We Went To Kent

It rained for the first half hour of our trip. Helaine gave me the evil eye you give the weatherman when he takes you sightseeing on a rainy day.

On TV I’ve been telling everyone how poorly the fall foliage is doing. I based that on reports from trusted sources, but I wanted to see for myself and get some photos of whatever it is we’re getting. This afternoon Helaine and I hopped in the Subaru and headed north.

We really didn’t start with a specific destination. I barked, “Kent, Connecticut” at the Google Navigation applet built in to my new phone and let it figure out the rest. The trip was estimated a little under 1:30 without stops. We stopped!

As we drove the back roads that lead from Hamden to Bethany I began to think, “Why the hell are we going all the way to the Litchfield Hills? It’s pretty countrified here… and pretty pretty!”

It was a right on Route 69 to 42 to 63 then north on Route 8.

Route 8 north of Waterbury is Connecticut’s prettiest divided highway, right? South of Waterbury it’s easily Connecticut’s most treacherous! What the hell were they thinking when they built that snake through the Naugatuck Valley?

It rained for the first half hour of our trip. Helaine gave me the evil eye you give the weatherman when he takes you sightseeing on a rainy day.

I knew hoped it would clear up as the Sun began to get a little lower in the sky. These were instability showers and they needed warmth at ground level to get going.

We passed some farms. I thought about pulling over, but not until it was too late. The same with a few medium sized lakes.

We were driving parallel to a small river, so I took a right onto Town Hill Road in Warren… maybe… I’m not sure… and pulled to the shoulder.

While Helaine waited I walked into the woods and down to the river bank. If the river’s got a name it’s not obvious on the maps I’m looking at&#185. A few trees were bare. Most still had leaves–mostly green and yellow with big dark spots indicative of the weather related problems that have dulled the foliage.

I got some shots and got back in the car.

By this time we were getting pretty close to Kent. I needed to commit.

We could visit the Kissingers? Maybe Seth MacFarlane’s boyhood home? Paul Leka, the guy responsible for “Na Na Hey Hey Kiss Him Goodbye” is up the road in Sharon in the Colgate Mansion (Note to self: Write iconic hit song. Achieve financial security. Lather. Repeat.). Of course I don’t know any of them.

By this time we were seeing signs for Kent Falls.

We made a right into downtown Kent, drove past the tourists scouring the antique shops and headed toward the falls. I’d heard of them. Until today I’d never been.

The stream begins in the town of Warren, draining an area of six or seven square miles. It then flows west to the big fall where it plunges approximately 70 feet in a dramatic cascade. From here the stream descends in a series of lesser falls and cascades to the valley, where it enters the Housatonic River some 200 feet below the brink of the big fall only a quarter mile away. Much of the limestone over which the brook flows has been carved into interesting shapes including numerous potholes of all sizes.

Even without a fiery color show the Kent Falls is spectacular. I walked a slippery trail up the right side, past the “This Area Closed To The Public” sign to a flat ledge at the base of the first fall. Knowing my (dead)cat-like reflexes I moved slowly with every muscle tensed.

I started with single shots then decided to try some three shot clusters for HDR processing.

We continued north on Route 7 stopping briefly at a farmer’s field on the west side of the road. More HDR shots. Disappointing. I thought the vantage would be better.

Route 7 crosses the river as it continues northward toward Lakeville and the Berkshires. We stopped at the foot of the covered bridge that leads to West Cornwall.

By this time it was getting dark. HDR photography isn’t understanding of noisy pictures taken at high ISO settings nor the shake that comes from a slow shutter. I had a monopod which helps. Bringing my tripod would have been better. It is what it is.

All-in-all I hit the shutter 270 times. Many of those are duplicates or in the case of HDR sets triplicates. I’ll spend the rest of the evening editing them and post a few tomorrow.

I’m tired, sore and glad we went!

&#185 -In the comments Mike A. reveals it is Waramaug Brook AKA Sucker Brook. So now we know!

15 thoughts on “We Went To Kent”

  1. Geoff=
    I’m in New London, a mile from the beach.

    So many trees got blasted by salt water whipped off the Sound in our hurricane +or- tropical storm that the leaves are either green verging on gray or just plain brown. The are a couple of stands of trees on my route to the Stop & Shop in Waterford that have traditional fall color…. but not many.

    Color is definitely better inland…. as in Norwich.

