Apple Blossom and Lilac Season at Topsmead State Forest

Topsmead apple blossomsIt’s apple blossom and lilac season at Topsmead State Forest, one of the prettiest times of year to visit this Litchfield gem where tours of the landmark Tudor style cottage resume in June.
The stewardship group Friends of Topsmead State Forest recently posted a roster of events from now through October and its website is the go-to resource for learning the property’s history and making plans to visit.

Upcoming Events at Topsmead – May through October

Chase Cottage House Tours (Adults/Teens)

Every other weekend starting June 8th: Tours are first-come, first- served and run every half-hour from noon to 4:30 p.m. Meet at the front door of the cottage. Free. (See more about the landmark cottage at the end of the post.)

Flora & Fauna Club at Topsmead (All ages)

Held during the last Saturday of the month. Led by Andy Dobos, certified wildlife tracker and naturalist with 20 years experience mentoring people in nature skills. Meet in the parking lot at Topsmead. Free.
Saturday, May 25th @ 10 a.m. to noon
Saturday, June 29th @ 10 a.m. to noon
Saturday, July 27th @ 10 a.m. to noon
Saturday, August 31st @ 10 a.m. to noon

Letterboxing Workshops (Kids ages 4-12)

Held the second Saturday of every other month starting June 8th and led by Vicki Ford, FTSF board member & docent. An introductory session to the family-fun activity of visiting interesting places and collecting stamps to document the visit. Meet in the parking lot at Topsmead. Free.
Saturday, June 8th, 2024 @ 10 a.m. – 11 a.m.
Saturday, August 10th, 2024 @ 10 a.m. – 11 a.m.
Saturday, October 12th, 2024 @ 10 a.m. – 11 a.m.

Nature’s Classroom at Topsmead (Kids ages 4-12)

Held the second Saturday of every other month starting May 11th and led by Miss Stacy Canty of Tinkergarten. A hands-on foraging and crafting session for children ages 4 to 12. Meet at the far corner of the parking lot facing the Chase Cottage. Free.
Saturday, May 11th, 2024 @ 10 a.m. – 11 a.m.
Saturday, July 13, 2024 @ 10 a.m. – 11 a.m.
Saturday, September 14th, 2024 @ 10 a.m. – 11 a.m.
Have questions or need more information, email [email protected] or visit the website.

More on the Cottage Tours at Topsmead

Topsmead State Forest lillacsFree guided tours of the historic English Tudor-style cottage at the 510-acre Topsmead State Forest are offered seasonally on the second and fourth weekends of each month from June through Columbus Day.

The charming cottage is decorated with Miss Edith Morton Chase’s collection of art and antiques, and the 45-minute docent-led tours are provided by @friendsoftopsmead beginning at noon and running on the hour and half hour.

The last tour is offered at 4:30 p.m. Guests should meet a docent at the front door of the house. Each group is limited to eight people, first-come, first-served.

When you visit, make a cottage tour the highlight of a larger discovery.

The 510 acres of forests and meadows at Topsmead are open year-round for passive recreation including walking, picnicking, bird watching, sledding, and cross-country skiing, according to the Friends website.

Don’t miss the Edith Chase Ecology Trail, a mile-long walk with interpretive signs. See the Topsmead trail maps here.

​Dogs on a leash are welcome, but open fires & grills are not allowed. Topsmead State Forest, located on Buell Road off Route 118, is open to visitors from 8 a.m. to sunset year-round.

A Brief History of Topsmead from the Friends Website

In 1917, Edith Morton Chase received 16 acres of land from her father, Henry, First President of Chase Brass & Copper Company of Waterbury, CT. It was situated on Jefferson Hill in Litchfield, CT. Here Edith built a rustic cabin, which was later replaced by a more substantial English Tudor summer home, designed by noted architect Richard Henry Dana, Jr. The exterior of the home is constructed of cypress, the downspouts are copper, and the interior is crafted of oak.

​Fine craftsmanship and an eye for detail are still evident throughout. This summer home was furnished with 17th and 18th century English Country antiques. In 1927 Ms. Chase purchased the adjacent Buell Farm to reflect its location at the “top of the meadow.”

Upon her death in 1972, Edith Chase left her estate to the people of Connecticut and to be known as Topsmead State Forest. In her will Ms. Chase requested that Topsmead State Forest be “kept in a state of natural beauty.”

Topsmead State Forest cottage