Since childhood, my love of the outdoors has always been a part of me. And as an adult, I hope to share that passion with my own children.
So, I offered this challenge to my family, to join me in exploring the hidden treasures and more popular gems Connecticut and the surrounding region have to offer.
From hiking to biking to kayaking, I hope my window into the outside world inspires you to explore as well.
PERIMETER TRAIL LONG HILL ESTATE in Middletown
On any given day, a trip to the Wadsworth Mansion in Middletown is a treat. But, to explore the trails that encircle this 103-acre property is just as rewarding.
Getting to the Long Hill Estate is relatively easy, with parking available at two lots adjacent to the 1908 home. The building is steeped in history and served as a summer residence for Colonel Clarence S. Wadsworth and his wife Katharine Hubbard back in its heyday.
The property was designed with conservation and forestry in mind. And, the trail system winding through its land is symbolic of that vision.
There are two trails to choose from. One, is the smaller, but gratifying Olmsted Loop that intersects the longer Perimeter Trail at two points. On this day, my family decided to tackle the latter.
So, we picked up the 1.5 mile trek from the lower lot, easily accessing the trail by the stone wall. The Perimeter is marked by blue blazes that are easy to follow. The trail was swift and gentle for the kids, including my four-year-old who came along for the morning journey.
Most of the path leads through the woods surrounding the property. A break in the scenery came as we crossed the road that leads up to the mansion from Wadsworth Street. Once, back in the woods, the trail takes an uphill swing, briefly coming to one of the highest points in Middletown known as Long Hill.
Despite the upswing, our hike was never overly strenuous. In fact, we quickly gained speed as we came upon wooden bridges that cross normally swampy terrain. We also took a detour to check out the small pond located on the property. But, it turned out to be dry as well.
Nevertheless, as we came out of the woods, the real reward was the mansion's sweeping grounds that greeted us. You can see why it's become such a popular wedding spot or the ideal place for an impromptu picnic. We reveled in the sunlight cascading on the south lawn and took the time to drink in our surroundings.
After getting our fill, we entered the tree line once again, taking the trail north. A small path connects to Laurel Grove Road on the left, which also leads to Wadsworth Falls State Park. The park has its own wealth of trails that are well worth exploring.
But on this day, our focus was on the path in hand. It wasn't hard to do as we strolled through the hush of the forest, delighting in the elegant stone walls lining the way.
And as our walk began to wind down, with it, came a glimpse of a horse and its rider just a few steps away. Yet, another subtle reminder of how this place marries the present and past so harmoniously.
Directions: Take Route 66 to West Street in Middletown. Go south until it intersects with Wadsworth Street. Turn right onto Wadsworth Street for about .3 miles. The entrance will be on the left.
Parking: Lots are to the west and rear of Wadsworth Mansion.
Trail Difficulty: Easy
Trail Length: 1.5 miles Copyright 2014 WFSB (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.??