The Path of Life Sculpture Garden in Windsor, Vt., is one of those
places that exceed expectations. Described to me as a sculpture garden, I
thought it would be a cool place to check out while spending a weekend in
nearby Hanover, N.H.
|Path of Life Sculpture Garden. Photo by |
Kim Foley MacKinnon.
Located in a complex that includes Great
River Outfitters, Vermont Farmstead Cheese, SILO, Simon Pearce, Sustainable
Farmer, and Harpoon Brewery, the garden is located on 14 acres of field and trails on the banks of the Connecticut River. The 18 works of art, made of
different materials and of different sizes, symbolize the circle of life from birth
The garden is the brainchild of Terry
McDonnell, a child and family therapist from Norwich, Vt., who was inspired
after visiting a famous Japanese garden, The Life of Man in Kildare, Ireland.
It symbolizes the journey of a human soul from birth to death. McDonnell had a 14-acre
riverside field that he owned in Windsor and almost 20 years ago he began his
You enter the garden through the “Tunnel
of Oblivion,” the darkness representing the beginning of life, then head
through or by various sculptures representing the stages of life, from a small
stone signifying birth to a 800 hemlock-tree maze (childhood) to five large
flat stones arranged in a circle (family) and so on. My family visited in the
winter and we loved going through the maze and trying to identify the animal
tracks we found in the fresh snow.
Over the years, the attraction (part of
Great River Outfitters) has grown to be much more than a sculpture park. It’s
also home to part of a 5-mile trail network and since it’s open year-round, all
sorts of activities are regularly scheduled.
In the winter and early spring,
it’s groomed for dogsledding, snowshoeing and cross-country skiing, while in summer and fall, you can take float
trips (canoes, kayaks, rafts, and river tubes) on a section of the Connecticut
River (with all necessary gear and transportation provided). The tipis in the
Path of Life Garden sleep 12 to 16 people or you can paddle down the river to
primitive island campsites along the river if you want to stay overnight.
For additional details about this trip, visit AMC's Kids Outdoors community.
Great Kids, Great Outdoors is an Appalachian Mountain Club blog. This post was written by Kim Foley MacKinnon.
Labels: hiking, Kim Foley MacKinnon, Vermont