Greenmanville Self-Guided Walking Tour

The “road to Mystic” is named for a 19th-century maritime community with agricultural roots uniquely positioned by the river and connected to the sea. Greenmanville began to emerge in the 1830s and found its namesake by 1849 with the rise of wooden shipbuilding on the banks of the Mystic River, led in part by three brothers named Greenman. Landscape and location were key to the community’s renowned success, but by the 1870s other industry began to supplant the remains of local shipbuilding as westward expansion and technology transformed the idyllic rural concept of life.

Greenmanville offers a point of entry to examine the sense of a place still found here in Mystic. The river continues to connect everything together from forest to sea. And what gave rise to this old maritime community still lies intact as a preserved gateway known as Denison Pequotsepos Nature Center’s Coogan Farm campus, located on Greenmanville Avenue in Mystic. The roots of nature and heritage here are profound and forever protected as the Nature Center stewards the last parcel of undeveloped property in Mystic with great care and purpose. Coogan Farm itself offers a unique and broad opportunity to weave together stories spanning four centuries to help achieve an ecologically healthy future for all by enhancing knowledge of heritage and nature.

This self-guided walking tour was created by the Nature Center with cooperation from Mystic Seaport Museum, Mashantucket Pequot Museum & Research Center, Mystic River Historical Society and Mystic River Boathouse Park. There are currently six stations in the walking tour guiding the audience through the centuries, illuminating stories of land and people. The tour begins at Avery Farmhouse at Coogan Farm and ends at Mystic Seaport Museum.

Sense of Place

The Greenmanville Trail is a self-guided walking tour, beginning at the Coogan Farm campus of Denison Pequotsepos Nature Center. How we begin our tour requires further context and acknowledgement of who came long before the Greenmans to this lush landscape nestled by the sea.


Pasturelands and Orchards

Topography is an important part of the success and survival of a landscape. Besides being situated on the eastern side of the Mystic River by fertile marshes and forest, the land here benefitted from what local historian Rudy Favretti called, “good slopes and airflow.”


A Foundation Hidden by Nature

As you emerge from the heirloom orchard near Hamm Pavilion or by the northern end of the Greenmanville Trail, you’ll find a partial masonry structure known as the Stillman Mansion foundation atop the ridge line of the Coogan Farm property.


Exploring Other Views by the River

Our tour picks up the threads of Greenmanville beyond the Stillman Mansion foundation, down the south side of the main farm loop and back to the Avery farmhouse where we began. From here, we’ll explore outside the boundaries of Coogan Farm, following the Mystic River along Greenmanville Avenue.


The Greenmans of Greenmanville

Our self-guided tour continues south on Greenmanville Avenue following the widening of the river and paralleling the 19 acres of the nation’s leading maritime museum, Mystic Seaport Museum, on the banks of the Mystic River.


Where Do We Go From Here

Our final stop along the Greenmanville Trail is the Mystic River Overlook, found at the south entrance of Mystic Seaport Museum. Here you can observe the view of a modern-day shipyard with activity similar what could be found here during the 19th-century.



How to navigate your tour

The Greenmanville Trail is a self-guided walking tour about a mile in length, telling the stories of land and people over four centuries. Beginning at the Avery farmhouse at the Coogan Farm campus, visitors can follow the signage along the mail trail loop to the heirloom orchard, Stillman Mansion foundation and back down to the farmhouse. The rest of the self-guided tour continues via the web by scanning the QR code on the signage and encourages visitors to explore outside the boundaries of the farm following the river along Greenmanville Avenue to the final destination at Mystic Seaport Museum. Terrain at the Coogan Farm is unpaved and has some uneven ground and incline. The portion of the Greenmanville trail that continues off the farm property has a paved sidewalk.