Perhaps you’ve heard of The Grace Trail® at Samuel M. Paretz Park at Bridebrook and wondered what it’s all about? Or maybe you’ve walked the Trail yourself but would like to learn more about how it was originally conceived and eventually brought to our community? Well, the team who brought this tranquil trail to our town will be on-hand to introduce it and answer your questions at an upcoming Walk and Talk event.

First, what is it? The Grace Trail at Bridebrook is a self-guided walking path, just under a mile long, that features five signs, each beginning with a letter in the word Grace. The letters invite you to explore the following questions as you walk:

Gratitude: What am I grateful for?

Release: What do I need to release?

Acceptance: What do I need to accept?

Challenge: How would I like to challenge myself?

Embrace: What can I embrace as possible?

When you get to a question, pause, ask and listen. Reflect as you move to the next letter. Try the interactive QR-Code on each sign to receive personalized thought-provoking messages on your phone for each of the questions as you walk the Trail.

The purpose of The Grace Trail is to offer an opportunity for you to reflect alone or with others on meaningful questions that can assist in your life and work. It may be used for contemplation, problem-solving, a sharing conversation with others or simply honoring and exploring all of life’s twists and turns. We have all experienced those – especially during these last couple of years.

An award-winning life coach, Anne Barry Jolles is the founder and innovator of the original Grace Trail in Plymouth, Massachusetts – the one that has inspired other trails nationwide. More than two decades ago, overwhelming events in Anne’s life brought her to the word Grace and its meaning. When walking accompanied the thoughtful reflection of each of the five words, she found that magic happens. It was this magic that she was inspired to share with others.

Visit to learn how the original Grace Trail was conceived and implemented, and how it is being brought to numerous communities around the globe. Here, you can learn more about Anne and how the idea for The Grace Trail came to her at precisely the right moment in her life. You’ll also find lots of helpful information for how you can personally utilize The Grace Trail to help you live your best life. Anne is proud and delighted that so many others are choosing to create a Grace Trail in their own neck of the woods. She has said that the momentum is growing for Grace Trails around the country and the world… one step… one question… one Trail at a time.

And we have Rachel Baer to thank for our very own Grace Trail right here in Niantic. An East Lyme resident and yoga instructor, Rachel’s passion is to provide high-quality chair yoga and fall prevention to seniors and those with limited mobility. Several years ago, after reading the self-help book The Grace Trail by Anne Barry Jolles, Rachel was inspired to bring this meditative path to the 0.8 mile walking trail that already existed at Samuel M. Peretz Park at Bridebrook. Through her dedication and persistence, and always with a genuine smile and pure compassion, Rachel saw the Trail through to completion in the fourth quarter of 2020. As it turned out, the timing was perfect, as we were in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic and could all benefit from the healing energy of The Grace Trail. Rachel says, “We all need more grace and compassion in our lives, and walking The Grace Trail is a great way to find a moment of peace and reflection in our busy lives.”

This self-guided walk was installed as a gift for the community to experience and enjoy as a mindful, meditative walk alone or with others. Rachel says, “I would like to thank the many members of the East Lyme community and the Parks & Recreation Department for their donations and encouragement to make The Grace Trail in East Lyme possible. Thank you to Chris Dubord of One Look Signs for his work to create and install the signs and to all those who continue to donate books for the little libraries. Most of all, I would like to thank Anne Jolles for her willingness to share her beautiful idea of The Grace Trail with all of us.”

Walk and Talk

The Walk and Talk event is scheduled for Friday, June 10, at 11 a.m. at the Samuel M. Paretz Park at Bridebrook, located at 221 W. Main Street in Niantic. Join Anne and Rachel as they provide a short introduction; learn how The Grace Trail came to be in our very own backyard. Then join them as they discuss the Trail while walking the full loop around the park. All questions are welcome. Free and great activity for all ages.

For this event, near the two little free libraries at the end of the Trail, Rachel will have a table set up with books for all ages. Take a look and bring one home. Rachel personally keeps the libraries well-stocked year-round, so stop by often!

Also, for the June 10 event, there will be a donation box for non-perishable food items for Care and Share of East Lyme, our local food pantry. Your contributions are very much appreciated.

In addition to the Grace Trail website, visit the East Lyme Grace Trail on Facebook or Instagram to learn more.


About Our Main Street Blogger:
Joanne lives in, and loves, our community. She was looking for an opportunity to help share all that our local businesses do to make East Lyme such a special place to call home, and she is excited to contribute to our blog. Joanne brings to the role her experience from New London Main Street where she contributed content to their website, newsletters and email communications for many years.

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