February 14, 2016

Barbara Edwards Great Place

Connecticut is a great place to hike. Although we call them mountains, our highest points are regarded as hills by many states. Enough to offer a challenge to the eager hiker. In the past few years the towns have enthusiastically acquired land to be dedicated as open space and established walking trails and bike paths.

Nearby Tolland is one. They opened a trail through the Crystal Peat Bog. The 31 acre parcel of land was donated by the Crystal Peat Humus company in 2013. Before fossil fuels like coal and oil, peat was known as “cakes of fuel.”

I like to walk so finding a level trail was a pleasure.  despite a slight hill near the parking lot the path is level.
I also like learning the history since I’m always doing research. 

The Crystal Peat Bog was used during the Civil War to provide cheap fuel. The major source of heating and factory production was coal and the price sky-rocketed. Peat was available.

Connecticut peat was shipped to both Boston and New York, bringing money into the state. At the peak of production a dozen plants in places like Coventry, Rockville, Ellington and Meriden contributed peat bricks.
The peat was ground up and formed into blocks the size of bricks. The resulting bricks gave off about half the heat of coal. The production ended when the price of coal dropped after the end of the conflict. 

The trail is marked by purple blazes and runs along an old road that used to take visitors to Ellington and Crystal Lake. (Do you remember that name? Hint: horror movies) A path marked with yellow blazes takes you through the heart of the preserve. It winds for about a mile through the oak and white pine forest. Since it doesn’t loop, you need to plan on walking about two or three miles past the remnants of the wall where they load the peat into wagons. There was no place I could point to and say I saw the bog. the land is overgrown with second and third growth trees. Like places in Europe, the peat bog is a field like every other. 
The clear-flowing Brooks Brooks run through the area before it flows into the Skungamaug River.
Check out www.tolland.org/open-space-hiking-trails for maps to the area.

As a prize, I’m offering up a e-copy of my paranormal, Ancient Awakenings, to one lucky person who comments here.   

Amazon Author’s Page http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B003F6ZK1A


  1. I have very fond memories of visiting my uncle at his home in Coventry. To me, Connecticut was always a place of lush green serenity...

  2. I love the old towns of Connecticut, especially along the coast. As a Broody New Englander, they make me nostalgic for whaling ships and rum.

  3. Ellington - sorry, no horror movies with that name in it comes to mind. The other one, Crystal something or other. Yeah, sounds vaguely familiar. lol

  4. Interesting to learn this about your state, Barbara. My husband and I lived in Connecticut briefly many years ago when he was stationed at the submarine base in New England. I walk a lot, too, and I remember the cold wind even in late spring. But I'm sure the summers and autumns are lovely and I've always wanted to return at that time of year. I wish you success with all of your books.

  5. I grew up in CT and traveling across the Sound to antique was always one of my favorite things to do. I have good friends in Newtown and still travel to see them when I'm on a book tour. I could definitely live there, despite the winters!

  6. Hail, fellow New Englander! CT is a beautiful state. I love Mystic.
    My state, NH, is one of those with 4,000+ footers, but I can't climb them anymore. Nice flat trails are perfect for me now!

  7. Connecticut sounds lovely and your book sound good.
    Good luck and God's blessings.

  8. I didn't know we had peet or that it was so important. I always associated it with England.

  9. I must say that bog must have produced a lot of peat to sustain those people for a time. Can't even imagine it. It would be wonderful to travel to all the places we read about in these postings. Every state has so much to offer.

  10. Beautiful pictures. I've only passed through CT and don't think of it as a place for hiking or peat. Thanks for the interesting info. You make me want to go there and stay awhile.

  11. Nice selection of points. Like New Jersey, although a small state, Connecticut has a little of everything.


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