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.
Burr Pond State Park
Don't get me wrong. Sometimes, there is nothing better than hiking the great outdoors. But, breaking routine is just as important. So, this time around I decided to change it up a bit.
I scouted a spot up in Torrington where trails and water converge to offer visitors a lot to do. Many families flock to Burr Pond State Park for the swimming. But, kayaking is a great way to explore this fresh-water resource as well.
With school out, I took my oldest daughter Belle with me as a perfect way to kick off summer. Keep in mind there is a fee to enter the park in-season as there is for all state-run parks. But, what attracted me to this particular place is that kayaks are available to rent right on site.
We chose to ride in tandem – sharing a boat – and slipped into the water with relative ease. Belle was my guide on this trip and set our agenda for the morning.
We began simply enough following the shore of a rocky outcrop in the 85-acre pond. The water here is shallow and still enough to see to the bottom. These first tentative ‘steps' allowed us to be a bit more adventurous. So, we set out for the center of the lake and the opposite shore.
Still free from the beach crowds, the pond was quite picturesque this morning. The water – framed by rolling hills and billowy clouds -- also maintains the park's peaceful allure. After reaching the outer shore, we poked around a rocky island filled with chattering birds. We continued our way along the tree-lined water before heading back across the water and to, yet another, rocky outcrop.
After a bit more exploration, we made our way to a narrow inlet that sits well behind the park's beach area. Low-hanging branches graze the water at its outer edges – while the sun's dazzling rays dapple the surface closer to its center. Apparently, it's a sweet spot for fishermen too. Just yards away from us, an angler was casting his line from a boat of his own – patiently waiting for a bite.
Leaving the inlet, the sounds emanating from the beach easily reached our ears as more people arrived to enjoy the day. Belle and I decided it was the right time to glide back to our starting point.
Here, our trip ended. But, for those looking for more, an added hike along the park's handful of trails is a great way to finish the day. The trails offer a mix of beauty and history for the interested hiker – including the site of the world's first condensed milk factory.
But, tempting as it sounds, we were too tired and hungry from our own morning workout to continue on. I guess that particular adventure would just have to wait another day.
Directions: Take I-84 W to Exit 39 toward CT-4/Farmington. Continue on State Hwy 508 which bears slightly right before becoming CT-4 W. Take slight right to stay on CT-4 W. Continue onto CT-179 N. Turn right onto Bridge St. Turn left onto CT-179 N/River Rd. Turn left onto US-202 W for about six miles. Turn right onto Cedar Ln. Turn right onto Torringford St. Turn left onto Greenwoods Rd. Continue onto Burr Mountain Rd. for about a half-mile. The park entrance is on the left.
Trail Difficulty: Easy
Trail Distance: 2.5 miles