After oatmeal doctored with some fruit, compliments of Julie, the dogs and I set off to Farmington, 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 was a pleasant surprise and a hidden gem. 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 walk, 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 (only open alternate weekends) surrounded by a flower garden. I strolled around the house twice just taking in the details of the slate roof, wooden doors laced in iron works, metal gutters, and quaint courtyards. I let the dogs off leash as I walked along a few more paths mowed in the green pastures and along an ancient stone wall through a canopy of trees. Hardly anyone was there…a peaceful treat.
I briefly passed through Litchfield on my way to Lake Waramaug State Park where 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 Wal-Mart. Not that there is anything wrong with Wal-Mart, but I was hoping for a more scenic place to rest for the afternoon than a parking lot. I hope not all the campgrounds are closed for the season, or it might be a while before I find a shower! ETB