Gorge Aprés Gorge: Thanksgiving Weekend Tradition Supports Nature-Based & Intergenerational Engagement

Gorge Aprés Gorge: Best Little Walk/Run in the Hilltowns

The Sunday morning following your Thanksgiving dinner gorge, rise and shine to join friends and neighbors for the 13th annual Gorge Aprés Gorge run/walk at the Chesterfield Gorge in West Chesterfield, MA. Community members are invited to embrace winter by being outside with friends and neighbors in a three mile out and back run/walk/bike/snowshoe/ski along the beautiful Westfield River. It’s a free event and all are welcomed! It’s a family affair. 5K at 9:30am. Family walk at 11am.

For the past 13 years, families have gathered together at the Chesterfield Gorge on the Sunday after Thanksgiving to walk, run, and socialize at a community potluck. The Gorge après Gorge Family Fun Walk and 5k run was started by organizers Leslie Charles and Tanya Rapinchuk, as a way to escape from the stress that can accompany the holidays and to get outside and appreciate nature with your friends, family, and neighbors. Charles explains, “I believe community and getting to know each other is the best way forward for humanity. It’s a homegrown event to really benefit everybody. It invites anyone and everyone to join in for a walk or run. It’s a total labor of love inspired by the desire to share the outdoors with our community, make new friends, and gather together.”

It began with just a few dozen people, and has grown over the years as word has spread about this wonderful family-oriented event.

“I have attended every Gorge Aprés Gorge these past 13 years,” says Hilltown Families Founder and West Chesterfield resident, Sienna Wildfield. “The Chesterfield Gorge, the Westfield River, and families from around the region make this event as special part of our community tradition. It offer a way we can support a sense of place through engagement with these amazing community treasures!”

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The Ripple: The River Will Rise

The River Will Rise

Bridge remains at Chesterfield Gorge. (Photo credit (c) Sienna Wildfield)

This shivery month of melt, please bring your family to the upper neck of the Chesterfield Gorge and look across the Westfield River. You’ll see a twenty-foot tall stone wall tower— the remains of an old colonial bridge, a massive abutment built in 1769 by meticulous stackers of dark granite schist.

I remember looking at it a few years ago, marveling at the brawn and artistry of the backwoods engineers who made it. They must have believed their incredible backaches were worth it, that their bridge would stand for centuries, and they and their progeny would make a living collecting tolls where hemlocks now cluster and choke.

Over two hundred years have gone by, the bridge is long gone and the road it extended is a deer and porcupine highway. Another two more centuries will go by, I imagined then, and the abutment will remain unstaggered, a gratifying, even beautiful, example of our manipulation of the biome to achieve economic goals. And aside from this, I thought, the imperturbability of the stacked stone next to the swift and crashing rapids is, itself, a story that offers a lesson… Read the rest of this entry »

Gorge Aprés Gorge: Best Little Walk/Run in the Hilltowns

Gorge Aprés Gorge: A Run in the Woods

The Sunday morning following your Thanksgiving dinner gorge, rise and shine to join friends and neighbors for the 10th annual Gorge Aprés Gorge run/walk at the Chesterfield Gorge in West Chesterfield, MA. Community members are invited to embrace winter by being outside with friends and neighbors in a three mile out and back run/walk/bike/snowshoe/ski along the beautiful Westfield River. It’s a free event and all are welcomed! It’s a family affair. 5K at 9am.

It was a simple yet wonderful idea: reconnecting with friends and neighbors, on a brisk walk in the beauty of the outdoors, was the perfect antidote for the stresses and overindulgences of the holidays.

Evidently it was an idea that had legs, because this year on Sunday, December 1st, 2013, the community-organized “Gorge après Gorge” celebrates the 10th anniversary of its free, family fun walk, and the 4th anniversary of its 5k trail run at the Trustees’ Chesterfield Gorge.

Leslie Anne Charles, one of the event founders, described it as “a grass-roots, seat-of-my-pants type of event,” which turned out to be very successful. “Most people who come one year make it to the following year’s event.” A fun fresh air event that initially began with a few dozen folks has now blossomed, as word of mouth to new friends has spread.

The “best little run in the Hilltowns” will kick off at 9AM and follow a well-marked course – the dirt fire road – which is a slightly hilly out and back along the wild and scenic Westfield River, starting and ending at The Trustees’ Chesterfield Gorge. Hot chocolate, coffee, and tea will be waiting at the finish line (And you’re invited to bring your own treats to share.)… Read the rest of this entry »

6th Annual Community Walk/Run in the Hilltowns

Gorge aprés Gorge
Community Walk/Run in West Chesterfield, MA
Sunday, November 29, 2009, 10AM

The Sunday morning following your Thanksgiving dinner gorge, rise and shine to join friends and neighbors for the 6th annual Gorge aprés Gorge run/walk at the Chesterfield Gorge in West Chesterfield, MA. Community members are invited to embrace winter by being outside with friends and neighbors in a three mile out and back run/walk/bike/snowshoe/ski along the beautiful Westfield River. It’s a free event and all are welcomed! It’s a family affair.

