"My Home Town" Manchester by Ace43
Manchester Travel Guide: 19 reviews and 8 photos
I have mixed feelings about this place. I've lived in the area my whole life. Although I actually grew up in Bolton, CT, that's a little rural town "next door" so we always came into Manchester for shopping. Many of the places we used to go to are gone now, and it's due in part to the fact that the whole north part of town, Buckland, has become a shopping mall & its inevitable outgrowth. So if you only see Buckland, it looks like a thriving commercial center; but if you go a little further out, you find the half-empty shopping plazas that were "the" shopping locales pre-mall. The Buckland area has also spawned a big growth in expensive apartments & condos in the area, as well as multiple hotels. So whereas the people who WORK in all these retail establishments couldn't possibly afford to live in these places near where they work, if you have a good job, they're a popular place to live. I think I'm not the only local who tries to stay as far away from the mall as possible, & goes there only when absolutely necessary. On the one hand, the convenience of having so many things so close together, & having just about anything you could possibly need right in town is nice. On the other hand, as is often the case with such development, it's all chains--just like you see in any other shopping mall area anywhere in the country.
A few local places have managed to hang on, however. If you're anywhere in the area (& it's only 15 min. east of Hartford via I-84 East), you really must get to Shady Glen (see "must see" section). If you're looking for a place to live with a little more character, the old Cheney Mills in the south end of town have been converted into apartments (again, not cheap, tho'); only 10 min. across town to the mall area, right next to I-384 which leads you right back to Hartford, and you won't have to get into the congestion around the mall. And if you want to shop without going to the mall, the original part of The Parkade (a shopping plaza) is doing well (just don't look behind it to the other half that's all empty); it's mostly chain stores, but it's easier to get in & out of than the mall area.
- Pros:History that's been preserved
- Cons:History that hasn't been preserved
- In a nutshell:No longer the "City of Village Charm" but still OK.
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