    Thanks for sharing your recon trip!


  2. Kent falls is one of my favorite haunts. If you’d gone right @ the light in Kent you could have driven up Maccidonia Brook in the State park there… also very nice. Lil bit of Trivia… Did you know that Kent Falls was the one in the old Salem cigarettes adds?….> “Take a Puff… it’s SRINGTIME!!” (If only that worked!!)

    Another nice trip is to take a left on rt 44 as you come into Salisbury by the stone water Spring… go up to the top of Mt Riga and you can go across the top of the mountains and come down in NYS in Copake new Bash Bish falls. Lovely drive down Rt 22 from there back to Millerton, then come back over into Connecticut.

  3. As a native Coloradoan still discovering a few parts of Connecticut, I hadn’t seen that particular area before, but we did the exact same drive (Kent, Kent Falls, West Cornwall bridge, etc) last weekend. I know the color maybe isn’t what it sometimes is, but still…. gorgeous!! Must do it again.

  4. Love Kent Falls, can’t believe this is your first time there! Used to be able to walk to the top of the falls on the right side. Guess the state ran out of money to take care of that trail. Glad you enjoyed it, lovely part of the state. I may be biased, but, I think our whole state is pretty darn special !
    I agree about Route 8 in the Valley, always think those that design the roads must have been drunk or high when doing it! But, if you could have seen the old road from the Valley to Waterbury, you’d think Route 8 was much improved.

  5. It is absolutely gorgeous in that part of the state. I can’t believe you’ve lived in CT as long as you have and had never been to Kent Falls! Next time you go, you NEED to stop at Kent Coffee and Chocolates. They make the best chocolate truffles in the world!!

  6. My kids LOVED Kent Falls in the summertime when they were young… and we visited again last summer now that they are all twenty-somethings and they STILL loved it. You MUST revisit in the Summer and wear your bathing suit… the pools are AWESOME on a hot summer day.

  7. Sorry we missed you in Warren. That turn onto Town Hill Rd. crosses Waramaug Brook AKA Sucker Brook. Those waters eventually supply Lake Waramaug, the largest natural lake in CT. with approx. 50% of its water. The crossing where you turned is called “Twin Tubes” locally because of the two large concrete culverts, which were not large enuf for Irene. Serious repairs have since been done on that intersection because of the flooding. We hope you noticed the new energy efficient Warren Town Hall attractively tucked in on the right just north of that intersection. Foliage colors are poor this year, but still best in Litchfield County. Glad you had fun!

  8. Geoff, sadly, Paul Leka has passed away. His obituary is in The Waterbury Republican today. A very talented man, he was. I just thought I’d let you know as you made reference to him. He was young, too.Always sad to lose those who contibuted so much to other’s pleasure.

  9. My backyard – wish I’d known you were out and about up here, (although we were up in New Hampshire) there are a few spots off the trail here where I think you’d enjoy taking photos. Oddly the foliage in the Connecticut River Valley of NH is behind us in Warren this year; more green and brilliant colors.
    Bill & Suzy

  10. 2 comments:
    First, why are you criticizing our “Ho Chi Minh Trail”? It is one of the most scenic areas around here—especially in the FALL and then Late winter with the Frozen Cascades off the Rocks. The problem is that you either have to get off at Cross Rd and hike along a trail that runs along Rt 8 to get the full vista, or park on the South side of that same exit (25)–Rt 8.
    Colors are NOT Spectacular anywhere up here, this year. And if you think the road is dangerous, you should have travelled that highway before the ’55 flood. The lower road (southbound) was right close to the river—but there were a couple of pull off’s. It was a doozy to drive at night—with no lights except those on your car.
    #2–Kent Falls was one of my folks favorite places to take us, generally in the late spring, or summer, when we could hike the full trail and even get to put a toe ( or whole foot) into the lower brook. Leaving from the lower valley (no 4 lane Rt 8) it was a good “Day Trip” for a Sunday afternoon. My dad was the only driver, back then. And for a closer (to home) trip, we would drive the dirt road to High Park (Beacon Fall’s) and hike to the top and look down on Rt 8 all the way down to Derby/Shelton. On the way down, we’d again get to wade in the brook. Then we’d have a picnic and head home–this was a traditional Memorial Day outing for our family. The Park is still there, as well as the trails to the top. Barb

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *