Tag Archives: Park

Pinchot Sycamore Tree Park (Simsbury, CT)

Date Of Visit: September 10, 2017

Location: Hartford Rd Rt 185, Simsbury, CT

Hours: open daily, dawn until dusk

Cost: Free

Parking: There is free parking for about 10 cars to park.

Handicapped Accessible: Yes

Dog Friendly: Yes

Website: Pinchot Sycamore Tree Park

Highlights: biggest tree in Connecticut, boat launch, bench to sit

Tips:

  • It may be better to see the size of the tree in the fall, winter and spring when the trees skeleton is visible to fully appreciate the size of the tree
  • The park is the right just before the Bataan Corregidor Memorial Bridge on Rt 185 or just after the bridge, depending upon which way you’re traveling
  • Despite what your GPS says the best road to take to get to the tree is probably Cobtail Way

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Everyday, hundreds, if not thousands, of people pass by a historic landmark without even realizing it.  It is interesting  that so many people miss out on viewing the biggest tree in Connecticut and never know it.

When it was most recently measured in 2016 by the Connecticut Botanical Society, the trunk of the Pinchot Sycamore Tree was listed at 28 feet (8.5 meters) around and 100 feet (30 meters) tall.  It is estimated to be at least 200 years old and could be as old as 300 years.  The tree’s branches sprout in various directions.  With its thick, far reaching limbs, it could easily be used in a horror movie.

The tree was named in honor of influential conservationist and Connecticut resident Gifford Pinchot in 1965.  There was a re-dedication  in 1975.

There are two markers located by the tree.  The first marker (on the left below) is a thank you to all of the groups who have worked to make the park possible.  The second marker (on the right below) is the marker from the original dedication in 1965.  You’ll note the tree’s circumference was recorded as being 23 feet and 7 inches (as opposed to the 28 feet it was measured at in 2016).

To get a better sense of the size of the tree, take a look at the trunk of the this tree in proportion to this model.

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There is also a bench located near the back of the tree that is dedicated to Pauline Schwartz.  The note on the bench states, “Come Have A Seat By Pauline Schwartz’s Favorite Tree” with some designs and, although it is slightly worn, an image that appears to be a person’s face.  Pauline, a native of Bridgeport, CT, passed away in 2013 in Las Vegas, NV.  A bench was dedicated in her honor because of her love of the park.

Behind the tree, almost hidden from the park is a boat launch that offers views of the Farmington River.

The entrance to the park is a little hard to find, unless you know where.  ON Rt 185 just before or after the bridge, there are two green poles that mark the entrance to the park.  The road to the parking lot is short but a little narrow.

As I mentioned in the tips section, it’s probably better to fully appreciate the size of the during the fall, winter or spring when the leaves are off the tree, so you can see the full size of the tree without the leaves hiding the skeleton of the tree.  Below is a photo of what the tree looks like without its leaves (from foursquare.com).


Great Island Common (New Castle, NH)

Date Of Visit: September 23, 2017

Location: 301 Wentworth Rd. (Route 1B), New Castle, NH,  (1 hour northeast of Boston, MA, 1 hour southeast of Concord, NH)

Hours: Open daily 9 a.m. until 9 p.m.

Cost:

New Castle Residents:
– No admission charge if vehicle has current resident sticker.
– Residents may invite up to 25 guests at no charge – Over 25 guests, admission fees apply.
– Resident must be present for all guests.
Non-Residents:
– Admission charged from May to the end of September.
General Admission Fees
– Individuals:
0-5 yrs old free
6 to 65 years old $4.00
65 and older $2.00
Handicapped $1.00

Parking: There are about 50 or more parking spots available in the parking area

Handicapped Accessible: Yes

Dog Friendly: Yes, seasonally (pets are not allowed in the park or on the beach from May 15 to September 15)

Website: Great Island Common

Highlights: lighthouses, beach, places to grill, pavilions

Tips:

  • When you enter the park, you must turn right.  The parking area is at the end of the circular paved road
  • If you want to use a pavilion, you may have to call ahead and reserve the area

 

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No other name than Great Common Island may be more apt for this park.  Except it’s not really an island.  But, it is great.

