Hopemead State Park
Parking: Small lot near 28 Cottage Road, Bozrah, CT
Hopemead is a tiny and unassuming state park that is one of Connecticut’s ‘scenic reserves’. There is a short out and back hiking trail as well as access to Gardner Lake. I visited in the Winter of 2018 and while there is a bit to explore I think the main draw of this park is secluded swimming access to Gardner Lake.
The trail here is a straightforward out and back on what must be the former driveway of the Fuller summer estate. Though a bit wet during my visit, the trail was easy and flat walking passing between high stonewalls until it reached the water. On a tiny bluff above the water you can find the remains of the house and barn that were torn down once the land was sold to the state.
A small side trail provides access from the adjacent Laurel-Lock Campgrounds.
This spot seems to a secluded option for swimming as opposed to the much more popular Gardner Lake State Park. There are only 2-3 tiny beaches on the Hopemead shoreline so they often fill up quick.
Purchased for $98,000 from Harriet Louise Fuller and Charlotte Fuller-Eastman in 1954, through funds set aside by George Dudley Seymour. The state park was established in 1955. Their women’s father James E. Fuller originally named the property Camp Charmarlou for his daughter’s names, but later changed it to Hopemead (meadow of hope). The property had been the farm of Solomon Gardner (son of the David Gardner that Gardner Lake is named for) in the 1800s.
CTMQ – Hopemead State Park (2018)
The Day – State Aquires 60 Acres For Park at Gardner Lake (1955)
Leary, Joseph. A Shared Landscape: A Guide & History of Connecticut’s State Parks & Forests. (2004) pg. 212.