Description - *This information was provided by the Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection*
Originally from Ohio, Edward S. Harkness was to become heir to a fortune initiated by his father's substantial investments in John D. Rockefeller’s Standard Oil. Instilled at an early age with an ardent love for his fellow man and a feeling of responsibility for the wise and just use of the wealth at his command, Mr. Harkness was to bestow over two hundred million dollars upon wide-ranging philanthropies.
The mansion was purchased in 1907 by Edward and Mary Harkness. From 1918 to 1929, extensive work was done to the grounds by noted landscape designer Beatrix Jones Farrand (one of the founders of the American Society of Landscape Architects). The estate was left to the State of Connecticut in 1950 and became part of the State Park system in 1952.
- The Mansion-
Named Eolia, for the island home of the Greek god of winds, the mansion was built in 1906 and purchased by Edward and Mary Harkness in 1907. The 200+ acres were a working farm and the mansion served as the Harkness’ summer home.
The Roman Renaissance Classical Revival-style mansion has 42 rooms and includes a pergola (tearoom) and carriage house (support complex). Lush gardens flank the mansion on both the east and west lawns, and an Alpine Rock Garden adds to the beauty and splendor of the seaside panorama.
Recreation - Tours of the manison are avaliable daily.
Fishing, piknicking and enjoying the formal gardens are also avaliable activities.
Climate - The climate of this state involves a moderate amount of humidity, heat and cold. Summer highs reach 90 degrees F with low temperatures near 65 degrees. Evenings near the water can become cool and light jackets and sweaters are recommended. Winter temperatures average in the mid thirties during the day and in the teens at night. Rarely do temperatures dip to zero, especially in the southern portion of the state, where the water influences the more temperate weather.
Take Route 2 south to Colchester. Route 85 south to New London, take a right onto Boston Post Road (Route 1), and then take a left onto Ocean Ave. Right onto Niles Hill Road. Left onto Dimmock Road.
From Hartford area: take Route 91 southbound onto Route 9 south. It will merge with Route 95, go northbound on Route 95, take Exit 75. Bear right at the end of the exit, you will be on Route 1. Proceed 3 miles to the light at Avery Lane (Route 213), turn right and follow to the park. Avery Lane will become Great Neck Road. The park will be on your right.
From Boston and Providence areas: take Route 95 southbound to Exit 81. At the end of the exit ramp, turn left onto access road and proceed to stop light. At the light take a left onto Cross Road and continue to the intersection with Route 1. Turn left onto Route 1 and continue to the traffic light at Avery Lane (Route 213). Turn right onto Avery Lane and follow to the park. Avery Lane will become Great Neck Road. The park will be on your right.
From New York and New Haven areas: take Route 95 northbound, Exit 75. Bear right at the end of the exit, you will be on Route 1. Proceed 3 miles to the light at Avery Lane (Route 213), turn right and follow to the park. Avery Lane will become Great Neck Road. The park will be on your right.