Saturday, April 28, 2018

Pine Mountain - Future Ledges Trail

On Sat. we scoped out the basic route of a new trail in Pine Mountain. This was by request from the Ridgefield Conservation Commission (RCC) and Dave Cronin accompanied us. It will be pretty spectacular with at least 4 overlooks. The map is a only a rough draft.

Flying Squirrel Overlook

#2 - This will be accessible from a Spur
(panorama -sweeping right to left)

Added attraction (near the proposed trail)

#3 - The Spot where we saw the Fireplace

After our trek, I went to check out the Leon Levy Preserve in Lewisboro, NY. Link >

Leon Levy Preserve - Flute

After a hike up at Pine Mountain plotting a new overlook trail [Link >] and another great lunch and IPA at The Hideaway in Ridgefied, the weather was so beautiful I decided to stop and check out the Leon Levy Preserve in Lewisboro.

Sadly, no bikes are allowed but its a great park with rugged scenery and a few historical ruins.

Trail south to Gorge

I first headed south to the Gorge Overlook. The trails are primarily old carriage roads but the offshoots are single track.

 Trail sign for Gorge Loop

At the trail sign, I veered off to hike the Gorge Loop...

Outcroppings overlooking the Gorge

...  and found a nice spot on mammoth rocks to play my Native American flute.
A nice bunch of hikers took my photo
Always enamored with the many shapes of trees
After my peaceful time by the Gorge Overlook playing the flute, I finished hiking the Gorge side loop and headed north on the main trail to visit the historical ruins.

At the Cottage Ruins

First stop was the Cottage Ruins that were located on a side trail.
"Rhino "Tree near the cottage Ruins

Black Mansion

Next I visited the Black Mansion. This was built in 1905 by Dr James Mason Crafts, former president of MIT on more than 100 acres. Abandoned in the 1920s, it burned in early 1979. All that remains are a few stone walls and structures.  It appears it is being restored.
Methinks this was an old road leading up to the mansion

Before Restoration 

These photos indicated its condition before restoration began...

Chimney Ruins

Finally, I circled back down the main trail and passed by the chimney ruins.

Near the front of the park - this would make a setting for a mini concert :-)


This is a great park, I will be returning to hike more of the trails  -- and of course bring my Native American Flute. :-)   

Further Info 

According to Town Historian Maureen Koehl, the mansion was developed along with many of the other structures on the property by an organic chemist and president of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Dr. James Mason Crafts, after he bought the property around 1890.

Among the structures built were a laboratory, ice house, coach house, and garage with six bays and a grease pit. A history of the mansion is included in Ms. Koehl’s book: Lewisboro Ghosts: Strange Tales and Scary Sightings.

A couple of great B&W shots of the Black Mansion ruins

(Wildlife, Trail, Ruins, etc.)

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Lunch Hour Battery Park and Castle Clinton

Animals and history keep this quick walk super interesting....

This little critter wasn't shy!

Castle Clinton Diorama showing the evolution of the area where Castle Clinton is from early 1800s to the 1940s.

It a fascinating place - be sure to check out the link below...

Further Info

Sunday, April 8, 2018

Cranbury Park - Norwalk

I took a hike around the east side trails on Sunday. An easy spot to bike...
Trail Map
Gallagher Mansion
The park’s most distinguished tree is the gigantic weeping beech located near the pavilion on the Great Lawn. It is at least 100 years old.
Gigantic weeping beech
Wikipedia Photo - Source

About the Gallaher Mansion

Built in 1930 by industrialist/inventor Edward Beach Gallaher, this lovely limestone Tudor Revival mansion is styled with carvings, stained-glass windows and walnut paneled rooms

E.B. Gallaher (1873-1953) found dis nc on among the many aspiring young designers of the new “horseless carriage,” most notably with his Keystone and Searchmont cars. A prolic inventor, industrialist, and auto pioneer, he developed marine engines, transit systems, promoted automobile tourism in Europe and endurance auto racing in the U.S., was a founder of what became AAA, and served as an engineering consultant for Daimler of Germany, builders of the famous Mercedes engines and cars.

Gallaher became well known when he “re red” to Norwalk at 37 and founded a Main Avenue business that became one of Norwalk’s largest employers. The Clover Manufacturing Company made industrial abrasives and a compound that was a must-have in every driver’s toolbox.

Upon the death of Inez Gallaher in 1965, the City of Norwalk purchased the Gallaher Estate from Stevens Instute of Technology (Hoboken, NJ), Gallaher’s alma mater, to which the Gallaher’s had bequeathed their en re estate and business. 

Further Info

  • Cranberry Park