I lived in seven cities and towns throughout north central Connecticut, but it wasn’t until I moved to Middletown a decade ago that I found a home. It’s a place with a balance of city and country, new and old, and there is abundance evidence of its agricultural and industrial past.
Some of the city’s most beautiful and lesser-known places are scattered throughout town and best traveled to on foot. You could spend many an afternoon looking for old barns in Westfield, exploring hidden links to the North End’s Sicilian past, or historical markers like the fossil footprints buried alongside Joseph Barratt’s grave in Indian Hill Cemetery, the Beman Triangle near Wesleyan, Major Gen. Rose’s birthplace, or some of the city’s 92 former mom-and-pop grocery stores.
Or you could go the more traditional route.
After all, the city of Middletown conjures up many things for many folk, among them Wesleyan University, the Connecticut River, historic Main Street, KidCity Museum, O’Rourke’s Diner, the Wadsworth Mansion and Harbor Park.
Nicknamed the Forest City for its longtime Tree City designation, Middletown is also known for its range of world cuisines offered at downtown restaurants, like Mexican, Vietnamese, Thai, Chinese, Japanese, Italian, Caribbean, Indian, vegan and Irish. For a phenomenal beer-on-tap selection, try Eli Cannon's Tap Room and its Trading Co. across the street, or gourmet cakes at NoRA Cupcake Co.
Of the nearly 30,000 acres that comprises city land, 4,000 is dedicated to open space, with trails and preserves for hikers, birders and other nature lovers. The Middletown trail guide is a comprehensive resource.
Indian Hill Cemetery, the final resting places of many of the city’s most prominent residents, including former Gov. Raymond Baldwin, Civil War Union General Joseph F. K. Mansfield and the journalist Stewart and Joseph Wright Alsop. The Middlesex County Historical Society, housed in the Gen. Mansfield House, has exhibits and extensive records open to the public.
Resident historial Liz Warner has penned a multitude of historical pieces in the Middletown Patch database. Check them all out here.
For arts enthusiasts, Wesleyan University offers music, dance and theater programs, many free, throughout the summer and the Green Street Arts Center is participating in the Middletown North End Gallery Walk every third Wednesday of June to October from 5-8 p.m.
A myriad of events and performances are scheduled all summer by Oddfellows Youth Playhouse, Artfarm, Vinnie’s Jump and Jive, the Buttonwood Tree, Klekolo World Coffee and Javapalooza.
Empower Zip Lines and the Middletown Roller Skating Rink are family-friendly and fitness-orientated.
However you plan to explore this city, check out Middletown Patch first. It’s a wealth of local information, with event listings, lodging, business and arts listings, contact information and a large historical database.
Enjoy your stay!