Jody Long and her family are new to Farmington Valley, but they’ve been excited to get outdoors and find adventure awaiting them.
“There is so much going on here, it is hard not to want to be involved.” she laughed. “ We get involved in towns across the area; I did a park clean up in Canton, and my husband and I work in Farmington, but we live in Avon. We love this area because there is so much happening here, indoors and outdoors. There is tons to do!”
Last fall, Long and her family started geocaching, and her sons, Kellan (3) and Aidan (5) love the adventures that they’ve had throughout the area.
Geocaching is an outdoor recreational activity, using a GPS hide and seek containers, called “geocaches” or “caches”, at specific locations marked by coordinates all over the world. Coordinates for geocaches are logged on a website, and people use these websites to track and find coordinates for the hidden caches. There are hundreds of geocaches hidden throughout the Farmington Valley. A typical cache is a small waterproof container containing a logbook; when a new person finds the cache, he signs the log with an established code name and dates it, in order to prove that they found the cache. After signing the log, the cache must be placed back exactly where the person found it. Larger containers such as plastic storage containers are sometimes hidden, and may hold toys or trinkets, that people trade.
“It has allowed us to be outside as a family and to explore different parks and trails throughout the area that we wouldn’t have gone to before,” she began. “There is a park in Unionville called suburban park. It is very hidden; the entrance is near a gas station and there isn’t a parking lot. It is a huge area. We made a few different trips and found all of the geocaches and we learned about the history in this park. This park is an old amusement park. There had been water activities with water wheels; there are
the old foundations and rock circles where the rides used to be. It is up on a hill that we would have just kept driving by every day, and we were able to explore this hidden place.”
Their geocache adventures have helped the Long Family get to know Farmington Valley better, and Jody noted that she is also a member of MOPs, a group of 20-30 local moms with a child who is about preschool aged. The group meets regularly, gathering to hear speakers come in, and do community building activities.
“My advice for families moving to the area would be to give it time to get to know people. We’ve moved around a few times, and I’ve learned that connections don’t happen quickly. They take time to cultivate. Research groups, and take the time to find where your family will fit in best. Church groups, children’s activities and recreational groups can help build connections; it doesn’t happen instantly, but there are wonderful people here,” said Long.
There are dozens of groups and organizations in the area, from polo and golf to biking, kayaking and swimming. Year-round, there are communities of people who are eager to welcome new members and help new residents develop connections. There are many groups on social media helping people to identify and find others with their specific interests.
Long wants new residents to know that no matter what their personal interests are, it is important for new residents to reach out.
She explained, “I approached someone last summer. I said, ‘Hey, I don’t know you, but I see you all of the time! We should know each other’s first names.’ I discovered that we lived only one street apart, and that she knew the family that we had bought our house from.”
There are so many activities in the Farmington Valley; it is impossible not to find friends with similar interests. Adventure awaits!