11 Ideas for Making the Most of Greenwich’s Binney Park

above: A park for all seasons, Binney has plenty to offer year-round but spring is when it really shines.

New ways to explore this charming Old Greenwich gem

Greenwich boasts some impressive open spaces, but few host the array of opportunities offered at Binney Park. Tucked inside this local gem’s 32 acres, visitors will find a children’s playground, sports fields, tennis courts, nature trails, charming bridges, fields of daffodils and wildlife. It’s the perfect spot for a short break or an entire afternoon.

The park was established in 1930s by summer resident Edwin Binney. The land had initially been intended for housing lots, but Edwin’s daughters Mary Binney Davis and Helen Binney Kitchel persuaded him to purchase the swampy area and donate it to the town for recreational space. It took four years to develop and officially opened in 1933, a year before Edwin’s death. Over time it grew to include parcels of the Hillside area, the acres between the park and railroad tracks, as well as the ten acre natural section along Harding Road, now known as the Helen Binney Kitchel Natural Park.

The park’s iconic stone bridges are the setting for many an engagement or wedding photo.

Edwin Binney was a successful inventor, businessman and cofounder of Crayola Crayons. He and his wife, Alice Stead Binney, have a rich Greenwich history and are buried in the First Congregational Church Cemetery across from the park. Alice was a founding member of the Greenwich Historical Society. Daughter Helen was elected to the Connecticut House of Representatives and was the first woman in Connecticut to have a bill named after her.

Almost a century after its opening, Binney Park has a special place in the hearts of all who use it to enjoy everything from relaxation to sports—amid a quintessentially New England setting.

1. Get Some R&R.

Grab your blanket, because Binney Park was made for picnics. With picturesque sites bordering the park, such as the stone classic First Congregational Church of Greenwich and the charming Perrot Library, every view is lovely. Come spring, thanks to various local supporters, the roadside of the park reveals thousands of daffodils in bloom. Tuck your phone away and don’t worry about losing track of time.

2. Check out Binney Pond.

One of the most charming spots is Binney Pond. Geese and ducks glide, snapping and painted turtles climb on floating platforms—you never know who you might see. Turtle and birdwatching can entertain the little ones for hours. And with wildlife visitors changing through the seasons, year-round viewing is a must. Fun tidbit: Although the town no longer welcomes ice skaters to the pond, former local Olympic gold medalist Dorothy Hamill grew up skating with her family here. (Fundraising is in the works to replace a missing plaque in her honor.)

3. Lend a Hand.

A jewel like Binney Park maintains its vibrancy, thanks to the cooperation of a number of town and volunteer agencies. Opportunities abound to be a supporter. From the Town of Greenwich Conservation Commission to other local garden and community groups, consider volunteering to plant daffodil bulbs or be part of a park cleanup day.

A revived Friends of Binney Park invites those with a passion for the park to join them. With over 250 members, the organization hosts a meeting every January. This it featured speakers about the history of the Binney family and park tree-labeling. The Friends of Binney Park hopes to introduce tree talks, wildlife walks and tours of the local daffodil hill. Membership is free. This year it hosted a mascot turtle-naming contest with over 150 entries. Emilia Lim was the grand prize winner, with the name Bin. friendsofbinneypark.org

4. Walk and Talk.

The Friends of the Perrot Library foster community fitness and friendship by hosting a park walk every Tuesday year-round at 9:45 a.m. It’s informal, free and open to all ages with no need to sign up in advance. Walkers meet by the library. Some weeks include speakers who walk and talk about the diverse wildlife and fauna in the park. Follow the Perrot Instagram for weather cancellation notifications.

5. Make a Play Date.

The south end of the park holds an updated fenced-in playground and gazebo space. Open fields nearby are available for games of catch, frisbee or tag when not in use by local soccer and baseball teams. The park has four tennis courts off Wesskum Wood Road. They require a town tennis pass, but the new Greenwich Parks and Recreation OnePass for our beaches allows residents to add a tennis court pass. Court reservations begin May 1. Just a spectator? The courtside bleachers are a great spot to watch the local high school teams who use the courts in spring.

No model boat to race? No problem. Spectating is just as much fun.

6. Attend the Annual Sailboat Regatta.

For decades residents have looked forward to October, when the Annual Sailboat Regatta sponsored by the Old Greenwich Riverside Community Center (OGRCC) takes place. It’s a classic small-town event that invites model boat creators of all ages with any type of boat—from homemade to store-bought—to compete in categories based on age, style of boat and motorization. Watch for dates and details to register. myogrcc.org.

7. Perrot Library.

With the park at its front door, the Perrot Library plans and hosts a number of events there throughout the year. In addition to the weekly walks, the library features outdoor movie nights and programs for elementary students. perrotlibrary.org

8. Get Your Groove On.

Greenwich Parks and Recreation sets up a bandstand with concerts every summer. Bring the family to picnic, dance or just enjoy the music. Past concerts featured the Sound Beach Community Band and the Bob Button Orchestra. Check the website for dates and times. greenwichct.gov and friendsofbinneypark.org

9. Make Some Memories.

\With its picturesque stone bridges and gazebos, the park is a perfect setting for a photoshoot. If you’re looking to take a family portrait, every season provides the perfect backdrop. Consider making it a tradition to take photos at the same spot each year. Fun tidbit: Almost every weekend, spring through fall, you’ll see local couples posing for engagement or wedding photos.

Sometimes a good old-fashioned walk through the park is the only family activity you need

10. Light it Up.

Year after year, town residents fill the park early with their blankets to settle in for an evening of Fourth of July fireworks. Check the website for the fireworks display date announcement. greenwichct.gov and friendsofbinneypark.org

11. Get Involved.

Greenwich Green and Clean lives up to its name, working hard to clean up town parks, remove invasive species and beautify landscaping through its volunteer activities. It sponsors daffodil planting and planting education at Binney Park. greenwichgreenandclean.org

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