Fox Run Road, Redding, Fairfield County, CT
Route 53 to Diamond Hill (Mark Twain Library/Waterfall), Fox Run is the second road on the left at the peak of a decent incline. The trail head at the apex of a sharp turn is 1/4 mile down the road.
0.0 Route 7 and Route 102 intersection heading south
0.9 turn left onto Route 107
2.5 pass Umpwaug Road on left
2.8 go over Gilbert Bennet Brook
4.5 intersection with Route 53; keep going straight
5.1 Mark Twain Library
5.1 turn left onto Diamond Hill Road
0.0 pass a water fall
0.6 turn right onto Fox Run Road
0.9 park on the left of the road
Mark Twain (Samuel Clemens) wanted to finish his autobiography, but at the rate of progress he was making he estimated it would take him 150 years. Since he did not have that much time, in 1906 he hired an official biographer, Albert Bigelow Paine. From 1906 to Mark Twain's death in 1910, Paine saw the famous writer almost daily.
It was Albert Paine who discovered Redding, Connecticut. He had been
searching for a country home and finally found one (which came to be located
just north of and adjacent to the Stormfield estate). The house was
located on the southern side of Diamond Hill Road near Moffitts Branch of the
Saugatuck River. He encouraged Mark Twain to purchase land in the area.
There was a colony of literary and artistic people from New York in Redding. Among the members of the summer colony at Redding was Richard Watson Gilder (1844-1909) who was the editor of Scribner's Magazine and of Century Magazine. His sister, who lived on Redding Ridge, was literary, musical and dramatic editor of the New York Herald and an author. Another famous author in the area was Ida M. Tarbell, one of the muckraker writers.
Twain bought the land but at first he did not tend to build on it. But
when daughter, Clara, looked at the property she was so pleased that her father
changed his mind.
Mark Twain decided to build in the neighborhood. He purchased the old Davis-Sherwood Homestead (known as the Lobster Pot) along with the land that extended half a mile, mostly south of the house. Twain planed his picturesque villa, "Stormfield, located on the ridge of the town of Redding, in the southeast part of his land, about 300 feet above the river on a plateau of several acres, about half a mile from the present Mark Twain Library (for whom Clemens's personal library served as the original foundation of the library). He had never seen the place until the day of his arrival, June 18, 1908.
Dan Beard in his "Mark Twain as a Neighbor" (American Monthly Review of Reviews 41 (June 1910) said that Twain has his house built on top of Birch Spray Hill (now known to history as Stormfield). He had it built on the hill facing Lonetown-Brook Farm. From Gallows Hill to Umpawaug the people turned out to meet him.
The Federal Writers' Project on Connecticut (p. 450) says that off of Route 7 on State Route 53 at 3.3 miles there were iron gates at a private driveway (left) that marked the entrance to Stormfield. His "hilltop home . . . commanded a magnificent view of the surrounding valley." At 3.5 miles beside the road was the deep hemlock and beech gorge of Knob Crook Brook. "Mark Twain believed this to be one of the loveliest spots in America and spent many hours there."
Living across Route 53 from Diamond Hill Road on Great Pasture Road and the
now Dan Beard Lane was Dan Beard, the founder of the Boy Scouts of America and
illustrator of Twain's A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court.
Clemens only lived in Redding for a year and six months. While there, it was on the day before Christmas, 1909, that heavy bereavement once more came to Mark Twain. His daughter Jean, while in her bath, had an epileptic attacks and died before assistance reached her.
He himself died a few months that of his daughter. His heart was seriously affected, and soon after Jean's death he traveled to the warm climate of Bermuda. But he soon felt bad and in April he returned to Stormfield. He died there just a week later, April 21, 1910.
The mansion burned July 25, 1923.
In 1960 someone build a replica of the mansion.
There are 4 miles of trails.
Walk down to the sign. It has a map of the trails. The public property is
oddly shaped because right in the middle of the property is a big section of
private property. So it ends up being horseshoe shaped piece of property with a
private lane splitting the top part of the horseshoe.
West side of the horseshoe:
The Raccoon Trail
Head off to the right (south) following along a stone wall. The brook below is in a valley between two ridges. It heads down to Dean's Trail that heads off the property in a southwest direction.
The Captain's Trail
Keeping going straight down the path passing the informative sign and crossing over the bridge over the stream. This trail also heads down to Dean's Trail. Both the Raccoon and Captain's Trails and turn east and then north joining the Harp Trail that will head back north (and then turning east brings you back to the parking lot).
The Harp Trail
Can be picked up by passing by the Captain's Trail and then taking the next trail headed south.
The Halo Trail
A detour trail in the southeast corner of the western section of the horseshoe. I can be reached via the other 3 trails mentioned.
Halley's Comet Trail
This trail is off the northeast corner of the circular trail on the west portion of the horseshoe. It heads east to hook up with Sandy's Trail avoiding the private lane known as Mark Twain's Lane.
East Section Trail:
The white-blazed Sandy's Trail can be made a short circular trail or a longer
one by taking the tail of the tadpole that heads southeast down to the
intersection of Routes 107 and 53. But then you have to come back up and finish
the circular trail.
