“Well, You Can Rock It You Can Roll It
You Can Stop And You Can Stroll It At The Hop”
Frog Rock, Eastford
February 2008, May 2017, August 2021
Frog Rock Rest Stop closed in early 2022 due to the owners’ health, but was re-opened that summer with a new name: Frog Rock Summer Shack.
This is one of those pages that still surprises me long after I originally wrote it. It gets lots of traffic to this day – and that’s great! Frog Rock has come a long way since I began this website in 2006… and has been around since the 1880’s!
And if you read through the comments below – and you should – you can piece together the efforts made by a lot of people to turn the rock into the attraction it has become. This was a roadside picnic area way back in the day… I’m talking 100 years ago. When I visited in 2008 (the small pictures), it was just the rock in a dilapidated area.
The whole cycle of the place falling into disrepair, going up for auction, and being saved is preserved in the comments below. Which is pretty cool, I must say.
But when I revisited (the big pictures) in 2017? Wow. It’s a whole thing now! There’s a gift shop, a food stand, a stage for bands to play, and other knick-knacks and things. There’s proper signage, alerting route 44 travelers to the rock. And then, later, a restaurant was added, which I visited in 2021 to celebrate my “completion” of Eastford.
It’s great that they’ve saved Frog Rock and someone is even making a few bucks off of it. Here’s my original 2008 visit – which, no longer reflects reality!
When researching the best route for our day in the Quiet Corner (which I had planned an hour before departing), I happened upon a website mentioning Frog Rock. I realized we’d be near enough to it to make it worthwhile, so I added the stop – especially after already enjoying Turtle Rock earlier in the day.
After passing the oldest meeting house in Connecticut and the oldest women’s library, we took a left onto Route 44 for about 7 minutes and then pulled over. Pulled over in the rutted out old parking lot, that is. You see, Frog Rock used to be a nice little roadside picnic area, maintained by the state along the “old” Route 44 – many jughandled pieces of which pop out of the “new” Route 44 out here in Eastern CT. For some reason, they quit maintaining it when they re-did Route 44 and now the old lot/road are just crumbled asphalt. No matter, the Frog is still pretty easy to see when heading west.
Frog Rock was the brainchild of 1880’s Republican state legislature Thomas Thurber. He passed it often on his trip from Putnam to Hartford and finally decided to paint it like the frog he thought it looked like. It faded over time, of course, but in 1997 Thurber’s descendants repainted it green and added a little memorial to the 19th century statesmen on a nearby rock as well.
To find it for a nice picnic (there are still about 3 usable stone picnic tables): The road that the rock was on is gone. Frog Rock can barely be seen behind the trees on Rt. 44 headed west from Pomfret to Eastford. Look for a shoulder on Route 44…. a small gravel area and a guardrail, where you can pull off the road. Park there and walk about 50 feet down the remains of the old road.
2017 & 2021
Wow, I didn’t remember it being that run down in 2008. But yeah, there wasn’t even a way to drive in to the rock then. It was just lonely and fading in the woods. As I said, it’s almost a little tourist trap now. You can buy a dang t-shirt now. Wow, this is crazy.
Well, good for the folks of Eastford. I knew this rock, hidden and fading in the woods in 2008 deserved more. I don’t think I had a tourist destination in mind, but what the heck. Frog Rock rules. It’s actually called Frog Rock Rest Stop now and has proper signage and nicer seating.
The effort to rekindle this area was incremental. The access road and parking was improved, then the little gift shop was built. A stage for musical acts came before the food truck. Over time, between 2017 and 2021, Frog Rock became the Frog Rock Rest Stop and it’s pretty great.
The gift shop contains a very impressive photo album of the rock over the last century, with lots of historic photos and news clippings. When Calvin and I had lunch here, I took some time to look at the photos and the history of the area. It’s all very well done.
The evolution of this page reflects the evolution of the rock and the rest stop. In 2008, the pictures were small and straight up junk. I quickly cobbled together a re-edit in 2017 with some nicer pictures and a little more of the story.
