There are none of those scarcities at Trail Wood, the late naturalist's 168-acre estate in the wilds of Hampton within the state's northeast corner. Visitors can easily spend the day hiking the miles of trails within the preserve and rarely see another soul.
One of my favorite places to visit at Trail Wood is the screened "Summer House" Teale built for Nellie on the shores of tranquil Little Beaver Pond. Those who walk through the meadows and hear birds singing from every corner of the property will understand why the Teales never left Trail Wood. Instead, they would spend the "rest of their lives becoming familiar with every inch" of the land they lived on. And you will find yourself doing the same.
Teale, best known for his series on the American seasons and "A Naturalist Buys An Old Farm," named each corner, pasture and trail of the property so he and his wife could share their daily discoveries. There's South Woods, West Woods, North Woods and Far North Woods. There's Starfield, Firefly Meadow, Woodcock Pasture and Monument Pasture. There's a dozen paths of varying lengths with names like Beaver Pond Trail, Big Grapevine Trail, Fern Brook Trail, Old Colonial Road and Veery Lane.
Each area is unique and inspires visitors to try to figure out why Teale chose its name. You have to really look for Lost Spring's lost spring, bubbling out of the ground. The monument in Monument Pasture is called Hired Man's Monument and is a fascinating sculpture created by piling hundreds of stones in a circular fashion.
There are many ways to see Trail Wood, so grab a map and be creative. The main destination should be Beaver Pond, where the native rodent has engineered the perfect ecosystem for itself by draining the pond and building huge lodges. It's a textbook example of how busy beavers affect the environment.
Take Route 97 to 93 Kenyon Road and look for the entrance on the left just past New Hill Road. Maps as well as nature books are available to borrow at the visitor's info shed or visit http://www.ctaudubon.org/documents_user/TrailWoodSanctuaryMap.pdf and print a colored map. Leashed dogs are welcome. A schedule of events including full moon walks, Sunday afternoon walks and late summer bird walks is available at http://www.ctaudubon.org/visit/trailwood.htm
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