Just about every Sunday in the 1950s, our family would pile in the car, and my father would drive to Dick’s, the local filling station, and get one dollar’s worth of gas. Then we would head off to the back roads of Connecticut, frequently stopping for lunch at one of the many roadside rests scattered throughout the state. Facilities at these picnic areas varied greatly, from a couple of wooden picnic tables tucked beneath the trees, to elaborate picnic grounds, with fireplaces, running water, and pit toilets.They had names like “Seven Falls” and “Frog Rock” that sounded exotic and glamorous to a small girl who had never traveled far from home. Some had big rocks and trees that could be climbed, others had lakes or streams or stonewalls to explore while Dad got the picnic basket from the trunk and Mom laid out the picnic lunch. This 1954 map issued by the Connecticut State Highway Department shows just how numerous these picnic areas once were. Some still survive today, but many have disappeared.
This map has been digitized and cataloged with support from Connecticut Humanities. To view more maps from the Connecticut Historical Society’s collection, go to Maps and Charts: Finding Your Place in Connecticut History.