Connecticut is now home to America’s first historic barns trail.
The Connecticut Trust for Historic Preservation (CTHP) has documented over 10,000 barns across the state to create seven regional trails: the Northwest Hills; Fairfield County and the Western Shore; New Haven and the Shoreline; the Connecticut River Valley South; the Connecticut River Valley North; Thames River Valley and New London County; and the Quiet Corner – Northeast Connecticut.
Some sites on the trail are open to the public and include working farms with farm stands, orchards, and wineries; other historic sites offer tours, displays, and living history. The routes are designed to guide the tourist in a car or on a bicycle between these public sites and along scenic roads with landscapes accented by barns viewable from the road but not open to the public.
Barn lovers can navigate the trails with the aid of brochures now being distributed throughout the state, downloadable maps from the CTHP website, and via a free iPhone app.
“To understand barns in Connecticut it is important to understand a fundamental truth about them: barns are working buildings; they are the largest tool on a farm,” writes James Sexton on the Connecticut Barns website. “Like any tool, their shape and size reflects they way in which they are used. Just as the tip of a screwdriver will tell what type of screw it is meant to be used with, a barn’s shape, size and attributes reflect the job it was intended to do. As farming practices in Connecticut developed over time the types of barns that the state’s farmers built also changed.”
CTHP Executive Director Helen Higgins and Historic Barns of Connecticut Director Todd Levine spoke with WTNH’s Ann Nyberg about the new trail system this past winter. See the interview below, and learn more about the Connecticut Barns Trail at cttrust.org and connecticutbarns.org.