Masthead header

People’s State Park | Barkhamsted Lighthouse Trail

This past weekend, I had the opportunity to travel back to my home state of Connecticut (for my best friend’s wedding! #stillreeling), so of course, I had to make time to satiate my wander fix. Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine might hog all the attention when it comes to the New England countryside, but there are places to get (responsibly) lost in the little ‘ole Constitution state too.
+PIN
The leaves just starting to turn along the Farmington River.
The foliage is definitely a sight to see, but one of the best parts about the New England backcountry are the little things, which, like most, I took for granted as a resident of these green hills, but after spending the last few years in the larger-than-life Colorado mountains, I re-discovered them on my short visit: like the clonk of acorns dropping from the oak trees.
+PIN
Mom said she was knocked on the head with a falling acorn. If it’s not already a sign of good luck, now it is. 😉 I slipped on this acorn pile, hidden on some fallen leaves.
I get my adventurous spirit from my mama so the two of us ventured into Peoples State Park: forest land donated by the Daughters of the American Revolution, where 200 year-old pine groves grow, and the remains of the historic village, Barkhamsted Lighthouse, can be found.
Like many people, when we heard “lighthouse,” we immediately thought “ocean,” but you won’t find the traditional sea-beacon here. Instead, the village’s lights served as a nighttime directional for stagecoach traffic traveling to Hartford in the 19th century–hence the lighthouse analogy!
Northwestern Connecticut+PIN
The forest map in my backpack, the tree trail-markers, and Beanie, our family dog, in the background. 🙂
The village began as a settlement in the 1770s when Molly Barber, a young white woman, fell in love with James Chaugham, a Native American of the Narraganset tribe. They ran away to the woods of Northwestern Connecticut to escape her disapproving father.

I know, I know, a real-life Disney Pocahontas romance! #heavybreathing 
They started the settlement, and the village became one of the country’s first multi-cultural towns, a tucked-away haven for freed slaves, survivors of colonial conflicts, and Anglo-European pilgrims. Some of the remains of this village, which dissolved toward the late 1800s, still remain like the homes’ cellar holes, the village’s charcoal pit, and even the cemetery where the couple and their family have been buried.
In terms of difficulty, these trails are comfortable and short. Perfect 2-mile segments, and the shaded woods keep you out of the Indian summer sun, so common during New England’s September. At the crest of a hill, we were greeted by Grand Vista overlook, a beautiful scene of the Farmington River sparkling through the forest.
Needless to say, my soul was happy wandering in my woods again.
Here is me, the maker of adventure herself, and family pooch number two, Taylor. 🙂
P.S. This little history lesson brought to you by Connecticut Curiosities: Quirky Characters, Roadside Oddities, and other Offbeat Stuff by Susan Campbell and Bill Heald. Go buy the book, e-book, or check it out at the local library for more cool #thingstodoinCT

 

bda