Exploring the Bethel area during summertime, or any time of the year, is a magical, memorable experience. The beautiful foliage that surrounds every building and house, the adorable ice cream parlors like homely Dr. Mike’s, and of course, the famous parks. You may be familiar with many parks that can be located in the Bethel, Danbury, Redding, and Newtown areas, but are you familiar with the history behind them of which makes them so special to Connecticut? Here are a few fun facts worth sharing with your family as you venture out to these pleasant parks that are open to the public daily:
Putnam Memorial State Park- Famously known as “Connecticut’s Valley Forge” or Connecticut’s Oldest State Park, Putnam Park is located in Redding/Bethel, CT. The park is named after General Israel Putnam, whose division of the Continental Army encamped in Redding in the winter of 1778-79. Movements to preserve this honorable site were made by local Redding civilians in the late 19th century and Aaron Treadwell who donated the first tract of land that would become Putnam Park. Today at the park, you can enjoy the Camp Guardhouse, “Putnam’s Escape at Horseneck” bronze statue, museum, Officers Headquarters, Philips Cave, and various reenactments and activities on several occasions.
Tarrywile Mansion and Park- Located right on the Bethel/Danbury border, Tarrywile Mansion and Park is a beautiful setting that is perfect for hiking, picnicking, and simply enjoying nature. Tarrywile Mansion was the home of C.D. Parks and his family for seventy-five years; throughout those years, it was a place where many jubilant family events and activities occurred. It is a three story mansion with a beautiful garden, gazebo, and butterfly flower walkway with a “Troll House” that would make any child laugh located in the front. In addition, many treasures can be found while exploring the grounds; the remnants of an old, forbidden stone castle lay dormant up on a wooded hill, a serene lake flows between the forest after a mile hike, and more. This park can be rented for weddings and other formal parties and events, and is the perfect spot for prom or other event pictures.
Collis P. Huntington State Park- The Huntington family donated this renown state park, and it was opened to the general public in 1973. Collis Potter Huntington became one of the wealthiest men in the country in the mid 1800’s by his promotion and completion of the first transcontinental railroad; however, the estate will be remembered most for his wife, Anna Hyatt Huntington, whose sculptures of bears and wolves welcome visitors at the entrance to the park. Activities available at this park include canoeing, cross-country skiing, hiking, horseback riding, mountain biking, pond fishing at its five ponds, and seasonal hunting. It is also the ideal family picnicking area and a peacefully romantic place during sunset.
Photo Credit: Putnam Memorial State Park by CT.gov, Castle at Tarrywile by Friends of Tarrywile Park, Huntington State Park by CT.gov