In 1917, Edith Morton Chase received a gift from her father, 16 acres of pristine woods in the Litchfield hills. Today, Topsmead is a 510 acre state forest, gifted from Ms. Chase in 1972 to the citizens of Connecticut to enjoy and preserve. Her legacy includes diverse landscapes, including bike and nature trails, formal gardens, unique bird habitats, and a meticulously crafted English Tudor style cottage well appointed with her international collection of art and antiques. ...more
Friends of Topsmead State Forest (FTSF) is a volunteer non-profit 501(c)(3) organization whose purpose is to work with the State of Connecticut Department of Energy & Environmental Protection (DEEP) to provide programs and activities to promote, preserve, protect, and maintain the history, heritage and environmental integrity of Topsmead, thereby supporting the wishes of Edith Morton Chase as put forth in her will.
Your donations to Friends of Topsmead will help preserve Topsmead's past for the future by:
Celebrate Topsmead's 50th Anniversary with Friends of Topsmead at an Evening Out Sunday June 5th! Purchase tickets now.
Please join us for a special in-person screening of "Topsmead: One Lady's Legacy" at Bantam Cinema & Arts Center on Sunday, June 5th, 6:00 P.M. This fundraiser is in celebration of the 50th Anniversary of Miss Edith's gift of Topsmead to the people of the State of Connecticut. It will also feature a conversation with Topsmead Historian Jerry Geci and a surprise guest. Tickets are $35 for an individual and $60 for a Friend plus one. The ticket price includes light hors d'oeuvres and a complimentary drink voucher.
Tickets can be reserved by first sending an RSVP to email@example.com
and a check to FTSF, PO Box 1081, Litchfield, CT 06759. Seating is limited to 60.
This documentary film chronicles the extraordinary history of Topsmead, the summer estate of Edith Morton Chase, through archival photographs and beautiful film footage. The film also features interviews with Topsmead historian Jerry Geci, and with Robert Orintas, the son of Miss Edith's chauffeur, who for several decades spent his summers there. Production credits include narration by Jennifer Riggs (founder of Friends of Topsmead) and Al Petrunti of Awecast.
The showing is sponsored by Awecast, the company that helped create the documentary and provided the amazing drone footage for the production.
Topsmead Events & Activities
by Margaret Hunt
Oh the Fragrance!
On my mid-May Topsmead walkabout, a powerfully heady fragrance enveloped me as I neared the cottage. What plant or plants was it coming from? Of course, the lilacs! I had never noticed before that lilacs surround the cottage and a thick aisle of lilacs parallels the lane leading from the welcome center to the cottage front door. Dark purple lilac blossoms cluster around the dove cote; bright white lilac blossoms rise above the walled corner of the dining room garden; light lavender lilac blossoms embrace the walls of the cottage from the western side all the way around southern side to the eastern front finally stopping at the kitchen door.
-read complete Musings essay-
Spring at Topsmead by Tom Holzel
The Garden at Underhill
Remembering TopsmeadAs Spring is slowly unfolding in the Litchfield Hills, it’s nice to think about getting out into the garden. Edith Chase enjoyed her garden at Topsmead. It was located north of the cabin (and later the house we see today) near East Litchfield Road. When on that road you may have noticed an old driveway and small barn that are still visible. The ladies always called that part of the property, “Underhill” presumably because it was downhill from the house. A small house was built there in 1926 which served as a guest house.
George Wilson, Miss Chase’s chauffeur was the first person to care for the garden. In addition to his driving duties, he was a general handy man, and his wife was the family’s cook.
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