Trails, Parks and Lakes Share the Beauty of Danbury With Its Residents

By Pamela Coyle on April 28, 2011 at 2:38 pm EST
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Danbury is a day hiker’s haven.

Trails are maintained year-round at Westside Nature Preserve, 33 acres that serve as a lab for WestConn students as well as an educational and recreational resource for the community. The Old Quarry Nature Center has 40 acres and trails, with a field house and nature education building.

The city itself maintains a massive, 722-acre land preserve that has more than 21 miles of hiking trails, two picnic areas and a garden based on Maurice Sendak’s classic Where the Wild Things Are.

Tarrywile Park and Mansion is a true treasure. The mansion, which is rented for weddings, birthdays, school, cultural, social and business functions, is a 23-room, shingle-style Victorian manor that dates to 1897. Both it and Hearthstone Castle, also on the park grounds, are on the National Register of Historic Places. The city of Danbury bought the park and mansion in 1985 for $4.7 million.

Danbury and four nearby towns border Candlewood Lake, Connecticut’s largest. Formed in the 1920s by a dam just south of where the Rocky and Housatonic rivers meet, Candlewood Lake has almost 90 miles of coastline and is a great spot for boating, fishing, skiing and wakeboarding. Danbury’s share is along the southern coast and includes Pocono Point Marina and Nina Marina, along with Danbury Candlewood Park, which overlooks the lake.

At about 50 acres, Lake Kenosia is much smaller but has a rich history as a vacation destination for Connecticut’s elite. The city maintains a 25-acre park with 100 yards of beach font, soccer fields, picnic tables, and playground. Boating – without motors – is allowed.

Sports get their due in Danbury, too. Golf fans have an 18-hole course at Richter Park, while Rogers Park, at 58 acres, has baseball and softball fields and tennis courts as well as playgrounds.

Nature preserves, city parks, marinas, beaches, golf courses – Danbury’s 42 square miles of western Connecticut are packed with outdoor options.

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