Fireside Chats: Long Trail history concludes series

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SAXTONS RIVER — Main Street Arts and the Saxtons River Historical Society conclude the series of Fireside Chats to highlight the area's history Sunday, Jan. 21 when the topic will be Vermont's Long Trail.

Mike DeBonis, executive director of the Green Mountain Club, will share James P. Taylor's dream of providing a "footpath in the wilderness" for the students at Vermont Academy, where he was assistant headmaster. The result was the 272-mile Long Trail built by the Green Mountain Club between 1910 and 1930.

The oldest long-distance hiking trail in the country, the Long Trail follows the main ridge of the Green Mountains from the Massachusetts-Vermont line to the Canadian border as it crosses Vermont's highest peaks. It was the inspiration for the Appalachian Trail, which coincides with the Long Train for 100 miles in southern Vermont.

Taylor (1872-1949) felt the Green Mountains were underappreciated by the state's inhabitants and he wanted to "make the Vermont mountains play a larger part in the life of the people." He helped found the GMC in March 1910, which created 209 miles of trail and 44 overnight facilities during its first decade, opening up the concept known today as eco-tourism.

Attendees are always invited to share their own experiences, photos, artifacts and stories related to the topic of the evening.

The series is offered at no charge, with donations accepted. Those attending are invited to bring their own memories and memorabilia to share in this informal setting.

The Inn's dining room will be open for dinner after the presentation for further socializing. Reservation are appreciated by calling the Inn at 802-869-2110. In case of inclement weather, cancellation information will be available by contacting Main Street Arts at 802-869-2960.

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