AVA Convention & Trails of New England

June 8-20, 2019 • 13 Days • $2975**

**Pricing with New Traveler Discount: $2775

New Hampshire, Maine, Massachusetts, Vermont, New York, Connecticut, and Rhode Island!

Join walkers from around the USA in 2019 to celebrate walking and volkssport at the 21st Biennial Convention of the American Volkssport Association in Albany, NY!

**Traveler Rewards Program 2019: New Travelers receive a $200 discount on the AVA Convention & Trails of New England tour! Returning travelers receive our Alumni Traveler Discount of 5-10% off the main tour price. Terms, exclusions and conditions apply. Check out our Traveler Rewards page for more details.

Reserve your spot on this tour with a $500 Registration Deposit! Check below for more details.

View Daily Itinerary

This travel program is designed specifically with avid volkswalkers in mind. All walks offered are YRE offered by local clubs (none of the walks are WAI walks developed by our planners) and we have included a plethora of these club walks on our tour through the New England states! We start and finish in Boston, Massachusetts, enjoying 17 walks along our way through the states of New Hampshire, Maine, Massachusetts, Vermont, New York, Connecticut and Rhode Island!

A few other differences between this special volkssport program and the typical WAI walking adventure include the fact that we are accepting up to 40 walkers on the bus and have chosen one WAI guide to accompany this group, rather than two. To keep costs down, we made the decision to put together this itinerary without our usual preliminary planning trip, relying instead on our knowledge of this area from past tours. Your guide will be WAI owner, Dan Friesen, who has been guiding tours for over 25 years on all 7 continents, and has led trips through this particular part of the USA numerous times, starting back in 1992.

AVA Convention Activities

Registration information for Convention walks and activities was not available at the time of publication. Because of this, and considering that travelers have different objectives and participation levels during Convention, registration for the Convention walks and activities is NOT included in the Adventure price. WAI will contact travelers when the Convention registration process is available. Choices will likely be necessary in the following areas: walk credit, walk awards, social activities/meals, workshops.

We chose the Hampton Inn Albany – Wolf Road for accommodations during the convention. The Hampton Inn Albany is a 4-5 minute walk from the Red Lion Hotel Albany, the official center of the AVA Convention, and offers what we feel is a better value for our travelers than the Red Lion. The WAI motorcoach will also be available during Convention to enhance our ability to shuttle WAI travelers to any optional offsite meals or activities we decide to offer after we see the final Convention schedule.

What’s Included:

  • All land travel as outlined
  • Tourist class or better hotel accommodations
  • 13 meals: All breakfasts and a Farewell Dinner as listed (BD)
  • 17 walks – sanctioned by the American Volkssport Association
  • Fees for walking credit*
  • Transportation to all Convention walks and activities**
  • WAI guide service throughout (1 guide)
  • Tips for coach driver
  • Pricing is based on double occupancy. A limited number of single rooms are available for a supplement of $890.

Walks In:

  • Portsmouth, NH
  • Kennebunk, ME
  • Danvers, MA
  • Concord, MA
  • Springfield, MA
  • Bennington, VT
  • Cohoes, NY
  • Saratoga National Historic Park, NY
  • Albany, NY
  • Cooperstown, NY
  • Hyde Park, NY
  • West Point Military Academy, NY
  • Hartford, CT
  • Mystic, CT
  • Providence, RI
  • Newport, RI
  • Plymouth, MA

Optional Excursions:

  • Lobster dinner – Maine (Day 2)
  • Breakers Mansion – Newport, Rhode Island (Day 11)
  • Plimoth Plantation – Plymouth, Massachusetts (Day 12)
  • Other optional evening activities may be available

*Credit fees for walks of the AVA Convention are not included in the tour price because these fees are likely to be combined in the Convention Registration, details of which are not available at the time of publication.

**Because travelers have different objectives and participation levels during Convention, registration for the Convention walks and activities is not included in the tour price. WAI will contact travelers when the Convention registration process is available. Choices will likely be necessary in the following areas: walk credit, walk awards, social activities/meals, workshops.

Adventure Pace

Tour Pace: 1 2 3 4 5
Walk Challenge: 1 2 3 4 5

Important Info

Group Size

35-40 travelers


Strategically located Tourist Class or better


Breakfasts included with a Farewell Dinner (BD).


