Have you lived in or visited Connecticut? Tell us about it!
Rich people. Big houses (mansions in some cases). Country living. Farms (including tobacco farms with their unique barns for drying the leaves). Horse stables. And one college — Hillsdale College.
Hartford County, Connecticut, USA (North America) — August 2021 — Park Street…Tobacco farming dominates this short street. While riding my bike, 16 tobacco barns were visible from the street, although some are set back quite a ways. Tobacco barns are a unique design with slats that open on the side to provide ventilation to the drying plants. If you are driving on the heavily travelled Route 190 through Enfield, and make a turn onto this idyllic street that only spans a short distance, you will be transported to the past when tobacco farming dominated the region. You might get stuck behind one of the specialized tractors that are used to transport tobacco to the barns. You might spot the seasonal farm workers from other countries working in the fields. (The work was once done primarily by American youth.) There is a beautiful house that is surrounded by the fields on both sides and across from a Catholic cemetery. A few other houses dot the street, a dormitory housing the migrant workers, as well as one small condo complex near 190, but otherwise you see fields. On one morning bike ride I spotted a fox in one of the fields. Lovely street. Hope that it doesn’t someday disappear, with the fields replaced by modern industrial buildings.
Hartford County, Connecticut, USA (North America) — July 2020 — Thanks a lot WINSTANLEY and AGRIMARK for your planned huge distribution center that will bring truck traffic 7 days a week to a once peaceful and beautiful neighborhood. Send out those eviction notices to the deer and other wildlife that occupy that lovely field. Don’t worry at all about that elementary school that is right down the street — a place where traffic already backs up when parents drop off and pick up kids. What a great addition all those trucks will be to the traffic flow on that narrow street. Oh wait, you promised that the trucks will only clog Moody Street, not North Maple. We’ll see. Some us may be out there with cameras filming the trucks that you said wouldn’t queue up on the street. We can look forward to the beep, beep, beep, of those trucks, not to mention the noise of snow plows early in the morning. Yeah, what an improvement over the sound of birds singing. Just wondering, with other industrial land available in town, why did you honor our neighborhood with this project? Will be thinking of you every time I buy (or rather DON’T buy) Cabot products!
Hartford County, Connecticut, USA (North America) — May 2020 — “Stay at home” has been the norm here in Connecticut for about six weeks. So many people applied for unemployment that it crashed the state system. Protests are breaking out across the country against the lockdowns, and emotions are running high. Many people hate the lockdowns, and others hate the protesters. It’s getting really ugly.
Personally, I think we need to find a middle ground — ease some of the restrictions but don’t go back to business as usual. Require masks, limit how many people can be in a store or salon, etc. Nobody knows how much damage will be caused by the collapsing economy. Advice from “experts” keeps changing. Don’t bother wearing masks, they won’t protect you. No, wait, start wearing masks. It’s a very scary time. In my lifetime, I’ve lived through gas lines during the oil embargo, September 11, several stock market crashes, now this. I hope our country can bounce back.
A relative of mine died from cancer; the family did not hold a funeral. Weddings and funerals are not being held. A few months ago, I could never have imagined this state of affairs.
Hartford County, Connecticut, USA (North America) — March 2020 — The state of Connecticut, like much of the United States, is in the grip of mass hysteria over the Coronavirus (COVID 19). Schools and colleges are closed. Many people are working from home. Many people are just not working. Restaurants are only allowed to do take out and delivery. Weddings and funerals are just not happening. Supermarkets are still open, but putting in measures so that customers stand far apart from each other. Salons are closed. Retail stores can provide curbside pick up, but customers are not coming in.
The first sign I saw of panic in my town was about 2 weeks ago when I stopped off at the Shop Rite on Hazard Avenue to quickly pick up a rotisserie chicken for dinner. Everyone, I mean EVERYONE, who entered the store was using wipe cloth to sanitize the shopping cart. An employee was standing there handing them out. I was surprised to find that no rotis chicken was left. An entire aisle was empty, except for one remaining package of Brawny Towels. A lady was wearing a facemask. My anxiety level heightened, I got out of there as fast as I could.
Working from home has been a plus for me, and I am hoping that my employer expands the work from home options even after this is over. Lots of people are out walking every day, as it is for many the only way to get out of the house. The government is advising everyone to stay home as much as possible.
Fairfield County, Connecticut, USA (North America) — April 2019 —My hometown is New Canaan, CT in the United States. It is a fairly small town in Fairfield County near New York City. It is a very wealthy town with many large estates. The streets are very windy and narrow. The town was settled centuries ago and there are still lots of structures from the 17 and 1800’s. I moved there is 1989 and lived there until 1995 when I left for college. There are 3 elementary schools and one middle school and one high schools. Most kids go to private school. The center of town is adorable with lots of great restaurants and shops. Currently I love in the next town over with my husband and kids. It is much better here. Its still a wealthy town but much more down to earth than New Canaan. What I disliked most about it was the snobbiness .
