Killingly is a quiet eastern Connecticut town set in a landscape of ponds and woodlands that was once industrial.
Brooks tumbles to power iron furnaces and textile mills, and you can visit the state and town parks where these mills are located.
In the Borough of Danielson, a historic neighborhood on Main Street, the imposing 19th and early 20th century commercial buildings are relics of the industrial era when Killingly was one of the busiest neighborhoods in the state.
Let’s explore the best things to do in and around Killingly:
1. Old Furnace State Park
As you might know from the name, this scenic state park has a busy industrial history and was once home to an iron furnace.
Beginning in the 18th century, streams and rivers across New England were used to drive the mill.
Horseshoes were forged on this site for the Continental Army during the Revolutionary War, and all the resources for the furnace were collected locally: iron ore from the swamps of eastern Connecticut, and charcoal from ancient forests hidden in the New England region.
Today, the three-mile Blue-Blazed Old Furnace Trail traverses the land from the parking lot off Route 6 at the northern end.
The trail will take you past two man-made ponds before taking you to a rugged 61-meter observation deck, where you can overlook Lower Ross Pond and part of Rhode Island.
2. Blackpool Beer
Everything at this craft brewery in a brick and clapboard building is small and streamlined.
Black Pond Brews makes a variety of beers, often with creative little twists.
Bare Branches is a German lager with maple syrup, Sun Gate is a porter brewed with Peruvian coffee and Saison, and Machu Picchu’s richness comes from real jalapeños.
In the tight, low-key bar, there are eight beers that are constantly revolving.
Open Thursday-Monday, trivia on Mondays, composer sessions on the third Saturday of each month, and other fun events like video game tournaments, and a German-themed Oktoberfest in the fall.
3. Danielson Street Historic District
In the late 19th century, Danielson of Killingly was one of the busiest communities in eastern Connecticut, and the textile industry opened up to the rest of the country by rail.
The Danielson Street Historic District epitomizes that period, spanning 20 acres and containing 40 buildings, most built between 1850 and 1920. The buildings are mostly brick commercial buildings, but also include civic and religious monuments in a variety of styles. (1870s) to Romanesque Revival (1890s), Colonial Revival (1900s) and Commercial Style (1920s). Walking tour of Killingly Town Hall (1876), Attawaugan Hotel (1856), Cyr Block (1893), Evans Block (1878), Danielson Fire Station (1908) and Bugbee Memorial Library (1901).
4. Maokong Town Park
Killingly’s newest park, only opened in 2003, is a great place for a walk in dense mixed woodland along the banks of the fast-flowing Whetstone Brook.
The creek has been used for industry since Killingly was originally settled by Europeans, and Cat Hollow Park is home to two former mills.
Sayles and Sabin Mill was converted from a sawmill to a textile mill in the mid-19th century, while further afield, Killingly Worted Mill originated in the 1860s and was transformed into premium cashmere in 1889. The haunting reminder of this plant is in the form of ponds, dams and waterfalls.
5. Logee’s Greenhouse
The easiest way to describe Logee’s greenhouse is as a botanical garden, where almost all of the plants are sold.
Comprising six exciting greenhouses and a retail store, Logee’s Greenhouses has been in business since 1892 and features some of the plants that have been growing since then.
In the Lemon Tree House, you’ll find the “Ponderosa” lemon tree, which has been here since 1900 and produces lemons the size of grapefruits.
The big house has a 150 year old orange tree with 10 different grafts.
Also in this space are geraniums, camellias, succulents and cacti.
The longhouse has magically blooming begonias, the herb house has a variety of medicinal and culinary plants, and the fern house has been around since the company was founded in 1892.
6. Owen Bell Park
The kind of outdoor space every town needs, Dave’s Irving Bell Park recently got a makeover and offers a wealth of activities for all ages.
There are winding walking paths, soccer fields, skateparks, baseball fields, tennis courts, basketball courts, picnic areas and playgrounds for all ages.
Splashbacks with various fountains and sprayers make summer fun for the kids.
People from Dayville and surrounding communities also gathered in Irving Bell Park for the July 4th fireworks display, accompanied by music.
7. Quinebaug Lake State Park
The 181-acre space is used to cover its northern two-thirds of the lake, offering non-motorized boating and fishing.
Feeded by the creek of the same name, Lake Quinebaug is natural, but becomes larger with a dam at its outlet.
You’ll find a boat launch pad at the north end, as well as trails leading to the river bank for anglers.
This is a bass/catfish management lake where you can catch largemouth and smallmouth bass from the second Saturday in April through the end of February.
8. Killingly Pond State Park
Likewise, this state park spanning the Connecticut-Rhode Island state line is entirely dominated by its 122-acre pond.
Only a small patch of state park land surrounds the water.
There’s no beach here, but you’ll often find people swimming or playing pipes in the summer.
Killingly Pond is crystal clear and attracts anglers year-round, including ice fishing in harsh winters.
Engines up to 10 hp are allowed, and there are restrictions on bass and pickreels (up to 5, with minimum lengths of 12 and 14 inches, respectively).
9. Jeremos Hill
The highest point in Rhode Island is right next door to Killingly on Route 101. To give you an idea of how achievable this ascent is, it’s the lowest high point of all 50 states, followed by the infamously flat Illinois.
Mount Jeremos is 247 meters above sea level and stands out only 59 meters.
From the road, there is a short 480-meter trail through the pine forest, just 3 meters to the top, marked with a license plate.
The place most frequented is “High Point,” who outline these summits in the U.S. and around the world.
10. Tikanen’s Berry Farm
This cozy farm on the CT-RI border is family-owned and open on summer weekends, a short but lively optional season.
Spend a healthy day in the idyllic countryside where you can pick currants, blackcurrants, beach plums, but above all blueberries, which are always plump and juicy.
As you can guess, berry growth is affected by these factors, but you can find out when the fruit is ready to pick by checking the farm’s website.
Generally, the season will start with black currant around early July and continue to beach plums around early September.
Where to Stay: Best Hotels in Killingley, CT
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