So, as Mandy told you in her post on Tuesday, Connecticut’s Office of Tourism is hosting a contest where folks can vote for their favorite CT town (and be entered to win a pretty nice grand prize just for voting).
As part of the campaign, they’ve asked us to help spread the word by writing about our favorite CT towns. And just as Mandy wrote about her hometown of West Hartford, I’ve composed a love letter for mine: Glastonbury.
Like Mandy, my Connecticut story starts 1000 miles away in Atlanta, Georgia (that’s actually where the two of us met, through a mutual friend, and it was totally by chance that we both ended up moving to the Hartford area within a year of each other–we didn’t even know we were both up here until our friend played match-maker for us 🙂 ). And similarly, I found out a few weeks after hubby and I tied the knot that he’d heard about a job offer in Connecticut.
Now, being a New England girl–born and raised in Providence, Rhode Island–I was anxious to get back to my home turf. And even though I had enjoyed moonlighting as a Southern Belle, I was ready to return to my yankee roots. Of course, even after living for 18 years in a neighboring state, and then spending my college years in Connecticut itself, I still knew very little about the Constitution State. So like Mandy, hubby and I took a “shopping” trip up here to figure out where we might want to call home.
The only advice we’d been given was to live “east of the river” since that was where hubby’s new job would be. I seriously thought the Connecticut River must be the size of the Mississippi the way people would raise their brows and widen their eyes when telling us that hubby didn’t want to have to “cross the river” for his commute. I think we had driven across the Bulkeley Bridge a dozen times before I realized that short stretch of water underneath was “the river” 🙂 (Although, I do now understand the traffic implications of having to cross “the river” during rush hour.)
After a two-day whirlwind of house tours across various towns, we stumbled into Glastonbury. As a HUGE fan of the TV series Gilmore Girls (seriously, I could probably do every episode as a monologue I have seen them so many times), I drove down Main Street past the charming town center, the sweet Fountain Green, and the stately historic houses, and thought I had landed in Stars Hollow (that’s a Gilmore Girls reference, by the way). I just knew this was going to be my town.
Now, you probably could have knocked hubby over with a feather when I declared my intention to move to Glastonbury. After all, I had grown up a relative city girl on the residential but still urban East Side of Providence. And here I was, infatuated with a town that has more acres of farmland than I had seen in my entire life. But there was something so lovely about this place, and almost immediately, it felt like home.
Of course, it wasn’t until several years later, when Boo arrived, that I really fell in love with my new hometown. Sure, hubby and I had explored the grown-up activities, like date-night dinners at Max Amore or Max Fish (two Max restaurants right next to each other! This must be a dream!), shopping at Somerset Square, weekend brunch on the patio at The Mustard Seed Cafe, trying out new coffee flavors at Daybreak Coffee Roasters, and long walks around the Hubbard Green and through the lovely neighborhoods (back when our Beagle pup was kiddo numero uno). We enjoyed annual favorites like the Historical Society Antique Show, the On the Green Fine Art & Crafts Show, and An Evening Under the Strawberry Moon–where the whole town gathers for dining and dancing in the town center.
With child in tow, we discovered a whole new side of our town. Springtime filled with days at the playgrounds like the sprawling Addison Park and the toddler-friendly Ross Field. Lovely, stroller-friendly walks on the Glastonbury Multi-Use Trail.
Summers filled with scenic Sunday breakfasts at Rose’s Berry Farm; pick-your-own fruit at Rose’s, Belltown Hill Orchards, and Carini’s Berry Farm; plus homemade ice cream and friendly animals at Robb’s Farm. Hanging out at beach-like Eastbury Pond with its shady shores and shallow waters. Summer concerts for the whole family on the Riverfront Community Center’s spacious grounds and children’s events at the town center.
Fall brought the farm festivals–hay rides and pumpkins and face painting and don’t forget the apple fritters (Rose’s and Robb’s to name a few). Apple picking and more at Scott’s Orchard or Belltown Hill Orchards. Exploring the Old Cider Mill. But the highlight of the season is the Apple Harvest Festival in October: a weekend-long affair of carnival rides and games, arts and crafts vendors, and sweets and treats for the young and the young at heart.
In the winter months we explored storytimes at the Welles-Turner Memorial Library; programs for kids of all ages at the new and beautiful Riverfront Community Center (here’s one); kids’ classes at the neighborhood YMCA; family-friendly restaurants (like Plan B, one of our favorites); and places to play indoors (like My Gym). Even just hanging out at our local Whole Foods with its gourmet food court and a kids’ play area.
I love that we’ve got four seasons of family fun!
Though more than that, I love this town because it’s the kind of place where the neighborhood hardware store serves up free, freshly popped popcorn on the weekends, where the Town Band plays on the Green every Sunday in July, and where residents go overboard decorating…for Halloween. But most importantly, it’s the kind of town where a family, like mine, can make lots and lots of wonderful memories together 🙂
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