And in 2021, I’ve added much better pictures, took out some of the “old-style CTMQ” wording, and freshened up this whole experience. CTMQ and Frog Rock: together forever.
Frog Rock Rest Stop
CTMQ’s Painted, Named, and Historic Rocks
honeybunny saysFebruary 8, 2008 at 8:30 pm
Frog Rock is uber cool.
That eye follows you everywhere.
kathy saysApril 27, 2008 at 5:14 pm
Eagle Rock in Marlborough used to also be a frog rock back in the 60s. Used to get off Wilbur Cross parkway at exit 67 to avoid the Berlin Turnpike. Had to go through Wesleyan Univ and travel rt 17 to rt 66, which wended its way through Marlborough, and eventually Willimantic, then rt 195 to campus. Passed that frog rock every time I took that route.
Wayne saysMay 22, 2008 at 9:15 am
Wow-I have been going upto that area for over 50 years, down that road. As a kid I was on the grounds seeing it.
I belive there was a town dump right next to it that we used to bring our garbage to.
I have been dying to see it for years!
As an adult I was naver able to spot it from the road. I will try and look for that guard rail you mention.
Greg N. saysOctober 11, 2008 at 12:55 pm
If you follow the trail that goes deeper into the woods near frog rock you can find some old building foundations. Old rusted tools litter the ground . Interesting to see if you are into that sort of thing.
Steve F. saysNovember 20, 2008 at 5:09 am
My parents and my brother used to stop here and have a picnic lunch on our way back from Springfield, Mass. to Maine after visiting my grandparents when I was a boy in the 1950’s. I was about 10-12 and my brother was just 2 or 3. Sometimes my grandparents would follow us and have lunch and then go back. Those were great times!
NANCY THURBER POOLE saysMay 4, 2009 at 7:55 pm
I AM GLAD THAT YOU HAVE PUBLISHED THE INFO ON FROG ROCK. I WAS ONE OF THE THURBER DECENDANTS THAT WENT AND REPAINTED FROG ROCK IN 1997. I HAD TAKEN MY TWO YOUNG GRANDSONS TO SEE IT AND WAS VERY SAD THAT PEOPLE HAD DEFACED IT. ALL MY LIFE MY DAD HAD TALKED ABOUT HOW MY GREAT-GREAT-GRANDFATHER T.J. THURBER HAD PAINTED THE ROCK AND WE HAD MANY A PICNIC THERE WHEN GOING TO VISIT THE FAMILY IN PUTMAN HEIGHTS WHERE THEY LIVED.
ALONG WITH SIXTEEN OTHER FAMILY MEMBERS WEARING T-SHIRTS WITH THE PICTURE OF T.J.THURBER WE SPENT THE DAY PAINTING THE ROCK IN HONOR OF OUR ANCESTOR.
I AM GLAD THAT OTHER PEOPLE ALSO HAVE FOND MEMORIES OF PICNIS THERE.
THANK YOU AGAIN
NANCY THURBER POOLE
Joe Gemma saysMay 13, 2009 at 5:33 pm
My mother-in-law, Gloria Ricci, used to go there in the 1940’s 1950’s with her parents and was thrilled to know it is still there. She drove by there this week and could no longer see it from the road and feared it was gone or destroyed.
Robin Dean saysMay 14, 2009 at 5:22 am
Hello, I have very fond memories as a child. We were a family of 7 residing in Chaplin Ct. My parents would take us for weekend getaways to Mashomaquet State Park for great cookouts. On the way, my Dad always made sure we got to stop and see frog rock. It was a big deal to me. I love that rock and roadside park. My parents are both gone, but just seeing that rock makes me happy. It needs to be repainted, I would love to paint the rock. Please email me Nancy if you would like to see this happen. Thanks Robin P.S. Who can I contact?
Rich saysAugust 26, 2009 at 7:46 am
I remember driving by this as a kid in the 70’s while driving from Oxford to Woonsocket.
