When it hits 65 degrees on January 11 I just HAVE to hit the trail, but we didn't have a lot of time today so we headed to one of our favorite local spots -- Hilltop Farm in Suffield, CT.
While not much of an actual hike (there are a few short trails that lead into the woods) we love it here for the wide open vehicle trail that loops around the property and along the river. It's clear, hard packed, gently sloping and easy for even the littlest hikers. Away from heavy traffic and offering a view of the river, but not close enough to the water to cause worry -- this spot offers a relaxing nature walk where you can let the kids meander on their own while always being able to see them. Just remember that this is a working access road so a vehicle may come along while you're on the path -- don't let littles wander too far.
During the early 20th century the property was a dairy farm owned by George Hendee, co-founder of Indian Motorcycle, but is now operated by the nonprofit Friends of the Farm at Hilltop -- and is listed in the Register of Historic Places.
Wellies or old sneakers are a must -- except in the driest part of summer this trail is delightful muddy. You could definitely use a jogging stroller here, just maybe not during peak mud season. A meander around the grasslands takes about 30 minutes for my crew -- perfect when time or tempers are short for a longer hike. Please stick to the path or trails in the woods, there is a lot of conservation work going on at the farm.
And get this, you guys -- there is actually a bathroom on site! There are two compostable toilets on the property -- one adjacent to the path. These are way better than a porta-potty and so convenient when exploring with the kids. There's plenty of parking on site -- just pull off the road.
Hilltop Farm also hosts many unique events in season. The Friends of the Farm at Hilltop are working hard on conservation. Lots of cool stuff happens here. You can follow along on their Facebook page.
Hilltop Farm is located at 1616 Mapleton Avenue, but there are entry points off of Route 159 -- approximately one mile down the road from Six Flags New England in Agawam. Look for the large white farmhouse on the left side of the road as you head south out of Massachusetts over the Connecticut line. There are several driveways into the property -- any one of them will lead you to the loop. See you on the trail!