Thursday, June 11, 2015
A Little Piece of Connecticut...Harkness
Sorry about my absence last week. I was down due to computer problems, and it will probably happen again before it's over. So, moving on to what I was doing while the computer was out. I took a little day trip to a park that I'd heard of but never been to--Harkness Memorial State Park in Waterford, CT.
The centerpiece of Harkness park is the Eolia Mansion, named after the island home of the Greek God of winds. The mansion was built in 1906 and was the home of the Harkness family thereafter. The grounds cover 230 acres and run right up to Long Island Sound. The downside to this place is that you cannot currently tour the house. You can look in the windows and see that it's not furnished much anyway. They say that they are working on getting the tours started again, so hopefully that is fixed soon. But, that's the only downside here.
The gardens are some of the best parts of this one. I found Harkness because I was searching for some nice gardens to visit. They have a greenhouse that is more active for visiting in early spring. They have Italian gardens with arbors and fountains, sculptures and ponds all around three sides of the house. They are beautiful, fragrant, and a great place to enjoy a beautiful day. They also open up to a great view of the rest of the grounds.
The grounds are wide open, with amazing views all up and down the shore of Long Island Sound. There's a beach available for sunbathers. There's a picnic and family area that's huge and has plenty of amenities that's right off the beach. There's a huge lawn that goes right to the rocks along the shore in other places. There's even a rocky beach that's full of nesting birds part of the year, so you can bring your dog to the park, but please do not take dogs on the bird nesting area of the beach.
Harkness is a beautiful spot, with beautiful buildings, gardens, lawns, shore, and beach. It's a restful and photogenic place to spend the day. Next to the park there is a camp for autistic children, so if you have that need, check it out. The park costs $10 to get in per car, so come and enjoy a day with amazing views.
Then again, if you like cars, or love cars, come visit Harkness on the first Sunday in June. If you love British cars, this is a must.
Every year the Connecticut MG Club sponsors British By The Sea. It's all cars and Land Rovers British. There are so many cars that you won't be bored or disappointed. I can vouch for the fact that Connecticut folks love to have car shows, so we've all been to a thousand of them, but this one is different. Most of the time you see the same old cars that just spend the summer and fall touring the state and stopping at all the shows, but these are different. I saw things there that I'd never seen anywhere. I saw things I'd never heard of. It was great and it was a learning experience for me.
So, cars, architecture, and nature. It's a well rounded day, and something for everyone. It's a great place to spend a little time and unwind. It's also particularly great for shutterbugs. There are many things to do in the area though, being one of the busiest tourist areas in the state. Mystic, both Mohegan Sun and Foxwoods Casinos, Groton Submarine Museum, Dinosaur Park, Eugene O'Neil Theater, and Ocean Beach Park are all right in the area. It's also not far to the Long Island Ferry in New London. So, spend a day or a week having fun in the sun in Connecticut. Take some time and stop by Harkness Memorial State Park and have a great time. Enjoy!