Opinion

Our Thoughts: The Beauty Of What I Call “The Shawn Drive Woods”

998928_10200745581746355_115152782_nActually it really doesn’t have a name at all. It’s not a park, a nature preserve or open space (well I think it is). It’s owned by the City of New Britain’s Water Dept. as a water shed. It provides drinking water for New Britain. This large area is bordered by Maltby St. to the South. Stafford Ave. to the West. Stevens St. to the North and Jerome Ave. and Mix St. to the East.

Growing up in Bristol in the 80’s and early 90’s I am a true product of the apartment complex which was called Jerome Estates. It is now called Coppermine Village. While most kids growing up in a housing complex were limited to a playground or a small section of grass in a common area, I was not. We had acres of woods and it was our playground.

We all called those woods “The Shawn Drive Woods”. It even had nicknames for different parts of the woods like, egg hill, St. Paul trail, the beach, the nature bridge and many others.  Those woods 999844_10200745578466273_705526945_nwere a way to explore nature and be a kid. It was also a way to avoid Vern and the maintenance crew (Vern was the maintenance Manager, and not one kid liked him). As an adult now I know he was just doing his job. I must say though as we all got older the woods turned more into a place to have a keg party.

Back then you had easy access to the woods. Today it is fenced off. However I am pretty sure the kid’s there now find ways to get in.

Today much of what I remember has stayed the same. Maybe a little over grown now but still the same.  What a great hidden treasure those woods are for Bristol. For some its no hidden treasure at all. Many people take hikes, go1000328_10200745579786306_1495580597_n for a jog or walk their dogs. I actually saw someone walking their cat when I was a kid! On a recent walk I bumped in to a wide range of people from dirt bike riders to an older group of ladies that described themselves as “a bunch of retired Bristol “Frenchies”.

Along with the people also were the bugs, poison ivy, frogs, birds, some animal that I swear was following me the whole time and did I mention bugs?

I can ramble on all day about this topic so here are some recent photos and I’ll open this up to others. What are your memories?

Also, there is even a Facebook page called “We Remember Shawn Drive”.

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7 comments on “Our Thoughts: The Beauty Of What I Call “The Shawn Drive Woods”

  1. Brian Talarico

    My brother and I grew up there it was a great place. I was riding through the trails just yesterday. It’s sad to see that all the woods are overgrown. All the trails I remember as a kid are not there. Well they are there but not used anymore. I think it’s so sad that kids these days rather be glued to a TV then explore the Great Outdoors.. but then again I’m sure the fence makes things difficult. either way my buddy and I are going to do some cleanup work in those woods and make some of those Trails alive again.

  2. dave simmons

    My wife Jan was brought up here, I met here here, and I also spent 10 years or so living here, beautiful place, I then got the position of the head of Maintenance when a company called Merit Properties took over, then that was the decline, I tried to keep the place running but had no money to do so, people moved out and the place got worse, Then after the place was falling apart, they let me go, maybe because I knew too much, or they couldn’t afford my salary anymore, but anyway, it is such a shame because this was such a great place to bring up a family, and have close friends nearby at all times, now you never know when the next time is they will let the oil run out of the tanks in the dead of winter, very sad, I for one miss the old “Jerome Estates”. And the old crew who ran the place, Richmond Realty with Sharon, Alice, and of course, George and Vern.

  3. I grew up a neighborhood over and we have completely different names… We called it just “the backtrails” and the big jump was known as “the wildcat” Everyone on my block used to go riding down there all the time.

  4. Jessica

    LOL suicide hill!!! I remember that! I used to ride with my dad on his quad on those trails… also “swimming” in the brook… so much fun!

  5. Walter

    Yea it was the greatest place Mike. we where very lucky kids to have those woods and each other to enjoy exploring every corner of it.. Dead mans curve!! Suicide Hill!! Tubing down the coppermine! Catching my first fish! All the different forts! Fires! Bike trails! I can go on forever.. As you can see in my case it was a very important and exciting part of my childhood

  6. LOL “Frenchies” I know exactly what they mean.

  7. Pauline

    I didn’t grow up in Shawn Drive but great piece! Sound like you had fun.