‘Explore East Hampton’ shares history of railroad station, trails

By Merja H. Lehtinen - ReminderNews
East Hampton - posted Mon., Nov. 11, 2013
Hunt Voelker (center, with microphone) tells stories about growing up in East Hampton. Courtesy photo. - Contributed Photo

Nearly 100 people walked up to the historic East Hampton Railroad Station and enjoyed a hike on the Air Line Trail on Sunday, Nov. 10, as part of the “Explore East Hampton” monthly series. After visiting Blair Binge, owner of the railroad station, who currently has an auto repair garage there called “Train Station Motors,” the group arrived back to Bevin Court, where the Chatham Historical Society served cider.

Marty Podskoch, who described himself as a “retired Catskills Mountain area teacher,” led the walk.

Participants came from all over: Middletown, South Windsor, Marlborough, Colchester, Old Lyme, and Old Saybrook, as well as East Hampton, to enjoy the fresh air, the guided tour, and to learn more about East Hampton history. The tours are always informative, and everyone is encouraged to share stories about what they know about local history.

The Air Line Trail is actually named after a train route that traveled from New York to Boston via New Haven, and cut through several towns in central Connecticut. With urbanization and the building of several major highways, including Route 2, miles of train tracks that went through central areas such as East Hampton, Colchester, Franklin and Willimantic were abandoned on several links. Those links were joined by walking and horseback-riding trails that connect Middletown, Portland and East Hampton to Colchester, Lebanon, Franklin and Windham. 

Ginny and Larry Shobe said that it is their first time on the hike, but they came because they both once lived in town before retiring to Middletown. Ginny Shobe was a local teacher in town and also taught at Mercy High School.

“People come together for events in East Hampton,” said Christine Duffy, and “this is one of the events that brings the townspeople together,” she said.

The next walk will be on Sunday, Dec. 1, at 1 p.m. at the Hazen Tree Farm on Lake Drive in East Hampton. For more information about “Explore East Hampton,” call 860-267-2442, e-mail podskoch@comcast.net or visit http://www.chathamhistoricalsocietyct.org.

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