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Harkness Memorial State Park, Waterford

(4.8/5 based on 120+ reviews on the web)
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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Reviews
TripAdvisor
  • My husband and I ran at Harkness some during the fall. The paths are great for running, walking or just sight seeking. I look forward to returning over the summer to walk the gardens 
  • My wife and I were extremely surprised at how beautiful this state park is in Waterford. The enormous open fields, beautiful beach areas, and gorgeous grounds around the Harkness mansion were quite im...  more »
  • Had a wonderful morning visit today at this stunning park. The grounds are extensive with lovely paths that wind through the estate and lead also to the magnificent shoreline. Today the beach was empt...  more »
Google
  • Very nice park/beach. Areas for bike ridding walking and picnics. Real bathrooms are available. Well kept gardens to walk through and great spot for pictures
  • Usually have a nice time at the beach with my family since my niece holds a pass for her disabilities. But this pass weekend we were harrased by a worker with a racist attitude. We were having a wonderful time for hours and aroud 5pm this lady drives up to us in a white car and starts to come at us rudely and with a disgust look on her fave. As if we were not suppose to be there and even called us free loaders. The confrontation went on for about ten minutes. We had to clean up and leave to avoid problems. So sad. Unprofessional people working in these family parks.
  • It's very peaceful to walk around and be immersed in such beautifully maintained grounds. Love the variety of gardens and sights to look at. One wonders what it must have been like back when the site was an actual residence!
  • We love going here! It is a favorite place of ours. The beach is nice and the house is beautiful
  • Very pretty here. In the past few times I've gone, both on weekdays, no one has been in the ticket booth, meaning they're letting you in for free! But this is as of August 2016, so I don't know if they charge on weekends or if this will change. Walk through the many gardens, take your bike and ride along the paved roads, see a 100 year old tree, go out to the flagpole to watch the ferries come in. Great place to go!