No longer are the region’s beaches and lakes a wash of white.
Spring has kindly soaked up some record-breaking snowfall and summer, as always, promises to return color to our sandy shores and inland waterholes.
And as today, June 25, marks the first official weekend of summer, it’s time to pack up some sandwiches, cold drinks and games, and head to the water.
“The view is enticing and very beautiful,” said Branford resident Esther Rosenberg about , a local beach that she frequents often with her husband during the summer.
“Branford Point is one of the town’s crown jewels,” said Alex Palluzzi, the parks and recreation director for the coastal town. “How it fits in the cove, it’s a really pretty place.”
“My husband and I have always been drawn to the shoreline,” said Rosenberg, who said when she lived in Cheshire for 25 years, she took weekend trips to Hammonasset Beach State Park, which has more than two miles of beach, according to the Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection.
“I like Hammonasset for the walking,” she said. “It’s a good way to get some exercise and go in and out of the ocean when wanted.”
Whether you’re an avid swimmer looking to get a few laps in away from the pool, a person that likes to read with his or her toes in the warm sand, or someone who enjoys strolling the shore like Rosenberg, the beach has plenty to offer.
Volleyball teams are currently being organized – it’s not too late to register – for a league that meets at in Milford, said the town’s recreation supervisor Michael Jacobsen. Aerobic and Zumba classes and children science programs are also offered at Walnut Beach, he said. Jacobsen said there are four city beaches and one state beach in Milford.
“The selection of beaches is great,” he said. “People come from all over.”
Going north to Cheshire, a popular swimming hole that attracts a lot of families is a pond at , said Kathy Forenza, the secretary of the town’s parks and recreation department. She said the two pavilions – which can be rented out for private parties – are a major draw to the park that is located on the Cheshire/Prospect line.
Mixville Park charges $5 a day for Cheshire residents and $10 for non-residents.
Compared to other summertime activities like going to the movies, a day at the beach may be the most economical choice around, said Rosenberg.
Palluzzi, a 50-year Branford resident, said he’s seen a recent “nice increase” in the use of the two beaches previously mentioned.
“Each year it’s been busier than it ever has before,” he said, adding that the economy might be the reason.
Here are some more area watering holes and further details on ones previously mentioned.
- at Parker Memorial Park (end of Harbor Street). Features: a bocce court, fishing, boating, kayaking, canoeing, a playground, , cookout areas. Parking is free, but scarce for non-residents.
- off Thimble Islands Road. Features: a nearby playground and sandwich shop, gazebo, boat watching, kayaking, canoeing.
- off Notch Road, near Cheshire/Prospect line. Features: picnic areas, hiking trails, a playground, fishing, kayaking, summer camps. Access fees must be purchased in advance at the parks and recreation office at 559 South Main St., Cheshire.
- off Cosey Beach Avenue. Features: a picnic and playground area, a gazebo and a bocce court, fireworks and movie nights. Access is free for residents.
- off Meadowside Road. This state beach overlooks Charles Island, which is rumored to have hidden treasure buried by Captain Kidd in 1699.
- off East Broadway and Viscount Drive. Non-resident parking costs $5.
- off Gulf Street and Old Field Lane. Features a concession stand. Non-resident parking costs $5.
- off Beach Avenue and Village Road. A neighborhood beach with free parking.
- off Beach Avenue and Wall Street. Features: benches, basketball, a playground, a bocce court.
- off Dorne Drive. Features: views of the Housatonic River, fishing, kite flying, picnicking at pavilion, a playground, bird sightseeing.
- off Oak Bluff Avenue. Features: 1.5 miles of beach, fishing, bird sightseeing. Access requires a town parking permit.