Moving slightly northeast, we have a huge nature preserve called White’s woods. With over 4000 acres of woods and wetlands, it offers great exploration and adventure. Bantam river runs through parts of it and is very quiet water; great for kayaking, canoeing or fishing. Little pond, resting quietly below the golf course has excellent fishing and trout can be pulled out anywhere along the river. There is a boardwalk circling the pond where you can get up close and personal with some of the wildlife which includes swans, beavers, muskrats, ducks, geese, deer, turtles, and possibly even a moose. Not far from there is Point Folly campground on Bantam lake. Stop in at the White Memorial museum for more information just off Rt. 202 in Litchfield on Bissel Rd. There is a birdwatching house in back of the museum and several rescued birds reside at the memorial headquarters. At the museum you can get a much bigger picture of what White Memorial is all about.
The Appalachian Trail
Starting around Wingdale, NY, the Appalachian Trail moves on north into CT. Taking you through Bulls Bridge just below the town of Kent, CT it follows the Housatonic to Falls village before going into MA. It’s a bit rugged in places with some steep climbs, but it levels off in places and the views are well worth the climbing. You’re in the heart of the Litchfield Hills and the foothills to the Berkshires; a most beautiful journey in the fall. Along the river you may be privileged to spot a few eagles, fish hawks and maybe even some bears.
Here is a lovely little state park located half-way between the towns of Kent and Cornwall Bridge. The little brook that runs through it has a few trout that you might be able to pull out, but the real attraction is the waterfall. The hiking trail up to the top has recently been refurbished with an extensive stairway, replacing the old trail. Along the way are beautiful rest stops to view the pools as the thunderous falls cascade down the mountain. It’s a very refreshing place to be on a hot summer day. There are picnic tables and hibachis for picnicking and large open fields for summer activities.
Flanders Nature Center
Along Rt. 64 between the towns of Middlebury and Woodbury is Flanders Nature Center. This is a beautiful stand of woods with well marked trails and maps along the way. You will be treated to rocky cliffs, bogs, boardwalks, birdwatching houses, and some very well groomed trails. You can find a view of Lake Quassapaug along the white trail, which runs for nearly 4 miles. The blue trail takes you on a loop around the bogs. A small building overlooking the bog is specially made for viewing birds and wildlife without disturbing them; great for photography as well.
To find Flanders, you will have to keep your eyes open for the sign. It can be easily missed along the road. Going west from Middlebury, the sign will be on your right.
Black Spruce Bog
A pleasant little side trip off the main road, the Black Spruce Bog hides itself neatly tucked away on top of Mohawk Mt. between Cornwall and Goshen. From Rt. 4 take Toomey Road into the park and turn left at the stop sign. You will come to a building with a park sign in front of it. Black Spruce Bog is across the road. Up a short path and down the other side, you soon find yourself in another world. If you have a good imagination and the heart of a child, you might expect to find gnomes and wizards peeking out from under the trees. Roots are covered thickly with moss creating little caves that only small animals could enter. As it is a bog, there is a boardwalk meandering through it to a central gazebo where you can sit and listen to the songs of nature. It’s a very short walk, but take your time. Wildlife abounds if you know what to look for. Woodpeckers, flying squirrels, salamanders and frogs will make themselves known if you are quiet for a while.