The Heublein Tower is Simsbury is a cherished hiking destination. Reachable by foot by almost everyone, the tower provides a striking view of the Farmington Valley. Its history is storied as described below:
Gilbert F. Heublein was a celebrated German-born hotelier and restaurateur in Hartford, Connecticut as well as an innovator in the American gourmet food and liquor industry. Heublein built the Tower in 1914 as a summer retreat for his family and for the entertainment of weekend guests.
Builder T. P. Fox and Son was contracted by Heublein to carry out Hartford architects Hilliard Smith and Roy D. Bassette’s Tower plans, the specifications of which called for a tower that would never blow over, having been designed to resist wind pressures of 100 mph. It is a six-storied structure, with a 165- foot solid square shaft of steel beam and concrete construction that rises from a massive, asymmetrical fieldstone base. The property on which it rests totals approximately 350 contiguous acres along the mountain ridge, with the Tower being at the midpoint of the plot.
Many famous people have been guests at the tower, where the Republican Party asked General Dwight Eisenhower to run for president. This same party was also attended by Prescott Bush, father of George H. W. Bush. Ronald Reagan also visited the tower in the 1950s while he was president of the Screen Actors Guild.
Tulmeadow Ice Cream
In August of 1994, we began making ice cream at the farm. Our goal was to make really great ice cream, so that our customers would want to come back again and again. The readers of Hartford Magazine have voted Tulmeadow Farm "Best Ice Cream." We scoop our ice cream at the Farm Store, mid-April through October 30th. Our hours vary a bit, but we usually open at noon and close at 9:30pm throughout the summer, closing at 9:00pm, then 8:00pm in the fall. Don’t be afraid to call ahead to check our store hours, at 860-658-1430, particularly if you are coming from a distance.
We make over 50 different flavors of very rich 16% butterfat gourmet ice cream. Our top selling flavor is Red Raspberry with Chocolate Chips.
Spread out over 235 rolling acres, picturesque Simsbury Farms is the hub of recreational activity in Simsbury. Opened for use in 1971, the facility offers a wide range of both active and passive recreation. The 'Farms' was built on the former Orkil Farms apple orchard, and indeed offers something for everyone.
Designed by renowned architect Geoff Cornish, the golf course is one of the most popular and scenic in the area. The course is equipped with a practice range and green, locker rooms and restaurant. Season memberships are available to residents and starting times may be reserved by calling the Pro Shop two days in advance.
The outdoor aquatic area at Simsbury Farms consists of four separate pool areas; a 25 yard, eight lane pool, a 25 by 50 foot training area, a specially designed wading pool, and a separate diving pool. The Department administers a full schedule of Red Cross lessons, as well as the Simsbury Sprinter swim team. Season passes are available for both family and individuals, and the facility is available for rental.
The covered outdoor skating rink, rebuilt in 1999, is equipped with artificial ice making machinery and operates for 20 weeks during the winter. In addition to a complete learn-to-skate instructional program, the rink is home to the Simsbury Youth Hockey Association and figure skating club. The rink is lighted for evening use and is available for rental. Both season passes and daily fees are available for residents for public skating.
If sports are your thing, two paddle tennis and four outdoor tennis courts are available for daytime or evening play. The Department offers a full range of lessons and leagues for all ages. The courts are also available for reservations.
The David Emott Memorial Family Fitness Trail consists of 20 exercise stations on a 2 1/2 mile circuit around the perimeter of the Complex. Each station has posted guidelines for beginners as well as advanced exercisers, to help each individual develop their own program.
Ample space is available for picnicking with stoves and tables provided, as well as a playscape area.
The Pinchot Tree
The Pinchot Sycamore is a large American sycamore tree, the largest tree in Connecticut and one of the two largest known sycamores in the United States. When measured by the Connecticut Botanical Society in 2016, the Pinchot Sycamore's trunk was over 28 feet (8.5 m) around and 100 feet (30 m) tall, with an average canopy diameter of 121 feet (37 m). The sycamore is estimated to be at least 200 years old, and possibly over 300 years old. The tree was named in honor of influential conservationist and Connecticut resident Gifford Pinchot. It was originally dedicated to Pinchot in 1965, and re-dedicated with an engraved stone marker in 1975.
The Pinchot Sycamore is located on the east bank of the Farmington River, near the base of Talcott Mountain, south of the town center of Simsbury.