Tuesday, May 2, 2017
A Little Hidden Gem in Litchfield, CT!
It's amazing how much time I have spent visiting all of the State Parks and State Forests around the tiny state of Connecticut. I have lived here for 25 years now. I can't believe it's been that long and I don't know where the time has gone. I have lived in the northwest hills of Connecticut for 23 years, and I can't believe that in all that time, I am just hearing about a magnificent place called Topsmead State Forest. The very first time I ever heard of this place was last year. It's right up the road from my house. Amazing.
Topsmead State Forest is the former summer estate of Miss Edith Morton Chase, daughter of Henry Sabin Chase and Alice Morton Chase. Henry Sabin Chase was the first President of Chase Brass and Copper Company in Waterbury. Chase Brass was one of the leaders in the brass industry when Waterbury was the Brass Capital of the world. -CT.gov DEEP.
That means that there is a beautiful old manor house on the 500 acre property. Don't kid yourselves, this place is a State Park, not just a forest. It has manicured lawns and great views from the hilltop. I think that it may have been a funding thing that led to it being labeled a State Forest. Connecticut does have severe budget problems.
At any rate, the place is gorgeous! Unfortunately, the house is not open. There are bathrooms provided on the grounds, and I do believe that the house is available for rental for special occasions. The house itself on a regular basis is just for view from outside. It is lovely however, and the view from the hilltop is well worth it.
There are 500 acres in this park and a lot of that space is devoted to bird watching and open space. They do have one thing that I found very cool. They have a wildlife viewing blind in the middle of one of the vast fields across the dirt road from the manor house. This blind is overlooking the butterfly garden. This is a great place to view butterflies when in season. I only saw one while I was there this time of year, but since it's still pretty early; I'm guessing that later on there will be tons of butterflies for viewing. There's a lot of information right in the blind to teach you what you are looking at and looking for. It's a great place to take the kids to learn about nature.
Topsmead State Forest is a wide open natural wonderland that is a great getaway for those of us who live in town and love to get out and see some nature. It's fields are vast, it's views are amazing, it's wildlife is accessible for viewing, and there are tons of places to take walks and have picnics. If you like to have enough room to play some football while out with the family, then this place is for you. It's free, it's gorgeous and it's close by for those of us who live in the northwestern hills of Connecticut.
It's only one of many things to do outdoors in Litchfield as well. I love to walk at the Lourdes Shrine and hike at White Memorial. Litchfield is one of the richer parts of the state, but also one of the more beautiful parts of the state. It's a great place to spend the weekend if you love the outdoors. So come, see some great estates, hike some fabulous trails, see the twelve stations of the cross in a gorgeous setting, eat some good food and spend some time at a fabulous little state forest called Topsmead in Litchfield, Connecticut. Enjoy!