Learning Ahead: Summer Trails

Summer Trails: Leisure History & Literature

Towards the end of June, we find the beginning of summer and a landscape ready for exploring in the warmer months. In Western Massachusetts, we are fortunate to have so many conserved landscapes that offer mountain views, scenic trails, access to waterways, and places to discover nature’s inspiring energy.

In the 19th-century, outdoor recreation became a popular leisure activity.  Summit houses, such as the one atop Mount Holyoke at Skinner State Park, were constructed to accommodate tourists traveling to see mountain views.  An interest in the wild landscape and sweeping view of countryside inspired many Americans to explore the natural landscape and value spending time outside.  Many writers and artists looked to nature as a creative muse for poetry and painting.  Walking through the woods became a pleasurable and meaningful pastime. Read the rest of this entry »

Sense of Place: Summer Trails

Think about this:

  • How has the Western Massachusetts natural landscape inspired writers and artists of the past?
  • Why do you think nature writing was so prevalent in the early-mid 19th century?
  • How did nature writing in the United States inspire American conservation in the 19th century?
  • What is the Western Massachusetts hiking trail that inspires you the most?

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