Once the home to farmers and shoemakers, the back country of Greenwich today may still have the largest plots of land in the town, but it also has some of the town’s most glorious estates. Backcountry is the area of Greenwich that is north of the Merritt Parkway, where 4 acre zoning is the requirement.
But large private properties aren’t the only thing you will find in backcountry. The Greenwich Audubon Center , http://greenwich.audubon.org, is the first environmental educational center that the National Audubon Society opened back in 1942. The Greenwich Audubon Society owns and stewards 686 acres, shared among 7 sanctuaries. There are 20 miles of hiking trails throughout the 686 acres and 7 of those trails are located at the Audubon Center’s main facility located at 613 Riversville Rd, where 285 of the acres afford bird watching, hiking, nature exploration and education.
Back country is also home to the Greenwich Scouts Ernest Thompson Seton Scout Reservation. Privately owned (and open only to members of Greenwich Scouting who have been given permission to use it), the reservation is set on 249 acres, has 5 miles of hiking trails, two lakes, an olympic size pool, archery and more.
What would be backcountry be without horses and ponies? Greenwich Riding Trail Association is a wonderful source of information about all things riding in Greenwich. In addition to the 92 acre Nichols Preserve that they own off of Bedford Rd, there are a number of riding trails throughout Greenwich. Two of the more notable barns offering lessons are:
Kelsey Farms: 1016 Lake Avenue, 203-869-5595 This equestrian center offers riding lessons in all standard disciplines, jumping and horse shows. It has one of the few riding rings in Greenwich. Kelsey Farms red barns have been a part of the Greenwich landscape for many years and are home to the Pegasus Therapeutic Riding Program in addition to offering private lessons.
Lionshare Farms: 404 Taconic Rd, 203-869-4649. Owned by Olympic Silver Medalist Peter Leone and wife Marcella, Lionshare has 100 acres featuring a Grand Prix field, 2 all weather and 1 indoor ring, a cross country field and zoological center.
The Greenwich Land Trust is Greenwich’s leading land conservation organization and the force behind the successful preservation of land and open space that still remains.