New Haven County, Connecticut, USA (North America) — August 2018 — I grew up basically in the 90s here. As a child in 1987 until 2000. My memories are mostly awful. I was bullied all the time by neighborhood kids. Not only name calling as they followed me home but rocks, food, garbage, was thrown at me. I was jumped by older kids. After a while I made a friend and walked 1 mile to her house every morning just to take a different bus. Kids are cruel. As I got older I was accepted by some more popular girls. But they were “smokers” and potheads. Which led me to smoke weed too. I had got into so much trouble with them but they accepted me so… When I think of this town this is what I think of. It is filled with mean, nasty racist people. To prove my point yesterday a video went viral showing a school employee in Shop Rite cursing out a black family. It was on CNN, BET news, and all over Youtube. Does not shock me at all. I hate this town.
Hartford County, Connecticut, USA (North America) — August 2018 — I grew up in Hartford in the 1980’s and I consider it to be my hometown. I have many wonderful memories with my family and our neighbors. The block we lived on had the same styles homes all the way down the block. Everyone knew who lived on the block, all of the children were friends, and grew up together. Each home had something for us to play with as a child. All the lawns were mowed, and everyone took care of their properties. It was a safe place for children. I remember many years of trick or treating on Halloween. I love that it is a cookie cutter neighborhood. I also liked that you could just take a short walk to all the stores, and parks. I do not live there anymore. Last I visited it was poverty stricken, the area didn’t seems to have the same feeling. There are now bars on the windows of the houses. The neighborhood does not seem safe for children anymore. Hartford is a medium sized town, with a big city heart.
Hartford County, Connecticut, USA (North America) — February 2017 — 1959/1960 Houses side by side, all of us kids running between them all. Eating something or other at each house…homemade italian cookies, fried squash, fried bologna sandwiches, everyday was a new adventure, in the Bigelow Carpet Mill parking lot on TARIFF ST, in THOMPSONVILLE. This was our camalot.
We played hard from sun up to sun down. Hopscotch, redrover, kick the can and believe it or not we used our imaginations in picking greens, out of that same parking lot to “make soup” rocks and stones were NOT for throwing but for making wonderful “Queens diamonds” to wear and paint. Boys were the Dads and the girls were the Moms, playing house with our dog as the baby!!!(poor thing dressed up in doll clothes) The St Patricks old CEMMY, as we called it was also our playground, oh we knew evry name on ever stone as we would run from”Sullivans bed” to Cerrato’s plot smelling the fresh air and watching the trains go by, as we counted the cars, thub thub thub every car hitting the tracks, until the little caboose passed and all was silent again, except for our giggles!!
The highlight …was when the circus was in Hartford and the trains that carried the animals, painted in bright colors would pass right before our eyes!!! Our families couldn’t afford tickets to see the real show, but this was just as good as having a front row seat, under the big tent!!! This was our circus, our main ring, you had the best and worst of times together, with friends who were like family and family who were our BEST friends. We laught and cried together as all this shaped us. Up and down Tarrif, New, West, Pleasant Whitworth Streets we found friends, buddies, school companions, and lifelong memories, good memories, great memories love and respect.
We were called T’vill, Frenchtown, “the bad section” even to this day, those names stick…..whatever, it was labled, then or now to me it was just HOME, my safe haven. [content moderated to remove names] My heart and soul, these people, in this town THOMPSONVILLE CONNECTICUT, whom I LOVE SO MUCH (even though most have passed,) are the one who molded me, taught me, loved me, nurtured me and made me so grateful, for them and living this kind of childhood. It;s been almost 40 years now since i have married, have a wonderful husband, 2 daughters and 2 grandsons and no longer live in Enfield.(East WIndsor) but I am there often because it will ALWAYS BE HOME and you can’t wander to far from where YOUR HEART LEARNED HOW TO BEAT!!!!!
Hartford County, Connecticut, USA (North America) – December 2016 —One of my favorite childhood memories is from the early ‘60s growing up in North Thompsonville, CT, when we saw our first McDonald’s in town. We had read in the paper that our daytime hero, Ranger Andy from a local station, was coming to town. There was going to be an opening of a new restaurant. We had never heard of this kind of place before. We all had eaten burgers before, but only the kind Mom cooked, never from a place that just made one thing. We loved our “hamburgs”. This was going to be an adventure. In addition, if you showed up in your “scout” uniform, you can get a special discount…pay 12 cents for the burger and get French fries and a soda for free. I put on my clean Cub Scout duds and my older brother donned his Boy Scout “Second Class” best and we walked down the street past the Fire Station to the location of the new place. The most noticeable feature when you first sighted the building was were the two tall yellow arches that flanked the building, one on each side.
The small building was little more than an enclosed grill with a stainless steel counter top in front. There were mixers behind the counter for the milkshakes. The server made one shake at a time for a customer. It was fascinating to see them actually making the food right there and handing it to you. We plunked down our money and received…a bag? We had never seen food in a paper sack before except as leftovers taken as school lunch. What was this? We smelled the fried goodness and devoured the contents in short order.We finally met Ranger Andy. We watched him on television every day, broadcasting from his “Ranger Station” in the studio, but there he was. He autographed and gave each of us a photograph. It is still one of my most cherished childhood possessions. Now we have three stores, but I’ll never forget that first magical time.
