FCNEMBA
 

About the Bennetts Pond Area

Ridgefield, Connecticut

About the Landscape

Connecting Wooster Mountain State Park and Ridgefield's Hemlock Hill/Pine Mountain/Lake Windwing Open Spaces, the Bennett’s Pond area provides a large undeveloped habitat for a wide variety of wildlife and has inspired visitors for countless years.

The land on the north side of Bennett’s Pond slopes sharply upward, rising to become Wooster Mountain on the Ridgefield-Danbury town line. The 70-acre Bennetts Pond area is in the headwaters of the Saugatuck River, a vital watershed that supplies the drinking water for a good portion of lower Fairfield County.

Bennets Pond Area Map spacer

Historical Spots of Interest

The Bennetts Pond/Pine Mountain area share a unique and colorful history.

  • In the early days it was home to the Outpost Nurseries (one of the largest nurseries operating on the east coast);
  • Visible in the south end of the State Park are the remnants of Colonel Conley's mansion, later transformed into "The Fox Hill Inn."
  • Up on Pine Mountain. a chimney still stands, all that remains of Charles Ives' get-away shanty.

This picturesque area was acquired by the Town of Ridgefield in order to protect the land from inappropriate development and environmental damage. Preserved as both an "open space" and set aside as a State Park, this mosaic of meadows, woodlands, wetlands and steep ridges is a unique and beautiful environment.

It's rocky slopes, open fields, historical ruins and abundant wildfire make any visit an adventure to remember....

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History Links

About the Inn

At this site, in 1914 Col. Louis D. Conley constructed his home, Outpost Farm, and shortly thereafter established the Outpost Nurseries. It was one of the largest nurseries operating on the east coast which at its peak included 2,000 acres in Ridgefield.

His mansion later became the Fox Hill Inn, a famous restaurant from the 1940s till the early 1970s when IBM bought it for a possible corporate site. IBM razed the house in 1974 and, in 1998, sold the land to Eureka, a developing company.

The site is now part of the Bennett's Pond open space. Where the house stood is now a clearing overlooking miles of hillsides. Remnants of the steps and terraces on this lawn can still be seen.

Outpost Farm/Nursery

ROSA - Eminent Domain

In 2001, the Town of Ridgefield purchased the north parcel of Bennett’s Pond property through eminent domain. This undeveloped property was acquired in order to protect the land from inappropriate development and environmental damage and preserve it as "open space.

In 2002, 440 acres were conveyed to the State of Connecticut and became a state park.

Ridgefield Open Space Association (ROSA)
 

Bennetts Pond

American Hiking Society
Bennetts Pond and Beyond
(Nice historical tidbits) PDF

What’s happening with the
Bennett’s Pond property?
 

Charles Ives

Ridgefield, Bethel and Danbury have worked together to create a 14 mile-long trail dedicated to Ives, a nature lover who in 1903, with his brother Moss, built a retreat on top of Pine Mountain in Ridgefield. Charles would often camp there and write music.
Photos of Ives' Retreat
The Ives Trail
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