The park, with attached beach, sits on the shore of New Castle ( a small town of 968 according to their 2010 census) just outside of Portsmouth, NH).  The park and beach area are only 32 acres.  But what it lacks in area it makes up for in beauty and charm.

The park offers some great views of the water.  It is a good place to watch the waves crash against the rocks, although the waves weren’t too strong during my visit.

Great Island Common is popular with fishing enthusiasts, boaters and the occasional bird.

You can view two lighthouses from Great Island Common.

Whaleback Lighthouse was established in 1830.  The granite lighthouse that stands there now was built in 1872 and it was automated in 1963.

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Portsmouth Harbor Lighthouse, just down the road from the park, is also visible from Great Island Common.  During the summer, there are open houses at the lighthouse on Sundays from mid May to late October from 1-5.  Since I was visiting on a Saturday I was not able to attend the open house.  Next to the lighthouse (to the left of the lighthouse in the photo above) is Coast Guard Station Portsmouth Harbor and Fort Constitution.  In the distance, past the lighthouse, you can see the foliage has just started to begin.

Wood Island Life Saving Station in Kittery, Maine, is also visible from the park. In 1827, Wood Island was given to the federal government so the U.S. Navy could build barracks.  However, it would eventually be used to quarantine Spanish-American War prisoners who had Yellow Fever.  It is presently not in use.

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One of the biggest attractions at the park is a sculpture of a painter by an easel working on the scenic skyline.

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Pretty good painting of me.  It looks so life-like.

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Great Island Common is not just a park.  A beach is also attached to the park.

The park is spacious for kids to play in with lots of big trees for shade.

Erected in 1984, the memorial honors all of the people of New Castle who have served the country in all wars and conflicts.  Two benches sit next to the memorial, one on each side of it.

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Great Island Common is dog friendly except from May 15 to September 15.  Luckily, I was able to visit the week after ban ended.  It was a picture perfect day with a calm breeze.  So, it was a great day to bring your dog out!

Miley is a 8 year old Yorkie Poodle.

Tuck is a 6 month Cocka Poo (Cocker Spaniel & Poodle mix)

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Remy (on the left) is a 10 year old Puggle and Phoebe (On the right) is a 1 and a half year old Puggle.

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Jaelo (pronounced “J Lo”)is a 10 year old Puggle.

Below is a video by the shore of Great Island Common.

Posted below is a drone video of the Great Island Common area on Paul Moore’s YouTube page

 


Stratton Brooks State Park (Simsbury, CT)

***WordPress ate my original post (either that or I goofed up).  So, I have reposted my blog post.  Thank you for reading!***

Date Of Visit: September 9, 2017

Location: 149 Farms Village Road (Route 309), Simsbury, CT (25 minutes northwest of Hartford, CT)

Hours: open daily, sunrise to sunset

Cost: On weekends and holidays, admission tot he park costs $9 for residents of Simsbury and $15 for non residents.  There is no charge during weekdays and during the off season.

Parking: There are a few parking areas with ample parking

Trail Size/Difficulty: The main hiking and biking trail is 1.2 miles round trip.  The trail is easy.

Handicapped Accessible: Yes

Dog Friendly: Yes

Website: Stratton Brooks State Park

Map: Stratton Brooks State Park Map

Fitbit Stats: 2.52 miles, 5,105 steps, 468 calories burned

Highlights: trails, covered bridge, beach, lake, swimming, fishing, cycling trails

Tips:

  • admission to the park is free during the weekdays and after Labor Day (or at least it was free during my visit the week after Labor Day)
  • Stratton Brooks is considered the first “completely wheelchair accessible” park in Connecticut
  • The nature center is open on certain days (it was closed during my visit)

 

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There’s a reason why the Connecticut tourism website calls September the “second summer.”  With the last vestiges of summer lingering and the sparks of autumn blooming, this is perhaps the best time of the year to visit the parks and attractions of New England.

 

The trails at Stratton Brooks are easy and level with hardly any inclines.  The main trail goes past some residential homes.  So, it’s important to stay on the trail.

