157 acres in Middletown, CT
Parking: Shoulder parking for about 5 cars near 80 Dripps Road, Middletown, CT
Trail Map Trails: 2.7 miles Rating: ★★★☆☆
The 2.7 mile lollipop loop at the Spiderweed Preserve is a bit rough despite its popularity. The trail starts uphill on the eroded remains of the driveway to Helen Lohman’s property. About a half mile in you reach the stone ruins of her home which is slowly collapsing. Two stories and 3 outer walls remain standing with bits of window trim and glass still clinging to the frames. It was easy enough to wander through the remains in late winter though I bet they grow in over the summer.
The trail continues past the ruins winding along rocky walls and it seems I missed the first overlook. It certianly wasn’t on the main trail, but I do recall a faint side trail that I ignored. The trail takes a hard turn downhill and over a tiny stream until being redirected by a stonewall. The trail is easy enough to follow but is certainly in need of some maintenance particularly the farther out it goes.
The final loop section was particularly rough but eventually reaches a rocky top. Peter Marteka during his 2008 visit called this a, “blue-blazed spur trail leading to the second overlook… this view could be skipped and a return trip planned for the late fall.” I wasn’t very impressed with the view either and it seems like what was a spur is now a loop which reconnects with the original split to hike out.
From the Nature Conservancy site,
The preserve was created by a donation from Helen Lohman of Middletown in 1967; she named the area after the sad state in which she found her gardens every spring.
Peter Marteka – Nature’s Sweets Abound at Spiderweed Preserve (2008)
Country Walks in Connecticut: A Guide to The Nature Conservancy Preserves, by Susan D. Cooley, Appalachian Mountain Club Books and the Nature Conservancy, 1989, pp. 132–138.