A Simple Request To Preserve A Place Of Natural Beauty

Peter Marteka
Contact ReporterThe Hartford Courant

There are complex wills and there are simple wills. There are detailed final requests and simple final requests.

The request, "left to nature," is about as simple as they come.

That's what's happening at the 103-acre Allanach-Wolf Woodlands in Windham. It was a final request of Ada M. Wolf before she died in 2007 and bequeathed the stunningly beautiful property on the banks of Lake Marie to the Joshua's Tract Conservation and Historic Trust Inc.

A rock near the entrance pays homage to Ada and Walter Wolf, who once lived there. The rock holds a memorial plaque that reads simply, like a gravestone, with their birth and death dates along with the words "left to nature."

Visitors will be astounded by the beauty of the property, which was well-maintained by the Wolfs. A driveway serves as the main path through the southern portion of the property as it snakes through a grove of huge white pines. The asphalt driveway is nearly obscured by fallen pine needles.

For those who don't like manmade paths, there is a field to pass through. A trail then snakes along the banks of Lake Marie before leading to a small peninsula jutting into the picturesque pond. A pair of fishermen pass me and note that it's a great day for taking pictures.

The views are tremendous here, not only for the hobbyist with a camera, but also for the professional photographer or landscape artist. There is a stunning island in the middle of Lake Marie filled with huge white pines, evoking landscapes of northern New Hampshire or Maine.

The trails end at the only remaining structure on the property, the Wolfs' old garage. There are several picnic tables available for visitors, and you can't beat the view: The tables face Lake Marie.

From there, visitors can journey around a small pond dammed by an enterprising beaver. The path turns into a half-mile-long woods road into the surrounding deciduous forest filled with beech trees — the final tree of the forest to make its autumn turn — crossing over traquil, clear-running streams and stone walls. The highlight of the trip is a view south along the banks of the lake and seeing a nearly full moon rising over the island and the colorful leaves reflecting off the placid surface.

So whether you are a budding photographer or a paint-by-numbers type of artist, there is no shortage of landscape subjects to be inspired by at Allanach-Wolf Woodlands no matter what the season. The Wolfs knew the beauty of their surroundings, and their bequest now invites everyone into their woodlands.

Take Route 14 about a mile east of the junction with Route 203 and take a left on Back Road. Look for the parking area on the left shortly after passing Lake Marie's dam. Peter Marteka may be reached at 860-647-5365, at pmarteka@courant.com or c/o The Courant, 200 Adams St., Manchester, CT 06040.   

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