FENTON-RUBY PARK AND WILDLIFE PRESERVE
Sandwiched between sprawling farmland and gentle hills, sits a 305-acre plot of land that entices the everyday hiker.
At first glance, the Fenton-Ruby Park and Wildlife Preserve in Willington is like many other parks - dotted with benches and picnic tables to make the spot extra inviting for visitors. But, once you come upon it, the scenery alone makes the effort unnecessary.
On one side is the wooded heart of the preserve showcasing a healthy mix of trees including oak, maple and beech. On the other, overgrown meadows and a peak at Taylor Pond buffeted by the colors of autumn.
There are several trails that meander through the property. But, glancing at Taylor Pond, I wanted to see more. Traveling down the road, I made my way to the yellow-blazed trailhead that leads to the prized spot. It begins in the forest, lined with stone walls once used to mark property boundary lines.
Remnants of two such homesteads remain today. Granite markers pinpoint the location of the well-known Marcy family’s home; the other is marked by the foundation of the old Taylor House. Both can be seen as you make your way along the park’s trail system.
But, the true star of this space is the pond itself. Coming upon it, two wooden chairs on the edge invite visitors to take a seat. And, I made sure I did.
I watched the ducks drifting atop the still water. And, I took in the vivid colors of fall as they danced on its surface. The sound of rustling leaves dropping to the forest floor acted as background music as I relaxed and took in the show.
And the show does go on – not only for visitors to this serene spot but, to the wildlife that so relies upon it. From great blue herons to hawks, the pond is a natural hunting ground for predatory birds. And, it serves as a natural niche for the fish, turtles, and beavers that call this watering hole home.
Not to be outdone, surrounding grasslands and the nearby Fenton River also add layers to this diverse forest environment – serving as an oasis for wildlife and explorers alike.
And one, that shouldn’t be missed.
Directions: Take I-84 E. Take exit 69 for CT-74 toward US-44/Willington/Putnam. Continue on CT-74 E. Turn left onto Moose Meadow Rd. Turn right onto Burma Rd/Taylor Rd for the entrance to the park.
Trail Distance: 1.5 miles
Trail Difficulty: Easy