 

Brooks Stratton, originally called Massacoe State Forest, was originally used to demonstrate forest fire control adjacent to railroads. The railroad tracks have since been replaced by a biking and hiking trail.  White pines line the main hiking trail.

The covered bridge at the park was built in 1985, spans 45″.  It offers pretty views of Stratton Brook.

 

The beach at the park is a popular destination during hot summer days.  It has a decent sized beach area and enough room for everyone to splash around.

 

In 1996, this park became Connecticut’s first state park that is completely accessible by wheelchair.  But, I think some areas, such as the main hiking trail which can be rocky and the beach area, may be hard to maneuver around.

Besides hiking, cycling, running and swimming, the park also offers an area for fishing, trout is the main fish people catch.  During the winter ice fishing, cross country skiing, snow shoeing and ice skating are popular activities at the park.   Besides the trout that swim in the pond, there are other inhabitants of the pond such as ducks and a few frogs.

 

There is lots of room for dogs to roam around and play.  I saw quite a few cute dogs during my visit at Stratton Brooks.

Adisson is a playful one and a half year old Terrier mix,

 

Juju (short for Jujube) is a Chihuahua mix.  Fun fact: Juju doesn’t care for other dogs but she likes cats and people!

 

Sage is a rescue dog.  His guardian wasn’t sure what his breed or age is.  But, he’s a sweetheart!

 

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Prescott Park Gardens (Portsmouth, NH)

Date Of Visit: July 29, 2017

Location: 105 Marcy St, Portsmouth, NH

Hours: Open daily from sunrise to sunset

Cost: Free

Parking: Street parking is available on Old Bay St and Marcy St.  There is also a lot on Old Bay St.

Handicapped Accessible: Yes

Dog Friendly: No

Highlights: fountains, flowers, plants, trees, family friendly

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Portsmouth is known for its beautiful places.  So, it’s no big surprise when you come across a scenic view or a pitcuresque downtown area.  What is more unusual is a beautiful garden in a public setting.  Well, Prescott Park Gardens certainly seems to fit the bill.

Considered part of Prescott Park, Prescott Park Gardens is located next to the main garden at Prescott Park.

Even though it is only  a small area, the garden at Prescott Park is overflowing with colors and beauty.  Despite all of the trees, flowers and fountains and the high volume of visitors, it didn’t seemed cramped there. Even with the dizzying array of flowers, the park still seems quaint and understated.  I can only imagine how peaceful it must feel there when it’s not a busy time of day.

 

Despite the huge crowds it attracts, the park is kept in pristine condition.

 

The fountains at the garden give the area a serene feel.  Just watching the water and listening to the calming, rhythmic sounds of the water splashing is soothing.

 

Some people found some creative ways to cool down at the garden.

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Below is a video of the garden at Prescott Park.

Today’s featured link is Don Gargano’s photography website.  Don primarily shoots in the Portsmouth and New Castle, New Hampshire areas as well as Maine.  I have followed him for some time on Facebook and you can check out his page here.  Coincidentally, he has a photo of the garden at Prescott Park on his profile page!


Rockwell Park (Bristol, CT)

Date Of Visit: June 1, 2017

Location: 243 Jacobs, St, Bristol, CT (2 hours southwest of Boston, MA and 30 minutes southwest of Hartford, CT)

Cost: Free

Hours: Open daily, sunrise to sunset

Parking: There are several parking areas with ample parking

Trail Size/Difficulty: over 100 acres/easy

Handicapped Accessible: Yes

Dog Friendly: Yes

Highlights: ponds, streams, bridges, dog park, baseball field, tennis courts, kids playground, fountain, skate park, basketball and volleyball courts, summer programs for kids

Website: Rockwell Park

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I’m back!  Unfortunately, I had some downtime due to some repairs that needed to be done on my laptop.  So, I couldn’t download photos for some time.  The reason for my issues?  Fur in the fan of my laptop that was causing a very distracting noise.  The culprit was this little lady.

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I’ll let it pass cause she’s cute.

