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:
Topsmead Parking Lot Project
DEEP is currently expanding and improving the parking area. DEEP appreciates everyone's patience with these disruptions. We will provide updates about the project's progress on the FTSF website and Facebook page as best we can, as we receive them. If you have specific questions, we encourage you to contact the FTSF President directly at 203-584-0826 or email
Ecology Trail Update
The first section of a bog walk at the old pond on the Ecology Trail is complete! Come check out the trail and stretch your legs at Topsmead! Many thanks to Topsmead Friends Jani Golding, Janet and John Blauveldt, and Renee Betar for their help. >> learn more
Summertime at Topsmead
Summer was when I spent the most time at Topsmead. In early July everyone pitched in to help with the first cutting of hay. The first cutting is the best, most nutritious hay of the year. Hay was actually the primary crop for Topsmead Farm – even more so than apples. Miss Chase grew hay for her own use at Topsmead, and she rented out several fields for other farmers to grow hay on too. Hay was stored loose in the top of the barn until we got a baler in the early 1950s.
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Topsmead Events & Activities
by Margaret Hunt
SAVOR SUMMER | August 2022
Topsmead is the perfect place to escape the heat of August and savor summer, but do it while you can. Fall is lurking.
Stroll around Miss Edith’s cottage. Yes, the pots of flowers artfully placed on the tops of the cottage’s stonewalls and at the kitchen steps are blooming merrily, but look closely and you will sense that they are reaching their peak. Yes, flowers in the gardens are soaking up the sunshine, but look carefully and you will notice poodle skirts of fallen petals spread on the ground beneath the phlox.
Then, follow the gravel drive out to the classic New England stonewalls bordering the fields. If you look closely along the tops of those walls, you may see a red leaf or two glistening gemlike and adorning the grey surfaces of the stones. Those red leaves are the first vibrato notes of the clarion call of fall.
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Early summer panorama of the meadow at Topsmead by Tom Holzel