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  • Writer's pictureJan Peterson

Catch the Last Days of Summer

Labor Day marks the official end to summer. If you're looking for a special place to enjoy the last few days before the kids go back to school, and you need to prepare for the Fall and upcoming holidays, check out Topsmead State Forest, in Litchfield, Connecticut. This treasure from a bygone era is nestled in the hills of Litchfield and is also a spectacular setting for intimate weddings (they limit the guests to 30).

A Bit of the History

In 1917, the 16 acre property was gifted to Edith Morton Chase, the heiress to the Chase Brass and Copper Company in Waterbury, from her father. She built a rustic cabin, and in 1923 hired noted architect Richard Henry Dana, Jr. to replace it with the English Tudor style house, which still stands today. In 1927, she acquired Buell Farm, a working farm and expanded the property to fulfill her love of nature. She renamed the property "Topsmead Farm", meaning "top of the meadow", to reflect its location.

Upon her death in 1972, Ms. Chase bequeathed the property to the state. She specified that the property "be kept in a state of natural beauty". The property was renamed Topsmead State Forest. To ensure that Topsmead would remain undisturbed, Chase left an endowment to be used toward maintaining and operating the buildings and grounds as they were upon her death.

What You'll See

The park is open year round from 8 am until sunset. Free guided tours of the residence are offered from June through October on the 2nd and 4th weekends of each month. Reservations are not required. On open weekends, tours are available from 12:00 P.M. - 5:00 P.M., except for the last open weekend in October when hours are from 12:00 P.M. - 4:00P.M.

There are numerous paths, horse trails, picnic and hiking areas around the property. You can also explore the ecology trail, barns, and orchards. Across the street is a meadow, with a spectacular butterfly garden and bird watching shed. The park is kid and dog friendly.

For wedding reservations, consult their website below:

"Nature is painting for us, day after day, pictures of infinite beauty.”

John Ruskin

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