Susan Lapins saysDecember 27, 2009 at 8:17 am
Thank you for the photos and for this website. Frog Rock was our lunch spot on the way to Chatham, Cape Cod, from Caldwell, NJ, in the 1950’s. My parents, Jan & Stan Kohler, could turn a long trip and lack of funds for restaurants and fancy hotels (Chatham, and indeed our home town, have gone frighteningly upscale) into a fever pitch of anticipation for myself and sister Nancy. I was fortunate to find references on the internet and rediscovered it with my husband. Thanks especially to the Thurber family for maintaining it. I do prefer the natural rock, but understand the need for green paint. Do you need funding for cleanup of the site?
Susan Kohler Lapins (Virginia)
Dave Caranci saysDecember 27, 2009 at 4:15 pm
I was born and raised in North Providence in 1948 and I remember this little park as a young boy when my Dad used to stop there on our “Sunday drives” in the 1950s. We often ate a picnic lunch there and played all over the rock and surrounding picnic area.
I travel to Providence once or twice a year to visit relatives if I’m in New England and never fail to note it on the side of the road. I have even stopped occasionally and picked up garbage. Glad to see that others have the same fond memories I have.
Dave Caranci (North Carolina)
Shawn and Rachele Pelletier saysJanuary 14, 2010 at 4:25 pm
On our way back from Willimantic, Shawn and I decided to stop there. He had visited it many times as a child and remembered Frog Rock when we passed it. We had a blast, and took pictures with the frog. I had never been there and had only heard of it so it was cool to finally see what everyone was talking about when they said Frog Rock. We plan to bring our little one when she gets older and it isnt so cold.
Dick Delhaie saysApril 27, 2010 at 6:55 pm
I can remember picnicking in the mid-60s with my parents on summer Sunday afternoons out at Frog Rock. I still have a picture of me in shorts (age about 6-7), grinning ear-to-ear, standing in front of the rock. It is my recollection that the state stopped maintaining the rest stop somewhere in the late 70s or early 80s. It was still open in the mid-70s when I traveled from Putnam to Uconn.
Today I walk the area with my dog, Pita, about once a week. The old picnic areas are great for dog walking as it is well off 44, easy walking, yet easily assessable. I highly recommend the side trail that is mentioned above. It is obviously an abandoned town road connecting at least 4 old farm sites. Beware; one site on the west side of the trail has a small open well.
Vince Bizilj saysJuly 21, 2010 at 8:18 am
I attended UCONN in the late 1970’s and drove past Frog Rock frequently in commutes between Hartford and Cape Cod. The Frog Rock was always a great place to pull over and take a break from the drive. How I long for the peace and simplicity of life back when. To all who currently enjoy Frog Rock, and to all who have yet to, find the peace this timeless rock offers.
SUSAN NEWTON saysOctober 8, 2010 at 12:05 pm
I too remember the Picnic area, Living only 1 mile from it from 1965-2006 I can remember going there many times as a kid and also bringing my kids there. I recently was in CT to visit friends and family and decided one day to bring my two grandson’s there, Wow they got a kick out of it. But it was so sad that the town has let it go so much. Why can’t the town take down some trees so we can once again see it from the road. Or allow some volunteers to do it. Maybe like the boy scouts or a class project. Living in Florida but visiting CT often I myself would give a few hours of mine time to help a project if there at the time. It’s so sad. COME ON LETS RISE TO A SIMPLE TASK!!! BRING THE FROG BACK TO THE QUIET CORNER OF THE STATE.
Kirk Bingham saysOctober 19, 2010 at 11:42 pm
My family stopped at Frog Rock in the 1950s when visiting family in nearby Woodstock; we moved to Pomfret in 1960. Froggie was always an attraction and still is. I passed by last week on a trip to NH and walked in for a few photos.
Friends of Frog Rock on Facebook!
Jeanie saysNovember 1, 2010 at 7:11 pm
I saw a sign that the State is selling Frog Rock!
