Old Wethersfield preserve shines as true hidden gem - WFSB 3 Connecticut

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Old Wethersfield preserve shines as true hidden gem

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Path leads hikers by small pond. Path leads hikers by small pond.
Ruins of historic Robbins House along the path. Ruins of historic Robbins House along the path.

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.  

GMCT’s Wood Parcel


Little pieces of Americana are all around you – if you look hard enough. A great example of that is along the trail of Great Meadows’ Wood Parcel in Wethersfield.

For such a small slice of property, Wood Parcel packs in a lot of elements. It marries the natural landscape of a quintessential marsh with that of a multi-generational farm. It also reveals a history steeped in both 18th century living and Native American culture – something I wasn’t quite expecting.

My travels began in a small field off a residential street in Old Wethersfield. And almost immediately, lush, thick plant life explodes in wild abandon on either side of the narrow path before me.

The flora falls away to reveal a beautiful marsh known as Fearful Swamp. A metal bridge crosses over Beaver Brook where the sounds of croaking frogs in the simmering heat adds to the Amazon-like feel of these woods.

Not far from here, the trail breaks off to form a wide loop. Traveling counterclockwise, I was afforded more captivating views of the marsh before coming upon a working farm where sweet corn is grown. This is the same land once used by Pyquag Native Americans to grow their own crops during the summer months.   

Looping back, I passed an algae-filled pond where small reptiles and amphibians call home. Sometimes you can see herons and hawks in this treasured spot, but I had no such luck spotting them this morning.

Further along the trail, I came across more clues to the land’s rich history. The crumbling site of the historic Robbins House sat stoically in the underbrush –the foundation stones folded upon itself. It’s here that this 18th century home was razed to make way for busy route 3 – now, with its zooming cars just mere feet away.

That traffic din quickly faded away on my return trip into the heart of the wood. Once again, I crossed the metal bridge to pass the lovely landscape that first drew me in.

This is the type of hike I truly relish – a hidden gem in the shadow of modern life that make me feel like I’m a world away.

Directions: From I-91 North take Exit 24 to Route 99 N. Take route 99 for a little more than a mile. Turn right onto Route 3 N. At the first light turn right onto Middletown Ave. Make a U turn to park on the left side of Middletown Ave.

Trail Distance: .5 miles

Trail Difficulty: Easy