Nestled at the foot of the Berkshires, Burlington, Connecticut, is one of those quintessential New England towns. The ones you picture in the movies with a small-town rural feel. There’s a town center pavilion where neighbors can gather for festivals. There are large trees and paved walkways. Neighbors look out for one another.
Burlington, CT, is that scenic hill town 20 miles west of the capital of Hartford. The first settlers landed in Burlington in the 1600s. Burlington officially became a town back in 1806 and was named after England’s 3rd Earl of Burlington. Today there are 9,500 residents living in the 30 square miles of town. The Farmington River is on its east side, and there’s a state forest right in the middle of the town’s borders. And yes, in the center of it all is a town green and a one-room schoolhouse right across the street.
Since there are so many ponds, rivers, and a few sizable lakes, half the land in town is owned by public water supply companies and the State of Connecticut. This adds to its beauty and provides many miles of hiking and biking trails.
There is a marvelous sense of community here. Farm stands are scattered about during the summer. There’s a Memorial Day parade and a Tavern Day in September. There are recreation centers and excellent schools. People head off to Larson’s Greenhouse to gather plants for their porches.
With its close proximity to the capital of Hartford, many residents live in this picturesque locale and commute to Hartford. Long Island Sound is just an hour to the south. New York City is a couple of hours to the southwest, and Boston is a couple of hours to the northeast.
Burlington, like the rest of New England, enjoys all four seasons. Fall is a beautiful time with the changing of the leaves. Winters bring a fair amount of snow. Spring and Summer are delightful.
Homes in Burlington, CT
Most homes in Burlington, CT have lovely lawns, tall trees, and a decent amount of space between you and your neighbors. Home styles are traditional. There are established, updated homes and new construction. The most desirable homes are on the west side of town, but excellent properties can be found throughout the area.
- The neighborhood of Town Center is to the north and east of the center of Burlington. Homes are medium to large size – many were built between 1970 and 1999, but some were built as far back as 1940. Town Center is great for families and professionals.
- The neighborhood of Whigville is to the west and south of the center of Burlington. Homes are a bit more affordable, but still very nice. They are medium to large size homes with a suburban feel – manicured lawns, large trees, and opportunities to be outdoors. Whigville is popular among professionals and service providers.
- Named after a famous lake in Italy, Lake Garda was conceived back in the 1920s when a businessman bought a couple of farms and dammed up a small brook. Today, Lake Garda is a private community of homes surrounding the lake. Members enjoy swimming, fishing, boating, and hiking.
Students from Burlington and the nearby town of Harwinton share schools. They are administered by Connecticut District 10 schools, including Harwinton Consolidated School, Lake Garda Elementary School, Har-Bur Middle School, and Lewis S. Mills High School. St. Paul Catholic High School is a private school option.
For those wishing to continue their education, there are several colleges and universities in Hartford.
A first selectman and a board run the town of Burlington. There are elected and appointed officials that keep the town running smoothly. Some committees make decisions on parks, libraries, fire and police departments, and more. They follow the town charter.
Burlington is an excellent town for seniors. The Dial-a-Ride program will transport anyone over 60 or anyone with disabilities around town. The service is available on weekdays from 8 am - 3 pm.
Burlington is surrounded by local farms so food is fresh. The coast is very close as well, so many places offer fresh seafood.
Stop by the Greenhouse Café and Tavern for the freshest food in Burlington. They grow fresh produce onsite in gardens and greenhouses. The rest of the menu is as locally sourced as possible, ensuring a farm-to-table experience. You can sit outside next to a pond, waterfall, and gardens when the weather is right. The menu has salads, burgers, classic entrees, tacos, and pizza. There is also a deli and market where you can pick up sandwiches to go. The Frozen Gnome is right next to the Greenhouse Café. It’s a summer staple with dozens of ice cream flavors and a great area to enjoy your cone or bowl.
On three acres in the middle of town, you’ll find Renaissance Farm, your source for homegrown vegetables and fruits, milk, eggs, cheeses, jams, jellies, pickles, plants, pies, bread, pastries, flowers, and more. Get a CSA share and receive fresh produce all summer long, or just stop by and see what’s in season.
Lemongrass Asian Grill is a favorite for Chinese, Pho, Vietnamese, or Thai cuisine. Sabrina’s Restaurant has pizza and many favorite Italian dishes.
Burlington, CT, is known as a hiking town. There are over six miles of paved trails that traverse through town. Hikers and bikers are welcome. There are 206 miles of hiking and biking options on 47 different trail combinations around Burlington. These range in length from a mile or two to the Tunxis Mainline Trail, which is over 25 miles. Some trails you can go out and back, and others you may want a ride when you get to the other end. Some of the trails dip into the Burlington forest and are great for getting away and catching glimpses of wildlife.
One enjoyable hike is the Mile of Ledges; it’s a challenging hike through woods and up and down cliff faces
The Farmington River is on the east side of town. One of the longest rivers in the state, it is popular with kayakers. A trail that runs next to the river is a beautiful hike for the whole family.
The Nepaug Reservoir was initially designed as a water supply for Hartford, but it is also a great place to hike and fish. Anglers can catch rainbow trout, largemouth bass, and brown trout. The reservoir is 2 miles long and 1 mile wide, providing plenty of water and open space.
Sessions Woods Wildlife Management Area is 771 acres of nature preserve. A conservation education center holds classes and workshops, but the real beauty is self-guided trails and displays. Plus, it connects to the Nassahegon State Forest for even more trails and woods. Hunters can get permits during certain times of the year.
The Nassahegon State Forest is entirely within the boundaries of Burlington. The forest covers 1227 acres, has hiking, mountain biking trails, and hunting opportunities, and also houses the Burlington Trout Hatchery. The hatchery is run by the Connecticut Fish and Wildlife division and is open to the public. They raise 100,000 pounds of trout and salmon to stock 360 lakes, streams, and ponds.
Johnnycake Mountain Park is the highest point in Burlington. It’s surrounded by subdivisions and was once slated to become a housing development. Fortunately, it was turned into a park.
Burlington also has many recreation centers with plenty of outdoor recreation opportunities.
Malerbo Recreation Complex has soccer, baseball, and softball fields, a sand volleyball court, a picnic area, a pavilion, and a swing set. Nassahegan Recreation Complex has a soccer field, a baseball field, a swing set, and walking/hiking trails. Foote Road Recreation Complex has a swimming pond, beach, picnic area, pavilion, basketball court, playground, and multi-use field. Town Hall has a basketball court, tennis courts, and a senior center.
Lamothe’s Sugar House is a traditional maple syrup tap and store. Since 1971, Lamothe has been an excellent source of syrups, pancake mixes, candy, and honey.
Another classic New England product is apple cider. Hogan’s Cider Mill has been making cider since 1912. A PGA Golf Pro and his wife purchased it from the Hogan family and while back. Chet Dunlop offers golf coaching as well as making cider. A variety of ciders are on tap – non-alcoholic and hard ciders.
With the town being over 200 years old, there are several historic buildings, including Elton Tavern. The home was built in 1810 and served as a private residence, public house, and then an inn until the town of Burlington bought it in 1974. Now it’s on the National Historic Register.
The Seventh Day Baptist Cemetery dating back to the late 18th century is another historical landmark. The locals also call this the Green Lady Cemetery, named for a ghost that haunts the grounds
Living in Burlington, CT
Burlington has been described as a “Leave it to Beaver” town with its quiet neighborhoods and beautiful homes. There is a small town with a rural feel and all the modern creature comforts. The big city is close enough to enjoy nightlife and culture. Burlington, Connecticut, is an oasis in the forest.