Being away from the blogging game gave me some time to reset and think over my blog.  I have added one additional feature to my posts.  Take a look at the end of the blog (no, not now) to see what I have added.

But, I’m back in business and I have lots of fun places and pets from New England to share with everyone!  So, without further delay…

Even though I live only a couple of hours away from Connecticut, I hadn’t been there much before I began this blog.  But, I have to say the few parks I have been to in Connecticut have been top notch.  Rockwell Park in Bristol is no exception.

Rockwell Park mixes recreation, fitness, beauty and open spaces to give the entire family (and their pets) something to look forward to when they visit.

There is a large pond at the entrance to the park on Jacobs St.  Along the pond is a trail that circles the pond and goes further along the park.

There are several fitness stations along the trail with workout equipment with instructions about how to use them.

I gave the pull up bar a shot.  Look at that form.  No, really look at it.  It needs some work.  One pull up is my limit, though.  I didn’t try the sit up equipment, for obvious reasons.  I mean, let’s not go crazy with the fitness stuff.

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With its baseball field, volley and basketball courts and Frisbee golf, fitness and exercise are prominent themes at the park.

Several bridges pass over a stream that flows through the park with some pretty views

The stream is relatively calm and not very deep.  In fact, some people like to cross the stream without using the bridge.

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These boys were looking for fish and frogs.

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The trails are mostly dirt and are mostly easy with some gentle inclines.

There is a boardwalk just off the main trail that leads to a fountain.

A structure of some kind stands next to the boardwalk.

Rockwell Park has a lot of activities and attractions for younger children and teens.  This play area, with splash pad, is a popular attractions for kids.  I was very tempted to use the splash pad.

There is also an open space with seating for people to attend concerts and other events.

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There are also monuments to the   along the trail.

The inscription on the first marker (from left to right) in the photos above which is dedicated to John Christopher Mack reads:

This Tablet is to Perpetuate the Memory Of
John Christopher Mack
A public spirited citizen who truly loved Bristol
the place of his birth.
His declining years were spent in California
yet his interest in his native town never lessened.
His great love for children
found fitting expression in his will
by which a substantial sum was provided
for the development of recreational facilities
for them in the parks and playgrounds
of the city.

The inscription on the marker dedicated to Albert Rockwell, the benefactor of the land the park sits on reads:

Albert F. Rockwell
1862 – 1925
Inventor, manufacturer, public-
spirited citizen. He gave to the
city this park and contributed
liberally to its development.
His initiave and counsel were
of great value in the civic
and industrial life of Bristol.
In appreciation, the people by
voluntary contribution have
erected this memorial.
Bristol, Connecticut 1926

You don’t have to look too hard to find wildlife at Rockwell Park.  Birds, chipmunks, squirrels and even turtles inhabit the park.

With its easy trails and spacious field, Rockwell Park is a great place to take your dog.

Brody is a 4 month old Red Fox Lab.  I saw him learning how to play Frisbee.

Molly is a 9 year old Chocolate Lab.  Molly is a natural poser!

Lucy and Ricki were at the park when I went to visit.  Lucy had some “expaining to do”, according to Ricki,  In fact, they visit often.  Named after the fictional TV couple from “I Love Lucy”, Lucy and Ricky are very close friends.  Lucy is a Yorkie.

Ricky is a 6 month year old Yorkie.

There is also a dog park, called B.A.R.K.Park, located in Rockwell Park. You can walk to it from the main entrance or you can drive to it (the address is 28 Muzzy St).  BARK Park (get it?) is a large fenced in dog park.

There weren’t many dogs there when I went to visit.  But, I did find these three cuties.

Febi is a 3 year old Rottweiler.

Emmitt is a 6 year old pit bull mastiff mix.

Molly is a 2 year old Chihuahua.

My new feature to my blog is a link to another blog, website or article about the area or people or places from the area I have visited.  My first link is to a post by katieleigh about her husband her visit to Connecticut.  Katie is a blogger on WordPress who has a special affinity for books.  Stop by and see some of the other wonderful attractions Connecticut has to offer!

