"Tiny settlement with a long history" Pomfret by leics

Pomfret Travel Guide: 2 reviews and 11 photos

Why Pomfret?

Well, it's quite simple really. I dropped my son's fiancee at her work in Storrs and then set off for my second day of driving-on-the-wrong-side-in-an-automatic. I intended to explore the area of rural Connecticut surrounding Storrs, taking the smaller roads and seeing what I could see.

What I mostly saw was trees. I had no idea whatsoever that Connecticut was still so heavily wooded...very lovely indeed, although I soon realised I should have packed my insect repellent. Golfball-sized (really) swellings are the bane of my life when biting insects are around; they simply adore me!

I liked the fact that there were many dry-stone walls still in existence. Some of these, I suspect, date back to when this land was first settled...for what is more sensible than to use the rocks and stones from your land, as you clear it, to make walls? They reminded me of England, where drystone walls are commonplace in many rural areas....and, of course, Pomfret is in 'New England'.

I decided to follow the 'scenic routes' marked on my map. I (foolishly) had assumed that such routes had a) views (hence 'scenic'?) and b) would have places to stop on the way and enjoy said views. Sadly, this was not the case; not only were the views mainly of trees...trees...trees...o, a house!...trees ...trees.. but, much more frustratingly, I could find nowhere at all to stop, other than in settlements themselves. Roadsides had a painted 'hard shoulder' which I assumed (correctly) was for emergency use only and there didn't seem to be anywhere I could pull off the road.

So I eventually came to Pomfret and lo! Somewhere to pull off the road! So I did, and that's how I came to explore this tiny place.

A strange name, Pomfret. 'Pommes frites'? But no...as I suspected (and later confirmed) Pomfret is a corruption of Pontefract, a town in northern England. So many places in this area have the same names as places in my part of England (the Midlands) that it was quite surprising to find one from 'oop North'.

The first settler was probably Captain John Sabin and the settlement was known by the Indian name Massamugget until 1713. Apparently, one General Israel Putnam killed the last wolf in Connecticut in (or near) Pomfret.

There's a rather pretty church (see photo) by the old town green (where I had fortuitously parked) but, according to Wiki, no official town centre...that certainly seems to be so, with everything spread out and/or hidden in the woods.

Despite its lack of a town centre I ended up in an interesting part of Pomfret for I came across its old burial ground, hidden away on the edge of the woods, surrounded by trees and a beautifully shady and atmospheric spot. I really enjoyed exploring the graves, some of which date back to the mid-1600s.

It was only as I was leaving that a local lady warned me about the poison ivy which was growing there...and I suddenly realised I was wearing sandals and had absolutely *no* idea what poison ivy looked like! :-( Fortunately I hadn't touched any (or am immune) and got my son's fiancee to show me some the next day. I'm not used to looking out for dangers when wandering!

I didn't explore much more...I'd had a rest from driving and needed to do some more. But I needed more water (it was still extremely hot) so popped into the little petrol station opposite he graveyard. Serendipity: the woman who served me, it transpired, has a son who is at university in England...and I have a son at university in the US. So we decided (given that both boys are likely to stay where they are now) that we had done a convenient swap! :-)

I liked Pomfret. It seemed to me a very pleasant little place, with pleasant and friendly people. Worth taking a break there if you are in the area..and that burial ground is definitely worth seeing.

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:Small, friendly, trees.
  • Cons:None that I came across
  • Last visit to Pomfret: Jul 2011
  • Intro Updated May 9, 2016
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Reviews (2)

Comments (2)

  • Gillybob's Profile Photo
    Mar 5, 2013 at 9:58 AM

    What, no cakes?! It's nice to see these really old graveyards in existence in the States - so much of their history is young. Is it an English fascination with graveyards, do you think?

    • leics's Profile Photo
      Mar 5, 2013 at 10:02 AM

      I suspect it I but they're brill: you learn so much. But the only shop I saw was in the petrol station and had no cakes, and I didn't fancy the rather twee 'olde tea shoppe' places (fairly) nearby. Maybe next time....

  • yumyum's Profile Photo
    Aug 5, 2011 at 1:44 AM

    haha, that sounds like pomme frite (French fry)

    • Balam's Profile Photo
      Mar 5, 2013 at 10:41 AM

      That's what I thought when I looked!

    • leics's Profile Photo
      Mar 5, 2013 at 11:12 AM

      That's what I thought when I drove there...but no chips/fries to be found. Bit too upmarket, I suspect. :-)


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