Calvin’s Favorite Hike
Simsbury Land Trust’s Tulmeadow Farm & Woodlot, Simsbury
October 31, 2015
No matter how many years pass, this remains one of my son’s favorite hikes of all time.
I think you can figure out why.
I have written many times of my affinity or West Simsbury. Tulmeadow only adds to that love. They sell delicious ice cream during the summer and it’s just one of those historic, pretty farms that make this area what it is.
Members of the Tuller family have been farming the land in West Simsbury since 1768. While Tulmeadow Farm has always been a diversified family farm, it hasn’t always been named “Tulmeadow”. In earlier days, a farm was simply named after the farmer who was cultivating its land, but in the first half of the 1900’s, Tulmeadow Farm was known as Basswood Farm, named after several large basswood trees that were growing around the houses and barns on the land.
Tulmeadow partnered with the Simsbury Land Trust to preserve the woodlot behind the fields. This was a multi-year effort and I believe it “got done.” The goal is to keep the farmed land “in agriculture forever” and keep the woods free from development.
And, lucky for us, to maintain a trail through it all. We began at the back of the Tulmeadow retail area and simply walked down the farm road. All along the walk, the SLT has posted informative signs about the farm, farming, and the surround hills and geology.
I love signs like this:
Because then I can take a picture like this:
And then I can reminisce about the hikes I’ve done on those hills… Ah, yes. Good times. Western Barndoor Hill with the boys… Okay, we’re here for Tulmeadow. Tulmeadow and… the macabre.
Yes, unbeknownst to me, Tulmeadow features one of those haunted hayrides. I think this one is from Flamig Farm across the street to the west. I admit, as we first approached the (fake) cemetery, I was a bit confused.
It took me a second to sort it all out, but Calvin was all in from the first site of body parts.
Boy, if only every hike contained human organs, severed limbs, and decapitated heads.
Wait. No. That would be horrifying. But you know what I mean.
Even Damian thought this cache of gore was pretty fun. It was “hidden” in a little clearing amongst the trees, but the trail led us right to it.
In other words, no one would ever know this stuff was here other than hikers. It was very difficult pulling them away from playing with the body parts, as weird as that sounds, but I was finally able to do so.
Rain was threatening and we had spent too much time with the dead people, so we simply walked back to the car and drove home…
Only to come back the next day to do the other half of the trail! The trailhead is along Town Forest Road, near the municipal buildings and the dammed pond. There’s a little lot. The first part here is town land, but once up the hill and past the sand pits of the town, we hit the “Tulmeadow Woodlot.”
Tulmeadow is also home to a 73 acre woodlot that we manage to maintain as a healthy forest. We work with a consulting forester to harvest some timber every 10 to 15 years, removing mature timber and making space for new growth that replaces it. The Simsbury Land Trust is is (has?) acquired its development rights and preserves it as protected woodland.
My boys had no idea that we were on the same trail as the one with the blood and gore. (Really, how could they?) It’s very different in the woods than it is when walking across farm fields. I’ve always really like farm hiking for some reason. Even on the Appalachian Trail in Virginia and Maryland and Pennsylvania, the farm walks are always hated… but I sort of liked them.
As for our little farm hike in West Simsbury, it couldn’t have been better for a couple of silly boys. The woods on the other end are quite nice too. So there.
There are many options for longer hikes and bikes here. Across Town Forest Road, a trail network continues through Ethel Walker Woods and the Farmington River Loop of the Farmington Canal Heritage Trail will take you to Stratton Brook State Park and beyond. This is a great part of the state.