Parlor Rock Park
Whitney Road, Trumbull, Fairfield County, Connecticut


Directions:

Drive a little more than 30 miles north on the Merritt Parkway to get off at Exit 48 for Route 111 north; turn left onto Route 111 (Main Street); drive 3.0 miles  to Stonehouse Road on the left; drive a short distance more and where Rt. 111 turns/bears left go straight onto Broadway; turn right onto Whitney Avenue; drive 0.2 of a mile (there is a small white sign on the left for Parlor Rock Park) and turn right onto a road with no street sign (fairly common occurrence in Connecticut); a short distance down on the right is a parking area. 

Or park in Old Mine Park and hike down the Pequonnock River Greenway Trail to Parlor Rock Park.

Note from Tom Ebersold, AMC Hike Leader:  The road without the sign is actually not a road. It's part of the railroad bed which has an access to a small parking area. You could also park on the side street a short way ahead on the left (Riverside Drive).
 


History:

1877 the Housatonic RR Company wanted to promote local train travel. So they bought thirteen acres of land in northern Trumbull and developed a park reachable only by train. The place was known as Parlor Rock, named after a large boulder on the property.

1878 Parlor Rock developed and promoted by the Housatonic Railroad first as a picnic ground and then into an amusement park

1896 the Housatonic Railroad merged with the New York, New Haven and Hartford Railroad lines.

early 1900's the Pequonnock River waters were diverted by the Bridgeport Hydraulic Company in the development of the Easton Reservoir, thereby negatively effecting Parlor Rock.  

1907-1908 the facilities at Parlor Rock were dismantled.

1981  -- the park land was acquired through the Federal Land to Parks Program of the U.S. Department of the Interior National Parks Service. 


Trails:

9/24/2005.  Walking north on the old rail bed.  We are on a causeway with a stream below us on the left.  Soon the Pequonnock River is on the right.  This is a hemlock ravine or gorge as it is very narrow.  The river flows through this rocky area.  There is a small water fall here.  It falls over two ledges.

Such beauty and so spoiled by the houses that occupy the other side of the river and their Private Property, No Trespassing signs.  Over the beautiful water fall is a bridge that leads to one of the houses with a swimming pool on a terrace.  A reminder of the American worship of materialism and inequality over the common good.  It is really a shame that such beauty is polluted by private property.

Above the water fall is a small pond on the river.  And would you believe it?  There are three white lounge chairs set up on the other side of the river.  Ughh!

The rocks in the area have some small cave-like structures amongst them. 

We went back to the main trail and followed it to its end, which is just before reaching Route 25.  We figured we must have missed the right turn for the trail and so we walked back until we saw where the mountain bikers were going and followed up out of the railroad bed onto the high ground.  We finally saw some actual trail signs, yellow arrow on a brown square.  Follow up and then downhill to go under Route 25.  The trail then heads up along a wire fence.  Breaking away from the fence, a short walk brings the hiker to Old Mine Park, which provides a lovely pastoral setting. 

After taking some notes on Old Mine Park at the kiosk, we turned around and walked back to the parking lot.  Dr. Patrick L. Cooney. 

 

Comments on the walk from Tom Ebersold, AMC Hike Leader:

Trumbull has stalled on its plans to refurbish the railroad bed from Whitney Avenue north to the Monroe border. The state was giving Trumbull a hard time about crossing Rt. 111 and would not give the money until this issue was resolved. I don't know the full status.

Anyway, Rt. 25 blocked the original path of the railroad. You have to do what you did: head up the hill, through the woods, and then head under Rt. 25 and walk to Old  Mine Park.
 


PLANT LIST:
Dr. Patrick L. Cooney

*  =  plants blooming on field trip, 9/24/2005


Trees:
Acer saccharum (sugar maple)
Amelanchier arborea (shadbush)
Betula alleghaniensis (yellow birch)
Betula lenta (black birch)
Carpinus caroliniana (musclewood)
Carya tomentosa (mockernut hickory)
Castanea dentata (American chestnut)
Fagus grandifolia (American beech)
Fraxinus americana (white ash)
Liriodendron tulipifera (tulip tree)
Picea abies (Norway spruce)
Populus deltoides (cottonwood)
Prunus serotina (black cherry)
Quercus alba (white oak)
Quercus prinus (chestnut oak)
Quercus rubra (red oak)
Quercus velutina (black oak)
Robinia pseudoacacia (black locust)
Salix sp. (willow)
Sassafras albidum (sassafras)
Taxus sp. (yew)
Tilia americana (American basswood)
Tsuga canadensis (eastern hemlock)
Ulmus americana (American elm)

