Auerfarm State Park
40 acres in Bloomfield, CT
Parking: Small lot near 50 Auer Farm Road, Bloomfield, CT
Trail Map Trails: 2 miles Rating: ★★☆☆☆
Auerfarm State Park is one of Connecticut’s ‘scenic reserve‘ state parks meaning it is largely undeveloped and with the scarcity of information available about the park I was prepared to be underwhelmed. Thankfully though I found a surprisingly nice hike and thriving education center.
From the parking area (about 1000′ down Auer Farm Road) I think most people head across the road, past the gate, and up the crumbling asphalt road. This eventually hooks a left up to the open grassy summit of Cider Hill which as great views north and west to the Metacomet Ridge and the backsides of Heublein Tower at Talcott Mountain and Penwood State Parks. Just below the summit is the former orchard of Auerfarm which still produces apples today and is maintained by the 4-H Center.
Officially speaking, I believe the above red loop is the only trail on the actual state park property, the rest of the trails fall on 4-H Center land which is a private, non-profit education center who’s land is held under a conservation easement by the Connecticut Forest and Park Association.
These ‘farm trails’ include the open field yellow loop which makes its way down the old ‘historic’ mushroom barn which was repaired and re-roofed sometimes around 2015. You can also walk the gravel driveway to the Education Center and meander the gardens, buildings, and animal pens. The colored loops on the map are more suggestions that actual routes to follow.
Donated in 2014 (by by Elizabeth Schiro, granddaughter of Beatrice Fox Auerbach), the state and Connecticut Forest and Park Association teamed up to preserve what is known was Cider Hill, next to the 120-acre 4-H Education Center at Auerfarm (those 120 acres were preserved in 1978). The state park opened in 2015.
The property was purchased by George Auerbach in 1925 and was owned by his wife Beatrice Fox Auerbach after his death in 1927. Beatrice was a third generation owner of G. Fox after relocating back to Hartford with George in 1917 from Salt Lake City in order to help rebuild the store after a fire. Beatrice became president of the store in 1927 after her father’s death and G. Fox grew to be the state’s largest department store by 1959.
Auerfarm had 100 Guernsey cows, 20,000 chickens, and more than 300 apple trees. Much of the resulting products were sold at G. Fox until Beatrice’s death in 1968.
- Auerfarm Official Site
- Peter Marteka – An Airy Visit To The Old Orchards Of Auerfarm’s Cider Hill (2016)
- CTMQ – Auerfarm State Park Scenic Reserve (2016-21)
- Connecticut History – G. Fox and the Golden Age of Department Stores (2022)
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Last updated June 19th, 2022
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