Saturday, April 4, 2009
I got to thinking about Harkness State Park in Waterford, CT the other day. It always felt like "my" park. It is well maintained by the state, some of the workers living on the property. At some point quite a few years ago, during a fiscal crisis, the then governor (Lowell Weiker) shut it down, saying it was used only by a few locals. Apparently, he had never been there on a Sunday when the large parking lots were so full that people were parking on the grass. Large groups of folks came early to lay claim to one of the many picnic tables. Kids everywhere. Music from every direction. Sunshine and sea breezes! It was (and still is) a perfect spot for kite flying. A huge number of fantastic kites are usually in the air . This was the summer "cottage" (in the Newport tradition) of the Harkness family. It was used on week-ends and summers only. The stone mansion has been restored and is open on week-ends. The state rents it out for weddings. There is an outdoor chapel of sorts for ceremonies. Although the gardens had been neglected, they have been restored and there is also a cutting garden. The last time I was there, the greenhouses were in ruins. There is a nesting area for the terns that is closed in spring. If you're lucky, you might see an osprey nesting on one of the platforms. It was a few minutes from my home when I lived in Waterford, so I went there winter and summer, took my walk around the perimeter, with a short rest to contemplate the water. Well, I do believe I'll take a drive down there soon!