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Curious about Connecticut
Where We Live - with John Dankosky
Aired:
02/29/2008
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In this episode:

Your round-trip ticket to the wackiest things this state has to offer

 

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Episode Audio

52:00 minutes (24.96 MB)
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Autjro Bill Heald: Photo By Chion WolfAuthor Bill Heald: Photo By Chion Wolf
Around every corner in our little state, you're likely to find something that might make you...curious.

For a state with such a rich history, it's no surprise that Connecticut has it's share of oddities, landmarks and roadside attractions. But as authors Susan Campbell and Bill Heald found out, we see things here that might surprise outsiders - who think our adulation of the nutmeg, and our claims as "The Land of Steady Habits" might make us, well, boring.

Author Susan Campbell: Photo By Chion WolfAuthor Susan Campbell: Photo By Chion Wolf
Their book, Connecticut Curiosities collects little tidbits of state lore, and points out some of it's strangest sights, from the miniature "Holy Land" atop a hill in Waterbury to a "Paul Bunyan" flagpole in Chesire, to a "Howdy Doody" Museum.

Today, where we live, we'll take a trip around the state - to find some of it's landmarks, both hidden and beloved. And, we'll even find out what a "Gungywamp" is.

Find out more about the Cedar Hill Cemetery, with historian Irene McHugh, and see an audio slideshow of some of their most historical gravestones!

Just can't get enough of Gungywamp? Listen to a tour of the site with Gungywamp Society member William Dopirak, and see photos of the mysterious rock formations.

 

To see pictures of Where We Live's in-studio guests, please go to our Flickr page.

You can contact us via email at [email protected].

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  Just wanted to let you know how much I enjoyed the quirky CT show! I
heard the replay in the evening as I crawled up 91 to Middletown,
avoiding the wreckage of several motorists who'd imprudently sped by
on the slickening roads. I just ordered the book and look forward to
getting to ever more funky and quirky sites around the state.

Your guests were lots of fun: have them on again!

Ellen

offbeat and onbeat wonders in Higganum

First, where nearby (Higganum) can I find the book for sale? I would like to give it to my husband for his birthday (Sunday). HELP!

Second, the caller from Higganum (Raul?) reminded me - too late to call in to the show - of a couple of interesting hidden gems right here in town. One of them is Swan Hill, which happens to be right behind my house (Swan Hill Farm) on Dublin Hill Rd. From the top of the hill you get a gorgeous view down the CT River towards Haddam Neck and at this time of year you can see the white church spire of the Haddam Neck Congregational Church peaking up amongst the treetops on Quarry Hill Rd. The top of Swan Hill itself is a wonderful woodsy retreat with a typical Connecticut granite ledge. Fortunately for the curious, it is on land owned by the Town of Haddam, accessible by footpath behind the Haddam Elementary School on Saybrook Rd (Rt 154). The other nice spot is what I consider the hidden secret of Higganum because it is tucked away behind a rather unsightly group of buildings. (I am new to town so I probably have a different perspective from the old-timers). There are three ways to get there but I'll give you the most un-scenic because it has the greatest impact, especially if you go on foot. From the center of the village, cross Saybrook Rd at Teri's Package Store and wind your way on Depot Rd through old warehouses and the town roads dept(where trucks and piles of salt and sand are always at the ready for the next snowstorm). Around the bend, you will come to a stop sign and a scenic little bridge that spans the Higganum River (the confluence of 3 brooks that creates an amazing rush of water over rocks and waterfalls). Cross the bridge (you are now on Dublin Hill Rd) and veer off to the right on the short piece of abandoned road known as Nosal Rd. You can park your car here. First thing you will see is an old rusting water tower, the relic of a defunct mill or factory (wire maybe? - ask someone at the Higganum Feed Store to fill you in). From there on is a footpath that will take you down to the cove where you will see remants of boat landings and of course the CT River and the RR track along it, reminders of times not so long ago when Higganum was a bustling town of ship builders and then mills and factories. Before you leave town, be sure to visit Higganum Landing around the corner from the cove, a collection of fine 18th and 19th century homes right on the CT River. To get there, take Depot Road all the way around (it becomes Depot Hill Rd) to Landing Road South and you will be pleasantly surprised when you go down the hill and cross the RR tracks. Again, best done on foot but you can certainly drive your car down there and turn around at the end of Landing Road (go left after the RR tracks). You can also enter Depot Hill Rd from the other end - blinking yellow light on Saybrook Rd. The third way to get to Depot Rd is via the very steep Parsonage Rd which comes off of Saybrook Rd at the Higganum Congregational Church and deposits you at the foot of the little bridge. Warning: Do not do this after a snowstorm or you might end up as part of the waterfall! When your curiosity has been satiated, top it off with a cold brew from the Claddagh House Irish pub or a delicious warm brew from Coffee Connection in the village. Finally, if the day has slipped away from you and you still need to buy groceries for dinner, the country market of Higganum will serve you better than any supermarket. Just don't mention how you found out about the two secret spots - I may be new to town but I plan to stay.

The Claddagh House Irish Pub & Restaurant

Indeed the Claddah House is my new favorite watering hole, they also have some really good food!

http://thecladdaghhouse.com

The Claddagh House

Amazing food and great environment. The best beef stew I have ever had, besides my Mom's :) and it helps that the owner has the cutest Irish accent in the world... Just a really great authentic Irish Pub. HIghly reccomended.

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I’ve lived in Moodus for 30 years. Moodus is considered the “earthquake epicenter of the Northeast” which accounts for the “noises”.

There is a fault line which runs through the town. There was a small, 2.3 earthquake in the early 80s, last time we heard the noises, they really shook us.

There are caves along the fault line, most prominent are on the property of the Cave Hill Resort, along Route 151. They are accessible from a trail.

Helen Charov
Moodus resident