When we hiked Sandy's Trail it was a little hard to find. The path comes out on a T-intersection at the end of Mark Twain Lane. You have to pass the private drive and find the sign on the left of the private drive indicating "Sandy's Trail." You have to walk to the southeast corner of the meadow and go into the woods. When the trail ends in a T-intersection we went right and descended alongside a virtual gully. Before you reach the private house you can see at the end of the descent, take the right turn on the white trail which goes around the private house and then down to the stop sign at the intersection of Routes 53 and 107. (Ignore the crude yellow-blaze marks on trees heading down through the gully.)
Dr. Patrick L. Cooney, just a trip to find the place, March 7, 2002; returned March 16, 2002
(dates below indicate when plant found in bloom); 7/31/02
Acer rubrum (red maple)
Acer saccharum (sugar maple)
Betula alleghaniensis (yellow birch)
Betula lenta (black birch)
Betula populifolia (gray birch)
Carpinus caroliniana (musclewood)
Carya ovata (shagbark hickory)
Cornus florida (flowering dogwood)
Fraxinus americana (white ash)
Juniperus virginiana (red cedar)
Liriodendron tulipifera (tulip tree)
Quercus alba (white oak)
Quercus rubra (red oak)
Quercus velutina (black oak)
Robinia pseudoacacia (black locust)
Tilia americana (American basswood)
Tsuga canadensis (eastern hemlock)
Berberis thunbergii (Japanese barberry) -- too much of it
Cornus amomum (swamp dogwood)
Corylus sp. (hazel)
Hamamelis virginiana (witch hazel)
Ilex verticillata (winterberry holly)
Kalmia latifolia (mountain laurel)
Lindera benzoin (spicebush)
Mitchella repens (partridgeberry)
Rosa multiflora (multiflora rose)
Rubus occidentalis (black raspberry)
Rubus phoenicolasius (wineberry)
Sambucus canadensis (common elderberry)
Viburnum acerifolium (maple-leaf viburnum)
Amphicarpaea bracteata (hog peanut)
Celastrus orbiculatus (Asiatic bittersweet)
Euonymus fortunii (Fortune's euonymus)
Lonicera japonica (Japanese honeysuckle)
Parthenocissus quinquefolia (Virginia creeper)
Smilax sp. (greenbrier)
Solanum dulcamara (bittersweet nightshade) 7/31/02
Toxicodendron radicans (poison ivy)
Vitis labrusca (fox grape)
Agrimonia gryposepala (agrimony) 7/31/02
Alliaria petiolata (garlic mustard) 7/31/02
Allium vineale (field garlic)
Arisaema triphyllum (Jack-in-the-pulpit)
Boehmeria cylindrica (false nettle)
Cardamine pratensis var. pratensis (cuckooflower)
Circaea lutetiana (monkey flower) 7/31/02
Commelina communis (Asiatic dayflower) 7/31/02
Galium asprellum (rough bedstraw) 7/31/02
Geranium maculatum (wild geranium)
Geum canadense (white avens)
Hydrocotyle umbellata (water pennywort) 7/31/02
Impatiens capensis (orange jewelweed) 7/31/02
Mimulus ringens (monkey flower) 7/31/02
Myosotis scorpioides (larger forget-me-nots) 7/31/02
Oxalis sp. (yellow wood sorrel) 7/31/02
Pilea pumila (clearweed)
Plantago major (common plantain)
Polygonum arifolium (halberd-leaved tearthumb)
Polygonum cespitosum (cespitose smartweed) 7/31/02
Polygonum sagittatum (arrowhead tearthumb)
Polygonum virginianum (jumpseed) 7/31/02
Prenanthes altissima (tall white lettuce)
Prunella vulgaris (self-heal) 7/31/02
Rumex obtusifolius (broad-leaved dock)
Silene pubera (great chickweed) 7/31/02
Sparganium sp. (burreed) 7/31/02
Symplocarpus foetidus (skunk cabbage)
Thalictrum pubescens (tall meadowrue)
Tragopogon pratensis (goats beard)
Tussilago farfara (coltsfoot) 3/16/02
Urtica dioica v. procera (tall stinging nettle)
Verbascum thapsus (common mullein)
Veronica officinalis (common speedwell)
Juncus effusus (soft rush)
Carex laxiflora type (sedge)
Carex lurida (sallow sedge)
Carex pensylvanica (Pennsylvania sedge)
Carex stricta (tussock sedge)
Cyperus strigosus (umbrella sedge)?
Scirpus atrovirens (dark-green bulrush)
Dactylis glomerata (orchard grass)
Elymus virginicus (Virginia wild rye grass)
Leersia oryzoides (rice cut grass)
Leersia virginica (white grass)
Microstegium vimineum (Japanese stilt grass)
Phalaris arundinacea (canary reed grass)
Ferns and fern allies:
Equisetum arvense (field horsetail)
Equisetum hyemale (scouring rush)
Dennstaedtia punctilobula (hay-scented fern)
Dryopteris cristata (crested woodfern)
Onoclea sensibilis (sensitive fern)
Osmunda sp. (cinnamon fern probably)
Polystichum acrostichoides (Christmas fern)
Thelypteris noveboracensis (New York fern)
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