Where does Lovers Leap Park in New Milford get its name?
Lovers leap is a term that describes a high point from which despairing lovers plunge to their death. There are some 25 such designated spots in the country, one of which is in New Milford, in the eponymous 140-acre state park through which the Housatonic River flows.
For 8,000 years, a community of Native Americans inhabited this site, most notably Chief Waramaug and his beautiful daughter Princess Lillinonah. As with so many legends, there are two versions of how the princess and her English lover died. One has them dramatically plunging to their death—for what reason we will never know. The other, far more tragic, has the princess paddling her canoe over the Great Falls when her lover did not return. He does return just as she is entering the rapids and in an attempt to save his beloved is drowned with her.
The princess is forever immortalized with the section of the Housatonic known as Lake Lillinonah. There are four trails within the park, including Lovers Leap where visitors can cross the Berlin Iron Bridge built in 1895.
This elegant structure epitomizes the era of iron bridge building and is one of the highlights of visiting the park. As one of only four iron lenticular truss bridges remaining in Connecticut, it was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1976. It stands a hundred feet above the rocky gorge where the couple died. In addition to the spectacular view, it has been said that visitors can hear ghostly splashes while admiring the view.