RECREATION – BEACH OR PARK Bittner Park, Rte. 77, Guilford. Open year-round from sunrise to dark; 136 acres with trails for cross- country skiing, horses, hiking and biking, a skate park, concession stand, restrooms, softball & soccer field with lights, three Little League fields and a playground. 203-453-8068, Brooksvale Park, 524 Brooksvale Ave., Hamden. 500+ acre nature park & wildlife sanctuary offering a domestic animal barnyard, hiking trails, seasonal sugaring shack and a native wildlife garden. Open play area, sports fields and ice skating pond (call for ice status) and sledding areas are also available. 203-287-2669, East Rock Park, 41 Cold Spring St., New Haven. With 425 acres, East Rock Park is the largest in New Haven. It features the historic Soldier & Sailors Monument, the Pardee Rose Garden & Greenhouses, sports fields and over 8 miles of hiking trails. The summit offers an excellent view of New Haven Green and Long Island Sound. Park ranger on site Monday-Friday 8 a.m.-4 p.m. and occasional weekends. 203-946-6086, East Shore Park, Woodward Ave. (I-95, exit 50), New Haven. Eighty-two acres of land bordering New Haven Harbor with a meandering trail along the shoreline. Tennis courts, athletic facilities, handicapped accessible playground (Hannah’s Dream). Several lighted ball fields on site. 203-946-8027, Edgerton Park, 75 Cliff St., New Haven/Hamden. Tour a turn-of-the-century greenhouse complex on this 25-acre park on the grounds of the former Brewster Estate. On-site are the Sarah T. Crosby Conservatory and the Rehabilitation Center’s Greenbrier Greenhouse Horticulture program, offering plants and herbal products. Occasional concerts and Elm Shakespeare Company theater performances. Lush grounds for picnicking. Park is open daily sunrise to sunset, facilities 10 a.m.-4 p.m. 203-777-1886, Edgewood Park, 720 Edgewood Ave., New Haven. Park offers countless ways to enjoy nature and the outdoors: soccer field, basketball court, tennis courts, two ponds, hiking trails, fitness course, playground, sundial sprinkler, skate board park, dog run, self- guided tree walk. Park is open, sunrise to sunset. 203-946-8028, Farmington Canal Linear Park, New Haven/Hamden. 13.2 scenic miles (and growing) walkway perfect for biking, walking, hiking and in-line skating, beginning in Hamden and south into New Haven. See website for parking locations in New Haven and Hamden. Dawn to dusk. 203-287-2579, Hammonasset Beach State Park, 1288 Boston Post Rd. (I-95, exit 62 Rte. 1), Madison. Largest of Connecticut’s shoreline parks. Two-mile beach with facilities for swimming, seasonal camping, saltwater fishing, picnicking, scuba diving, hiking, mountain biking, roller blading, and boating. Amenities include year round Meigs Point Nature Center with programs & activities, pavilions, concessions, restrooms, changing rooms/showers. Fee. Daily 8 a.m.-sunset. 203-245-2785, Hubbard Park and Castle Craig, 999 W Main St., Meriden. 1,802-acre park that includes a lake, tennis courts, a pavilion, swings and playground equipped for younger children. Castle Craig is a replica of an ancient castle resting 1,002 feet above sea level. Hiking trails lead to the castle. 203-630-4259, Jacobs Beach, Seaside Ave., Guilford. Beach on Long Island Sound, play-scape, boat racks, picnic area, grills, pavilion and bathroom facilities. Non- resident fees. 203-453-8068, Lake Quonnipaug, Rte. 77, Guilford. Beach and swimming area in a fresh water lake. Seasonal beach passes/daily fees, children 5 and under free. 203-453-8068, Lake Wintergreen, West Rock Park, Main St., Hamden. Part of West Rock Ridge State Park. A nature trail surrounds the lake, while additional trails in the park connect to Regicides Trail. Canoeing, fishing. Sunrise-sunset. 203-946-6521, Lighthouse Point Park, 2 Lighthouse Rd., I-95, exit 50, New Haven. Swimming, natural history displays, nature trails, picnic grove, bird sanctuary and an antique carousel are highlights of this 82-acre park on Long Island Sound. Season runs: April 1-November 1. Gates open 7 a.m.-sunset year round. Carousel, weekends & holidays noon-4 p.m. Parking fees: New Haven residents free/$20 CT vehicles/$30 out-of state-vehicles. Carousel rides: 50 cents. 