Salisbury CT (July 12)
I am in Connecticut now! It feels good to be up North, in states that I have never been to before. Today I decided to spend a night in town to see more of New England, and to get some much needed rest.
For a very long time I have been looking forward to meeting Maria, an 88 year old woman who lives in Salisbury and still hosts hikers in her home. So I find myself hiking in to Salisbury CT this afternoon, conveniently only half a mile from the trail. I am hiking along the road when the dark skies open up and rain starts to pour down. This begins a rapid series of mini adventures for me.
A woman pulls over and offers to give me a ride to town. I direct her to Maria’s house, though I haven’t called beforehand to warn her. Soon I stand on Maria’s back porch, reading all the signs she has posted for hikers. I’ve heard she’s hard of hearing, so when I ring the doorbell and no one answers, I call her phone. She answers, and I tell her I’m standing on her back porch! I hope she’s not creeped out by that, ha! She comes out to meet me, and even our brief time together is interesting. I’m so impressed that she has been hosting hikers for so long, and that she continues to host them. Apparently she’s modified some things- now hikers have to make their own beds in the morning! Unfortunately, she’s all full for the night, but she recommends I call Vanessa, another woman in town who hosts. Vanessa tells me to be ready, she’ll be over to pick me up in a minute. Soon I hear a honk from the front drive, and I rush out to jump in her car.
On the way she tells me about other hikers who got mad at her today. She advertises that she’ll pick up hikers up to 100 miles away! Two girls called her and asked her to pick them up, and she said, “I can’t right now, I have to go to work…I have another job too”. They said, “It says right here that you’ll pick up hikers up to 100 miles away!” They seem to feel entitled. I tell her that I think hikers would be tough to deal with, and she laughs, as I am a hiker myself. This is the kind of thing I’ve experienced so many times- well meaning people often seem exhausted after dealing with hikers for years. It’s unfortunate, but somehow they often stick with it because it’s usually rewarding enough to balance out the bad experiences.
Luckily, Vanessa has it pretty easy this night. She only has me and a hiker named Pilgrim staying with her, and he’s about as easy-going and pleasant as a person can be. I go out for dinner, and when I get back she asks me for my payment. Once I pay her, I notice that she’s a lot easier around me. She says she’s had a couple hikers sneak out in the morning before paying her, so now she feels like she has to ask for payment up front.
It’s interesting to see Salisbury. It is a small, very well-kept town. Well manicured lawns, everything in its place, just what I would expect to see in a New England town. Seems to be a very wealthy area. The only restaurant that is open is an upscale restaurant/bar that I would typically not visit during a thru hike! But I’m starving, and it’s the only thing open. I feel compelled to ask if I need a reservation as soon as I walk in the door. The wait staff is dressed very nicely, and the waitress tells me all about all these menu items that I’ve never heard about in my life. (I just get a burger!) I’m dressed in my raincoat and striped older woman shorts that are too big for me, while Vanessa does my laundry. But at least I’m clean and showered, so I feel pretty good about myself in spite of the wacky attire. I do have to say, everyone is really nice to me in the restaurant, and no one makes me feel out of place. It leaves me with a good feeling for Salisbury.
I enjoy this break from the trail. I like trying to take advantage of different opportunities thru hikers have- in this case staying at a local’s house and getting a direct feeling for Connecticut. The AT adventure definitely includes hiking, but there is also much to explore surrounding the trail, which is one of the neat things about it. So until the next town, or surprise!
This website contains affiliate links, which means The Trek may receive a percentage of any product or service you purchase using the links in the articles or advertisements. The buyer pays the same price as they would otherwise, and your purchase helps to support The Trek's ongoing goal to serve you quality backpacking advice and information. Thanks for your support!
To learn more, please visit the About This Site page.