Greater Westfield Chamber of Commerce

Hikes Through History

Westfield Athenaeum Speaker Series
February 20, 6:30pm, Lang Auditorium

Have you ever wandered through the woods and wondered who had been there before you?

In Massachusetts, many parks and trails have been carved out of historical sites. Author Alison O’Leary, an award-winning journalist and coauthor of the Appalachian Mountain Club’s new guide Best Day Hikes Near Boston, will share her favorites with your audience through this hour-long program.

Using maps and historic photos, she describes several day trip destinations with historical significance and interesting features in Massachusetts. Special effort is made to include varying levels of difficulty (flat and easy to steep and challenging) and variety of scenery.

These sites include:

  • A former rubber factory, observatory, and “penny bridge” nearly forgotten in the woods of a reservation north of Boston;
  • Contributions of the Roosevelt-era Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) to our favorite parks;
  • Military munitions bunkers buried in the woods;
  • Sites of former grand estates (and stories of who lived there) now open to the public.

Best Day Hikes Near Boston (AMC Press 2017) is the second hiking/travel book O’Leary has published; her first was Inns & Adventures: A History and Explorer’s Guide to New Hampshire, Vermont, and the Berkshires, coauthored with Michael Tougias (OnCape Publishing 2015).

Their other coauthored nonfiction book is So Close to Home: The True Story of an American Family’s Fight for Survival in WWII. In 2017 she won the Silver Charlie Award from the Florida Magazine Association for history writing.  For more information see

This event is free and open to the public.

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