It was an amazing decision that my mother, Ann Stoppleworth, made to sell 55 acres of open space to the town of Tolland, Connecticut. To the degree that I supported my mother and helped her carry out the transaction, I am proud to be part of a legacy of creating a beautiful space for everyone to enjoy, including the magical gnomes. From the Hartford Courant:
A shaft of sunlight escapes to the forest floor and illuminates a thick clump of ferns like a spotlight highlighting a singer on a stage.
Gnarled roots from a huge tree uncoil over a rock ledge covered with moss and lichen.
Welcome to gnome country.
We all probably see the same images when we think of gnomes: bearded little forest folk with conical hats, hanging out under a mushroom or smoking a pipe or doing some gardening. (Or going to some exotic destination via Travelocity.)
Gnomes are on my mind as I hike through the Stoppleworth Conservation Area, a 55-acre nature preserve in Tolland. Maybe it’s the moss, the ferns, the boulders shaded by evergreens that have me looking around for the mythical creatures. Or maybe it’s the letterbox — part of a scavenger-hunt system of clues and hidden containers — declaring the preserve as the home of Napoleon Gnome. Whatever the reason, Stoppleworth draws you in as soon as you pass through the split-rail fence from the parking lot. [full text]