edith m mansion in the litchfield hills

Day 37 – Connecticut’s Litchfield Hills

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Day 37 of a Year Long Road Trip Along America’s Scenic Byways

After oatmeal doctored with some fruit, compliments of Julie, the dogs and I set off to Farmington, on the border of Litchfield County.  The city is home to many historic sites, though I was most interested in Miss Porter’s School, an exclusive boarding school over 100 years old.  My old college roommate attended high school here, and I was curious to know how she spent some of her formative years. 

I only drove by the campus and got a glimpse of the classic buildings, but also passed by the lovely Farmington River.  In hindsight, I probably should have stopped here for a walk, as the river was lined with trees in peak fall color.  The vibrant oranges and reds reflecting off the calm water provided such a picturesque view that I missed my turn to Topsmead State Forest!

Topsmead State Forest

Topsmead State Forest was a pleasant surprise and a hidden gem in the Litchfield Hills.  If it weren’t for Reader’s Digest and my GPS, I never would have found it as I didn’t see one sign pointing in the direction of the old Edith M. Chase estate.  The local grande dame bequeathed her estate to the state, and the fabulous grounds afforded a variety of walks.  Our first walk, a self-guided nature tour, took us through the forest full of maples, birch, hemlock, wild raspberry bushes, ferns, grapevines, and more.

Our next walk took us over rolling green hills that would have been a horse’s delight to a fantastic, Tudor-style mansion surrounded in gardens.  Unfortunately, the mansion is only open alternate weekends, but it didn’t stop me from strolling around the house twice to take in the details of the slate roof, wooden doors laced in iron works, metal gutters, and quaint courtyards. 

After admiring the home, the dogs ran off leash while I wander on a mowed path in the green pastures and followed along an ancient stone wall through a canopy of trees.  Hardly anyone was there.  What a peaceful treat!

Edith M Chase Estate in Topsmead State Forest

Lake Waramaug State Park

I continued through the Litchfield Hills on my way to Lake Waramaug State Park.  I had hoped to pull in early, take a breather, and catch up on my blogging.  The drive was breathtakingly gorgeous.  The lake, surrounded by the autumn colors, was home to several crew teams practicing rowing. 

Unfortunately, the campgrounds were closed for the season, so I set off in search of the next Walmart.  Not that there is anything wrong with Walmart, but I was hoping for a more scenic place than a parking lot to rest for the afternoon.  I hope not all the campgrounds are closed for the season, or it might be a while before I find a shower! ETB

Map of My Road Trip Across the USA

For a summary about my road trip across the USA, click HERE. For the interactive map, see the below link.

Other Articles About Connecticut and Rhode Island That You May Like


Check out the photographic note cards and key chains at my shop.  Each card has a travel story associated with it.  20% of proceeds are donated to charity.

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Beth Bankhead

Former public finance professional turned award winning travel blogger and photographer sharing the earth's beauty one word and image at a time.

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