The 105-acre Bartholomew Open Space (PDF) property is located just north of the railroad overpass on Buttonball Road. A loop trail offers a pleasant, easy walk and takes about twenty minutes. Limited off-street parking is available at the open space entrance. Watch carefully for approaching traffic when leaving the parking area.
The property is a mix of wooded wetlands and mesic forest typical of the southern parts of Old Lyme. Bartholomew Open Space runs, generally, from Buttonball Road on the west to Mile Creek on the east, and along a stretch of railroad track.
The trail takes you from the parking area through a moist wooded area with wetland shrubs, such as sweet pepperbush and spice bush, to a more open and gently rising ridge in the center of the property. This dips down into a nearly impenetrable wetland area running along the railroad tracks. Further east, the land descends again to the banks of Mile Creek, which borders the Black Hall Golf Course to the south before flowing through salt marshes before emptying into Long Island Sound.
This is a great property to visit any time of year, but especially in the Spring when many birds are migrating along the Connecticut coast. Look for various warblers, woodpeckers (including pileated woodpeckers), turkeys and other woodland species.
The property was the first outright gift to the town's Open Space Committee (a predecessor to the Open Space Commission), generously donated in 1998 by Adela (Griswold) and Dana Bartholomew to be protected from development and to preserve its natural features and characteristics.