Feb 1, 2012
06:36 AMDiscover Connecticut
Connecticut From A to Woodstock: Andover
Welcome to the first part in what I hope will be a fun (yet possibly overly ambitious) long-term project—to briefly showcase each of the state's 169 towns here on Discover Connecticut. I'm going to try and go through them all, in alphabetical order, hitting some of the highlights of each.
So let's begin at the beginning, as they say ...
I haven't spent much time in town, although I have driven through it via Route 6 on multiple occasions while going to other destinations. Certainly seems like a nice enough place, though.
Where is it? About 17 miles due east of Hartford in rural Tolland County.
What's it like? Like much of eastern Connecticut, quiet, with forested rolling hills, babbling streams and rivers, scattered farms and sundry New England-type homes. About 3,500 make their homes here, and primarily commute to other places to work. Route 6 is the main drag through town, although it is hardly a retail or entertainment mecca. Safe to say that it's the epitome of "small town."
Brief history The first settlers arrived in the early 1710s, and the town officially became incorporated about 130 years later in 1848. Various manufacturing companies and mills have come and gone over the years, but there haven't been too many major dramatic events, so the area has essentially stayed a rural haven. You can visit the Museum of Andover History, or read more about Andover here.
Don't miss Hurst Family Farm on East Street is a true family farm and classic country store, offering fresh produce in season and locally made products such as honey and jams, as well as hay rides at certain times throughout the year.
Get out and about The Hop River State Park Trail is a converted railway that is now a 6-mile recreational path that welcomes hikers and bikers. It's a great way to experience some of the most scenic parts of town.
If you're hungry The popular Hop River Cafe serves breakfast and lunch "all day," although they are closed in the evening. Still, this seems to be the place where Andoverers ... Andovies ... Andoverians (?) meet and eat.
Local color According to Highways and Byways of Connecticut, Capt. Simon Smith ("a hero of the French and Indian War") was making his way home to New London when he stopped to rest in Andover. Sadly, he suddenly struck with a virulent disease and died, but the townspeople, so concerned with avoiding whatever may have killed the good Captain, killed his horse to be sure that they had eradicated whatever foul spirits were about. They then buried the pair together in a single grave. The Manchester Patch reports that in 2011, The Legend of Simon Smith, a comical whodunnit loosely based on the story, was presented by the Andover Community Theater.
Here's hoping my next visit to Andover goes a little better than Capt. Smith's stay. Or his horse's.