Free 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 early October – and the tours this weekend (Oct. 14 and 15) are the last ones of the season.
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 n