DAY TRIPS: Stamford - The 'Gateway to Connecticut' has plenty to offer

Published on Friday, 10 August 2018 22:03
Written by Marty Podskoch

The City of Stamford, in southwestern Fairfield Co. is the state’s third most populous city (about 130,000 in 2016). First settled as Rippowam in 1641 by Congregationalists from the Wethersfield colony after what may have been a religious disagreement, it was renamed Stamford the next year after the English town in Lincolnshire. The agricultural settlement grew slowly over the next two centuries, with Anglicans settling by the 1720s and several men serving in the British army in 1756 during the French and Indian War. Although local loyalties were split during the War of Independence, Stamford was the launching point of Major Benjamin Tallmadge’s successful “whale boat” nighttime raid on loyalist supplies at Lloyd’s Neck across the sound, and a place of supply, training and encampment for American forces.

The arrival of the railroad in 1848 transformed Stamford from an agricultural town (incorporated as a borough in 1830) with small scattered mill villages to an industrial center along the shoreline incorporated as a city in 1893. Known primarily for Yale locks, Phillips Milk of Magnesia, extracts, and later postage meters, the first neighborhoods for immigrant workers were close to factories in the Cove, South End, Waterside and downtown. In the twentieth century, former farmland and mill villages beyond this area were gradually re-developed with new neighborhoods (West Side, Hubbard Heights, Belltown, Turn of River, Springdale, Glenbrook, East Side and Shippan) in the early 1900s. After World War II, urban renewal replaced much of the industrial downtown with office towers occupied (in 2017) as headquarters for four Fortune 500 and nine Fortune 1000 corporations. Stamford, the “Gateway to Connecticut,” is 48 minutes by MetroNorth to Manhattan.

Interesting places

Stamford Downtown. Over 80 restaurants and clubs, 100s of stores and services, movies and live theatres, galleries and special events. Nightlife centers on the city’s historic core.

Alive @ 5 /Summer Concert Series. Live music attracts after-work crowds to Columbus Park. Thursday summer nights have great music, great dancing, and great times.

Cove Island Beach and Park. A city park with two sandy beaches, a 1-mile loop walking/running trail, children’s play area, a rollerblade/cycling path, and expansive lawn areas for kite-flying, all developed from the site of the Stamford Manufacturing Company (1844-1919).

Palace Theatre. An incredible concert and 1927 vaudeville theatre venue that brings the world’s best in arts and entertainment. 61 Atlantic St. 203-325-4466

The Stamford Museum & Nature Center. An art, history, nature, and agricultural sciences museum it is home to a 10-acre working farm, a museum and gallery which hosts exhibitions, an interactive nature center, 80 acres of outdoor trails, and a large planetarium. 39 Scolfieldtown Road.

The Ferguson Library. With its Georgian Revival portico (1913), the library provides information, programs, and activities. One Public Library Plaza.

Stamford History Center. Exhibits on history of Stamford and a research library. 1508 High Ridge Rd.

Public Golf Courses: Sterling Farms. An 18-hole public facility laid out over 144 acres, the facility is rated the Number 1 public golf course in Fairfield Co. year after year. The E. Gaynor Brennan. Features 5,935 yards from the longest tees for a par of 71.

The “Fish Church.” The First Presbyterian Church of Stamford, designed by architect Wallace K. Harrison and nicknamed Fish Church for its unusual shape, is a unique example of modernist architecture, and an architectural landmark. 1101 Bedford St.

Curtain Call. With year-round performances in The Kweskin Theatre and The Dressing Room Theatre in historic barns of the Sterling Farm, and an annual free outdoor Shakespeare production. At least 12 full-scale productions each year. 1349 Newfield Ave.

Mianus River Park. Nearly 400-acre forest with dramatic landscapes, includes the Mianus River and its tributary streams, hiking trails, wetlands, a wildflower garden, and even a cave. Merribrook Lane.

Bartlett Arboretum. A 93-acre sanctuary of ecosystems for generations to explore and enjoy. It provides comprehensive environmental, horticulture and plant science educational programs for children and adults. 151 Brookdale Road.

Wes Haynes, Co-Director, External Partnerships Connecticut Trust for Historic Preservation and Reed Deluca, Stamford resident

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 or

Posted in New Britain Herald, General News on Friday, 10 August 2018 22:03. Updated: Friday, 10 August 2018 22:06.