Harkness Memorial State Park, Waterford

Harkness Memorial State Park is a Connecticut state park and botanical garden located in Waterford, Connecticut, on the Long Island Sound. The park comprises a 42-room Renaissance Revival mansion, designed by the New York architectural firm of Lord & Hewlett, with a surrounding area containing Italian, Oriental, and Cutting gardens and greenhouses.HistoryThe park was formerly Eolia, the estate of Edward Harkness, heir to a fortune initiated by his father Stephen V. Harkness's substantial investments in John D. Rockefeller's Standard Oil, who purchased the mansion in 1907. From 1918 to 1929, extensive improvements were made by landscape designer Beatrix Jones Farrand. Eolia was left to Connecticut in 1950 and became part of the State Park system in 1952.As Eolia—Harkness Estate, it was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1986. The 220acre district that was listed included 15 contributing buildings and two other contributing structures.
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Harkness Memorial State Park Reviews
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149 reviews
  • I️ love coming here to walk, with or without dogs. It’s a beautiful park with a beach, mansion, and other amenities. My favorite things are the gardens! They are colorful and well maintained. It’s a b...  more »
  • I love walking through Harkness Park. The grounds are taken care of so nicely just recently had my daughters senior pictures taken there. A beautiful backdrop!  more »
  • This park is a major gem to CT. It is just gorgeous with its beautiful well-manicured lawns with large shade trees, multiple gardens, a mansion that you can tour, white sandy beach (I have never seen ...  more »
  • This place is incredible! I have only seen it for the Winter and I can only imagine how beautiful the grounds will be here for the Spring and Summer. They have gardens there that are arranged amazingly. I can't wait until all the plants bloom! There are two mansions with one being renovated and the other is in awesome condition where you can book weddings and events. Also, on the grounds there are many picnic tables so make sure to bring you basket! There is a wonderful view of the grounds and the ocean. If you are in the area I definitely recommend you stopping by this park, you won't be disappointed.
  • Our family's favorite place to picnic or walk. Beautiful grounds thanks to The Friends of Harkness. Mansion can be rented for weddings or private parties. Lots of picnic tables placed on the grounds with charcoal grills. Beautiful views of Long Island Sound . Worth getting a seasonal pass. There is a sandy beach front; however, swimming is not allowed.
  • You could easily spend all day here. For all types of activities and fun. I kayaked here from waterford and went through the birdwatching swampland canals to the tide canal seperating ocean beach park. You can wade(about4') to ocean beach park for swimming and food, entertainment. Also you can walk west for awhile and explore the magnificently haunted architecture of the abandoned mental hospital on the beach. PS definitely worth bringing a kite!
  • If you're looking for a garden, beach and grassy picnic area all in one, this is perfect for you! I love it here, the beach is no swimming, so not too busy if you just want to enjoy the sun. The gardens are wonderful, especially the roses, and even having a picnic at a table is nice too.
  • Amazing state park. I highly recommend going during peak flowering season. The gardens are absolutely beautiful. Dog friendly beach, except during an endangered bird's mating season

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