Rural Connecticut - Attractions & Activities

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Plan Your Trip to Rural Connecticut

Things to Do in the Area

Awesome outdoor activities, sightseeing, and shopping are available when you visit rural Connecticut and the Barkhamsted area. Check out some of our favorite nearby attractions.

1. Saville Dam/Barkhamsted Reservoir

Saville Dam is an earthen embankment dam with masonry work on the eastern branch of the Farmington River. The dam is 135 feet tall and 1,950 feet long and has an uncontrolled spillway on its western portion. It creates the Barkhamsted Reservoir which has a volume of 36.8 billion gallons and is the primary water source for Hartford, CT. Within the Barkhamsted Reservoir lies the foundations of Barkhamsted Hollow, an original portion of town that was purchased by The Metropolitan District Commission during The Great Depression. This area was intentionally flooded following the construction of the Saville Dam.

2. Tunxis State Forest

Tunxis State Forest is approximately 9,152 acres divided into sections on both sides of the Barkhamsted Reservoir. It contains large areas of unbroken forest in the towns of Hartland, Barkhamsted, and Granby. Many types of wildlife can be seen at Tunxis. Near the end of the 20th Century, the area was one of the earliest in the state to see moose and black bear. It is also a popular forest recreational escape for enthusiasts who like to hike, cross-country ski, snowshoe and hunt.

3. American Legion and Peoples State Forests

Four-season fun can be found at American Legion and Peoples State Forests, which offer the region's finest fishing, hunting and winter sporting activities nestled amid the wooded splendor. The West Branch of the Farmington River, designated as a Wild and Scenic River by the National Park Service, is the center point of river-based recreational activities including trout fishing, canoeing, kayaking and tubing. Other attractions include the 200-year-old white pine picnic groves in the Matthies Grove and Whittemore Recreation Areas, over 11 miles of hiking trails, the Barkhamsted Lighthouse and other cultural and historic sites.

4. Farmington River

The Farmington River is a river, 46.7 miles in length along its main stem, which is located in northwest Connecticut. The area is renowned for great tubing, kayaking, canoeing and white water rafting. Enjoy fly fishing at the West Branch of the river, in particular the section from Riverton downstream to New Hartford, which has the highest trout population density in the state - rivaling some western waters.

5. Lake McDonough

One of Connecticut's gems, Lake McDonough is a scenic, unspoiled public recreation area. It offers many ways for everyone to enjoy the beauty of the area with fishing, picnicking, swimming, boating and hiking. There's a fully accessible nature trail for the disabled and the blind, as well as wheelchair accessibility to the boathouse, beaches, bathhouses and picnic areas. Fishing by boat and from the shore is permitted from the third Saturday in April to Labor Day. Fishing from shore is also permitted through Nov. 30. A wheelchair accessible fishing pier is located on the south end of the lake. Rental rowboats are available; private boat, canoe and kayak launching is allowed for a fee.

6. Litchfield County

Litchfield County offers many rewarding opportunities for antiquing, dining, shopping, and relaxing in the picturesque Northwest Hills of Connecticut. Find a treasured antique, a coveted painting or sculpture, choose one of Litchfield County's many fine restaurants for a tasty dining experience, and rest comfortably in a country inn or B & B.

7. Hartford, CT

Less than 45 minutes away from Barkhamsted is Hartford, the state capital of Connecticut and home to a slew of historical attractions, a thriving arts and entertainment center, a revitalized riverfront and beautiful parks and public gardens.

Parks in the Rural Connecticut area

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