Hunkered down in quarantine during prime spring ephemeral season has me thinking back to places I have been lucky enough to visit. It is also giving me reason to stay close to home and time to look back and write about some of the places I have explored.
In the summer a little more than a year ago I ventured solo north to Vermont for a week. Meandering the unfamiliar roads on the way home from a state park I saw a sign for this Wildflower Trail. I never miss an opportunity to get up close to wildflowers and decided to check it out.
Located at the Bennington Museum in Bennington, VT the George Aiken Wildflower Trail is a short trail through meadow, woodlands and a pine grove. It is named for George Aiken, a former governor of Vermont and author who wrote the book Pioneering with Wildflowers. George entered the nursery business after high school and was inspired to write this book about the wildflowers and ferns he loved so much.
The wildflowers, like this Canada Anemone (Anemone canadensis) found along the 1/3 mile trail are those George Aiken liked so much or mentioned in his book.
The brilliant, fragrant flowers of Purple-Flowering Raspberry (Rubus odoratus) brightened up the woodland edges along the trail.
Meehan’s Mint (Meehania cordata) creeping among the pine needled was a new plant for me.
Informative signs about the plants dotted the trail.
You could walk down for a look at Jennings Brook, which provided some cool shade and the soft sounds of water every garden needs.
No need to worry about resting your weary legs, this trail is a great short stop after a day of hiking or adventuring, and benches abound along the way.
The fact that the Bennington Museum is an art museum and is connected to this space seemed evident in the benches. Each one was a little different. This is one of two created by North Bennington Sculptor Joseph Chirchirillo. Other benches were created from Frank Sprague and Stone Puddles, and still others feature work from local artists, locally sourced stones and one was built by trail volunteers with stones found right on site.
Not only is this a great short wildflower trail for people who may not have much time or aren’t able to get around as well as they used to, this is a great trail for children as well. The museum, volunteers and other cultural institutions work to make it interesting for kids too. When I was there they were participating in the Museum ABCs Trail Tales. A terrific idea that resulted from a partnership between the Bennington Free Library and the Bennington Museum where laminated pages of a nature-inspired book are posted along the trail to be read along the way. This visit featured Possum and the Summer Storm and I see this year they are featuring The Nest that Wren Built.
Perhaps this has inspired you to think back to beautiful places you have been, to check out the brilliance of nature in your own backyard or to add places to your “to visit” list when we are all permitted to roam freely once more. You never know what you will encounter: a new plant or seating that is artwork, even at the smallest places on or off the beaten track.