Handy House Heritage Trail

Put on your walking shoes and explore our history from a fresh perspective!


Take our Archaeology audio tour on the trail. Download here.

Westport History Tours

Handy House Heritage Trail Committee members include Libby Baylies (Chair), Yvonne Barr, Emily Hoeffel, Holly Herbster, and Jenny O’Neill. Trail signage was designed by Ray Shaw. This project is supported by anonymous donors, a Community Preservation Act grant for the purchase of the property, The Westport Cultural Council through a grant from the Helen E. Ellis Charitable Trust administered by Bank of America and by members and supporters of the Westport Historical Society.


This 0.7-mile trail covers three centuries of landscape history, tracing the ecological shift from Native American to European dominance in New England. You will explore the forest from the perspective of the early 18th-century settlers and through the eyes of the local Wampanoag tribes, who had inhabited this region for more than 10,000 years.

The story of our trail begins in 1700 as English settlers embarked on the sweeping deforestation of the land and concludes with the miraculous reforestation of 20th-century New England.

This land is part of the historic Handy House property. It was home to Elizabeth and William White in the 18th-century, Dr. James Handy in the 19th-century, and Eleanor Tripp in the 20th-century. Today, the property is owned by the Westport Historical Society.

The following links provide supporting information for the Handy House Heritage Trail:

Wetlands and Swamps

Changing Patterns of Land Use

Merchantable Commodities

An Ideal Setting for Native American Habitation

Tree Talk

Family Activities on the Trail

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