Hartford County, Connecticut, USA (North America) — 2016 —Now it”s called “Enfield”. North Thompsonville was a small part of the now “incorporated” Enfield, CT. When I was growing up in the 50’s and 60’s and 70’s, it was a very small area that consisted of several small villages. We didn’t have zip codes beck then and the abbreviation for or state was commonly “CONN”.
There was “Thompsonville”, the area in the center of town where the nice Italian people lived, and the “tough” kids. -Hazardville was the “sticks” in the west. Enfield was the place where the rich people and the “historic” district was. Paul Robeson lived there for a short time and Mom would always point out the house when we passed by.
North was Springfield, MA…a place I thought was in CT until I was 10. We would go there for shopping. Later on, I could take the “White Circle” bus solo to look around and get a hoagie at a local lunch counter. We were a tiny community with a fire station that blew the whistle at noon every day and lots of places to hide, play, and just ride a bike. Usually home by dark, we watched TV and ate Mom’s cooking. Sunday was a special day. Church in the morning followed by a donut at “Donut Delite”…if we were good. Sunday was the meal Mom would “cook for hours and eat it in 5 minutes”. Polish radio from Chicopee, MA, played on “the stereo”.
Summers there were magical. No school. Get up whenever you want. Watch TV. Play outside until all hours. Cool off under a hose. Ride a bike pretty much anywhere and everywhere. Cross streets and busy roads. We rode to the library, the parks, the “brook”, the Strand Theater, or anywhere else we could adventure for the day. The bike was the transport of choice. No matter its brand or age, the bike was your “wheels”. You’d “join up” to ride as a group somewhere, or nowhere. You’d go get milk or the newspaper. Papers were easy to carry but milk was hard. It came in glass bottles and had a flimsy handle that sometimes slipped off and shattered everywhere. If you dropped it, you’d better be covered in milk or cut or something pathetic that mitigated the “waste of money” speech that would eventually follow.
When I was very little, there was a big area next to our house that we called, “The field”. I found out later that it was an abandoned golf course. Long grass, weeds, and trees sprouted and shrouded the landscape. We would play, pretend to build “forts”, have snowball fights there. We thought of it as a wilderness we could explore as a group of kids or alone to discover a lost tribe or the ruins of a WWII village…all in our imagination, of course. You better learn to tell poison ivy and poison sumac real early or you’d be miserable with a rash in the summer. Calamine lotion was the ONLY treatment and it looked ridiculous. The white paint branded you as a loser who didn’t know his plants.
Hartford County, Connecticut, USA (North America) – 2016 — Enfield is a pleasant enough place to live. Have been here only three years. Some beautiful farm land still left in town, but also all the amenities you could want, as far as shopping, medical offices, restaurants, and a movie theater. I wish we could stop the development. Enfield doesn’t need another pharmacy, grocery store, big box store, or fast food joint. Most of the farms grow shade tobacco. This part of Connecticut is famous for this type of tobacco.
The lifelong residents who live here tell me that kids from town used to work on these farms, but now the labor comes from migrant workers brought up from Latin America. You will see them at the end of summer driving tractors, bringing the tobacco from the fields to barns. Enfield is on the border between Massachusetts and Connecticut. Many people live here and work in Hartford or Springfield, Mass. Interstate 91 runs through Enfield and the Massachusetts Turnpike is about 15 minutes away. Bradley Airport is about 20 minutes away. Nearby attractions include Six Flags in Agawam, Mass., the Big E in West Springfield, and the Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield. Forest Park in Springfield is a large, beautiful park, with a zoo. Would also recommend Lupa Zoo in Ludlow, Mass.
A big unknown is what will happen to Enfield when the MGM Grand Casino opens in Springfield (probably in 2018). At the very least it will bring more traffic. Maybe there will be some good shows to see. MGM will be competition for Connecticut’s Foxwoods and Mohegan Sun, so there has been talk of building another Connecticut casino near Interstate 91 to catch the gamblers before they cross the border into Massachusetts. Enfield was considered as a casino site for a while, but the idea never went anywhere.
Some nearby towns are still under consideration. Enfield had two high schools until this year. Enrico Fermi High School graduated its last senior class in May. Now everyone is being bused to Enfield High School, which has been expanded and is now enormous. Too big, in my opinion. In addition to the public schools, there are private school alternatives, including St. Bernard’s and Saint Martha’s (K-8) in Enfield, St. Mary’s High School (Westfield, Mass.), Pope Francis High School (Springfield, Mass.), Springfield Commonwealth Academy, and Suffield Academy (Suffield, Conn.). Enfield has Asnuntuck Community College and between Connecticut and Western Mass, there is a high concentration of four-year colleges. Now as for our weather…beautiful spring and fall. Nice summers. Winter…well, once in a while we are lucky to get a mild one.
But it is not unusual to get pounded with snowstorm after snowstorm. No sooner do we dig ourselves out of one storm than another one hits. The worst months are December, January and February, but snow can fall in March and April, too. Lastly, there is a prison complex in Enfield. But in the time I have lived here, it has never been a problem or affected our quality of life.