Greenwich Point Park
Tod’s Driftway, Old Greenwich, Fairfield County, Connecticut
Greenwich residents only from April to November.
I-95 north to exit 5: turn right onto Putnam Avenue; in 0.2 of a mile turn right onto Sound Beach Avenue; drive 0.5 of a mile, turn right onto Shore Road; drive 1.3 miles turn right onto Shore Road. Shore Road head into Tods Dirt Way which heads into the Park.
A different way:
I-95 north to exit 5; US 1 north to a right turn onto Sound Beach Avenue; travel 1.8 miles to make a right turn onto Shore Road; drive 0.5 to pick up Tods Drift Way; another 0.2 miles brings you to the entrance gate.
Pre-Colonial times – the Sinoway Indians had used the island as early as 1000 AD for hunting and fishing camps in the summer months.
Greenwich Point is the site of the founding of the Town of Greenwich.
1640 – Daniel Patrick, Robert Feake and his wife Elizabeth, who were fleeing from the oppression of the Massachusetts Bay Company, purchased Greenwich and old Greenwich. Elizabeth Feake was very fond of the Point, which became known as Elizabeth’s Neck. The island was two Islands during high tide.
1889 – J. Kennedy Tod, a wealthy bank and railroad magnate, bought the island from a group of squatters and fishermen. The Tods built a 37 room mansion on the Point as well as cottages for guests. They renamed the Point "Innes Arden".
1925 – since the Tods had no heirs, after Mr. Tod’s death, the Point was bequeathed to the Presbyterian Hospital, New York City. The Hospital used "Innes Arden" as a vacation treat for nurses until World War II.
early years of World War II -- the Point was offered to the Town of Greenwich.
1946 -- the Town purchased the Point.
post-war period -- the Mansion was used as 13 living spaces for war veterans.
1961 -- the old Mansion had fallen into disrepair and was demolished. Remaining structures include the locker room, carriage house with its chimes, stables, corn crib and the old wagon house (Yacht Club Building).
The Park was once private. Now it is considered a public beach. There was a big fuss over who was allowed on the beach.
Points of Interest on the Point:
A. Seaside Center of Bruce Museum (restrooms, small concession);
B. bath houses, first aid station, and larger concession;
C. first man made salt marshes in Connecticut (1975);
D. foundation remains of Tod mansion and Hanging Gardens;
E. Chimes Building (c. 1888) containing English made chimes which mark the hour and play five minute concerts at noon and 6 p. m.;
F. Memorial Boulder honoring J. Kennedy Todd and the 1640 purchase from the Indians of land now known as Old Greenwich.
G. picnic tables and grills;
H. Anniversary Holly Grove (1909-1959) with 21 holly varieties;
I. Bronze eagle erected September 23, 1979 by sculptor James Knowles;
J. self-guiding nature trail begins (booklets sold at museum);
K. seaside garden.
beach, shelters for picnics, clam bake area, snack bar, Old Greenwich Boat and Yacht Club, jogging, walking, cycling, nature study, boating, fishing, sail boarding, sunbathing, and swimming
Seasonal passes are available only to residents for $20. Summer rental residents may also obtain a seasonal pass for $250. Cost to get in without a pass is $10.00 a person. Seasonal parking passes are only available to seasonal pass holders.
fish – killfish, silversides;
birds – Terns, Canada Geese, Gulls, Green Heron, Blue Heron, Great Egrets and Snowy Egrets;
mammals -- skunks, rabbits, chipmunks, and muskrats; and
others – mussels, fiddler crabs, barnacles, clams, oysters.
Greenwich Point Park, CT: http://vkart.com/new-england-pictures/greenwich-point.htm
Town of Greenwich Department of Parks and Recreation: Greenwich Point Park: http://www.greenwichct.org/ParksAndRec/prFAGreenwichPoint.pdf
10/22/2005. On a rainy day, Rosemary Cooney, Sarah-David Rosenbaum, Ceferino Santana, dog Sonar and I tried to get into the Park. We could have done it, but it was too much money and too much trouble. We would have had to turn around and find some other place to get a day parking permit and then come and pay $10 per person or $40.00 to get in. It's almost funny and I swear I am laughing as I write this. But anyway, we will come back on November 13 when it is off season. Of course, the botany won't be as good, but we will see the place at least. Patrick L. Cooney.