Weekend In Connecticut

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Twitter (@waynefitz12)

Instagram (@new.england.nomad_)

 

 


Pope John Paul II Park (Dorchester, MA)

Dates Of Visits: June 17 & 18, 2017

Location: There are several entrances at Gallivan Blvd. and Hallet St., Dorchester, MA

Cost: Free

Parking: There are multiple parking lots at the entrances

Hours: Open from sunrise til one hour before sunset

Trail Size/Difficulty: 2 miles, easy with moderate inclines

Handicapped Accessible: Yes

Dog Friendly: Yes

Highlights: wildlife, scenic, easy trails, ball fields

Website: Pope John Paul II Park

With its rolling hills, abundant wildlife, pretty trees and flowers and beautiful views, it’s hard to believe it once was the home to a drive in (remember those?)  and a land fill.

Connected to Senator Joseph Finnegan Park, Pope John Paul II Park is part of the extensive Neponset River Greenway.

Pope John Paul Park is not only beautiful for it’s natural beauty, there are also two murals at the park.

 

There are a variety of birds at Pope John Paul Park (but I didn’t see any cardinals which was unusual).

 

This bird had a meal for his or her babies,

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There are many pretty trees, plants and rolling hills along the paths.

 

The paths at John Paul Park are easy with some moderate inclines.

 

The paths are perfect for running, riding your bicycle or rollerblading with your dog.

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There are some wonderful views along the Neponset River which separates Dorchester from picturesque Quincy, MA.

 

People like to use the river to cruise along with their jet ski, boat or other aquatic vessel.

 

There is also a stream that flows under the bridge at the park.

 

There are also soccer and lacrosse fields as well as pavilions and benches for people to sit and watch the games.

Pope John Paul Park is a great place to bring your dog.  Zoey, a 5 year old mixed breed dog, brought her ball with her to the park.

 

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Stodder’s Neck (Hingham, MA)

Date Of Visit: June 15, 2017

Location: 467 Lincoln St, Hingham, MA (30 minutes southeast of Boston)

Cost: Free

Parking: There is ample parking for about 50 cars

Trail Size/Difficulty: .7 mile loop, easy trails with some gentle inclines and some side trails.

Handicapped Accessible: Yes

Dog Friendly: Yes

Highlights: wide trails, picnic tables, water fountains for Fido, harbor views, wildlife, well maintained trails and grass for dogs to play

Website: Stodder’s Neck

Trail Map: Stodder’s Neck Trail Map

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Once the site of a gravel pit, Stodder’s Neck is now one of the most popular dog parks in the South Shore (south of Boston).  In fact, as the photo below shows, the park was designed as a dog park, although humans can also use it for birding, observing other dogs or just taking a leisurely walk.

The park has a water fountain with a spigot at dog’s level.

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There is also a board for people to hang lost dog tags (on hooks at the side of the board) and photos of dogs (many of whom have passed on) who enjoy the park as well as other notes of importance.

Even the entrance to the park has been designed to help prevent dogs from running ahead into the parking lot by having a narrow entrance.  I believe you may also open the gate at a different point if you need more room to enter or exit.

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The dirt trails at Stodder’s Neck have benches and picnic tables dotted along the way for you to sit and give your dog a chance to rest.

The views along the trail are impressive.

But, the best part of the trails has to be the Weymouth Back River that forms the peninsula the park sits on.

And dogs seem to like the river as well.

There are also a variety of birds and other animals at Stodder’s Neck.  Egrets also nest there during the spring and summer.  I came across this Egret hunting.

I guess I got too close and scared him or her.

And what would a dog park be without, you guessed it, dogs!?

Moose is a 5 year old Lab.

Harley, 7 years old, is part German Shepherd, Great Pyrenees,  Malinois.

Kylie is a 5 year old poogle

Mindy is a 4.5 year old rescue.

Mya is a 4 and a half year old Shepherd and Lab mix.

Macy is a one and a half year old pitbull and boxer mix.

Yuki is an 8 month old American Eskimo.  Yuki, for those of you not in the know, means “snow” in Japanese.

Tank is a one and a half year old Field Springer.

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