Afoot in Connecticut: Eric Lehman urges us to get outdoors

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Afoot in Connecticut was a labor of love, a chance to show everyone how I fell in love with our state. I love writing about food and wine, and I enjoy writing history, but I came to love Connecticut first through walking the trails and discovering the natural world. So clearly this book is much closer to my heart.

One of the most common questions I get is – why does someone who grew up in Pennsylvania love Connecticut so much? Well, now I get to tell the story of how that happened, by walking the paths and trails of the forests, farms, and beaches. The natural world here is so enthralling and dense that I couldn’t help it. We are actually one of the most forested states in the country, but no one thinks of that when they think about Connecticut. Why? Maybe because we have suburbs and we have strip malls. But think about those same suburban areas in, say, New Jersey.

Afoot in Connecticut Cover

We also have a great trail system, both “blue” trails through the forests, and “green” multi-use trails for biking, walking, and more. Being such a small state, all these trails are close together and almost (almost!) completely connected to each other. With just a little road walking, you could literally walk around the state without stopping, camping or staying at bed and breakfasts. That’s a phenomenon that is popular in Europe, but due to the space in America never really caught on here, at least not since the 1800s. I think that’s a great opportunity to sell our state as a place for “walking tours,” and bring in a few tourists. Of course, then I’ll have to deal with more traffic on the trails I used to walk alone, but that’s a price I’m willing to pay.

So, Afoot in Connecticut is book about walking, about natural history, and about finding home. Those three things are intimately connected in my eyes, and I hope I got that across. I have written six books about Connecticut, with three more coming out in the next couple years. I don’t think I’ll stop any time soon. This is a beautiful state with beautiful people. I hope it inspires other people to get out of their cars and take to the trails, because that is the best way, some would say the only way, to know a place. And I think that knowing and understanding where you live is an important part of knowing yourself.