2019 STL#2: Harkness Memorial SP

Posted By on March 28, 2019

2019 STL#2: Harkness Memorial SP

1.5 miles; Waterford, CT

I have only been here once, at that was for the annual dinner of the Connecticut Forest and Park Association. So I didn’t really know what to expect.

I dunno. While I appreciate the fact that, after their deaths, the original owners of this place donated the property to the state, it just kind of left me feeling cold. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a gorgeous, stunning, beautiful place. But, geez, it must be nice to be richer than god…

Fisher's Island or Long Island

Fisher’s Island or Long Island off in the distance

Harness is… oh, I’ll just outsource the description to the CT DEEP.

Originally from Ohio, Edward S. Harkness was to become heir to a fortune initiated by his father’s substantial investments in John D. Rockefeller’s Standard Oil. Instilled at an early age with an ardent love for his fellow man and a feeling of responsibility for the wise and just use of the wealth at his command, Mr. Harkness was to bestow over two hundred million dollars upon wide-ranging philanthropies.

The mansion was purchased in 1907 by Edward and Mary Harkness. From 1918 to 1929, extensive work was done to the grounds by noted landscape designer Beatrix Jones Farrand (one of the founders of the American Society of Landscape Architects). The estate was left to the State of Connecticut in 1950 and became part of the State Park system in 1952.

Yeah, um, thanks.

Water Tower

Water Tower

It’s a lovely seaside mansion with extensive grounds and wonderful ocean views, which is the point, I gather, of this park’s “Sky’s the Limit” challenge, which required a whopping 7 selfies that included the water views from 7 different locations on the property. I think I got them all, although getting the water view was a little challenging from a couple of the designated spots.

It’s also apparently THE spot for local dog walkers. Saw tons of people with (all leashed, thankfully) dogs.

Gorgeous Japanese Maples

Gorgeous Japanese Maples

Now this was something that I could get behind. It was a little grove of gorgeous old Japanese maples. And it was over by the cutting gardens, which, I presume, supplied and likely still supply the mansion with fresh flowers on a daily basis. And the greenhouse. Nice.

You can find out more about Harkness SP from the aforementioned website, here. For details on the 2019 Sky’s the Limit Challenge, see the STL website. As always, click the image above for details about this hike and to download the gps track.

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