East Hartford, on the east bank of the Connecticut River, is primarily a manufacturing town. At the same time, this is a town of parks and green spaces. Some of the parks are typical playgrounds with softball/baseball diamonds and soccer fields, but increasingly there are spaces that are devoted to activities like hiking, picnicking and nature walks. And if your fur-pup becomes ill or injured while in East Hartford, there are 3 veterinarians right in town.
Great River Park is East Hartford’s jewel, and if you take a stroll along the waterfront among the sculptures, you’ll see why. Its 2 miles of paved and lighted river walks provide opportunities for exercise and socializing, with your leashed pup in tow. It is also a place where performances and events take place at the dog-friendly outdoor amphitheater, and boats are launched onto the river for a paddle or some fishing. With its picnic tables scattered around the grassy knolls among the weeping willows, it’s also a perfect spot to enjoy an al fresco lunch or dinner date with your furry bestie. Or walk across the bridge to the city of Hartford, just across the river. And there’s free, off-street parking! What could be more woofderful?
Whatever your reason for being in East Hartford, you’re sure to find the many outdoor opportunities with your pooch just pawrrific!
East Hartford’s Town Center shares Wickham Park with Manchester, the town next door. Wickham is a 250-acre expanse of land that features open fields, woodlands, ponds and picnic areas, along with attractions such as an aviary, Oriental and other formal gardens, and a nature center. Your fur-baby is welcome in all the outdoor areas, on-leash, even in the 35-acre bird sanctuary on the park’s southeast border. Walking Fido on one of the paved trails, across meadows or through the trees, then settling in for a picnic lunch would be just pawrfect! There are 3 restroom buildings, and drinking fountains are sprinkled throughout the park as well. This is an oasis in the middle of a bustling commercial area, and a don’t-miss-it stop whether you’re an East Hartford resident or a visitor.
This neighborhood in East Hartford is where you’ll find a portion of the East Coast Greenway Trail named the Charter Oak Greenway. This is a dog-friendly multi-use rail-trail of about 14 miles that is great for walking, cycling and skating in fine weather, or cross-country skiing in the winter. The paved surface is also wheelchair accessible, and dogs are welcome on-leash. The Greenway is well-marked, and traverses fields as well as meanders through wooded tracts where birds and small mammals make their presence known. Fido will love the sights, scents and sounds you’ll encounter on this sometimes-challenging trail. A parking area and spur to the trailhead can be found at Veterans Memorial Park on Sunset Ridge Drive. Enjoy!
The Mayberry Village neighborhood contains a section of the leashed-pup-friendly Hockanum River Linear Trail, which is approximately 3 miles long and consists of a boardwalk and stone dust pathway through densely wooded areas and over wetlands. With views of the Hockanum River through the trees and rustic benches along the way, the trail offers quiet solitude and plentiful birds and wildlife for you and your pooch to see, smell and hear. The undergrowth, thick in some sections, provides a sense of removal from the Mayberry residential area it resides in. Because there are entry points in several places along the river, this can be as long or as short a walk as you like with your fur-buddy, anytime of the year. Woofderful!
This neighborhood of East Hartford is home to the Town Green, a lovely park with wide, paved walking paths and lush green lawns planted with trees and flowers. The park contains a Playscape for the kiddos, and a basketball court, but it will be the walking that Fido will love. A bucolic, hushed setting greets you as you stroll along, and there’s lots for the fur-pup to sniff and hear along the way: birds and the occasional squirrel. Sadly, he won’t be able to chase any of them because he’ll be firmly attached to the leash in your hand, but that won’t detract from the fun! Have a sit at one of the benches, or throw a blanket on the lawn, lie down next to your furry bestie, and watch the clouds go by. Sounds pawrfect!
This community in Wethersfield is where you’ll find the Mill Woods Park Dog Park. This popular off-leash park provides all the amenities you could hope for: running water stations, waste bag stations and receptacles, benches and picnic tables for the humans. The park is divided into 2 sections for large and small dogs, and the green grass and shade trees provide human and dog alike with coolness under the feet and overhead. There’s ample space for running and cavorting, and no restriction against bringing toys to make it even more fun! Some of the worn areas can get muddy in the spring, but certainly Fido doesn’t mind – be sure to bring a towel, though!