Talcott Mountain State Park, Summit Ridge Drive, Simsbury, CT, USA
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Head up to Talcott Mountain to explore a bit of history at Heublein Tower.
Built in 1914 by Gilbert Heublein, this tower fulfilled his promise to his wife to “build a castle on a mountain.” Heublein was a prominent German businessman who, as a child, emigrated with his family to America in 1856. It was used primarily as a vacation home for the Heubleins. Since Heublein’s death, the tower has had multiple owners and a vacancy period. Over the past couple of decades, it has undergone major restoration work, and today visitors can see much of the tower as it might have been while the Heubleins inhabited it. Bedrooms, living spaces, and the dining room have all been restored to the period. Kids will love exploring the tower, and history buffs will delight in this piece of local history. There are great informative displays throughout. The top floor is an observation deck, and on a clear day, you can see many miles in any direction.
The hike up is 1.25 miles and moderate - it goes pretty much straight up Talcott Mountain. There are some slick spots and rocky areas where little ones may need some help. This is probably not the place to come after a rain. Multiple overlooks into the Farmington Valley below provide beautiful spots to rest little legs.
While there are multiple trails to the top, it’s pretty hard to get lost as they all lead to the tower. I would recommend taking the trail to the right on the way up - this is the one with overlooks of the valley. Hold on to the little ones near the edges!
There are many options to extend the hike. The Metacomet Trail runs through the area, and you can continue into Penwood State Park across the street to the north.
Like all Connecticut State Parks, Talcott Mountain charges a fee for parking for non-residents. For residents with CT-registered vehicles, there is no fee.
For a post-hike cool-down
Rosedale Farms and Vineyards is just down the road - it's definitely worth a visit in-season. Check their website for events on most weekends. You can sample their wines while listening to live music. In the fall, they have hayrides and a corn maze. If wine is not your thing, they often have fresh produce and baked goods for sale. Grab some of their delicious fresh fruit or bread and gander down their open-to-the-public trails. It’s a picturesque farm with plenty of excellent picnic spots.