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Walking in Peter Rabbit’s Footsteps

The Scantic River feeds the Laughing Brook Wildlife Sanctuary.


The Scantic River feeds the Laughing Brook Wildlife Sanctuary.

HAMPDEN — Best known for his books on the exploits of Peter Rabbit, Reddy Fox, and friends, children’s book author Thornton Burgess (1874-1965) had an unwavering passion for wildlife and the natural setting these animals call home.

So it’s no surprise that when he died, Burgess left his home in Hampden to the Massachusetts Audubon Society to create a sanctuary from the actual spots that inspired the author.

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At Laughing Brook Wildlife Sanctuary, you can take a stroll on the banks of Scantic River (the waterway Burgess called Big River in his stories), cross the boardwalk over a red maple swamp, and meander through meadows filled with wildflowers on 4 miles of trails. If you don’t find Peter Rabbit, you will see turtles lounging on the logs.

Laughing Brook Wildlife Sanctuary www

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