Autobiographical Essays

Beate Caspari-Rosen, MD (1910 - 1995)

The Pleasure of Living At Whitney Center

We are indeed lucky to live in Hamden surrounded by trees and ponds and at the same time have the cultural institutions of New Haven and Yale near by. However, I want to speak about the abundant nature preserves in and near the city.

During the ice age a deep valley was formed between two rock formations, The East and West Rocks. The East Rock in the middle of town is an interesting place to explore, if it were not so vandalized. Still, driving to the top one finds a large expanse of green and a beautiful view of the city, Long Island Sound and on a clear day Long Island is visible on the horizon. The flora of West Rock largely has been restored and wild flowers grow along the road. Its drive is closed during winter, but in the spring azaleas and other bushes as well as trees are in full bloom. The more adventurous can climb along the large red--rock formation, the so called Judge's Cave. Across from West Rock Park is a small nature preserve where I walked last week. There is a road with a gentle rise that leads to a busy babbling brook; at the moment it is bordered by abstract--looking ice  formations. Walking up the hill one comes to a small zoo which contains animals caught in the surrounding woods: turtles snakes, deer, a wise looking owl, and many other small animals. There are  benches that face out over a large meadow, surrounded by a variety of trees and alive with birds during the summer season. Driving a little further in the opposite direction, one reaches the parking lot of Bittersweet Lake. The lake is rather distant, but can be reached walking along wood paths. They can be quite muddy after a rain but are worth exploring. One feels far away from civilization, but people with acute hearing can distinguish the noise of the traffic along the Merritt Parkway. One rarely meets another walker and though there are a few houses visible in the distance they are hidden by the forests. Developers have not yet discovered this lovely hideaway.

And how about the harbor? There is a pleasant promenade with benches at intervals on the way to the lighthouse, which has a beautiful park. There are paths along the water’s edge
with a view of West Haven across the water; the lighthouse has been recently painted and repaired. In spring, this arm of Long Island Sound, which leads into the New Haven Harbor, is filled with fishing boats, sailboats, and oil tankers. If one does not want to drive that far, there is a path along the water’s edge at Long Wharf. It may be quite noisy meandering along this path for it runs parallel to route 95, but watching the
 seabirds, and especially the swans, which I feed along the water, make one forget the roaring traffic.

I should also mention  Savin Rock in West Haven, which even in winter on a sunny and still day without wind can be very enjoyable.

Driving along Whitney Avenue towards Cheshire one comes to the Sleeping Giant, aptly named by the native Americans who lived there. Indeed, it looks like a giant sleeping and the formation has a distinctive head. We all know this park for its beautiful woods and brook, and may even have climbed it in the past, though most of us cannot climb it any more. There are, however, some lovely paths that parallel Whitney Avenue and are only separated from it by a row of houses and woods through which runs a lively stream. One cannot see the road, houses or cars from the wood path, and one feels as if one were walking in Vermont or any other lovely landscaped rural area.      

I could go on telling about secluded paths I found behind the Eli Whitney Museum and the waterfall and the park across the street from it where one occasionally meets dog walkers and baby carriage pushers or even a horse or two ridden by friendly policeman. Most of the places I described can be reached by bus, but a car is preferable.


Susan Koslow - Homepage

Publications | Biography | Art | Snyders | Resources | Family History