Tift Pond is the hidden gem of Storrs

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Tift Pond, located just south of Mansfield Apartments, is glorious piece of nature that no one seems to know exists.  File Photo/The Daily Campus

Tift Pond, located just south of Mansfield Apartments, is glorious piece of nature that no one seems to know exists. File Photo/The Daily Campus

You’ve been in a lecture for two months. You go in, take notes and get out. One day, you’re losing focus on the lecture, and you realize a window on the wall. Has that always been there? Was it there the whole time and you just never noticed? You can’t focus the rest of the class because of this mysterious, insignificant thing that you unconsciously glossed over for so long.  

What if I told you that there’s a part of Storrs that’s just like that window?   

Tift Pond, located just south of Mansfield Apartments on the very bottom of campus, is a glorious piece of nature that no one seems to know exists. Even worse, people DO know it exists and ignore it. Either way, it’s something that can’t be missed if you go to college here, especially in autumn. It’s still great once the leaves are down, but peak Tift Pond season is right now. There’s an entrance on the south end of Mansfield Apartments, and all told it’s about a 45 minute to an hour walk around the lake, assuming you don’t stop. 

But you should!   

The pathway around the lake provides a handful of gorgeous viewpoints of the lake, one of which that you’ll encounter early in your walk even features two benches that you can park down on. If you need to take the edge off after a particularly tumultuous midterm season, I’d highly recommend taking one of said benches, putting on a calm album you love and vibing for about an hour, phone in pocket. It’s the best medicine you can’t get from a pharmacy.  

I’ve talked some on the flora, but there’s some fauna to be seen, although less and less as the New England cold bears over our town. It’s very common to catch a flock of geese or smaller birds enjoying the relative silence compared to the northerly campus, if they even know what a campus is. Additionally, deer seem to be more common in different parts of campus, but I have seen a doe or two in my near-weekly walks around the pond.  

Even as winter approaches, the pond will find its winter purpose: an ice skating rink! Now, let me be clear: I trust you all as (mostly) native New Englanders than me, a lowly Philadelphian, in terms of knowing when a body of water is “skatable.” Don’t be an idiot. That said, when you’re sure, Tift Pond is a wonderful place to unleash your inner Charlie Brown’s Christmas and whirl around, skates or not. Even if you are without skates, walking over the frozen water is beautiful in its own right — the water and its non-living inhabitants are stalled in place for the entire season, turning the pond into a massive canvas. You can’t miss it.   

That experience will soon come, but as I said earlier, the best time is now. Before the dead of winter swallows Storrs whole, spend a couple hours down at UConn’s hidden gem, Tift Pond.  

But not too many of you. You’ll disturb the silence.  


Daniel Cohn is a staff writer for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at daniel.cohn@uconn.edu.

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