We all grew-up in different places; New York City, Chicago, San Francisco, Boston and then there’s Simsbury. It’s like a beach town with no beach; filled with Ma & Pa restaurants, countless ice cream shops, and Jeep Wranglers. If you grew up in Simsbury you know the story of the Pettibone Tavern, you know that the kick board at the high school will always be missed, and you’ve always wondered if Flamig Farms has EGGS written on the barn or it’s a fancy way to write 2003. When I was growing up we never wanted to spend money, but when we did it was at Starbucks. We always tried to do things outdoors, but when that failed we would eat. And perhaps the most important part about growing up in Simsbury was that we all thought we were invincible, to the police, our parents, and the laws of science. But anyways! Here are 7 things that are distinctly Simsbury:
- Brookside Bagels– Not your average bagel spot. If you had to describe Simsbury in one word it would have to be Brookside. In high school, Brookside wasn’t just a bagel spot, it was the bagel spot. We would roll out of bed and meet up here without even sending a text. It was common knowledge that whether you liked it or not, all of Simsbury high school would be there on Saturday mornings at 10:30. Now the real test was whether or not you could secure the coveted back room, equip with couches so you and your friends could privately and comfortably discuss last night’s events. There was no dress code for mornings at Brookside. Make-up from last night was a common theme, pajamas were always acceptable, and if you were feeling extra hungover you wouldn’t bother putting on a bra. Back in the day a bagel with cream cheese was priced at $2.22, making it easy to get not one, but two hangover helpers. Most of us would get a bagel with cream cheese along with a bacon, egg, and cheese on a cheddar everything. The best part of Brookside is that it is a safe haven. Regardless of who you spilt a drink on the night before or whether your ex boyfriend shows up with his new BAE, Brookside is a safe space. Three caveats though, they will spell your name wrong on your receipt even if you had class with the person taking your order (I’ve gotten jessy, jessi, jesse, and even jessii), they put wayyyyy too much cream cheese on the bagels, and the girl with the Pikachu tattoo is very slow.
- J.Foster or Tulmeadow– We’ve all heard of the Coke vs. Pepsi debate, but I bet you’ve never heard of the J.Fo vs. Tully controversy. Say you love J.Fo’s red raspberry chip yogurt better than Tulmeadow and you could find yourself with a black eye. The latter is a farm making their ice cream from the cows across the street. Milkshakes, sundaes, the whole kit and caboodle for a reasonably fair price. What separates this from it’s competitors is the degree of freshness. Just like at UConn, the cows are right there. It can’t get much fresher than that! But what Tulmeadow’s competition has is in a league of it’s own. Graham Central Station is the name and graham cracker nirvana is it’s game. While Tulmeadow may have farm fresh dairy, J.Foster has a salty and sweet array of flavors going on in just one scoop. I will give it to Tulmeadow for staying true to Simsbury, where J.Foster ventured to Avon for their second shop. I do have a favorite ice cream spot, but I’ll never share my secret!
- Harvest Cafe– Now if you’re thinking that all there is to do in Simsbury is eat, then you’re right. Drive up and down Rt. 10 and you’ll find an outrageous number of restaurants. The diamond in the rough is right on the border of Granby. Harvest Cafe is the sit-down breakfast spot in town. It’s been around for years and one friendly face has been there as long as I can remember. Scotty is the face of Harvest and will forever be a crazy waiter, host, chef, and entertainer. Going to Harvest on any given day is great, but going on your birthday is a whole different story. Regardless of age, you will receive the birthday pancakes complete with whipped cream and strawberries, as well as the beloved birthday hat. Their omelettes will leave you full for the rest of your day, while their French toast is out of this world. It is quintessential Simsbury, but beware, if you get there after the Church crowd you’ll be waiting for days to get a table.
- Talcott Mountain– Here is an example of some physical activity we Simsbury-ers love to take part in. Climbing Talcott was always fun growing up. We’d get dropped off by our parents and have a few hours to climb to the top, go into the tower, find our houses from the vantage point and come back down. When we got older however, we decided to take the path less traveled. Climbing up the mountain from the rock side was a task for those who were fearless. You literally scale the side of this mountain without a harness and only the trees to catch your fall. One foot after the next, you’d carefully reach for the rock in front of you and hope it was sturdy. Once you reached King Philip’s Cave you’d be halfway there. The last few grabs would take you to the landing area where everyone takes those cool Instagram pictures. Talcott isn’t something you do every week, it’s more like a once a month type hike. After climbing it 20 or so times, you get bored of seeing the same things and like there might be bears.
- Barn Party (but also golf course parties and that one time we tried to have a field party)- What a wonderful concept: let’s have a party at the abandoned barn in town! No one will know we are there and we can drink alcohol and do high school things without getting caught. Well this was a horrible idea, but it was something that made Simsbury, well Simsbury. When your parents say you can’t have a party in your basement, have them outside on town owned property! As you can imagine this ended with the cops being called and mass chaos ensuing. Picture between 20-30 teenagers running down a hill all at one time. Some people drove their cars up to the barn so throw a couple cars barreling down a hill while teenagers are running down the very same hill. Fun right? All of the drugs and alcohol that were brought to the barn were left at the barn so what did my friends do the next day? They went back to the barn to scavenge for free bud and booze. And guess where everyone ended up after the party got busted that night…
- McDonald’s– Yup, we all retreated to the golden arches. MacD’s was the regrouping point. After every party, concert, sports game or just a night of random shenanigans, we would end up at McDonald’s. If we needed to rethink our night or escape the 5-O we’d park ourselves at this particular spot. Just like Brookside, you didn’t need to send out a text, you just knew that your friends would be there. On a good night there would be kids from Avon or Farmington lurking around which meant they were looking for something to do as well. Which led to weird nights in parts of Avon you didn’t know existed. Amiright? But we always left with our stomach full and our wallets empty.
- Little City Pizza– The Mecca of all pizza places in the Farmington Valley, maybe even in the whole county of Hartford. LCP is known for their mashed potato pizza and it never disappoints. Warm potatoes, fresh corn, crispy pancetta, and a sprinkle of chives to top the whole thing off. This is the mashed potato pie that conquers all. You know it’s good when the people that work there return on their days off for dinner. My BFF worked their all throughout high school and when she wasn’t slicing pies, she was bringing home some leftovers for us to devour. Dining at Little City will forever be my favorite Simsbury activity.
While there is plenty more to do in Simsbury (not really though) I thought that 7 would suffice. If you’re really interested in seeing what a Simsbury-er does day to day just visit! You’ll find me and my friends at one of these 7 places guaranteed. And if I’m not there I’m sleeping because sleep is free and pizza costs money.