Guest Author - Lynn Newcomb Gaziano
Elizabeth Park is located in Hartford and West Hartford Connecticut. This is a great outdoor place to bring the family for reunions, weddings, picnics, sports and more. There are walkways lined with wildflowers, a duck pond, a café, baseball field, tennis courts, a gazebo and greenhouses. Play Frisbee, take a leisurely walk among the flowered walkways and visit a very old and historic rose garden that is over 2 acres in size with thousands of rose bushes of hundreds of different varieties.
Charles M. Pond who was a wealthy industrialist at the time originally owned the land that encompasses the park until 1894. When Pond died he willed the park’s land to the city of Hartford stipulating that it be named for his wife Elizabeth. In 1904 the rose gardens were built and thrived until 1977 when the city decided that the rose gardens were too expensive to maintain. A group of volunteers known today as the Friend’s of Elizabeth Park banded together and saved the gardens. They still fund it to this day.
The Friends of Elizabeth Park hold many events at the park and you can attend these all year round, even in winter. If you will only be able to visit one time, I’d suggest the months of June and July as this is when the roses will be in bloom and the roses are what make this park so special. It is the oldest municipal rose garden in the country and is quite expansive.
From June to August free concerts are held on the lawn of the rose garden every Wednesday from 6:30 pm until 8:pm. What a great way to end a wonderful day at the park.
While the park is located in both Hartford and West Hartford, most of it exists in a historic area in the center of West Hartford. This area of the city has a lot to offer as well, so save enough time to explore the area around the park if you have never been to Hartford before. There are many historic buildings in this area as well as shops, movie theatres etc.
The park is great for kids and dogs but if you have allergies to pollen, come prepared for that if you visit while the flowers are blooming, and don’t forget the bags to scoop up after the pooch.
The park is in the heart of the city and as such it gets very crowded on the weekends during the warm weather.
Bring a camera for both the roses and the brides that you will see on the lawns in spring and summer.