The brown sign tour continues! You may recall the first installment of the tour was northbound. This time around you’re going to want to head east to experience a side of Connecticut you definitely don’t want to miss.
Connecticut's Recreational or Cultural Interest signs (aka "the brown signs") list attractions to visit.
The first stop on the tour should be Black Pond. As you’re heading toward Route 66 east, you’ll see the small brown boat launch sign that will lead you down a narrow path. At the bottom of the hill you’ll find the glittering pond that spans the Meriden-Middletown line near the base of Besek Mountain, complete with wheelchair accessible fishing spots and walking trails for all to enjoy. This location is great for canoeing, picnicking, or strolling on a sunny day.
If you’re looking for an outdoor adventure that’s a bit further from home, continue on to Wadsworth Falls State Park in Middletown. Activities here include mountain biking, stream fishing, and hiking, all with a breathtaking background of rushing waterfalls.
While you’re in the area, pop onto the Wadsworth Mansion estate too. The mesmerizing mansion and expansive grounds are owned and maintained by the city of Middletown. The city acquired the property with the aim of promoting communal and cultural activities within the area, and members of the public often can be seen making the most of the city’s investment.
Still in Middletown, a three-in-one attraction is quietly tucked away; The Veterans Memorial Park hosts the Connecticut Trees of Honor Memorial and the Greater Middletown Military Museum. As you walk the grounds and read up on those who have made the ultimate sacrifice, a somber peace may come over you as you take in some Connecticut history.
Regarding Connecticut history, another brown sign directs visitors to the Freedom Trail. The Freedom Trail sites are designed to remind visitors of the struggles and accomplishments within the African American community. There are over 130 sites in over 50 towns across the state, and so many informative displays amongst them. Taking the time to stop and read the plaques and monuments can really add some thoughtful culture to any day trip.
A final stop on the eastern tour would be the Portland Brownstone Quarries. Once an industrial haven, these now national historic quarries are home to the outdoor exploration and discovery park that adrenaline-junkies travel from far and wide to visit. Equipped with ziplines, rock-climbing walls, rope swings, and so much more, the Brownstone Park has something for everyone— even sandy shores and a plethora of snack shacks located throughout the park for those who are along for the ride but prefer to watch the action more than live it.
All these unique attractions and more are waiting to be explored! What will be your first stop on the brown sign tour?
Francesca Fontánez is a Meriden-based journalist, educator, and creative. A graduate of both the University of New Haven and the University of Bridgeport, she is happy to be back in Meriden writing about the city she loves. When she's not helping out in the English department at Maloney High School, she's either exploring the Eastern seaboard for her lifestyle blog (@east_side_vibes_ on Instagram) or working on music for her band, Cessa and The Zach . Email Francesca at firstname.lastname@example.org with tips on what you want to read about next, or just to say hi!