Hiking to Mordor

I recently saw an article come across my Facebook feed credited to a site called “Roadsnacks” that claimed to have used “scientific analysis” to rank the ten worst places to live in Connecticut.  To my surprise I saw that the town I now live in was number five on the list, the town directly south of me was number seven, and the next two to my north were numbers three and ten.  I’ve recently done some complaining about the school system and I knew that the crime and unemployment numbers were higher than the state average per capita, but this still seemed a pretty harsh inditement of my quiet little corner of the state.  I don’t live in Mayberry by any means, but there are 268  towns and cities in Connecticut, and I’m pretty sure that there aren’t 263 that I’d rather live in.

I soon realized the problem.  The article was obviously written by “city folk.”  Among the criteria used were population density, ( the lower the worse) and long commute times.  One of the towns was described as “not a very appealing place to live, unless you like peace and quiet.”  I’m not making this up.

I actually do like “peace and quiet.”  The combined population of the four towns mentioned is just under 30,000, a fraction of what you would find in an area this large anywhere else in the state.  One of the first things that my daughter does in the morning is to look out our back window for her friend “Frosty”,  an albino deer that lives in the woods behind us.  You don’t see things like that in Hartford or New Haven.




It might take me thirty minutes to get to work each day, but there are four state parks within five minutes of me and another two within ten.  I can’t tell you how many hiking trails there are nearby because I still haven’t discovered the smallest fraction of them. I’m working on it though.

My daughter loves to go on these “adventures” into the woods with me.  She’s learning to appreciate nature and is as excited to see a squirrel run across our path as she is a giraffe in a zoo.  It’s a free, healthy activity that requires nothing more than a few hours of clear sky to enjoy.




It’s also surprisingly stimulating to her imagination.  She treats even a simple walk along the river as if we are journeying to the Misty Mountains of Middle-Earth.  Fallen logs are dangerous creatures to be avoided, snarly vines are traps set by witches to impede our progress.  A few days ago we came across this large green rock. I’m not sure what anybody else sees, but for the next twenty minutes my four year old told me an epic tale of a heroic night that had been turned into a gigantic frog by an evil wizard.




I would have been a little happier if she hadn’t  found it necessary to kiss the rock, but other than that it was awesome.





45 thoughts on “Hiking to Mordor”

  1. I have experience with ranking lists as well…I live in Florida and everytime a list comes out with the states listed by education levels…we are somewhere between 45-50…I sink in my seat…Haha..but, glad you are able to find flaws in yours!

  2. A delightful story and it looks like a wonderful place where you live. I work from home but also live in the country and the school runs are half an hour each way too, it’s worth it every day to live where we do. #PoCoLo

  3. Your town sounds like it is a great place to live with all those state parks so close by and being able to see an albino deer each morning. I could see how that rock does look a bit frog-like and love the story of it being a heroic knight turned into a gigantic frog.

  4. Lucky you to be living in such a beautiful place. The rock does look like a frog, I don’t blame her. I would have kissed it too. 🙂

  5. I saw the frog immediately. Why shouldn’t she kiss it? You never know your luck!
    You and your family are right to make use of all that nature has to offer you locally. Peace and quiet is underrated.

  6. I think it’s wonderful that you love where you live, and you’re right, urbanites shouldn’t impose their own values on everyone. That said, I find it excruciating to live anywhere where it takes more than an hour to get to good museums, theatres, and music venues. That’s just what I value, and I’m the first to confess that rural living wouldn’t be for me. I love my suburban community, for its schools, the way people support each other, and the green spaces available to my children, but I still get creeped out by the sound of silence. Even when I lived in rural Bangladesh as a child, it was impossible to be out of earshot of humanity, thanks to population density. The Texas suburbs are a little spread out for my liking. I enjoy the liberty that comes with driving, but wish I could have the same with at least public transportation as an option. As a single person who refuses to drink and drive, I can’t have a glass of wine with dinner at a restaurant, something I’d really like to try.

    Thanks for linking with #TwinklyTuesday

    1. There are pros and cons with anywhere you live I suppose. We are lucky enough to not have very far to drive for restaurants and stores, but are still able to enjoy a nice walk in the woods whenever we want to.

  7. It’s great that you love where you live, it’s always a shame when ‘city folk’ come in and brand things in the country as bad. Your daughter obviously loves living there too and exploring the local woods. Popping in from Magic Moments.

  8. Strange, I would think it was better to be in a less densely populated area with lots of countryside around like you have. Much nicer to go for lovely walks with your daughter! I completely saw the frog in the picture, great that she has such an active imagination and I love that you have an albino deer out the back! Thanks for linking up to #Whatevertheweather linky. 🙂

  9. It sounds like a great place to live. Ignore those silly rankings.
    I love that you have an albino deer. What a stunning creature.
    Your daughter has such a beautiful imagination. She’s going to be a storyteller. It’s so wonderful that she makes up stories and loves being outdoors.

    Lots of city dwellers really don’t realise how precious and wonderful the outdoors is. I know some friends who find the prospect of visiting me in the country ‘boring’. I grew up in the country, moved to the city then moved back. Yes it’s bright and flashy and there is loads to do. But nothing beats a quiet walk by a trickling river with nothing but bird song and rustling leaves.

    Thank you so much for linking up with #whatevertheweather!


  10. I guess people have different criteria for what’s appealing. I’d take peace and quiet and an albino deer over high population density. I’d also bit your hand off at a thirty minute commute! #whatevertheweather

  11. if having that amount of nature on your doorstep makes for a worst place to live .. put my name down it sounds like a little piece of heaven in my book!
    Thanks for linking up with #MagicMoments

  12. Being a Science teacher, I am actually amazed that an albino deer has managed to stay alive for so long. I love that amazing looking stone – it is great to hear stories that kids make up about inanimate objects.
    Thanks for sharing on #SummerDays

  13. It sounds like your area of the state is absolutely lovely! Isn’t it funny how these articles get written with no thought to the bias in the criteria? And I totally saw a frog too — a very smiley one! What a wonderful imagination your daughter has!! Thanks for sharing on #momsterslink

  14. My husband was born in Connecticut. Huge Red Sox and Celtic fan but hates the Patriots as we are a Denver Broncos family. 😉 I have never been there but looks beautiful. Love your daughter’s imagination. It’s so fun to watch what little ones come up with when using their imaginations. I wish I could walk out my back yard to the woods. Just miles and miles of high desert around here. Thanks for linking again with #momsterslink.

  15. Sounds like a lovely place to live and what a great imagination she has! I ignore those sorts of reports, they are never written fairly. Thanks for joining in #HappyDaysLinky x

  16. Your town sounds lovely. I grew up in NYC but we’re raising our daughter in upstate NY now which is totally different. We have deer in the backyard and tons of other wildlife that you just don’t get in the city. It’s a way more peaceful way of life.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.