Day Tripping in South Glastonbury

Sunflowers in bucket at belltown

If you drive around the horseshoe of Matson Hill Road and Woodland Street in South Glastonbury, Connecticut you will see some of the most scenic farm views around.  In fact, they are so beautiful and picturesque they merit a special notation in a New England tourism book.  The farms have been passed down through several Italian generations; the last remaining produce farms in town. Some are subsidized by the state to avoid any more developers building modern day castles with real life turrets and promises of views of Hartford.  In fact, on Matson Hill Road turn right up Clark Hill Road and you will see an eye full of mammoth sized dwellings worthy of knights and moats filled with swimming alligators.

Clusters of pears dangle like giant drop earrings, rows and rows of apple trees are so heavy with ripened fruit you marvel at the strength of the tree limbs.

Belltown orchards rows of apples
Belltown Hill Orchard in South Glastonbury, CT

I live near this horseshoe of farms because of the special scenery, scents and moments, like the waft of cider donuts baking every morning, tractors rolling up and down lush hills transporting harvested fruits or families ready to fill up buckets with blueberries. The life of South Glastonbury has become ordinary, everyday, something you forget to notice while you drive to work, your son’s school or the grocery store.

However, on those blue sky days, or after a great rain storm or passing that certain curve in the road you are reminded of the beauty because of a new flower budding, the tree that turns bright orange every October, vibrant red blueberry bush branches rooted in snow covered pastures and spring rains that flood the rocky brooks.

Every season this pretty horseshoe becomes a destination, a day trip for the people I have coined fence dwellers and cul-de-sacers.  They drive below the speed limit, break regularly each time they miss the turn into Rose’s Berry Farm or Belltown Hill Orchard or Dondero’s or Carini’s or Bussa’s.  These people are armed with money to spend on pumpkins, mums, apples, fritters, chestnuts, Christmas trees and more.

I can’t help but find these visitors to be pesky interlopers, loiterers, who are encroaching on my daily routine, taking up my parking spot so I can’t run a quick errand into Belltown Hill Orchards for an ear of corn unless I want to sit in a five minute traffic jam.  Who has five minutes?

They allow their toddlers to find their footing in the middle of a jammed parking lot.  They litter.  They take their Christmas card family photos, keeping you from opening your car door to leave.  They are indecisive between getting the Indian corn or a pack of watercolor note cards.

belltown barn by cherrys
The top of Belltown Road off of Matson Hill Road. Maintained by Belltown Hill Orchards.  This is the only cherry orchard in Connecticut.  Picking is early summer.

They also drive around to take in the views, and there are occasions where they will drive up our driveway thinking it is a road, staring at me like I am an animal at the zoo, a resident of the land.  I am like a native to study and gawk at, maybe even Instagraming a photo of me drinking my morning cup of coffee.  I wonder what the caption of the photo says:  Middle aged, near sited South Glastonbury woman with no make up, lopsided pony tail drinking coffee.

One time, my husband popped out of the house when a little orange convertible sped up the driveway.   He had seen this car cruise by our house many times before, doing a three point turn around our young son and then speeding away.  This time around he cupped his hands around his mouth and shouted, “Tired of seeing you around here buddy.  It’s time to take us off your site seeing tour!”

“Geez, one of the natives is getting restless!” I teased my husband with a laugh.

July 2015 sunset

The tourists, leaf peepers, day trippers are a little obnoxious and oblivious that they are visiting a place that is home to many.  But deep down, I am proud to be so close to an area that is really a Connecticut treasure.  Rock walls that were manually placed nearly two hundred years ago, farm heritage and livelihood preserved and captured around a u-shaped roadway.

I am grateful for these visitors and their patronage.  I want these farms to remain if only for my selfish need for pretty scenery.  Soon the farms will quiet down, crops dormant and coated by snow. We will all hibernate until May when the customers and leisure seekers return for their hanging plants, asparagus and strawberries.

Maybe I should take a page from the kids down the road who sold lemonade under a pop up tent, waving to the parade of site-seeing, slow driving fence dwellers and cul-de-sacers.  Proceeds from their road side sale went to the Jimmy Fund.  Talk about making lemons into lemonade!

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