12/02/2005. On a terribly, cold day with strong winds blowing, Rosemary Cooney, Ceferino Santana, dog Sonar and I toured around Greenwich Point Park. We were surprised how large of a place this is. Passing by the now empty entrance booth we saw the Seaside Center of Bruce Museum (only open in July and August) on the east side of the peninsula. Just down from the museum is the beach area, also on the cast coast.
Driving on the west side of the peninsula along Greenwich Cove we saw some picturesque salt marsh vegetation. We next passed the Clam Bake area (on the left). The next landmark was the Anniversary Holly Grove with some 21 varieties of holly. We passed by the lake on the left and headed toward the Old Greenwich Yacht Club. There is an historical plaque here with a ship's anchor lying over it.
The Chimes Building (c. 1888) came next. From this area one can see the skyline of New York City and the Empire State Building. We parked in this area and while Rosemary took pictures, I identified some of the plants. I could not stay out long, however, because it was just too cold with that wind cutting right through us. (It is a beautiful area with great views.)
Now heading south along the west coast of the peninsula we pass the pond on the left. The next interesting features were a man-made salt marsh (on the left) and the lake (also on the left). On can see Eagle Island in the lake with its Eagle sculpture. Turning left now heading to the north side of the peninsula, we find the second man-made salt marsh (on the right). We notice that the Lake is fenced off and designated as a wildlife sanctuary. At the T-intersection on the north side of the peninsula, we turn right to head back to the beach area.
Then we decided to take the tour again, more slowly. This time we stopped to identify some of the plants around the beach area. Dr. Patrick L. Cooney.
Dr. Patrick L. Cooney
* = plant blooming on date of field trip, 12/02/2005
Acer platanoides (Norway maple)
Acer rubrum (red maple)
Acer saccharum (sugar maple)
Ailanthus altissima (tree of heaven)
Aralia spinosa (Hercules club)
Betula populifolia (gray birch)
Gleditsia triacanthos (honey locust)
Juniperus virginiana (red cedar)
Liquidambar styraciflua (sweetgum)
Picea pungens var. glauca (blue spruce)
Pinus thunbergii (Japanese black pine)
Platanus occidentalis (American sycamore)
Prunus serotina (black cherry)
Quercus alba (white oak)
Quercus rubra (red oak)
Robinia pseudoacacia (black locust)
Sassafras albidum (sassafras)
Shrubs and sub-shrubs:
Amorpha fruticosa (false indigo)
Berberis thunbergii (Japanese barberry)
Elaeagnus umbellata (autumn olive)
Iva frutescens (marsh elder)
Ligustrum sp. (privet)
Lonicera morrowii (Morrow's honeysuckle)
Rhus typhina (staghorn sumac)
Rosa multiflora (multiflora rose)
Rosa rugosa (wrinkled rose)
Rosa sp. (rose)
Rubus flagellaris (northern dewberry)
Rubus phoenicolasius (wineberry)
Rubus sp. (blackberry)
Viburnum sp. (leather-leaf viburnum) planted
Viburnum sp. (viburnum)
Celastrus orbiculatus (Asiatic bittersweet)
Clematis terniflora (sweet autumn clematis)
Lonicera japonica (Japanese honeysuckle)
Smilax rotundifolia (round-leaved greenbrier)
Toxicodendron radicans (poison ivy)
Achillea millefolium (common yarrow)
Alliaria petiolata (garlic mustard)
Allium vineale (field garlic)
Ambrosia artemisiifolia (common ragweed)
Artemisia vulgaris (common mugwort)
Aster spp. (aster)
Atriplex patula (orach)
Cirsium sp. (thistle)
Datura stramonium (jimsonweed)
Daucus carota (Queen Anne's lace)
Lepidium virginicum (poor man's pepper)
Limonium carolinianum (sea lavender)
Linaria vulgaris (butter and eggs)
Oenothera biennis (common evening primrose)
Phytolacca americana (pokeweed)
Polygonum cuspidatum (Japanese knotweed)
Rumex sp. (dock)
Solidago sempervirens (seaside goldenrod)
Verbascum thapsus (common mullein)
Juncus tenuis (path rush)
Ammophila breviligulata (beach grass)
Eleusine indica (zipper grass)
Panicum virgatum (switch grass)
Phragmites australis (giant reed grass)
Setaria sp. foxtail grass)
Spartina alterniflora (salt marsh hay cordgrass)
Spartina patens (salt meadow cordgrass)
Tridens flavus (purple top grass)
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