Sunday, July 7, 2013

Huntington State Park: Redding, CT

Directions: Click here for Google map

I finally made my way through the Nutmeg State for a little road trip and found a delightful park in the quiet neighborhood of Redding.  The Collis P. Huntington State Park offers over 1,000 acres of tranquil fields, woodlands and ponds for you and your pup to explore.  There are miles of easy to moderate trails, as well as picnic areas, multiple parking lots and composting toilets.  The trails are somewhat rough earth or stone, so bring good footwear.

The park's land was used primarily for agriculture until the late 1800s and was bought and sold by a variety of families until the wealthy Archer M. Huntington purchased it in the 1930s.  Archer was a lifelong friend of the arts and scholar in the field of Hispanic Studies whose father, Collis Potter Huntington, was a famous railroad tycoon (for whom the park is named).  Archer's wife, Anna Hyatt Huntington, enlivened the estate and inspired the artistic world with her brilliant life-size animal sculptures.  Several of her pieces remain at Huntington State Park, while others reside in CT, NY, DC, Madrid, Buenos Aires, and other parts of the world.

The Huntingtons are some of the most notable philanthropists in Connecticut's history, responsible for the founding of many museums and wildlife preserves along the east coast.  The town of Redding is also famous for being Mark Twain's final residence, where he founded The Mark Twain Library.

You can find more information about Huntington State Park, including hours and a trail map, by clicking here.  

Dogs are required to be leashed in the park.

Information source: CT Department of Energy and Environmental Protection

Here are the positive features:
  • Very quiet, serene park with many trails & ponds to explore
  • Plenty of free parking in several lots
  • Composting toilets are available at two parking lots (see map for details)
  • Trails are well marked and the trail map is great
  • There are 5 ponds for your dog to enjoy (but no swimming for humans)
  • Picnic tables are provided at some entrances
  • Many trails are shaded by beautiful canopies of trees and vines
  • We only saw a few people there, it is definitely not a crowded place
  • You'll see several ice cream places where you can stop on your way out of Redding, as well as the Blue Colony Diner in nearby Newtown
Negative features:
  • Bow hunting is permitted in most areas of the park from September - December (see hunting map for specifics)
  • No poopy bags are provided, so be sure to bring your own
  • You'll definitely need bug spray for mosquitoes, ticks, horseflies and other insects
  • The park is a little off the beaten path, about 10 miles from I-84

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