Complimentary warm drinks will be served (coffee, tea, hot chocolate, cider). Please help reduce waste and cost by bringing your own mug. Food to share is always welcome. Event will happen regardless the weather. For more information or to volunteer, email Leslie Charles leslie@lacdesign.com. Organizers ask that families kindly leave their lovely dogs at home this day.

Suggested Events 11/29/08-12/05/08

Hartsbrook Winter Fair happened last weekend.

Hartsbrook Winter Fair happened last weekend.

SUGGEST AN EVENT

If you have a family-friendly event or educational program happening in Western Massachusetts that you’d like to let us know about, post your event on our “Suggest An Event” page.

Suggest an Event | Local Forecast | Get Directions | Free Museum Passes | School Closings and Delays | Family Centers (Ages 0-4) | Facebook

FEATURED EVENT

The 5th Annual Gorge aprés Gorge community walk/run happens along the Westfield River at the Chesterfield Gorge in West Chesterfield, MA.  It’s free and happens Sunday morning (11/30/08) at 10am.  Click here to read more.

Saturday – 11/29

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Community Walk/Run in West Chesterfield

Gorge aprés Gorge at the Chesterfield Gorge

This is the time of year families are cooking and traveling and getting ready for their big Thanksgiving feast (= gorge #1). Following a Thanksgiving gorge, this is the time of the year area families are getting ready for the 5th Annual Gorge aprés Gorge at the Chesterfield Gorge in West Chesterfield (= gorge #2)! The GaG is a 3 mile walk/run (out & back) morning event for families to come together for exercise and a fun time, held on the Sunday following Thanksgiving. Go as long or as little as you want.

WHEN & WHERE?

  • Sunday, Nov. 30 @ 10am
    Chesterfield Gorge parking lot
    West Chesterfield, MA
    All are welcomed! It’s a family affair

WHAT TO EXPECT

  • It’s FREE.
  • If there is snow, bring your skies, snow shoes, or sleds. Or you can run and walk to make the 1.5 mile trek out to the first gate on a dirt fire road.
  • If there is sun, come run, bike, and/or walk.
  • Water will be available about 3/4 miles out.
  • Hot drinks will be served back at the parking lot, including coffee, tea, hot chocolate, and apple cider (bring mugs, if you want).


The Gorge aprés Gorge is organized by local resident (and mother of two) Leslie Charles and is supported by a Cultural Council Grant issued by the Chesterfield Cultural Council. Email: leslie@lacdesign.com
(Poster design by LAC Design, www.lacdesign.com)

Gorge Aprés Gorge: A Local Family Tradition

Gorge aprés Gorge Walk/Run: A Family Event
At the Chesterfield Gorge in West Chesterfield

Gorge Apres GorgeThis is the time of year families are cooking and traveling and getting ready for their big Thanksgiving feast (= gorge #1). Following a Thanksgiving gorge, this is the time of the year area families are getting ready for the 4th Annual Gorge aprés Gorge at the Chesterfield Gorge in West Chesterfield
(= gorge #2)! The GaG is a 3 mile walk/run (out & back) morning event for families to come together for exercise and a fun time, held on the Sunday following Thanksgiving. Go as long or as little as you want.

WHEN & WHERE?

  • Sunday, Nov. 25 @ 10am
    Chesterfield Gorge parking lot
    West Chesterfield, MA
    All are welcomed! It’s a family affair

WHAT TO EXPECT

  •  If there is snow, bring your skies, snow shoes, or sleds. Or you can run and walk to make the 1.5 mile trek out to the first gate on a dirt fire road.
  • Photo from 2006 Gorge Apre Gorge
  • If there is sun, come run, bike, and/or walk.

  • Water will be available about 3/4 miles out.
  • Hot drinks will be served back at the parking lot, including coffee, tea, hot chocolate, and apple cider (bring mugs, if you want).
  • Refreshments from Bread Euphoria and Tanya Rapinchuck (and participants who would like to bring a refreshment to share.


The Gorge aprés Gorge is organized by local resident (and mother of two) Leslie Charles and is supported by a Cultural Council Grant. Email: leslie@lacdesign.com
(Photo (c) 2006 Leslie Charles)

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