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Devil's Hopyard and Chapman Falls
in Connecticut - September 22, 2014
(plus a flashback at the bottom of this page)

USA map showing location of Connecticutmap of Connecticut showing location of Devils Hopyard
it's a beautiful day

While near Gillette's Castle, Karen Duquette noticed a sign that said Devil's Hopyard. The name sounded familiar to her, and she felt that she must have been there when they lived in Old Saybrook in 1984, but Lee Duquette said he was never there. So the two RV Gypsies decided to drive from Gillette's Castle to Devil's Hopyard. Shortly after driving into the park, they spotted a covered bridge and they parked to take some photos.

sign: Devil's Hopyard sState Park
Karen Duquette on the covered bridge at Devil's Hopyard

Devil's Hopyard State Park is a state park located in the town of East Haddam, Connecticut at scenic Chapman Falls on the Eightmile River. It is a 1,000-acre park. Theories as to why the area was named Devil's Hopyard range from a landowner named Dibble to supernatural explanations for the naturally occurring potholes near the falls.

A search for the origin of the name "Devil's Hopyard" reveals a wide variety of different stories; none of them are verifiable and all are likely to be more fiction than fact. One of the most popular of these stories is about a man named Dibble, who had a garden for growing hops used in the brewing of beer. It seems that through usage, Dibble's Hopyard became Devil's Hopyard. There are records of several farmers having hopyards in the area, but there is no mention of a landowner named Dibble. However, Dibble might have been a tenant.

Another tale focuses on the potholes near the falls, which are some of the finest examples of pothole stone formations in this section of the country. Perfectly cylindrical, they range from inches to several feet in diameter and depth. These potholes were formed by stones moved downstream by the current and trapped in an eddy where the stone was spun around and around, wearing a depression in the rock. When the rock wore itself down, another would catch in the same hole and enlarge it. This is known now, but to the early settlers the potholes were a great mystery that they tried to explain with references to the supernatural. They thought that the Devil had passed by the falls, accidentally getting his tail wet. This made him so mad he burned holes in the stones with his hooves as he bounded away.

In 1775, the Sons of Liberty attacked a mill owned by pro-British loyalists on this site. A portion of the broken millstone was found at the foot of the falls in 2002.

The park's falls powered "Beebe's Mills" (named after the original owner) until the 1890s. The site was acquired by the state for use as a state park in 1919 in response to logging operations that were taking place in the area.

On March 26, 2012, a large brush fire occurred in the park. Firefighters from 14 towns worked to control the blaze, including burning out the area behind two threatened households. The fire consumed more than 50 acres of the park over two days before authorities decided to let it burn itself out. It is unclear how the fire started, but officials noted that hikers may have been the cause.

Lee Duquette on the covered bridge
the covered bridge

Below: view from each side of the covered bridge

view towards the parkiong lot from the covered bridge
view from the side of the covered bridge

The two RV Gypsies saw a sign Falls 0.2 so they decided to take a short walk.

Lee Duquette on the pathway
water, trees and nature's beauty
water, trees and nature's beauty
knobs in the water
knobs in the water

Below: The two RV Gypsies saw a very small fall through the trees.

a very small fall through the trees
a very small fall through the trees

The two RV Gypsies were not impressed, so they took a few photos and headed back to the parking lot.

trees and a small stream
Karen Duquette byu the pond
Karen Duquette byu the pond

Lee Duquette spotted three beer cans littered in the woods, so he crushed them and he carried the cans back to the car to properly dispose of them later, because he could not find any trash cans in the area. Nice guy!

Lee carrying someone else's litter to a trash can
a roadyway bridge and tunnel

Back at the parking lot, the two RV Gypsies saw a sign for Chapman Falls, so they walked up the road to see Chapman Falls.

sign Chapman Falls

Below the views from the road bridge

Chapman Falls
Chapman Falls

Below: The two RV Gypsies looked through the trees to get their first look at Chapman Falls.

Chapman Falls thru the trees
Chapman Falls thru the trees

Then the two RV Gypsies had to go down some stone stairs to get to Chapman Falls. Notice the round holes in the falls. Could the round holes in the falls really be the work of the devil? Or, just nature and water making their mark for future generations?

Chapamn Falls
Lee Duquette at Chapamn Falls

The principal feature of the park, Chapman Falls, drops more than 60 feet over a series of steps in a Scotland schist stone formation. Vista Point, which is located at the end of the Blue Trail, is a cliff that stands 150 to 175 feet above the Eightmile River. Other attractions include the "mini falls" and three highway bridges listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Lee Duquette was not ready for big hikes today, so the two RV Gypsies did not get to Vista Point.

Chapamn Falls
Karen Duquette at Chapamn Falls

Lee Duquette looked around and took a few photos of the trees which were just beginning to turn color.

autumn colors
autumn colors
autumn colors
fall colors

Then the two RV Gypsies went back up the stone stairs.

Lee Duquette going up stone stairs
Lee Duquette going up stone stairs

Back up at the road, Karen Duquette saw the top of a tree with colors, so she walked up the road a bit to take a few photos of it. When she got to the railing and looked down at the tree, she realized that only the top of the tree had changed colors. It was still too early for a lot of fall colors.

colorful tree
colorful tree

Then Karen Duquette found an area where she could look down onto Chapman Falls, so she took two final photos.

Chapman Falls
Chapman Falls

Once back home at the RV, Karen turned on her computer and did a search through her massive amount of photos for Devils Hopyard, and sure enough she found photos from 1984. So her memory was correct that she had gone there while living in Old Saybrook. She was actually taking photography classes at the time and entered a photo contest with a photo she took at Devil's Hopyard and won third place. The photo is shown below. Lee was working and had not gone to Devils Hopyard back then.

Karen Duquette went to
Devil's Hopyard and Chapman Falls
in 1984 while living in Old Saybrook, Connecticut
- plus her photo contest entry that won 3rd place

Two views from a bridge at Devils' Hopyard - Summer and Winter

summer view at Devil's Hopyard
winter view at Devil's Hopyard
Devil's Hopyard
Devil's Hopyard

Chapman's Falls was flowing so much stronger in 1984, than it was in 2014

Chapman Falls
road tunnel

And here is the photo that Karen Duquette entered into a state-wide photo contest and won third (3rd) place.

wiining autum photo
Menu for the two RV Gypsies in Connecticut
September 8 - 30, 2014
You may visit these sections in any order you choose.
There is also a link to Massachusetts below.

Devil's Hopyard and a flashback (this page)

Gillette's Castle

Pumpkin Festival

Jimmies, Savin Rock, Seaside Park

Lee Duquette's birthday celebration

Branch Brook Campground

Mossup Pond and Murphy the wonder dog

Kent Falls

West Cornwell Covered Bridge, River Park and fall foliage

The two RV Gypsies made a few comments about a few restaurants they visited in Connecticut. To read these comments and see photos, use the TOC button above, then choose the "restaurants" button. Be sure to return to this page to view the rest of the Connecticut sections. Thanks for visiting the two RV Gypsies' website

look below
go to the next adventure of the two RV GypsiesAfter you have seen all sections above, please continue on to Massachusetts (2014): waterfalls, a covered bridge, autumn colors, a scenic byway, a chicken store, the Big E and more.