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Windsor Meadows State Park

Overview/History

Windsor Meadows State Park offers 155 acres of Connecticut River woodlands. Its general north/south configuration is bounded to the west by railroad tracks and to the east by 1.6 miles of river frontage along the Connecticut River.

The park is divided into three sections with the southernmost section being the most visited. This south section is both the largest, measuring 88 acres, and the most popular as it is the location of the Bissell Bridge Boat Launch. The launch features a concrete ramp and 22 trailer-length paved parking spaces with much additional parking for single length vehicles. It is a popular location for boaters and fishermen. This section is also the location of the trailhead for the Bissell Bridge Walkway Trail. This 1.8 mile trail crosses the Connecticut River separated comfortably from the I-291 highway it parallels and is shared by diverse trail users. The Walkway connects Windsor to the large system of multi-use trails in Manchester and East Hartford. It also offers some scenic views of the state’s namesake waterway in the process. Several picnic tables, a grassy lawn and a small handicapped accessible pavilion serves both the trailhead and the parking area.

The northern and middle sections, which measure 48 and 19 acres respectively, offer a quiet woodland refuge along the Connecticut River. Except for the three acres that make up the parking area and boat launch, and a handful of acres leased to agriculture, this park offers much the same riparian environment that the Dutch explorer Adrian Block experienced in 1614. Aboard his ship, the 42-foot, 16-ton Onrust (Restless) he became the first European explorer of the river to travel as far inland as Hartford. It is likely he ventured as far as the rapids to the north, passing this site along the way, 52 miles above Long Island Sound. As it was in Block’s time, the woodlands dominate the landscape today. The floodplain soils of the lower park elevations are renewed every year and are very fertile. Indeed it was reported by Block that the Indians along the river were growing Maize at the time of his visit indicating that some aspects of this location have not changed much in the nearly four centuries since he passed by.