Shrubs:
Alnus serrulata (smooth alder)
Berberis thunbergii (Japanese barberry)
Chimaphila maculata (striped wintergreen)
Clethra alnifolia (sweet pepperbush)
Comptonia peregrina (sweetfern)
Cornus amomum (swamp dogwood)
Corylus sp. (hazel)
Elaeagnus umbellata (autumn olive)
Euonymus alatus (winged euonymus)
Gaylussacia baccata (black huckleberry)
Hamamelis virginiana (witch hazel)
Ilex verticillata (winterberry holly)
Kalmia latifolia (mountain laurel)
Lindera benzoin (spicebush) 
Lonicera morrowii (Morrow's honeysuckle)
Rhus glabra (smooth sumac)
Rosa multiflora (multiflora rose)
Rubus flagellaris (northern dewberry)
Rubus hispidus (swamp dewberry)
Rubus occidentalis (black raspberry)
Rubus phoenicolasius (wineberry)
Rubus sp. (blackberry)
Sambucus canadensis (common elderberry)
Spiraea alba var. latifolia (meadowsweet)
Viburnum acerifolium (maple-leaf viburnum)

Vines:
Celastrus orbiculatus (Asiatic bittersweet)
Dioscorea villosa (wild yam root)
Mikania scandens (climbing hempweed) 
Parthenocissus quinquefolia (Virginia creeper)
Smilax rotundifolia (round-leaved greenbrier)
Toxicodendron radicans (poison ivy)
Vitis labrusca (fox grape)

Herbs:
Acalypha sp. (three-seeded mercury)
Alliaria petiolata (garlic mustard)
Ambrosia artemisiifolia (common ragweed)
Aralia nudicaulis (wild sarsaparilla)
Artemisia vulgaris (common mugwort)
Asclepias syriaca (common milkweed)
Aster cordifolius (heart-leaved aster)     *
Aster divaricatus (white wood aster)     *
Aster spp. (small white aster)     *
Bidens connata (swamp beggar ticks)     *
Bidens frondosa (beggar ticks)     *
Boehmeria cylindrica (false nettle)
Chamaecrista fasciculata (partridge pea)     * waning
Cichorium intybus (chicory)     *
Daucus carota (Queen Anne's lace)
Desmodium paniculatum (panicled tick trefoil)
Eupatorium sp. (Joe-Pye weed)
Euthamia graminifolia (grass-leaved goldenrod)
Gnaphalium obtusifolium (sweet everlasting)     *
Hieracium paniculatum (panicled hawkweed)
Impatiens capensis (orange jewelweed)     *
Iris sp. (blue or yellow flag)
Lespedeza capitata (round-headed bush clover)   
Linaria vulgaris (butter and eggs)     *
Ludwigia palustris (water purslane)
Oenothera biennis (common evening primrose) 
Phytolacca americana (pokeweed)
Pilea pumila (clearweed)
Plantago major (common plantain)
Polygonum cespitosum (cespitose smartweed)     *
Polygonum cuspidatum (Japanese knotweed)
Polygonum hydropiper (water pepper)     *
Polygonum sagittatum (arrow-leaved tearthumb)     *
Polygonum virginianum (jumpseed)
Potentilla simplex (common cinquefoil)
Prunella vulgaris (self-heal)
Rumex sp. (dock)
Sanguinaria canadensis (bloodroot)
Smilacina racemosa (false Solomon's seal)
Solanum dulcamara (bittersweet nightshade)
Solidago bicolor (silverrod)     *
Solidago caesia (blue-stem goldenrod)     *
Solidago canadensis var. scabra (tall goldenrod)     *
Solidago rugosa (rough-leaved goldenrod)     *
Trifolium pratense (red clover)     *
Tussilago farfara (colts foot)
Verbascum thapsus (common mullein)
Verbena sp. (vervain)
Viola spp. (violet)

Rushes:
Juncus tenuis (path rush)

Sedges:
Carex pensylvanica (Pennsylvania sedge)
Cyperus strigosus (umbrella sedge)

Grasses:
Brachyelytrum erectum (wood awn grass)
Cinna arundinacea (wood reedgrass)
Echinochloa sp. (barnyard grass)
Microstegium vimineum (Japanese stilt grass)
Panicum clandestinum (deer-tongue grass)
Poa annua (annual bluegrass)
Poa palustris (fowl meadow grass)
Schizachyrium scoparium (little blue stem)
Tridens flavus (purple-top grass)

Ferns:
Equisetum hyemale (scouring rush)
Lycopodium clavatum (running ground pine)
Lycopodium obscurum (ground pine)
Dryopteris intermedia (fancy woodfern)
Onoclea sensibilis (sensitive fern)
Osmunda cinnamomea (cinnamon fern)
Osmunda regalis (royal fern)
Polypodium sp. (rockcap fern)
Polystichum acrostichoides (Christmas fern)
Thelypteris noveboracensis (New York fern)

Others:
Sphagnum sp. (sphagnum)

 

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