Not Included. Travelers fly into and out of Boston, MA.


Included. We use a full-size motorcoach with a seating capacity of 50+ seats.

Traveler Age

Our travelers usually range from 50–75 years of age. All ages welcome!

Your Guide

WAI Guide Dan FriesenDan Friesen has been guiding tours for over 25 years on all 7 continents. He has hiked the Great Wall of China, hobnobbed with penguins in Antarctica, felt the spray of Iguazu Falls in Brazil, yodeled from the heights of the Swiss Alps, and walked the ruins of majestic Machu Picchu. Dan looks forward to walking the Trails of New England with you!


Click on each day heading for more details.

Day 1-Jun 8: Arrive Boston, Massachusetts

Optional Boston Freedom Trail Walk – 6/11 km, rated 1B (Y0730)

Travelers arrive today into Boston to begin a 13-day journey of discovery through some of the most historic corners of the United States of America! Our hotel in Boston provides an airport shuttle and is a 10-minute walk from a T station. We encourage travelers to arrive a day early (Jun 7) to take advantage of all that Boston has to offer (WAI can book the extra night for you separately). At a minimum, using Boston’s Rapid Transit System, or T system, provides an easy way to head into town to enjoy the splendid Boston Freedom Trail Walk. Our first activity will be a 7:30 pm Welcome Orientation Meeting this evening after you have had dinner on your own.

Day 2-Jun 9: Boston – Old Orchard Beach, Maine (B)

Walk #1: Portsmouth, New Hampshire (pre-Convention walk) – two 5 km loops, rating unknown
Walk #2: Kennebunk, Maine – 5/10 km, rated 1A (Y1691)      

We leave the Boston area this morning for Portsmouth, New Hampshire and the first pre-Convention walk. The country’s third-oldest city (settled by English settlers in 1623) and the Twin State Volkssport Association host two 5-km loop walks that pass Strawbery Banke – a living outdoor history museum, the downtown area’s Market Square, colorful Prescott Park, and Four Tree Island. The town gained renown with a major shipbuilding yard and commercial port during the colonial period, and was briefly the home of famous naval patriot, John Paul Jones. From Portsmouth, we cross the border into Maine for a second walk at Kennebunk. The YRE passes St. Anthony’s Monastery and offers a stretch along Gooch’s Beach and Dock Square. We finish the day in Old Orchard Beach and hope to offer an optional lobster feed dinner this evening.

Day 3-Jun 10: Old Orchard Beach – Concord, Maine (B)

Walk #3: Danvers, Massachusetts (pre-Convention walk) – distance and rating unknown
Walk #4: Concord Historic North Bridge Walk, Massachusetts – 6/7/8/10/11/12 km; rated 1B (Y0223)

We’re back in Massachusetts today for the second pre-Convention walk, this time in Danvers on a route that spans a period of 400 years. Two Town Walking Club is our host and has planned a route with a plethora of highlights, several with links to the notorious 1692 witchcraft trials. Our personal favorite is the original crayon factory that eventually became the Crayola Crayon that we all know and love. Walk #2 is another historic trail in Concord, of Concord and Lexington fame, immortalized by resident Ralph Waldo Emerson in his stirring poem that includes the “shot heard round the world” phrase. Walk ‘N Mass Volkssport Club sponsors this route that features Minute Man National Park, North Bridge, and Emerson House (Ralph Waldo) and the Sleepy Hollow Cemetery. We overnight directly in Concord giving walkers the opportunity for evening walking.

Day 4-Jun 11: Concord – Bennington, Vermont (B)

Walk #5: Springfield, Massachusetts (pre-Convention walk) – distance and rating unknown
Walk #6: Bennington Historic Walk, Vermont – two 5 km routes & 10 km; 2A and 1A (Y1545)

Springfield is today’s pre-Convention walk, also sponsored by Walk ‘N Mass Volkssport Club. Founded by Puritan settlers in 1636, Springfield claims many firsts including the first American-English dictionary (Merriam-Webster, 1805); first use of interchangeable parts and assembly line production (1819); first American horseless car (1825); discovery and patent of vulcanized rubber (Charles Goodyear, 1844); birthplace of basketball (Dr. James Naismith, 1891) and several more. Perhaps most endearing is Springfield’s place in history as the birthplace and childhood home of Theodor Seuss Geisel, whose prolific literary career is linked to his pen name, Dr. Seuss. From Springfield, we cross into Vermont for an afternoon walk. Bennington is steeped in Revolutionary War lore, particularly the 1777 Battle of Bennington which was a victory against the British by the Vermont militiamen and the Green Mountain Boys. The town has three different historic sections and the Empire State Capital Volkssporters offers three different trails to explore them. Your WAI guide will brief you on the options before arrival.

