Hiking For Friendly’s Celebration!!

26 04 2018

celebration-2.jpgCherry and I returned to the “scene of the crime” where our Friendly’s adventures began, in Cromwell, CT. Surrounded by family and friends, we recounted our story of visiting 22 Connecticut Friendly’s and our associated hikes.

celebration-1.jpgCromwell’s manager Sean and his excellent staff took good care of us, with complimentary sundaes and goodie bags from Corporate Headquarters.

celebration-4.jpgWe all had Friendly’s memories and stories to share and a chance to reunite with long-time friends and cross-pollinate with others.

celebration-5.jpgThe perfect activities for a gloomy, rainy afternoon!

celebration-3.jpgThank you, Cromwell Friendly’s, all the other Connecticut stores, and Headquarters for making a memorable day!

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Hopeville Pond SP

19 04 2018
Hopeville Pond 1

Sky’s the Limit Site #11

From the DEEP website:

The Pachaug River was a major fishing ground for the Mohegan Indians. At low water the stone weirs, constructed by the Indians at angles from the river banks, are still visible. These weirs directed water flow as well as eels, shad, and other fish toward the center of the stream where the Indians placed baskets to trap them. Until blocked up by a dam, constructed in 1828 at Greenville, shad passed up the Quinebaug River in great numbers.

In pioneer times, the gristmill and sawmill were among the first requisites of a community. In 1711, surveyor Stephen Gates was granted fourteen acres of land within the limits of the present state park for the purpose of constructing mills. He erected a sawmill and cornmill at the natural falls (now underwater) on the Pachaug River for the convenience of the inhabitants. In 1818, Elizah Abel purchased this mill privilege and erected a woolen mill at the site. John Slater later purchased the woolen mill, sawmill, and gristmill; he then built a satinet mill faced with local granite. He named his new mill the Hope Mill. The name Hopeville was derived from this and has remained to the present time. In 1860, the village of Hopeville reached its zenith with the tremendous demands for woolens. At this time, it was owned by Edwin Lanthrop and Company and prospered until 1881 when the mill was destroyed by fire, never to be rebuilt. At the turn of the century, the church and four houses in the community burned. Furthermore, in 1908, the gristmill which had operated from 1711 until that time also went up in flames.

Hopeville Pond 5

View from parking area

The site’s suitability for recreational activities was recognized in the 1930’s when the Federal Government purchased considerable acreage in Eastern Connecticut. These lands were managed by the Civilian Conservation Corps with evidence of much of the work done by the CCC still visible in the pine plantations, forest roads, and fire control ponds. Most of these federally purchased lands now comprise portions of the nearby Pachaug State Forest. In 1938 Hopeville Pond was designated as a state park.

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High water flow on our hike

Hopeville Pond 2

Bizarre canker in birch tree

Hopeville Pond 3

We reach the small waterfall

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It must be time for lunch!





Old Furnace SP

18 04 2018
Old Furnace 1

Sky’s the Limit #5

Colonial New England was famed for its use of water power to drive the machinery in its mills. The potential energy that could be harnessed from flowing water was based on the steepness of the elevational drop in the streambed; the greater the drop, the more the potential power.

Old Furnace 2

Water was raging during our visit!

(Text from the DEEP site) Iron making was one of the many industries to use water power. Iron ore was processed in a blast furnace and produced iron that could be formed into a wide variety of items necessary in 18th century America. It is from a former iron furnace on this site that the park draws its name. And this furnace was especially of value in the revolutionary war when it was a major supplier of horseshoes, a commodity greatly needed by the Continental Army. As times changed and the iron ore resource was exhausted, the need for and use of water power also changed. By the 1830s, this location was the site of a grist mill.

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Interesting bridge crossing!

Through the years as local industry changed on the land, so too was there change in the ownership of the land. By 1909 the property owner, William Pike, made the decision to sell the location to the town of Killingly for a municipal park. Nine years after that, in 1918, Killingly sold the park property to the State of Connecticut which has since added more land to form the park we have today. And while explorers will find some remnants of the furnace operation still existing by the brook, many early features have been lost over the years to the landscaping that created the present park setting.

Old Furnace 5

Rock formations

Today the park’s recreational landscape compliments the historic landscape of yesterday. One of Connecticut’s best short hiking trails is a case in point. Hikers may access the trail by crossing Furnace Brook opposite the picnic area and locating the light blue blazes on the trees. Any question of effort will prove worthwhile with the panorama from the rocky outcrops. The view, from 200 feet above the valley, is described by some as stunning, and encompasses Half Hill Pond (also known as Upper Ross Pond) in the immediate foreground and in the distance an unobscured view across eastern Killingly and beyond into Rhode Island. A lush mix of deciduous and coniferous tree cover surrounds the lowland wetlands and adds a special mix of vibrant color in the fall.

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Beautiful ferns and formations

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Brunch… (and she ate the whole thing!)