WESTFIELD-Martha Roman has enjoyed the beauty and history of Stanley Park for many years — and shares her love for the park as a tour guide each year with a behind-the-scenes look at what you might miss on a visit.
“I enjoy meeting people and sharing the history of Stanley Park with them,” said Roman, who grew up in Agawam and noted her first park remembrance was in high school.
“A faculty member of our yearbook staff was a photographer and lived in Granville,” said Roman. “I don’t remember what our yearbook theme was but the staff was photographed at the slate map of the United States at Stanley Park.”
Roman said the 90-minute tour she leads always includes the story of Stanley Home Products founder Frank Stanley Beveridge and the Enchanted Oak.
“Frank Stanley Beveridge had a summer office at the park,” she said. “He would bring sales people out to see the tree and use it as a symbol to be the best you can be.”
Roman, a resident of Westfield, noted her “sense of pride” for the park always comes through during her tours.
“People who live in the area will take the tour and always learn something new,” she said.
Free guided tours by trained volunteers will be offered on May 8, 22, June 5 and 19 from 9-10:30 a.m. and due to COVID-19 precautions, social distancing of six feet will be observed and participants are required to wear a face mask.
All tours will begin at the Carillon Tower and participants are reminded to wear comfortable shoes. Tour reservations can be made by calling (413) 568-9312, ext. 108 or 112.
Roman, who has been a park guide for 10 years, will lead off the first tour on May 8, and other guides who offer their expertise are Linda Hauk, Dorinne Rodriguez and Denise Calvo-Berndt.
“We are following state and city guidelines regarding social distancing,” said Hillary McEwan, development and event coordinator at Stanley Park. “We are limiting each tour group to 10 people for the safety of our volunteers and patrons.”
McEwan noted the tour covers the main areas of the park, from the rose gardens and wildflower gardens in the wooded area, to the Duck Pond and Meeting House.
“The majority of the tour is on paved walkways and/or flat stone walkways,” she said, adding that the walkways may include some stairs.
McEwan noted the four tour guides – combined – “have many years of experience giving park tours and it goes without saying, knowledge of the park.”
McEwan encourages area residents to consider enjoying the outdoors and taking a tour in the coming weeks.
“The tours are very informative on the history of all of the gardens, monuments and structures at the park,” said McEwan. “Aside from the educational components of the park and its history, the participants will get a nice leisurely walk in while enjoying nature at its best.”
On a related note, a “Yoga in the Park” series of classes will be offered on Wednesdays from May 5 through June 23 from 5:30-6:30 p.m. on the Acre Lawn, next to the pavilion annex. Certified instructor Jacqueline Funaro will lead the class that is offered for all levels of yoga practitioners, and all abilities are welcome.
Participants are asked to bring their own mat and any props as needed, wear comfortable and stretchy clothes, and bring water. Social distancing is required and all mats will need to be a minimum of six feet apart.
Donations to the park are welcome, with a suggested donation of $5 per person per class. Persons are asked to wear a face mask and practice social distancing at the registration table when checking in for each session.
All participants will need to sign up prior to class by emailing a registration form to [email protected] The form can be found at stanleypark.org. To ensure social distancing requirements, the sessions will be limited to 30 people per class.
Another popular class at Stanley Park returns – Zumba in the Park – from May 4 through June 22. Classes will be conducted on Tuesdays from 6-7 p.m. in the Beveridge Pavilion.
Certified instructor Becca Perron will lead the Latin-inspired Zumba workouts which will be low-impact and high-energy, ideal for beginners and seasoned Zumba participants.
Children 10 and older are welcome with an adult. Participants should wear comfortable workout clothes and sneakers, and bring water.
Donations to the park are welcome, with a donation of $5 per person per class. Each class will be limited to 30 people to ensure social distancing requirements are met. A registration form can be found at stanleypark.org to complete and email to [email protected] Classes will be filled on a first-come, first-served basis.