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Farmington River Trail

Old 04-22-13, 06:50 PM
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Papa Tom
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Farmington River Trail

I know there are lots of resources out there for this trail, but for a New Yorker with little knowledge of this part of Connecticut, maps and directions to parking lots just don't tell me what I need to know.

Basically, I really miss riding with my wife, who is a "casual" rider, at best. She's good for about twenty miles of flat riding in a day, but if a ride involves even moderate hill climbing, she'd rather stay home and hear about it when I get back.

I found a brief description of a ride a family with two small children took on the Farmington River Valley Trail and it piqued my interest. However, as I said, I can't really get a good "picture" of the trail from the official website or any of the others I've found. So can anybody tell me a little about the pitch of this trail, the surface, the surrounding area, and things to do if we were to turn a short ride into an overnight? Also, which 20-25 mile section would you suggest, given my wife's riding ability? We would drive to the start-point and stay overnight near the end-point, so I'd need a clean hotel and a safe place to park overnight.

Thanks!
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Old 04-23-13, 03:12 PM
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This trail is relatively flat. It was a train line. Look for a place to stay in avon or Farmington. There is one section that goes on road for a short time. Well marked trail. Water /toilets at the Avon Pd and in Simsbury at the sports fields adjacent to the trail. If you were to start in framington and go to the current end in Southwick, you could do the round trip in one day. In simsbury look for Iror Horse Blvd. for food.
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Old 04-23-13, 03:35 PM
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>>>>If you were to start in framington and go to the current end in Southwick, you could do the round trip in one day.<<<<<

Thanks, bktourer. Do you know the approximate distance from Framington to Southwick? We'd be driving a pretty good distance from Long Island, so I don't want to be done with everything in one day. 20-25 miles out and 20-25 miles back would be fine. Also, is this section along the river?
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Old 04-24-13, 10:14 AM
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Papa Tom, I think part of the problem your running into here is the name of the trail. There are two related trails - the "Farmington River Trail" and the "Farmington Canal Trail" and the trailheads for each are roughly half a block from each other. I live in Farmington and even locals get the names of them confused! You ask about the River trail and bktourer1's reply is about the Canal trail!

The Canal trail is flatter and much longer than the River trail. The Canal trail is the one that runs to Massachusetts. It is indeed 25 miles from the town of Farmington, CT to Southwick, MA along the Canal trail. I've ridden to the state line (but not all the way to Southwick) and it's not too hard at all. The water stop that bktourer1 mentions is not always open (summer only?) but there are places where you can easily access a convenience store or a small grocery store from the trail.

The River trail is roughly 15 1/2 miles from Farmington to Simsbury, where it meets up with the Canal trail. Some of the northern portion of this route is on public roads through Canton and West Simsbury. Other parts of this trail are newly constructed and I haven't yet ridden them. The River trail is more scenic (in my opinion) because it has nicer river views through Unionville and Collinsville. Also, Collinsville is quite a nice little town with a couple of good dining options. The negative side is that the surface of the trail is somewhat disturbed by roots growing under the asphalt surface in and around the Burlington section - not a deal-breaker in my opinion but kind of annoying for a mile or two. I ride it with 700c x 28 tires so maybe it's not so bad with something wider.

Your idea for a trip sounds great! Farmington is an old town (1645), so we have historical sites, museums, etc. Collinsville has the restaurant options I mentioned and a pretty big antique store in the old mill. I also like to rent canoes and kayaks there.

Hope I've been of some help. Have a good trip!
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Old 04-30-13, 11:09 AM
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The more I think about your proposed trip, the more it makes more sense to me for someone to do the out-and-back overnighter thing in the reverse order.

That is, start in Southwick and ride south to Farmington, CT for an overnight and then back north the next day. I don't know Southwick, MA, but google shows the closest hotel or motel is 10 miles from the end of the trail up there. I think it's more "motel" than "hotel."

On the Farmington side, there is a nice inn about 2 miles (easy ride) from the trail. Fine dining, pizza, a sandwich/dessert shop and frozen yogurt are all within walking distance of the inn. A longer walk (or short bike ride) away are other dining options like Asian and barbecue!
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Old 04-30-13, 04:26 PM
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7Speed: Thanks for all the advice, especially the part about reversing the direction of the trip. I guess I need to look at some Google Map street views to see what we'd be in for!
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Old 05-03-13, 02:23 PM
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FYI our fundraiser is June 1. The will be a lot of riders on the trail that day
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Old 05-03-13, 08:23 PM
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Papa Tom,

Here's a link in case you haven't seen it:

https://www.fvgreenway.org/pages/default.asp

Hope it helps.
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Old 05-04-13, 07:40 AM
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Thanks, everyone. I think I've got all the info I need. Now I just have to free up some time!
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Old 05-04-13, 08:00 AM
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Sorry if I'm being redundant here. I live about 1 mile from the trail in Westfield, Ma. If you decide to start in the Southwick, MA end, you may want to actually start in the Westfield, MA section. It starts at Shaker Farms Country Club on Shaker Rd. in Westfield about 1/4 mile from the Southwick line. There is a large parking area on the country club grounds. In Westfield, Ma there is a newer Holiday Inn Express right off of the Mass Pike at exit 3. This would be about a 15 min car ride to the trail head I described. If you have any questions about the area feel free to PM me and I'd be happy to help. Good luck, Mike
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