During the pandemic, our Explore CNY series has taken us hours away from Utica-Rome, in all directions on the compass--from the Adirondacks to the Finger Lakes and to the Southern Tier. But, if you don't have the time or inclination to travel a long distance, there's a great option for hiking and nature right in the Mohawk Valley.

Sherrill Brook Park, also known as the New Hartford Town Park, is small enough and close enough to reach and enjoy even if you only have 30 minutes to spare. But it's also large enough to get lost in--we know, because we've done it. Don't worry, though, the trails are well-marked and cover a little less than two miles. There are small foot bridges to easily cross the creek that runs throughout the park.

The wooded trails are well marked with color swatches on the trees, and they're rated as "Easy," according to the All Trails app. There's also a paved loop around the playing fields and playground.

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And this place is dog-friendly, including a fenced-in doggie play area, where your pet can meet and interact with other dogs--of course only if the social distancing edict is relaxed. You wouldn't want to run the risk of your pooch coming down with the Coronavirus.

The park is also the site of the New Hartford Farmer's Market, set to re-open soon for its Tuesday evening festivities.