Tucked away at the end of North Street in North Branford’s Historic District is the Harrison Farm. The proud owners, Dudley and Vicky Harrison, were probably best known for their maple syrup. In the open end of one of their barns next to a hayfield was the “Store”. Here you could buy jugs of light and dark syrup. It was all on the honor system. A wooden box for cash and a clipboard for writing your name and what you purchased lay on the table. The “Store”was truly a hidden treasure.
Originally, they owned about 7 acres. When an adjacent parcel became available, they just had to buy it, adding another 19 acres to their farm. “I grew up playing Cowboys and Indians on that land” Dudley reflected; “back then, it was owned by the Holabirds.” The Harrisons loved the land so much, they promised each other they would always keep it in a natural state for people and animals to enjoy. Most of this land is wooded and it was perfect for making walking trails. So they did just that; they created the Red, the Whiteand the Blue Trails.
Now retired and the “Store” closed, the Harrisons wanted to protect this land that is so dear to their hearts. So they asked the North Branford Land Conservation Trust (NBLCT) if we would be willing to be its new stewards. We were honored the Harrisons chose the NBLCT and delighted to accept it as a gift! Opening this land to the public will be a wonderful addition to our town’s open space. One thing our town really lacks is walking trails and the Harrisons created more than two miles of them on this property!
It took over 3 years of hard work and on May 4th, we finally closed on the land. In the end, we created a 21.5 acre open space parcel now called the Harrison Farm Preserve. It was a complicated transaction involving four parcels, two houses and several rights of way; all of which had to be carefully reconfigured and surveyed to make it work. We are very thankful for all the support provided by Attorneys Theodore Fretel and Linda Francois, the surveying firms of Criscuolo Engineering and Godfrey Hoffman Associates,and the town of North Branford, all of whom happily contributed to create the new open space parcel. I am also very proud of the hard work of the many NBLCT volunteers who have a vision for our town. They put in countless hours to make this new space open to the public and are dedicated to making it a valuable resource to our townspeople. We need a little time to spruce it up. Then, we will have an official opening ceremony. Dudley & Vicky, the NBLCT thanks you for your generous donation!
David Sargent, President, North Branford Land Conservation Trust, Inc.