Eugene O'Neill Memorial theater Center

Eugene O’Neill Memorial Theater Center


Article & Photos by Jacqueline Bennett


With the arrival of springtime, coastal Connecticut is calling. Among the numerous beautiful spots to visit are Harkness Memorial Park and the Eugene O’Neil Memorial Theater Center – neighbors on Great Neck Road in Waterford.

View of Long Island Sound from Harkness Memorial State Park

Magnificent view of Long Island Sound from Harkness Memorial Park on Great Neck Road in Waterford, Connecticut.


Originally the park was home to a 42-room Italian style estate built in 1906 surrounded by lawns and landscaped gardens. From Memorial Day Weekend to Labor Day Weekend, that mansion is open for guided tours. Presently, the park is a public facility complete with picnic tables, grills, and grounds ideal for long walks complimented by a magnificent view of Long Island Sound.





008Pack a lunch, sneakers and/or a fishing pole because fishing is allowed here but no swimming. As soon as the weather is suitable, walkers and runners are out-and-about enjoying this 220 acre site. By May, some trees are in full blossom. Off-season there is no charge but starting on Memorial Day Weekend the weekday fee for in-state vehicles is $6, out-of-state $10; on weekends and holidays $9 in-state, $15 out-of-state. Charter Oak Passes providing free admission are available for seniors age 65 and older. They can be picked up in-person at the offices of the DEEP (state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection), or can be requested by mail. Free passes are available too for disabled veterans who reside in CT.

Harkness Memorial Park 275 Great Neck Road, Waterford CT 06385 860-443-5725



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Snack cabin.

Snack cabin.


Just down the road from Harkness Park is the campus of the Eugene O’Neill Memorial Theater Center, which celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2014. In addition to culture and entertainment, theatrical education is a focus at “The O’Neill”. It is a participant in the Cabaret Fellows Program and applications for the program are currently being accepted. According to the theater website, auditions will be held on April 9 in Waterford and April 10 in New York City. Go to to learn more.

Eugene O’Neill Memorial Theater Center 308 Great Neck Road Waterford, CT