Red Hot November Updates

It has been a big month here at ExploreCT!

Now that I have passed “back to square one” I’ve been able to tackle so many of the things that were simmering on the back burner since March:

  1. Search got an upgrade! Without going into detail, the old search sucked unless the terms were very simple and specific. Now thanks to some natural language processing, results will actually show relevant info first. Search for ‘history of diana’s pool’ and Diana’s Pool will be the first result or search for ‘wolf den trail map ct’ and Mashamoquet Brook State Park will actually come up. Now I just have to diagnose why the search bar doesn’t show up on mobile…
  2. Finally returned to the way the site looked pre-crash with maps capable of giving directions, a better photo viewer, and a slight mobile experience upgrade
  3. Added a ‘Where to Start’ section to the homepage that introduces ways to use the site, shows highlights, and explains my rating system
  4. Testing out a different way to interact at the town page level (see Mansfield as an example) instead of purely listing locations I broke them by activity.  This way if you just want to take the kayak out in town you can go to the Boating section and see the options without reading through every single location.  As a work in progress I would love feedback on this so check it out and send me a message

Big Updates

Diana’s Pool – Finished up my year long project documenting Diana’s Pool so the page has been rewritten and updated.  I dug into the history of the area and am making the claim I haven’t seen anywhere else that the ruins north of the pool are the Natchaug Paper Company dating back to at least the 1860s


Sleeping Giant – I made my annual pilgrimage to Sleeping Giant State Park.  Trails have continued to recover since the 2018 tornado and blazes have been refreshed.  I read Born Among the Hills: A History of Sleeping Giant and used it to update the history and provide context.  I also revisited Dead Man’s Cave to make a better movie and properly tell its story.


Enders Falls – One of Connecticut’s best waterfalls is open again after being closed for over a year to revamp its trails.  The new wood railings and stone steps provide an easy and safe way to view a couple of the falls.  I also explored a bit into the rest of the state forest despite the rain just to see what it had to offer

Little Updates

  • Wildlife Management Areas – I had read that there are 105 wildlife management areas around the state. After scouring my resources I came up with 78, but took a second crack at it recently and bumped that number up to 93. I’ve visited 13 so far, so I put together a page to unify them
  • Rivers and Whitewater – I’ve been trying to wrangle the Boating page and started working on linking locations with their rivers. I also updated the CT River Camping page and put together a Whitewater page
  • See a River Paddle Guide example at Willimantic River
  • Kings Island – An island with a history of doomsdayers should be enough to peak your interest, I explored this large island in the Connecticut River and made a movie
  • Babcock Pond – This Colchester WMA has rough access and bland trails, certainly plenty of pond to paddle though
  • Meadow Brook – Another Colchester WMA, this one is managed solely as habitat
  • Camp Aya-Po – A former summer camp which offers swimming on the pond and a climb up Perkins Mountain on an abandoned section of the Shenipsit Trail
  • Skyline Scenic Area – A rushed hike at sunset with rocky ledges and a tiny overlook
  • Taft Tunnel – The oldest train tunnel in America… as long as you don’t mind a couple caveats
  • Whitaker Woods – I’ve never described a hike’s smell on the site before, this one was fragrant
  • Fox Hill Tower – Though the tower is closed this year the overlook views from the park are still great
  • From here on out you’ll see a large increase in the number of ‘unexplored properties‘ with incomplete information as I add them to round out the map and get ready to explore

Best wishes for a safe and happy holiday season.  Please send any comments, questions, local doomsday cult info, and fragrant hike ideas to