Nanette saysNovember 3, 2010 at 3:25 pm
Yes, the DOT is selling surplus property and Frog Rock is scheduled to go up for auction. We live right up the road from it, and would hate to see it turned into a gas station or worse. It is right in the middle of a state forest!
Dotti saysNovember 19, 2010 at 10:00 am
Oh, no! I can’t believe 1) that this popular picnic spot of my childhood has been so neglected by the State of Connecticut, or 2) that the state is selling this site. Can’t we start a “Friends of Frog Rock” campaign to save Frog Rock from the auction block or to buy it from the state and donate to an area museum (along, perhaps, with some funds for its upkeep)? Frog Rock was a frequent destination for my family in the 1950s & 1960s — back when kids could be easily amused by a frog-shaped rock and a ham-and-pickle sandwich.
Penelope Zamagni saysNovember 30, 2010 at 8:05 pm
We have loved Frog Rock since early childhood.. As a native of the Quiet Corner I have many fond memories of the rock and picnic area. As we would ride by on our way to points west we would always wave and shout hello to our favorite rock.. PLEASE! Any one with info about a pending sale please post here.
Come join us as friends on Facebook: Frog Rock- The Quiet Corner’s Big Attraction
Kirk Bingham saysNovember 30, 2010 at 9:41 pm
Jeanie, where did you see this “sign”? Any idea of how long it’s been there? Maybe we can petition Eastford or Pomfret to buy it?
Penelope Zamagni saysDecember 1, 2010 at 4:18 pm
Frog Rock will be auctioned off on Jan. 20, 2011 by the state of Conn. Minimum bid $23,000. The town of Eatford says it cannot afford to buy it. Please contact your Senator/Rep and let them know that maintaining Frog Rock as a public use area is imperative. This is a historical site with over a century of recreational use and enjoyment.
Any info or ideas for saving Froggy are appreciated!!
NANCY(THURBER)POOLE saysDecember 11, 2010 at 2:20 pm
To anyone who is interested in saving Frog Rock,
Hi I am a descendant of Thomas Jones Thurber-my great-great-grandfather. He was the man who first painted Frog Rock in the 1880’s.He was a local artist and was in the legislature of the St. of Ct. He is mentioned in historical books in the Eastern Ct. area. He and his family lived in Putnam Heights and they are all buried in the cemetery there. Frog Rock has been important to my family as part of our heritage for well over a hundred years. The stories of the family were passed on through the generations and it is now my turn to pass the stories on to my grandchildren. It would be very sad for future generations to not to have the chance to see the Frog, not just our family but many families have nice memories also.
To Kirk, Penelope,Dotti and all the rest who have commented on this site, anyone with any ideas to save our rock please contact me.
email@example.com My family is willing to go and clean up the area, lets do something quick. Thanks for enjoying the Frog and lets hope we can do something. Nancy (Thurber) Poole.
Dan Demarest saysDecember 15, 2010 at 3:59 pm
Frog Rock, WOW !!! Does that bring back childhood memories. When my sister Jen told me of the in pending sale of this great landmark, I said to myself how can this be? And what a opportunity for someone to own a piece of iconic history .I grew up in Eastford in the 60’s and from time to time the school bus used the rest area as a turn around. I live in North Carolina these days have not been up close to Frog R
Dan Demarest saysDecember 15, 2010 at 4:04 pm
Cheers to who ever acquirers it and to another 100 plus years of memories.
Michael Westerfield saysDecember 21, 2010 at 4:46 pm
Frog rock fell upon evil times in the hey day of truckers using CB radio (remeber that?) A group of innovative ladies used the rest area as a place to solicit sexual business via CB from passing truckers. It became such a nuisance that the Dept. of Transportation closed it off and never reopened it. It’s still there and, in fact, it’s up for sale, with a closing date in January 2011. Check it out on the CT DOT wensite under Properties.
