A June To-Do List, From Outdoor Music to Yoga in the Trees

Words and photos courtesy of Seven Days

A June To-Do List, From Outdoor Music to Yoga in the Trees
By Kristen Ravin & Jordan Adams

Yoga in the Canopy
Sundays in June, 4:30-5:45 p.m., at the Vermont Institute of Natural Science in Quechee. $20-24; preregister.

The Vermont Institute of Natural Science in Quechee is a literal and figurative playground for lovers of the great outdoors. In addition to an actual nature-inspired playscape, the nonprofit offers walking trails, raptor encounters, exhibits and educational programming for kids and adults on its 47-acre campus. All of this is geared toward promoting a desire to care for wildlife and their habitats.

June's schedule includes weekly Yoga in the Canopy. Each Sunday, yogis ascend the Forest Canopy Walk for a late-afternoon stretching session in the trees.

Opened to the public in 2019, the walkway stands approximately 50 feet tall and gives visitors a close-up view of another level of the forest ecosystem. The wheelchair-accessible wooden structure connects a 100-foot-tall tree house to human-made structures including a giant owl's nest and eagle's nest. A third platform features a "spider" web spanning 20 feet in diameter.

Yoga in the Canopy takes place on the spider web platform with mats arranged in a circle and plenty of space between students.

According to VINS nature camp and adult programs lead Sarah Strew, the lofty setting makes for a unique yoga experience. "One of the great things about the [Forest Canopy Walk] is that it kind of mimics the natural motion of the trees," she said, "so you can actually feel the platform swaying underneath you if there's a breeze."

Longtime yoga instructor Sharon Comeau guides participants of all experience levels in a slow-flow lesson incorporating sun salutations, standing and balancing poses, and meditation.

If a fear of heights is holding you back, Strew advises embracing the challenge: "I think yoga is a great avenue for calming those fears and really tuning into your body and finding that kind of peace."

In the area:
Nostalgia Café Quechee Gorge, 5945 Woodstock Rd., Hartford, 281-6739
Strong House Spa, 694 Main St., Quechee, 295-1718
Vermont Antique Mall, 5573 Woodstock Rd., Quechee, 281-4147

Light River Junction: First Fridays With WRIF
First Fridays through August, 5 p.m., downtown White River Junction. Free.

"Public spaces can tell a story about our communities," said Vermont Community Foundation president and CEO Dan Smith in a press release. "They bring us together when accessible, or leave us isolated when they aren't."

As part of its effort to support projects that foster a sense of togetherness and boost the state's economy, VCF and partners awarded an $18,000 grant to the White River Indie Festival and local collaborators.

The result is Light River Junction: First Fridays With WRIF. This multifaceted event series attracts folks of all ages to downtown White River Junction for film, food and art, revitalizing the village's long-running First Friday celebration. Organizers also hope it'll energize the local economy, bolster creativity and help individuals recover from the social isolation of the past year.

Series organizers made the most of White River Junction's public spaces by designating a parking lot behind Hotel Coolidge on Currier Street as the main hub for these weekly happenings. White-sided buildings bordering the lot act as projection surfaces for film and art installations. Feature films play on a portable screen after dark.

Community art projects, smaller video projections and sound installations by local creatives enliven various spots around town, as well.

Folks should show up hungry — the Currier Street lot is within walking distance of restaurants and watering holes that, along with downtown galleries, offer extended hours.

In the area:
Long River Gallery, 49 S. Main St., White River Junction, 295-4567
Lyman Point Park, 167 Maple St., White River Junction, 295-5036
Wolf Tree, 40 Currier St., White River Junction, 698-8409

First: Earth Summer Series
Select dates and times, June through September, at Isham Family Farm in Williston. $15-50; preregister.

A new event series from First: Earth Project, a nonprofit created by Isham Family Farm in Williston, puts an eco-friendly twist on live entertainment. The First: Earth Summer Series uses performing arts to promote environmental awareness and responsibility.

So, what does that pairing look like? Seven different acts are scheduled to perform on the 108-acre working farm and community center between June and September. Each concert or theater performance is accompanied by a 10- to 15-minute lecture on an environmental topic related to the show's themes.

On June 11, for example, wetland ecologist Tina Heath wades into the topic of vernal pools before an open-air performance of the Tony Award-nominated musical A Year With Frog and Toad, presented by Burlington's Lyric Theatre.

Isham Family Farm co-owner and First: Earth Project executive director Helen Weston points to this performance, as well as Ballet Vermont's Farm to Ballet Project in July, as particularly engaging for families with kids.

The intimate farm setting aids in connecting audience members to the environment. Shows are either outside on the lawn or in a restored barn with seating. The grounds open two hours before showtime for BYO picnicking.

Revenue from this year's series benefits Audubon Vermont.

"It takes a village to bring about environmental awareness," said Weston, "and bringing our community together for an evening of live theater at our farm is a lovely way to support our natural environment."

In the area:
Catamount Outdoor Family Center, 592 Governor Chittenden Rd., Williston, 879-6001
Goodwater Brewery, 740 Marshall Ave., Williston, 999-7396
Malletts Bay Campground, 88 Malletts Bay Campground, Colchester, 863-6980

BarnArts and Feast & Field Market's Thursday Night Music Series
Season kicks off on May 27 at Fable Farm Fermentory in Barnard. See for full lineup, membership options and reservations.

Vermont summers offer a brief window to simultaneously enjoy nature, locally sourced food and entertainment. At the weekly Feast & Field Market at Fable Farm Fermentory in Barnard, attendees can enjoy a homegrown meal and live music while basking in the state's natural beauty.

Each outdoor event features a sumptuous farm-to-table dinner from local growers Fable Farm, Eastman Farm and Kiss the Cow Farm. Performing arts organization BarnArts curates the music series, continuing its mission to engage communities, foster talent and offer year-round entertainment. The series runs every Thursday from late May through September.

Historically, BarnArts has presented a mix of local, national and international artists. In 2020, adapting to pandemic life meant making some changes.

"Last year, we pivoted to 100 percent local artists," said Chloe Powell, BarnArts' director of music programming. Pandemic travel restrictions meant that national and international touring artists couldn't be included in the lineup.

But this year's schedule edges back toward normalcy. While Vermonters such as honky-tonk outfit Western Terrestrials (June 24) and pop singer-songwriter Myra Flynn (August 26) remain the roster's backbone, regional heavy hitters including progressive bluegrass band the Revenants (June 10) and Ghanaian funk group Kotoko Brass (August 19), who both hail from Boston, diversify this year's offerings.

Though popular among locals, the series generates buzz beyond Vermont's borders.

"Most attendees travel from a 45-minute radius, but some of our bigger shows have brought people from farther afield," Powell said.

In the area:
Babes Bar, 221 Main St., Bethel, 234-1144
Barrister's Bookshop, 190 Chelsea St., South Royalton, 763-7170
The Shire, 46 Pleasant St., Woodstock, 457-2211

About the series

This series, a partnership between Vermont Department of Tourism and Marketing and Seven Days, will run weekly through mid-October, presenting curated excursions in every corner of Vermont. The idea is to highlight the state's restaurants, retailers, attractions and outdoor adventures so Vermonters and visitors alike can plan safe, local trips and discover new corners of the state. Happy traveling, and stay safe.