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The state of Connecticut started a program in the early 1920s in which people could purchase land and donate it to the state. The residents fundraised and individually donated, and the total was roughly $8 per acre, or about $24,000 worth of land, which is a little over $356,000 in today’s dollars.
The Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC), which was overseen by President Roosevelt’s New Deal program, laid down several miles of roads and blazed trails. CCC also built several structures, including a nature museum made out of fieldstone and logs. This museum is on the National Register of Historic Places. Also contained within the Peoples State Forest boundaries is another historic place, the Barkhamsted Lighthouse, which was a 17th- and the 18th-century progressive community consisting of Native Americans, African Americans, and Whites. Though the buildings are long gone, the foundations are still visible.
The closest town to the Peoples State Forest is Hartford, 25 miles to the southeast. Both the capital of the state and one of the oldest cities in America, it’s also the home of America’s oldest public art museum, Wadsworth Atheneum, which was founded in 1842.
Peoples State Forest is a mix of hardwood and pine trees that blanket over 3,000 acres of gently rolling mountains and hills. Farmington River meanders and serpentines along the western edge of Peoples State Forest, providing excellent trout fishing opportunities. On a quiet, misty morning, an early riser hitting the trails may find that hardy fishermen have beaten them to the outdoors. As the steam rises from the cool river, a fisherman, clad in waders, calmly and deftly flicks his rod. Tall maples and birches crowd the banks of the river, lush green in spring and summer. In autumn, the trees turn into a blaze of gold and ember.
There are a little over 10 miles of multi-use trails, shared with hikers and mountain bikers. These trails wind and weave through the dense woods. Here and there, there are groves of 200- and 300-years-old white pines. The trails are soft and loamy from generations of fallen leaves. In autumn, an occasional gunshot rings out. Deer hunting is permitted. All hikers should exercise basic precautions and wear blaze-orange.
As soon as the temperature drops and the region is blanketed in deep, soft snow, the barren, twisting woods are transformed into a wonderland. Lacy branches clad in white reach out to one another. Winterberries gleam bright, the red hue contrasting with stark white. As soon as there is sufficient snowpack, the trails are open to cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, and snowmobiling.
Skip the long drive from a hotel by renting an Airstream, and wake up surrounded by nature at Peoples State Forest. Listen to birds as they announce the arrival of the sun. Or the wind in the leaves overhead. Peoples State Forest RV campground has 34 sites, and though it’s largely primitive, there are restrooms with flush toilets and drinking water.
Alternatively, RV camp at American Legion State Forest, which is just across the Farmington River. The campground has 27 RV sites, some of which are waterfront. There are no hookups, but it does have restrooms with showers and drinking water.
Another option to consider is White Pines Campsites in Barkhamsted. The family-friendly campground features fun planned activities for children of all ages, a swimming pool, and WiFi All of White Pines Campsites 209 sites have hookups, too.
Exploring the Area
Even in rural Connecticut, the towns have unique flair and attractions for visitors to explore, and finding a favorite site is made all the easier by renting a motorhome. Fly high in Windsor Locks, at the New England Air Museum. The museum has over 100 planes and aircraft ranging from early flying crafts to modern jets. The exhibits spotlight notable individuals in the history of aviation, including women pilots and WWII memorials.
No visit to Connecticut is complete without a tour of the Mark Twain Museum. The much-lauded writer made his home in Hartford, CT, which has been turned into a museum. Visitors can not only get a glimpse into the life of Mark Twain, but also view various memorabilia, documents, manuscripts, and photographs.
Ready for high-octane thrilling fun? Head across the state border into Massachusetts and hit Six Flags New England in Agawam, MA. The amusement park features several teeth-chattering roller coasters, water slides, and several tamer options for young children and the easily-nauseated. The park also regularly has live entertainment at which visitors can meet and interact with various Looney Tunes characters like Tweety Bird and Sylvester.
At the end of a long day of adventuring and exploring, retreat into a camper rental and relax within the safety of your temporary home. Find your perfect RV camping adventure today in Connecticut and enjoy the fun with family and friends.