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Harkness Memorial State Park and William A. Niering Natural Area Preserve
Harkness Memorial is one of only two state parks on the National Register of Historic Places. Much of the Park’s historic distinction is attributed to Eolia, the grand former summer home of philanthropists Edward and Mary Harkness, and its surrounding gardens and greenhouse. This Gatsby-era mansion is among the best remaining examples of the grand seaside estates that once occupied the Sound’s shoreline at the beginning of the twentieth century. The park’s meticulously maintained 230-acre grounds feature spectacular formal gardens, expansive lawns and picnic areas, natural sandy beach, and panoramic views of the Sound.
The 31-acre William A. Niering Natural Area Preserve (NAP), managed as part of Harkness, is an unusual mix of landscapes within a relatively small area characterized by a long narrow beach, low sand dune, saltmarsh and saltwater cove, and coastal grassland. In 2000, the NAP was renamed from Goshen Cove to honor the late William Niering, PhD, a renowned botanist and wetland ecologist at Connecticut College, and his lifetime of dedication to natural science research, education, and conservation of Connecticut’s natural heritage.