Day 5-Jun 12: Bennington – Albany, New York (B)

Walk #7: Erie Canal Origin/Cohoes, New York (Convention walk) – 6/11 km, rating unknown

Today’s walk is the first Convention Walk and starts at the junction of the Hudson River and the Erie Canal in the town of Watertown. Features of the walk include two outstanding views of Cohoes Falls, crossing Peebles Island Bridge to Peebles Island State Park where multiple Revolutionary War battles took place, passing the confluence of the Hudson and Mohawk Rivers, and a chance to enter Waterford Lock #2 to watch the operation of the Erie Canal lock system. The first five locks along the Erie Canal achieve the highest lift in the shortest distance (1.5 miles) of any lock system in the world. After the walk, we continue to Albany to check in for the 21st biennial AVA Convention organized by four Northeast Region clubs with a theme we’ve already witnessed of Walk thru History. Convention schedule and registration packets were not available at the time of publication, but the Convention has indicated that evening entertainment and a series of workshops featuring both volkssport topics and local history will be provided. Our hotel for the next four nights is the Hampton Inn by Hilton, just a 5-minute walk from the Convention hotel.

Day 6-Jun 13: Convention activities from Albany (B)

Walk #8: Saratoga National Historic Park Walk, New York (Convention walk) – 3 trails available

Today’s Convention walk is again directly linked to Revolutionary War history. The October 1777 Battle of Saratoga was the greatest American victory to date and marked a turning point in the Revolutionary War. Due to its impact on the eventual outcome of the war, and the establishment of the United States of America, some historians go so far as to include this battle in lists of the most influential in history. The walk route passes many points of interest in Saratoga National Historical Park enhanced with information signboards and data about each point available by smart phone. We return to the Convention grounds this afternoon for seminars and Convention activities.

Day 7-Jun 14: Convention activities from Albany (B)

Walk #9: Albany Historic Capital of New York State President’s Walk (Convention walk) – 5 km & 10 km, rated 2A & 3A

The Albany area has a rich history going back over 300 years when Henry Hudson sailed up the river which is now named for him and claimed the area for the Dutch. Situated on the Hudson River, Albany became a crossroads between New England Colonies and the mid-Atlantic and Southern colonies in the 1700s and a major transportation hub. Robert Fulton’s steamboat cruised up the Hudson from New York to Albany in 1807, the Erie Canal opened in 1825 offering a water connection from the Hudson to the Great Lakes, and America’s first railroad ran a 17-mile route from Albany to Schenectady in 1826. As New York’s capital, five New York Governors served as chief executives for both New York and the United States, including both Roosevelts. Today’s President’s Walk connects many of the historic dots of this venerable New York capital.

Day 8-Jun 15: Convention activities from Albany (B)

Walk #10: Cooperstown Baseball Hall of Fame Walk, New York (post-Convention walk) – 5/10 km, rating unknown

The morning activity is a walk in Cooperstown, home of baseball’s Hall of Fame. The town was founded by Judge William Cooper, father of the first major American novelist, James Fenimore Cooper, whose titles included “Drums along the Mohawk”, “Last of the Mohicans”, and “The Deerslayer”. Cooperstown is another lovely old town whose streets are lined with classic, early American homes. Afternoon activities will be determined by the Convention schedule, but we return to Albany for one more night in our Convention hotel.