Penny Zamagni saysDecember 21, 2010 at 6:45 pm
Anyone interested in Frog Rock’s historic past and uncertain future is invited to our Facebook page: Frog Rock- The Quiet Corner’s Big Attraction. We discuss all things Frog Rock..Lots of memories and photos are posted by folks with fond recollections of picnicks and family outings. We also share breaking news of the pending sale. Scroll down our page for lots of information.
Tammy saysAugust 12, 2011 at 3:32 pm
Wow this is awesome. I was just talking to my parents about Frog Rock a few weeks ago and decided to Google it.
We used to visit every year on our way to relatives in Windsor CT from Cape Cod. We had other family members who lived in the Fall River area and we would all meet at Frog Rock for coffee and doughnuts and then form a convoy to our relatives home.
Thanks for posting this. I have such fond memories of this place in a much simpler time in life (this was during the 60s). Unfortunately many of those relatives are gone now so all we have left are the memories of this wonderful place.
Leon Renaud saysOctober 29, 2011 at 3:33 am
Well if anyone can figure out who actually owns the land Frog rock is on you might be able to save it!Frog Rock was sold at auction by the State of Ct. BUT it seems that the State does not really own the land its on and so far no one seems to know who owns it.The high bidder had planned to keep the rock as an attraction and open a restaurant on the site but since the state could not produce a clear title to the land the sale did not go through.
James saysFebruary 4, 2012 at 6:16 pm
Our family moved to CT a few months ago and took a trip to Providence for my daughter’s birthday on Friday. Today, on our return, my wife spotted the frog. We turned around and went back for a look-see and thankfully someone had “checked in” there on facebook, so I was able to see what it was called. Without that info, I wouldn’t have found this site and the history of the rock!
We had a great time on a 37 degree day, just walking the trails and looking at all the rocks / trees / sites.
We’re already planning to go back for a picnic this spring, and hopefully we can plant a geocache location there to bring others to the site!
mr. c saysMay 16, 2013 at 2:36 pm
frog rock was closed to the public due to the “frogging” taking place behind it at night. it has now reopened with gates locked at night to keep the pervs out thank god. i think its only open fri, sat, and sundays.
Serenitys Dad saysMay 25, 2013 at 2:54 pm
Update Spring 2013: Frog Rock is now a nice little place to eat, burgers, fries,etc. And,they have a small antique shed, with some very, different, unique items. The new owners, have really spruced up the famous landmark….nice people. A great place to swing by, eat, browse, and see the “Frog”
Kirk Bingham saysJune 3, 2013 at 6:27 pm
I drove by again May 23, 2013 and was surprised to find Froggie cleaned up with newly paved road. I always stop in when I pass through eastern CT. New owner has made a parking lot and will keep the main gates closed so visitors don’t have to dodge cars. He first offered food the day before I visited. Check out Froggie at https://www.facebook.com/pages/Frog-Rock-The-Quiet-Corners-Big-Attraction/156405591051276.
Michael Leddy saysJune 15, 2013 at 10:33 am
As the keeper of this page might already know, a frog rock, maybe this one, stars in today’s Zippy. The strip’s creator, Bill Griffith, lives in Connecticut.
jerry lundy saysJuly 8, 2013 at 3:38 pm
I liked the trio that played at Frog Rock Sunday [7-7-13] How do I get in touch with them or their spokesperson thanks….jerry
Rebecca saysAugust 4, 2013 at 9:21 am
That photo that someone stated was probably from the 1950s isn’t. It is late 1960’s. 1967 I believe. This is me in the photo. At the time my boyfriend and I found this spot and he took the photo of me. I wish they never painted it green though.
Rick Schissler saysAugust 17, 2013 at 2:12 am
I lived most of my life in Norton MA but my father was from Waterbury CT and we took many trips each year to visit relatives in CT. In the early 50’s, we took a route which took us by a rock that was sticking out into the road. A frog’s face was painted on both sides of the rock and it was signed with two names. I think the names were Buster and Sally. In 1956, my father was told of a different way to Waterbury and as we were driving along we spotted a white sign saying, Frog Rock just ahead. Next we saw a sign saying Frog Rock entrance and we saw the big ole frog. On other trips to Waterbury, my mother made sandwiches and we stopped at Frog Rock.I will continue more at another date cause I have a lot more to tell.
