DAY TRIPS: North Stonington still has it's Colonial village ambiance

Published on Friday, 5 October 2018 21:06
Written by Marty Podskoch

North Stonington is in New London Co. in the southeastern corner of the state, adjacent to the Rhode Island border. In 2010 its population was 5,297.

North Stonington is a town of natural beauty with hills, farmland, and unique village districts accented by iconic stone walls. Defining the southeastern corner of Connecticut, the town covers 54 square miles., making it one of the largest in Connecticut.

North Stonington’s earliest history is entwined with that of Stonington, which was settled by the English in 1649 and whose progeny spread inland to populate the stony land to the north. By 1717 a “North Society” of Stonington’s Congregationalist community was established, and in 1807 the town was incorporated as North Stonington, despite the society’s request to name it Jefferson. Just prior, when religious fervor of the “Great Awakening” swept through the mid-1700s, North Stonington became a bastion of the Baptist denomination. Today, a “Greek Revival style” Congregational Church (1846) and early Baptist churches remain.

Clarks Falls, Laurel Glen and, notably, Milltown, the town village center, are just a few districts that thrived during the late 1700s and 1800s. Utilizing the power of town rivers, locals established sawmills, gristmills, and fulling mills, along with tanneries, iron works, cabinet making shops, and dye houses during the town’s industrial heyday. North Stonington mainly relied on cottage industries such as woolen goods, carpets, and silk for its economy until the Civil War, after which the area became primarily agricultural. For years, the town was known for raising turkeys, and at Thanksgiving, a local storekeeper shipped many a bird to Washington to grace the President’s table. In Milltown 18th and 19th century buildings comprise most of the 58 town sites on the National Registry of Historic Places. Today, dairy farming is a principal industry.

Interesting places

Wheeler School and Library. An association library that was originally constructed to serve as the town’s secondary school and library. With a front entrance flanked by two marble lions, the building, and especially its beautiful top floor, is worth a stop. wheelerlibrary.org

Hewitt Farm. 104-acres includes forests, fields, wetlands, and streams (fishing and kayaking). More than a mile of hiking trails, including the town’s Bicentennial Trail. I-95 to Exit 92 and take a left on Route 2 through the traffic circle for several miles. Look for the preserve entrance on the right at Hewitt Road. Map https://www.northstoningtonct.gov/sites/northstoningtonct/files/uploads/hewittfarmtrailmap.pdf

Stephen Main Homestead (1781). Headquarters for the North Stonington Historical Society. Also the home of the A. Morgan Stewart Memorial Library. 1 Wyassup Road. https://nostonhistoricalsociety.homestead.com/welcome-page.html

Jonathan Edwards Winery. 74 Chester in Road. http://www.jedwardswinery.com/

Hikes

Lantern Hill. Elevation 491’ it is known for the fantastic views of the surrounding greenery of North Stonington. From Norwich take Route 2 down to Foxwoods Boulevard., then turn onto Wintechog Hill Road. Parking on the right.

Narragansett Trail. A 16-mi. Blue Blazed trail traveling through Ledyard, Voluntown, and North Stonnington and going to the CT/RI border. Maintained by Connecticut Forest & Park Assoc. https://www.ctwoodlands.org/blue-blazed-hiking-trails/narragansett-trail

Avalonia Land Conservancy. http://avalonialandconservancy.org/preserves/#north-stonington

North Stonington Land Alliance. http://nslandalliance.org/

Kayak & Canoe

Spalding Pond. A reservoir near Route 216 and Clarks Falls Road.

Wyassup Lake. 145 Wyassup Lake Roawd. http://ct.gov/deep/cwp/view.asp?a=2686&q=384366&deepNav_GID=1620

Lake of Isles. An 88-acre lake at the end of Lake of Isles Road.

http://ct.gov/deep/cwp/view.asp?a=2686&q=384038&deepNav_GID=1620

Billings Lake. 100 Billings Lake Road. http://ct.gov/deep/cwp/view.asp?a=2686&q=383602&deepNav_GID=1620

Robin Rice, North Stonington Historical Society and Amy Kennedy, Director Wheeler Library

This is an excerpt from the book, The Connecticut 169 Club: Your Passport & Guide to Exploring CT. It was written by local residents to encourage people to visit the beautiful 169 towns & cities in Connecticut. The 8.5 x 11 hardcover book contains 368 pages and over 180 illustrations, maps, and photos. It was edited by Marty Podskoch, author of eight books including the Conn. Civilian Conservation Corps Camps, Catskill & Adirondack fire towers, Adk CCC Camps, Adk 102 Club, and Adk illustrated stories. The travel book will be available in late summer 2018. One can pre-order a signed book with free shipping by sending $24.95 plus CT sales tax $1.58 to: Podskoch Press, 43 O’Neill Lane, East Hampton, CT 06424 Also available in late summer 2018 at local stores, Amazon, and Barnes & Noble. Information (860)267-2442 podskoch@comcast.net or https://martinpodskoch.com



Posted in New Britain Herald, General News on Friday, 5 October 2018 21:06. Updated: Friday, 5 October 2018 21:08.