- 2016 Elections
- Special Reports
- Maps & Data
- Dear Abby
- Games & Puzzles
- Events & Exhibits
- Food & Drink
- Arts & Music
- Movies & TV
While running with my old pal Johnny Kelley of Mystic years ago we loped toward Ledyard, where pavement gave way to gravel.
Soon we passed an expansive bog that bordered a dense forest, which gradually opened up into rolling pastures with grazing horses.
A man on a tractor waved as we approached.
Throughout New England you could not accompany Kell, the gone but never-forgotten 1957 Boston Marathon champ and two-time Olympian, without someone shouting a greeting.
"Hi, Art!" Johnny replied, barely breaking stride, and off we went into the hills.
This was Art Weber, who lived with his wife, Judy, on a 298-acre farm on Lambtown Road Extension that straddles Groton and Ledyard.
The narrow dirt byway that passed through their farm became one of my favorite running and biking routes, and I eventually came to know Art and Judy. Art, in fact, had been a city editor at The Day, but in his heart he was a farmer, and every spring he dug up and balled a couple dozen pines and hemlocks from areas he was clearing, which I then hauled back to my house and transplanted. Today these trees are nearly 50 feet tall.
Art died a number of years ago, but Judy, whose father, Latham Avery, bought the property in 1929, still lives in the Colonial-era farmhouse, thanks to an arrangement she made late last year with the Groton Open Space Association. She is donating 146 acres in Groton to the land preservation group, and selling the Ledyard portion to GOSA, guaranteeing that the entire, magnificent parcel will remain undeveloped.
This is wonderful news, especially since the property is adjacent to another recent GOSA acquisition, the 91-acre Candlewood Ridge preserve, which has outstanding trails for hiking and cross-country skiing. Both properties contain streams, pools, mature oak and beech forests and mountain laurel, and are home to hundreds of species of birds, turtles, amphibians and other woodland creatures.
Dr. Robert Askins, Katherine Blunt Professor of Biology at Connecticut College, calls the Avery Farm "one of the most biologically diverse and valuable sites for conservation in eastern Connecticut."
The town of Ledyard, which maintains Lambtown Road Extension, has for the past two years closed it to cars during winter to help prevent erosion and unintentional widening by snow plows. This measure, incidentally, also saved about $2,500 in road repairs.
Last week officials announced a better idea: Keep the gate at the north end of Lambtown Road Extension closed to traffic year-round. Hikers, bicyclists and runners, of course, would still be allowed through.
The southern end has its own gate that emergency vehicles and Judy Weber can use, but, as Ledyard Mayor John Rodolico noted, there is "no valid reason" for other cars to use that road.
Amen, and well said.
Ledyard's Planning and Zoning Commission must first hold a public hearing, but Mayor Rodolico hopes the proposal is adopted next month.
I don't recall many other instances in which a town closed a public road to cars, and hope it inspires others to follow suit. Though we live in comparatively rural southeastern Connecticut, there's still way too much asphalt and concrete. Many mistakenly view new roads as "progress," as evidenced by elaborate ribbon-cutting ceremonies whenever one opens.
Maybe Ledyard and the open space association should conduct a symbolic ribbon-tying to celebrate the closing of Lambtown Road Extension.
GOSA, which has helped preserve thousands of acres throughout the region, including such treasures as Bluff Point and Haley Farm, now is seeking state grants and raising money to complete the purchase of the Avery Farm. One generous contributor has kicked in $25,000 to match donations made by March 31.
Tax-deductible donations can be made to the Groton Open Space Association, Inc., P.O. Box 9187, Groton, CT 06340-9187, or through the website gosaonline.org.
GOSA also is offering tours of the Avery Farm property at 2 p.m. every Sunday in February and March.
Just remember, if you arrive by car, you can't drive through Lambtown Road Extension.
Many people I know share my passion for outdoor recreation but I also have a little secret: Between rounds of kayaking, hiking, gardening, wood-splitting and other activities I also savor the simple act of lounging quietly on a sunny day in a...
A refreshing breeze cooled me despite a blazing late-afternoon sun as I scrambled up the final rocky slope to the 4,121-foot summit of Maine’s Saddleback Mountain earlier this week, but I paused for only a moment to gaze at the glorious,...
During decades of traipsing through the wilderness I’ve slept, or attempted to sleep, in every conceivable indoor and outdoor quarters: in freshly dug snow caves; alongside bug-infested swamps; during thunderstorms with no tent; in the...
The awful story this week about a 2-year-old boy who witnesses said was pulled by an alligator into a lagoon near a Walt Disney World hotel in Orlando, Florida and later found dead serves as a reminder that danger lurks even in "The...
While kayaking the other morning I spotted a small, dark object poking above the lake surface 100 yards or so ahead, and I was pretty sure it was the head of a turtle until I drew closer and realized the sad truth: just another beer...
Shortly before the start of the late-great Rose Arts Road Race several years ago, a 10.47-mile running competition over the hills of Norwich considered one of New England’s toughest courses, my friend Bob and I decided to jog a couple miles...
Lugging back-country skis and poles on our shoulders, my son Tom and I trudged along the Volcanic Legacy Scenic Byway at Oregon’s Crater Lake National Park, searching for a section of road that had not been plowed.
As I clambered toward the crest of the Mist Trail in California’s Yosemite National Park a couple weeks ago, spray from the thunderous Nevada Fall washed over me, but I was already soaked, with sweat, after gaining nearly 2,000 feet of...
Just between us, don’t you hate it when friends or coworkers post photos on Facebook of awesome journeys to exotic destinations – or if they’re really old-school, send postcards depicting glorious sunsets, sparkling lakes,...