Rick Schissler saysAugust 17, 2013 at 2:37 am
Continuation from Comment #39 on 08.17.13 at 2:12 am
I love stock car racing and in 2010 a friend of mine and I were going a different way to Stafford Motor Speedway. I was the passenger so I could look around and I spotted the guard rail at the entrance and then I saw the Frog. There was brush growing everywhere. We parked and went in, took a few pictures and left. In 2012, I was talking to a man from CT and he said that the brush had been cut. The next time I went racing, I stopped at the Rock and approved of the work. Yesterday, I went to Stafford and saw even more work done, a swinging gate at the entrance, a small wooden building, a parking lot after the exit. I am glad to see new life at Frog Rock.
mark s. saysApril 15, 2014 at 11:19 pm
I grew up in Enfield, Cn. and had family in Pawtucket RI. As a child in the early 60s my family would stop at frog rock both going to and coming back from family visits.As that child I walked the old town road and stared down that old well. We all loved that little rest area and the frog !!! My mom still lives in N. Scituate and while driving by there with my mom several years ago we stopped to see the frog. I almost didnt find him and was so bummed out to see that the site was relegated to obscurity and graffiti. When I got back home to NM I emailed the Pomfret chamber of commerce and gave them a piece of my mind. I had many suggestions for them, to no avail. I, just tonite, looked up frog rock purely out of a nostalgic feeling and found that I have a whole lot of likeminded frog rock fans. I plan to visit my 83 year young mom again, soon, and a stop at the reinvigorated landmark is on the agenda.
Judy May saysJuly 29, 2014 at 3:03 pm
My family and I used to stop here on our way from NJ to visit family in Newport RI every August, I too have a old picture from the 50’s with myself and my sister standing in front. We would picnic there with our little brown chest cooler and our homemade sandwiches. Such fond memories, I’m glad someone took the effort to restore it but I still cherish my old black and white photo.
John McLacken saysFebruary 24, 2015 at 5:46 pm
I am originally from Pawtucket, RI, and when I got into Yale back in 1968, I was the first person in my family to go to college, so it was a pretty big deal for my family. Back then, Rt.95 South was not yet finished in RI, so we would take different routes from Pawtucket to New Haven, and that’s how we came to discover Frog Rock Park just off Rt.44 West. We enjoyed the place and chuckled over the painted frog, roughly halfway through our trip, and from then on, my Dad, who was Fire Chief in Pawtucket, would stop there on his way to regional Fire Chief meetings in Albany with other chiefs who were friends. I was sad to see Frog Rock going to seed a few years ago, but it sounds as if it has made a nice comeback, and I can’t wait to stop by and see the improvements next time I’m in northeast Connecticut. Thanks to the Thurber family and to all those who have helped to clean the place up again!
Jay Adams saysMay 23, 2018 at 3:06 pm
I remember stopping at Frog Rock to and from Cranston R.I from Wethersfield Ct when I was a little kid. Brings back a lot of memories. I’m 72 today.
Grant Armstrong saysMay 14, 2019 at 6:47 pm
In the 1950’s when my paents and I were on the way to Cape Cod, we always stopped at Frog Rock for a picnic. We always took RT44 as the Interstate (95) was not constructed yet. I sure mis those times.
Linda Warner saysJune 8, 2019 at 3:02 pm
I moved to Pomfret as a child from Providence, RI in 1959. As a six th grader from Pomfret my parents use to always stop by Frog Rock so my siblings and I could crawl over it or play king on the mountain, and occasionally have a picnic there. The last time my now husband and I stopped there we were to learn an old softball mate of my husbands had bought the area. And had an ice cream, burger stand which has now expanded to a small shop for gifts and antiques, an entertainment stage and other foods at the stand. Still a great place to spend time at with or without family.