River Highlands State Park, Cromwell CT

25 07 2018

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(Text from DEEP website) Where once there were farm fields and pastures, today there is a totally wooded, wonderfully situated, twenty-first century state park. Dedicated in 2001, this recent addition to the park system preserves 177 acres of ecologically important Connecticut River frontage. Tucked into a growing suburban landscape, River Highlands has escaped development to provide a quiet refuge with a wonderful view.

IMG_5659Lush with mixed woodlands dominated by oak, beech, and white pine, the hilly topography ranges in elevation from about 15 feet above sea level by the river to over 150 feet at the northern and southern high spots on the bluffs.

The most level area, or at least the most gently sloping, is at the park entrance on Field Road. It was here, and to the north, that pasture and field once flourished. Today the woodlands have taken over and the wetland systems have rebuilt themselves offering the visitor a true glimpse of the tranquility of the Eastern Forests.

IMG_5664But the real asset of the park is the view from the bluffs it protects. The Connecticut River, beautiful from so many locations, is at its best here. The bluffs are highest at the northern end of the park rising 130 feet above the water, and the view is ample reward for the hike to get there.

The are many trails in the park to lead the hiker across wooden bridges, over streams, along the 150 foot high bluff, or down to the water’s edge past a unique geologic feature known as the blowhole. Here one can hear the wind as it whistles past the bluffs. The Native Americans came to listen to the “wind being caught by the spirit of the earth.” When the colonists arrived they called it Devil’s Blowhole, believing it was an act of Satan. Sailors knew it as an area of quick winds as the park is just upstream of one of the tightest bends on the lower river.

 

Lunch at Ambrosia, Cromwell

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Moosup Valley State Park, Plainville and Roseland Cottage, Woodstock, CT

12 07 2018

IMG_5547(Text from DEEP website): The Moosup Valley State Park Trail (MVSPT) is a 5.8 mile rail trail in eastern Connecticut. It passes through the towns of Sterling and Plainfield on the rail bed of the former New Haven Railroad. It is a link in the ongoing assemblage of the East Coast Greenway. The former New Haven Railroad operated along this rail bed from 1898 to 1968.

In Plainfield, the trail is about 2.2 miles long with its western terminus at the River Street parking area.  Heading east, the trail skirts the edge of the Moosup River Valley and offers occasional scenic vistas.

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We had a fun lunch at Deary Brothers Mike’s Stand

(Text from Deary Brothers website): As we celebrate our 81st anniversary, we are honored to highlight the fine heritage of the Deary family and that of the outstanding employees who are the foundation of our success.

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(Old) Tom and (Old) Jim Deary (of Dudley, MA.) founded Deary Bros. Inc. in 1913.  They processed milk and other dairy products and distributed their goods from house to house.  They expanded their business into other areas and eventually opened this ice cream stand in 1937.  They found a  perfect location, however the house that stood at the desired location had to be moved around the corner to make room for the new business.  The original house would eventually become the home of (Young) Tom and Teddy Deary and their thirteen children.  Each of the thirteen children worked countless hours at The Stand.

Mr. Jones and Bill Moyer initially ran the family owned business.  The Stand featured the best ice cream in the area.  Five and ten cent cones were served for hours at a time from each of the ten windows at The Stand.

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Next was the Roseland Cottage!

(Text from the Roseland Cottage website): Built in 1846 in the newly fashionable Gothic Revival style, Roseland Cottage was the summer home of Henry and Lucy Bowen and their young family. While the house is instantly recognizable for its pink exterior, Roseland Cottage has an equally colorful interior, featuring elaborate wall coverings, heavily patterned carpets, and stained glass, much of which survives unchanged from the Victorian era. The house is a National Historic Landmark.

Woodstock native Henry Bowen returned to his hometown after establishing a successful business in New York City. He used Roseland Cottage as a place to entertain friends and political connections, including four U.S. presidents. The picturesque landscape includes original boxwood-edged parterre gardens planted in the 1850s. The estate includes an icehouse, aviary, carriage barn, and the nation’s oldest surviving indoor bowling alley. It reflects the principles of Andrew Jackson Downing, a leading nineteenth-century tastemaker.