Friday, June 12, 2015

Trolley Trail

It's difficult to imagine this today but once upon a time, trolleys connected the towns of the Connecticut shoreline. They are long gone (though they have their own museum in East Haven, not to be confused with the trolley museum in East Windsor that I wrote about in this post) but their route remains. Part of it has been converted into one of my favorite short trails in the state.

The Trolley Trail in Branford is less than a mile long. It begins as a gravel path lined with beach grass, crosses a 1907 truss bridge, then transitions into a walkway shaded by ancient rocks and leafy trees. It suddenly becomes a concrete catwalk above the salt marsh, before ending as an aisle cut through a wild place where bees buzz and unruly flowers bloom. Its route takes you over tidal wetlands and past the Thimble Islands, those famous rocks with houses perched improbably on top. It smells like salt water and sweetness, and it sounds like birds and footsteps and the occasional train speeding past on a parallel track.

There are parking lots at either end of the Trolley Trail. The one off West Point Road is easier to find, and to reach it you get to drive through the wholly charming village of Stony Creek. You can bike (most of) the Trolley Trail, but don't. It would all go by too fast, and this is one route you definitely want to travel slowly.

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