Originally the estate of Eli Whitney, this park retains the feel of an 18th century English garden, with rolling lawns, a large fountain, and impressive brownstone walls. A turn-of-the-20th-century greenhouse holds an impressive horticultural collection.
The park is at the heart of the surrounding community. Locals walk their dogs there, cultivate plots in a well-maintained community garden, and gather for performances on the Great Lawn.
Brochures available at the entrances describe the park's plantings and offer a brief history of the grounds.
What Makes It Great
Many elements of the old estate are still in use. The original carriage house now contains an extensive horticultural library (open Sundays or by appointment). Greenhouses built by the estate's second owner, Frederick Brewster, now house a wide range of tropical succulents and rain forest species, including many carnivorous plants.
The greenhouses are beautiful and during the day there are always rangers or volunteers around who can answer your questions about the collection. They also serve educational and vocational functions for local school groups and disabled adults.
It's a lovely place to spend an afternoon taking an easy stroll along the paths or stretching out on the lawn for a picnic. Edgerton frequently hosts concerts, festivals, and other public events, including Elm City Shakespeare Company's popular Shakespeare in the Park series.
East Rock Park is located just across Whitney Avenue, and you can enjoy a view of East Rock as you lounge on the grass.
Who is Going to Love It
Plant lovers, dog walkers, kids who enjoy climbing trees, picnickers, and anyone who craves a lazy day off.
Directions, Parking, & Regulations
Street parking only. Under normal circumstances there's plenty of parking available, but things can get competitive for Shakespeare in the Park.
Entrance is at 75 Cliff Street, just off Whitney Avenue, near the New Haven/Hamden border. There is also an entrance from Edgehill Road.