Day 9-Jun 16: Albany – West Point, New York (B)

Walk #11: Hyde Park Historic Home of FDR Walk, New York – 6/13 km, rated 3C (Y1108)
Walk #12: West Point US Military Academy Walk, New York – 7/10 km, rated 2B (Y0037)

We leave the Convention this morning but remain in New York for two classic YREs hosted by the Volkssport Club at West Point – Hyde Park and West Point. Hyde Park contains a wonderful blend of village streets, panoramas over the Hudson River, a mansion of the Gilded Age Vanderbilts, and the home of Franklin D. Roosevelt. Continuing south, walk #2 of the day explores West Point, both a National Historic Landmark and an active US Military Base and training academy. Chapels, historic monuments and the Classic Revival and Classic Tudor architecture combine with more magnificent views of the Hudson River for a walk that is memorable for both visual and historical attributes.

Day 10-Jun 17: West Point – Mystic, Connecticut (B)

Walk #13: Hartford Capital Walk, Connecticut – 5/10 km, rated 1A (Y0658)
Walk #14: Mystic River & Seaport Museum Walk, Connecticut – 10 km, rated 1A (Y1508)

We return to New England today with walks hosted by the Connecticut Valley Volkssport Club in Hartford, capital of Connecticut, and Mystic. The Hartford trail is a downtown and riverfront walk that passes the Old State House (1796) as well as the gothic revival state capitol and crosses two bridges over the Connecticut River. Our next stop is Mystic, situated on the shores of Block Island Sound and famous as a ship building center. After checking into our hotel here, the trail features a lively section of Main Street full of shops, restaurants, and former sea captain’s home, vistas of the lovely Mystic River, the Seaport Museum, and more photogenic early American architecture.

Day 11-Jun 18: Mystic – Newport, Rhode Island (B)

Walk #15: Providence Capital Walk, Rhode Island, 5/10 km, rated 2B (Y1092)
Walk #16: Newport Scenic Cliffs Walk, Rhode Island, 7/10 km; rated 2B (Y0729)

Our objective today is two YREs in Rhode Island, both sponsored by the Walk ‘N Mass Volkssport Club, in our nation’s smallest state. Founded by Roger Williams, a religious exile from the Massachusetts Bay Colony, in 1636, Providence is the capital of this state and one of the oldest cities in the USA. The route here passes the impressive State House, another array of historic homes, and a revitalized river walk and mall in the downtown area. Newport is famous as a summer resort for the super wealthy during the Gilded Age (late 19th century) but also for its rich sailing history and connection to the U.S. Navy. The walk here features the waterfront shopping district, lovely Victorian-era homes, and the renowned Cliff Walk with impressive ocean vistas. Time and interest permitting, we will offer an optional tour of the Breakers Mansion, a National Historic Landmark originally built by Cornelius Vanderbilt II, one of the “robber barons” of the Gilded Age – Price TBA.

Day 12-Jun 19: Newport – Boston, Massachusetts (BD)

Walk 17: Plymouth Walking in the Footsteps of the Pilgrims Walk, Massachusetts – 5/10 km, rated 2B (Y1018)

We turn north in Massachusetts today. The last highlight of our journey involves the first place in America connected with the original 13 colonies. Plymouth, of course, is where the Pilgrims first set foot after their historic 1620 voyage aboard the Mayflower from Plymouth, England. It served as capital of Plymouth Colony and was the site of many notable events that have become etched into the fabric of American history, not the least of which is Plymouth Rock and the First Thanksgiving. We have a block of several hours dedicated to enjoying the walk sponsored by Walk ‘N Mass. An optional visit to Plimoth Plantation, the splendid living history museum, will also be possible – Price TBA. Leaving Plymouth, we continue to Boston, returning to the same hotel in which we started. A Farewell Dinner together is a wonderful opportunity to share stories and reminisce about this odyssey through America’s past as we walked the trails of New Hampshire, Maine, Massachusetts, Vermont, New York, Connecticut, and Rhode Island!

Day 13-Jun 20: Depart from Boston (B)

We leave Boston today after walking 17 trails in New England and New York. Your guide will help to batch taxi rides to the airport and some space will be available on the hotel shuttle. Thank you for sharing this historic walking adventure at the 21st AVA Convention!

More Details

Click on each heading for more details.

How do I lock in my place on this Adventure?

To save yourself a spot on this Adventure, contact us to register with a $500 deposit as soon as possible! A maximum of 40 travelers will be accepted on this tour.

