On the day after Christmas, Tom and I divided our trip home to North Carolina from New Hampshire with a stop at our home town of Milford, Ct. Since our move to NC in late 2015, we had only driven through on our way to other destinations, and it was time to visit not only our town, but our dear friend Janie Merola. (More about Janie below.) Our first stop was to visit the cemetery where our parents are buried and to place two arrangements I made from trimmings from our Christmas tree and mountain laurel branches from our property.
After a great dinner with Janie and three other dear friends, we decided to take a walk through downtown Milford and Milford Harbor. This photo by Ken D’Ademo, was much better than the one I took while dashing across the green! On another “historical” note, this is the same green where I met Sue Hebert, who was demonstrating weaving in a craft show, and who later taught me to weave!
About the City of Milford (courtesy of the City of Milford website)
Welcome to Milford, "A Small City with a Big Heart!" Strolling through downtown you get that small town feeling coupled with the charm and the sense of history of an English settlement dating from 1639. Walk over the Hotchkiss Bridge, gaze at the gorge framed by the arch of the Memorial Bridge, stop for an ice cream cone, and rent a bike and tour, then return to have a lobster dinner. Or you might opt for a romantic Victorian setting at a classic New England Inn.
Seventeen miles of Long Island Sound coastline funnel into our harbor that winds its way to meet the Wepawaug River in the heart of town. The sixth oldest town in Connecticut, 50,000 residents are proud to boast of a meticulously maintained "town green", the second longest in New England. Multiple memorials in honor of those who have served in past conflicts parade down the grassway. A memorial bridge provides a stone passageway of history of our ancestors.
A feeling of "Milford Pride", along with ample cultural, recreational, educational and employment opportunities make the City more than just a great place to visit. Many high quality arts and crafts shows, varied festivals and events make Milford a destination for daytrippers. Water recreation abounds with access from boat launches, the Milford Lisman Landing Marina, multiple city beaches, and Silver Sands State Park. The Connecticut Audubon Coastal Center at Milford Point offers views of the estuary and Long Island Sound and their inhabitants and an educational program to explain all. The new architecturally awarded addition to Milford Hospital provides for health care needs as it has for the last 80 years.
Rounding out our unparalleled quality of life is a strong retail community that provides shoppers with all aspects of consumer goods. From the mall to the varied and diverse shopping opportunities of our small retailers-we sell it all. Boasting an ever-expanding automobile row, furniture stores, specialty shops, restaurants and hotels, ready to fulfill all types of consumer requirements.
A diversified economy supports manufacturing, retail, corporate office, and a service industry. Unemployment is at an all-time low. Home to manufacturers of consumer products, fabricated metals, plastics, as well as dot.com, investment, and hi-tech firms, Milford welcomes all to its corporate, research and industrial parks.
February 1, 1639, is the date the area then known as "Wepawaug" was purchased from Ansantawae, chief sachem of the Paugusset Tribe. Settlers began arriving shortly thereafter and began to build the town known as Milford. Townspeople played a part in the development of the United States. Adventurers from Milford reached out and founded several other communities and explored afar.
Buried treasure is said to exist on a small island the Indians called "Poquahaug", just a mile off Silver Sands Beach. It is a recognized fact that Captain Kidd and other pirates sailed and hid along the Connecticut coast. It’s no wonder that iron chests filled with "loot" are rumored to be buried on the land called Charles Island!
Three governors of Connecticut called Milford their home. Fort Trumbull was built to provide protection in the late 1700s during the Revolutionary War. Yes, George Washington dined and rested here! During the Civil War, Milford was a stop on the Underground Railroad. Although primarily agrarian, shipbuilding, oystering, small industry and trade on the open seas from the harbor were part of the local economy. The early 1900's brought the leather industry along with the making of boots, hats and shoes. Milford was also famous for carriages, which were sold throughout the centuries.
After World War II, the population swelled as GIs returned from the war and bought houses in the suburb of New Haven and Bridgeport called Milford. Industry also developed to support the war effort. Norden, Milford Rivet, U.S. Motors, and Edgecomb Steel were some of the familiar names of the time. Other industry followed most notably the consumer giants of Bic and Schick. Then the completion of I-95 in 1960, with its seven exits and entrances brought easy access. The Connecticut Post Shopping Center and other development followed rapidly. Development reached a peak in the 70s and 80s, leveled off in the early 90s and then picked up again in the late 90s until we reached our present population of over 52,000 and businesses that number over 2,000.
The Milford Historical Society safeguards three 18th century homes at its Wharf Lane Complex. Among their possessions is one of the finest collections of Native American artifacts.
Below, a framed painting and early map that hang in our guest room.
A walk past the harbor where the empty docks await warmer weather and boats to be placed back in their slips.
My sisters and I had a great life growing up in this town and most of our summer days were filled with trips to the beach, where we took swimming lessons as kids and “hung out” with our friends as teenagers. There is no one better than my friend Janie Merola, who is a fabulous real estate agent, and life long Milford resident, to show you the place where all those memories were made: