New Thanksgiving Traditions Form Along America's Rail-Trails

Posted 11/26/12 by Jake Lynch in Trail Use

Photo © Eric Barr/Vernon Patch

We are all familiar with the traditions of the Thanksgiving holiday - the food, football on TV, catching up with friends, and the leftovers, of course. But it is great to see energetic Americans starting new traditions, creating their own Thanksgiving rituals that add to the spirit of togetherness that the holiday is all about.

One foggy November morning in 2009, a group of buddies gathered in a parking lot in Vernon, Conn., a town along the Hop River State Park Trail. They rode to Steele's Crossing and back, along one of the state's most-loved rail-trails. Needless to say, they had a wonderful time, and made a promise to each other that this would be a ride they would do every November, a new Thanksgiving morning tradition.

According to a great story in the Vernon Patch, four years later the original group of six riders has grown to 50, as the popularity of rail-trails booms and more Americans look for an active way to begin the holiday.

"It does not matter if your bike is $4,000 or you found it in the dumpster," says Eric Barr, one of the 'original six.' "Finally a bike ride where all riders are created equal. It gets you a nice ride and back home for the first football game and Thanksgiving dinner. What more can you ask for?"

Has your family or group of friends started a Thanksgiving tradition on your local rail-trail? I'd love to hear about it - post photos and info to Rails-to-Trails Conservancy's facebook page, or email me at

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