008 we were ready to return the favor to the community, and to invite the public to enjoy the site. The idea of ‘Artists’ Day at Valley Falls Farm’ was born: Vernon’s most scenic corner was the perfect place for artists to create, musicians to play, and visitors to enjoy a balmy summer afternoon. The first event in 2008 drew over 200 people, and it has become a biannual event since that time.

This year’s Artists’ Day at Valley Falls Farm will be held on Sunday, August 20. The public is invited to stroll around the fields between 1 and 4 pm, and enjoy the art of the plein air artists painting on the grounds. Other paintings by the artists will be on display in the red barn and will be available for sale.

Tours of the historic buildings will be given on the hour, sparked with tales about the intriguing history of the ‘gentleman farmers’ that once owned Valley Falls Farm. Live musicians will play on the porch of the farmhouse during the afternoon, funded by the Vernon Arts Commission. The herb and flower gardens in the old cold frames, planted and tended by the Vernon Garden Club, add to the experience.

Mark your calendar – August 20 – for a quintessential summer afternoon experience at Valley Falls Farm! Member Vernon Volunteers’ Collaborative.

Strong Family Farm: Open For Business!

The Strong Family Farm Farm Stand is open for business! We open on June 14 with free The Farmers Cow ice cream while it lasts.

The stand was funded in part by the CT Department of Agriculture Viability Grant for the purpose of selling only locally CT grown and produced items. Some of the featured items in June are local fresh strawberries, award winning Smyth’s Trinity Farm milk, Walt’s Bees honey (in part from the farm), LuAnn’s bakery items, farm pickles and relishes and much more.

Store hours are Wednesday thru Friday 1-6 and Saturday 9-2. On Saturdays, Strong Family Farm members receive 10% discounts, so consider becoming a member.

The farm has a Volunteer Work Day every Saturday morning from 9-11 a.m. from June through the Summer. There is always work to be done on the farm, especially weeding and planting the garden. This is a good opportunity for students to fulfill their Community Service hours and families to work together in a garden and reap some of the benefits. More hands make easy work while supporting your community farm.

The farm is also replacing the fencing on Peterson Road. We need to purchase 60 posts and 177 split rails for a new fence. The farm started a project to pay for this by offering plaques to put on the rails for $50 and posts for $100 in honor of, or in memory of, special people in their lives. You can even name it for a local business or non-profit.

For other Summer and Fall activities check our website at Mark your calendars for the October 21 Harvest Festival. Fun for all the family and we will be celebrating the 100th anniversary of our barn. Member Vernon Volunteers’ Collaborative.

Vernon Greenways Volunteers: Assist in 100+ Foot Bridge Build

Beginning on Saturday, July 8 the Vernon Greenways Volunteers will assist in the building of a 100+ foot Suspended Bridge (think Indiana Jones) over the Hockanum River.

This enhancement is near Windsorville Road (Route 74) and across the street from the Sewage Treatment Plant. The bridge will be built on the old trolley line and directly connect the Vernon Hockanum River Trail with its counterpart in Ellington. The current setup sends the hiker down a trash filled and sometimes flooded Route 74 to a left turn on Franklin Avenue and 1/16 mile walk to a wooded entry and doubling back to a separate non-thru trail in Ellington.

The project will be led by Dave Smith, Vernon Town Engineer, who will design, as well as lead the construction. A suspended bridge differs from a suspension bridge in that the walkway is not leveled, but is allowed to retain a natural dip. Suspended bridges have been used for centuries for foot traffic, particularly in mountainous locations throughout the world. The project will take 5 to 6 Saturday commitments by participants.

Vernon Greenways Volunteers is a 70 member organization that assists the Vernon Parks and Recreation Department in the maintenance, enhancement and proper use of the trail system in Vernon. Member Vernon Volunteers’ Collaborative.

Summer Events For Families

Summer activities are primarily family oriented. Specific dates were not available for most Vernon Volunteers’ Collaborative activities as this was written, so below are planned programs by organization. As dates become available they will be posted at under the ‘Events’ tab. To receive notice of upcoming events please join our MeetUp group. Vernon Parks & Recreation programs are listed elsewhere.

Belding Wildlife Management Area
During July and August there are weekly programs for children on a variety of nature topics.

Friends of Valley Falls
Tours of the stable and grounds take place each Wednesday during July and August from 1-3 p.m. On August 20 FVF hosts their biennial Artists’ Day At Valley Falls Farm. (See article.) (

New England Civil War Museum
The museum will be open Thursdays as well as second and fourth Sundays during July and August. (

Strong Family Farm
Summer is a busy time on the Farm. Volunteers are needed each Saturday from 9-11 a.m. during the season and special events will be scheduled. (See article.) (

Tolland County Agricultural Center
The annual 4-H Fair will be held the weekend of August 12 & 13. With animals and competitions this is a kid favorite. (

Vernon Greenways Volunteers
The Volunteers will be maintaining gardens along the Rail-Trail as well as other trail maintenance throughout the growing season. A major project this year will be construction of the Suspended Bridge over the Hockanum River in July. (See article.) Later in the season VGV will coordinate Beetlemania, the annual search for the Emerald Ash Borer and Asian Longhorn Beetle. Additional help is always welcome. (

For other locations to hike and explore in Vernon see the recently published brochure “An Outdoor Guide To The Tankerhoosen – Vernon’s Green Valley,“ available at VVC events and online at

Making Vernon Special