General Tour Conditions and Registration Form

To finalize your official registration, a completed and signed copy of the Registration Form is necessary. Please be sure to read all the fun stuff (the fine print) in the General Tour Conditions!

Traveler Rewards Program 2019 - NEW!

New Travelers receive a $200 discount on the AVA Convention & Trails of New England tour! Returning travelers receive our Alumni Traveler Discount of 5-10% off the main tour price. Terms, exclusions and conditions apply. See the Traveler Rewards 2019 page for more details or contact us with any questions at 800.779.0353 or [email protected].

Optional Excursions

The focus of this trip is WALKING, and that will consume most of our schedule each day. Several optional activities or meals, however, will be offered during the trip. Some of these are referred to in the tour brochure. Others will be communicated for your consideration between now and departure day.

How is airfare arranged?

Travelers will fly into and out of the Logan International Airport in Boston (airport code BOS). We recommend that you contact Debbi Custer, the travel agent we work with, to help book your flight arrangements. In this age of airfare complications and airport uncertainty, using a travel agent is a good investment! More details about flight arrangements and travel agent contact information will be provided in the Adventure Advice flyer, mailed to you after you register for the Adventure. Please do not book your airfare prior to receiving the Adventure Advice flyer!

What about the walks?

We generally walk at a pace of 2 to 3 miles per hour. In most cases, we are not “strolling.” We are walking at a relaxed but steady pace. Your experience will be significantly affected by your level of physical fitness. If not walking regularly at home, we strongly recommend that you make a priority of “training” beforehand in order to both enjoy the trip and avoid medical issues due to overexertion. If you have questions about your ability to participate, please talk with our office at 1.800.779.0353.

The walks on this tour are walks offered by local clubs and are therefore traditional volkssport walks with distances of approximately 6 miles (10 kilometers). Walks may be enjoyed independently; maps and directions will be provided. Your WAI Guide will be walking most of the walks and is happy to be the navigator for any who wish to have a guide. Shorter walk routes are often available.

AVA offers a trail/route rating system as follows:


1. Very small hills or very little stair climbing.
2. Some moderate hills or stair climbing.
3. Some significant hills or stair climbing.
4. Lots of significant hills or stair climbing.
5. Many steep hills.


A. Almost entirely on pavement.
B. A significant part of the route is on well-groomed trails with very few obstacles.
C. A significant part of the route is on somewhat difficult terrain (rocky / rooted paths or soft sand).
D. A significant part of the route is on very difficult terrain.
E. The majority of the route is on very difficult terrain.

Travel Insurance

WAI believes strongly in the importance of travel insurance for financial and medical protection from any number of unforeseen circumstances that can arise before departure or during your Adventure. Many travel insurance providers are available for you to consider. Debbi Custer of World Travel Inc., a travel agent who provides air travel services to many WAI travelers, can provide travel insurance options for your WAI tour as well as your airfare (email [email protected] -OR- call 1.888.276.0925 / 1.503.231.9507). For those of you who purchase airfare through Debbi, purchasing your travel insurance from her as well may be the simplest option. As always, do some shopping to ensure you are getting the best value. Using the squaremouth.com website can be a good way to compare pricing.  Other options include:

  • Allianz
  • Travel Guard
  • Betins
  • Travel Insured International

NOTE: We suggest purchasing from a reputable, well-established insurance company (avoid buying insurance from an unknown company found only online). In addition, be aware that some travel insurance policies contain time-sensitive provisions—i.e. some benefits are available only if the policy is purchased within a certain number of days of the purchase of the travel package.

What happens next?

Upon registering for this Adventure, you will receive a welcome letter and initial invoice. The Adventure Advice packet will be sent soon after, with important information about steps to take in the months before your trip. Please do not buy your airline tickets until you receive the Adventure Advice flyer. The final payment for the program is due 90 days before departure, and you will receive a final billing about 3 weeks prior to that point, along with a factsheet of additional information about the Adventure to help you get prepared! Then, about 3 weeks before departure, you will receive a final packet with all the details of the program, including hotel names and contact information, a list of fellow travelers, and a more detailed daily schedule.

We look forward to sharing the scenic delights and historical insights on the AVA Convention & Trails of New England tour with you!