22 6 / 2012
And so, to the final one of the many Bs Connecticut has to offer. And be still, beating hearts of readers - this one is exciting. It’s home to a World First. Connecticut has a few firsts to it’s name, though some of these are of the US only variety. First constitution, first Public Library, newspaper, dictionary, hamburger, artificial heart, nuclear submarine, helicopter, frisbee and yes, it’s even home to the first lollipop, coined in 1908 but very few details available otherwise. This one though, is going to blow your mind. Burr Pond was home to the world’s first…condensed milk factory. To give him his credit, Gail Borden didn’t only build the first factory, but he also figured out the whole process of preserving milk in a couple of simple steps, a move that was vital in supplying the Union Army fronts during the Civil War. If you’re driving towards the main car park of Burr Pond from the East, you’ll drive past a plaque announcing the fact, and a trickly kind of waterfall. Unfortunately the road is bendy and pretty narrow here, so we didn’t stop to take a photograph.
So, Burr Pond itself. First off, it’s not a natural pond. It was formed by the damming of a few streams in the area, to act as a power source in 1851. It was a centre of quite some industry at this time, housing a tannery and three active sawmills. These businesses were joined by the condensed milk factory in 1857, only for it to be destroyed twenty years later in a fire. Our old friends the CCC did a lot of work on converting the industrialised area into the recreation spot it is today in the 1930s, and eventually the pond was designated as a State Park in 1949. Today you can swim, kayak and hike within its small but pretty bounds, and there’s even a lifeguard and concession stand available in the summer months.
And there’s some seriously badass muthas hanging out on hot days too, if last Saturday is anything to go by. Quite the place to people spot.
Rob and I took the circular blue trail around the pond itself in a clockwise direction, passing the pond dam on the way out. The trail mostly hugs the lake, and there’s lots of wonderful open hemlock forest, and a series of glacial erratic boulders, some of them absolutely enormous! The trail is spoilt a little by being intersected twice by a large powerline, but it only detracts slightly from the quiet of the place.
On the far side of the pond there is another slightly more stable looking boulder, carrying a plaque dedicated to Philip Buttrick J, the supervisor of the development work begun by the CCC in the mid 20s.
The northern and west sides of the pond have some thicker vegetation, and there were definitely a few dodgy characters sneakily smoking something off to the side of the trail.
The trail is only 2.5 miles in total, but actually feels shorter with such lovely surroundings. A surefire winner for a hot day - if only we’d have brought our swimwear for afterwards! It’s a fee charging park in the summer months, but it’s well worth it. In fact, why not go ahead and buy a season pass while you’re at it?