203-946- 8027, Milford Town Beaches, Gulf Beach, I-95, exit 39A, has a food stand, a fishing pier and an observation deck facing Gulf Pond. Walnut Beach, I-95, exit 34, has more parking and some picnic tables. Non- resident fee. 203-783-3280, New Haven Sea Walk, End of Howard Ave., New Haven. Take a short walk along the water with views of New Haven Harbor and Long Island Sound. Sunrise-dusk. 203-946-8019 Pardee Rose Garden, 180 Park Rd., East Rock Park, Hamden. More than 50 varieties of roses, peaking in June and July, plus annuals, perennials, and herbs in bloom April-October, daily sunrise-sunset. 203-946-8142, Rockland Preserve, Off Rte. 79, North Madison. Owned by the Town of Madison, Rockland Preserve is 650 acres of hiking trails. Entrances across from Renee’s Way or Samantha’s Way. 203-245-5623, Silver Horseshoe Stable, 350 Wolf Harbor Rd., Milford. A boarding and teaching stable. Horseback riding lessons (hunt seat and western) by appointment only. 203-874-2168, Silver Sands State Park, I-95, exit 35, Milford. Beach- goers see Charles Island from the shore where legend has it that Captain Kidd buried treasure. Take a stroll along the boardwalk. 203-735-4311 or 860-485-0226, Sleeping Giant State Park, 200 Mt. Carmel Ave., Hamden. Two miles of mountaintop resembling a large man lying in repose, the “sleeping giant”, is a popular feature of the south central Connecticut skyline. A 1.5-mile scenic trail leads to the stone observation tower on the peak of Mt. Carmel which provides an excellent view of Long Island Sound and the New Haven area. Thirty-two miles of hiking trails and picnic areas, plus a river stocked with trout for spring fishing. 8 a.m.-sunset. Weekends and holiday parking fees: $9 CT vehicles ($5 after 4 p.m.)/$15 out-of-state vehicles ($6 after 4 p.m.); weekdays free. 203- 287-5658, Association, Vietnam Veterans Memorial Park and Long Wharf Nature Preserve, Long Wharf Dr. (I-95, exit 46), New Haven. Seventeen acres on the west shore of the harbor contains a walkway, park benches and parking. The park is the site of the Vietnam War Veterans Memorial. The Preserve is a seaside ecosystem, offering self-guided walking trails on Long Island Sound. Memorial: 203-946- 8019; Preserve: 203-946-5713, coastalaccess West Haven Town Beaches, Bradley Point Park & Promenade, I-95, exit 42, West Haven. It is said that West Haven’s four miles of beachfront is the longest stretch of public access shorefront in the state. The most popular is Bradley Point Beach with its 1.5-mile promenade and boardwalk for walking and biking. Other beach areas include: Altshuler, Dawson, Morse, Oak St., Peck, Sandy Point and Sea Bluff. Non-resident parking fee. 203-937-3651, West Rock Ridge State Park, 1134 Wintergreen Ave., New Haven. On the edge of New Haven, extending north into Hamden, and Bethany is the 1,700-acre West Rock Ridge State Park, which features 23 miles of trails for hiking and dog walking, including the Blue-Blazed Regicides Trail. 203-278-5658, Wharton Brook State Park, South Colony St., Rte. 5, Wallingford. In 1918-1920, this Park was known as a traveler’s wayside; motorists could stop to have their cars serviced and enjoy a quiet picnic lunch. The park was the forerunner of the rest areas developed by the State Department of Transportation. Today 96 wooded acres and sandy knolls offer a prime spot for picnicking, swimming, hiking, fishing, ice skating. Restrooms and food concessions. Weekends and holiday parking fees: $9 CT vehicles ($5 after 4 p.m.)/$15 out-of-state vehicles ($6 after 4 p.m.); weekdays free. 203-269-5308, Wooster Square, Bordered by Wooster Pl., Chapel, Academy and Greene Sts., New Haven. Named for Revolutionary War hero David Wooster, the square was conceived in the early 1800s and has been refurbished to simulate a turn-of-the-century park. The square is surrounded by a border of Yoshino cherry trees whose blooming is celebrated every spring with the Cherry Blossom Festival. 203-777-1371, RECREATION – BOATING EXCURSION Branford River Paddles Sports, 50 Maple St., Branford. A paddlesports destination offering rentals, camps, instruction and tours. 315-402-8606, Guilford Boat Yards, 230 Water St., Guilford. Boat rentals – see website for schedule and fees. 203-453-5031, LEISURE 36