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137-acre Hopeville Pond is a beautiful and peaceful impoundment on the scenic Pachaug River that flows through Hopeville Pond State Park in Griswold, Connecticut. The first visitors drawn to this area were the Mohegan Indians. The Indians constructed stone weirs on the banks of the river to direct the water flow as well as eels and fish toward the center of the river where baskets were placed to trap them. At low water, the stone weirs are still visible. Today, visitors can enjoy camping, hiking and variety of water sports, the most popular of which is still fishing.
Hopeville Pond gets its name from an early 18th century mill named Hope Mill which once sat on the edge of the Pachaug River. In pioneer times, gristmills and sawmills were essential for a community to thrive. In 1828 the river was dammed which resulted in the creation of today's Hopeville Pond. Hope Mill also led to the formation of the town of Hopeville which reached its highpoint in 1860 when a demand for woolens kept the woolen mills busy. Many woolen mills had been built around the natural falls (now underwater) on the Pachaug River. In the 1930s, the area's potential for recreational activities was recognized and the Federal Government purchased considerable acreage in Eastern Connecticut. Roads, parks, trails, campgrounds, and fishing lakes were constructed by the Civilian Conservation Corps. Most of these federally purchased lands now belong to the Pachaug State Forest.
The site which once contained several flourishing mills now offers a scenic mix of outdoor recreation and local history. Visitors to Hopeville Pond can fish, swim or camp on the quiet shores of the lake. There are several wooded and lakefront campsites around the lake. The camping season begins in mid-April and ends September 30. Additional camping, lodging, vacation rentals, and private real estate can be found in the town of Jewett City, located on the western side of the park. Other outdoor opportunities at 544-acre Hopeville Pond State Park include hiking and biking trails, picnic facilities, sports fields, sandy beaches for swimming and summer fun, and sports fields. Additional park facilities include a dumping station, boat launch ramp, concession stands, drinking water, and showers.
Best known for its fishing, Hopeville Pond offers boaters and shore anglers at chance at some trophy size northern pike, largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, catfish, chain pickerel, yellow perch, and bluegill. In the winter months, ice fishing is popular on certain sections of the lake. Note: Although most fish taken from Connecticut lakes and streams are safe to eat, refer to the Connecticut Fish Consumption Advisory(link below) before eating fish caught from any Connecticut waterway.
For additional outdoor recreation, visitors to Hopeville Pond will enjoy the Green Falls Recreation Area and the Pachaug State Forest, the largest forest in the state forest system, encompassing over 27,000 acres of land. The forest offers miles of trails for hiking, biking, horseback riding and motorcycling. Pachaug is the only state forest to allow motorcycles, which are restricted to summertime use of a 52-mile trail circling the forest. Ponds, rivers and streams throughout the lush green forest offer excellent fishing, swimming and boating opportunities.
South of Hopeville Pond, 870-acre Pachaug Pond is known for its bass fishing and boating. The annual Great Pachaug Canoe and Kayak race crosses both Hopeville Pond and Pachaug Pond with a portage around the Pachaug Pond Dam. The race ends at Hopeville Pond State Park where participants can take advantage of the pristine swimming beach and ample picnic areas.
For some local sightseeing, towns around Hopeville Pond include Griswold, Hopeville, Pachaug and Jewett City. All towns offer opportunities for dining, shopping, and exploring. Lodging, vacation rentals and real estate are also available.
Historic Mystic Seaport is just 20 miles south of Hopeville Pond. Museum exhibits, boat restoration projects, and ship tours at the Museum of America and the Sea make this town a fascinating place. To observe the latest in marine-life research, be sure visit the Mystic Aquarium and Institute for Exploration.
Approximately two hours from New York City to the southwest and Boston to the northeast, Hopeville Pond provides the perfect setting for a lakeside retreat. Surrounded by secluded forests and steeped in history, this rural area of Connecticut's Mystic Country Tourism Region is a beautiful spot any time of year.
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