Wethersfield is one of the few places remaining in Connecticut that truly symbolizes a typical New England town. It’s rich history and quiet, yet friendly atmosphere makes this area of the state a fabulous place to live and gives fitness fanatics the scenery they crave during the warm summer months.
The town is uniquely separated into two sections by a once-prominent railroad track. On one side of the tracks is the paring of city life with a sprinkle of hometown qualities. The Silas Deane Highway, named after one of Connecticut’s most historical figures, passes through this side and features long sideways to explore the more contemporary aspects of the city. The spacious sideways are a perfect way to spend a weekend afternoon working off the stress from a hectic workweek, while visiting the countless business that fill the busy street. It’ll feel like you’re exploring New York City without the strong scent of garbage wafting in the air.
The town becomes less Seinfield and more Happy Days on the other side of the tracks. This section of the town is referred to as Old Wethersfield and offers an amazing green, local shops, and endless sidewalks to explore as you walk, run, bike or unicycle through one of the nation’s most historical landscapes.
One of the nice qualities of Old Wethersfield is the peace of mind that you’ll enjoy while visiting. Unlike other nearby cities, there is plenty of free parking available before setting out to enjoy the vast array of exercising options available. The Wethersfield Green, located on Broad Street, is a great place to start your workout regimen, offering parking around the length of its perimeter. The green is surrounded by massive trees that offer coverage from the glowing sun and gives workout warriors a brief glimpse into the history that awaits them.
Main Street runs adjacent to Broad Street and is where you can saunter through the heart of our country’s profound past. The historical street is home to both the Silas Deane House and Joseph Webb House. The homes are two of fifty structures in Wethersfield that were built before the Revolutionary War. Most of the buildings and houses on the street have remained in their original state and the sidewalks that pass by them are layered brick, which completes the old-world feel. The bricks are great for the ambiance, but can be uneven, so protect those ankles and knees by watching your step. It might not be a bad idea to dust off the Converse high-top sneakers for this outing.
Main Street is also the place to be if you’re lacking fuel during your workout or need a quick pick-me-up. There are several places that serve outstanding food and beverage, all offering some form of outside seating to allow your muscles to stay warm as your satisfy your empty belly. Part of the charm of Old Wethersfield is that there are no chain eateries, so you can rest assured that you will get a taste that is unlike any other. Most establishments are also animal-friendly, so feel free to bring Fido or your pet chicken for a leisurely stroll down memory lane. Just remember that both your canine and poultry must be on a leash at all times.
While moseying down Main Street make sure to visit Comstock, Ferre & Co., especially if you’re in need of a cold beverage. They are the oldest operating seed company in the United States and offers Connecticut-based products, as well as many products from around the world. More importantly, they have a refrigerator filled with refreshing iced-cold beverages to cool you down during your ventures. I recommend the bottled apple cider, it’s local and delicious.
The street is also home to the First Church of Christ, for those who could use the Lord’s help finishing off a lengthy workout. George Washington once attended this church in the late 1700’s while he was in town for a conference at the Webb House--- which is directly across the street from the church. Washington was known for his affinity for fitness, so he may have scheduled a workout or two during his time in Wethersfield. The nation’s first president was an avid horseman and dancer, but his favorite outdoor activity was chopping down trees, preferably the cherry variety.
About a mile beyond the church you will reach the end of Main Street, but no need to worry, because there is still more immaculate scenery awaiting you. The Wethersfield Cove, which is a huge body of water formed from the runoff of the Connecticut River, is located at the end of Main Street and offers a stunning view of the water, as well as fishing and river access. To the left of the cove you can physically challenge yourself more by exploring the Wethersfield Cove Path. The smooth dirt path will take you into the woods and is ideal for both jogging and biking. A large park is located at the end of the path. The park is perfect for flying kites, playing catch, and chasing squirrels.
In all, the area of Old Wethersfield is approximately 2.3 square miles in size, making it the state’s largest historical district, and perfect for those with slow twitch muscles. Its impressive size also makes it the ideal spot for many events during the summertime. This includes a farmer’s market, which is held every Thursday during the summer from 3-6 p.m. The outdoor fruits and vegetables festivities take place at 220 Hartford Avenue on the outskirts of Cove Park. This is your chance to taste Wethersfield’s world-famous red onions or buy local cucumbers that haven’t been genetically modified in a lab by Bill’s brother, Dill Nye the Science Guy.
Walking Wethersfield is a must for any history buff or for those looking to become buff this summer. Come enjoy the sights and sound of an important place in American history. You will not be disappointed and, if you take advantage of all this tremendous town has to offer, you will leave you with a better sense of history and a few less calories.
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Sports Editor for the Rare Reminder, Glastonbury Citizen, and Rivereast News Bulletin