Marlborough Gotta Marlborough
The Farm at Carter Hill, Marlborough
July 28, 2019
Marlborough is one of our 169 towns with… not much to CTMQ-do. One art gallery, a few little trails here and there… a cool roadside rock… um… and this place. Whatever this place is. You’ve got me.
The Farm at Carter Hill seems to be an eccentric collection of mish-mash buildings, goats, and, well, stuff. It probably wouldn’t make the CTMQ-cut in other towns, but it does for Marlborouh. Let’s ask the farm what they are:
[The Farm at Carter Hill is] a unique farm experience with a general store, outdoor eatery, bed and breakfast, ice-cream and outdoor pavillion for weddings, carriage barn for private parties or events and Hogs Breath Tavern. We also have a variety of farm animals for children or those young at heart to enjoy. And lets not forget the Arrigoati Bridge. Stop in and enjoy a true working farm experience.
Okay. So I was right. It’s an eccentric collection of mish-mash buildings, goats, and, well, stuff. It has gone through a couple iterations over its existence and once featured a hipster/fancy sort of restaurant thing with uncovered outdoor tables. It was cool for a month or two and then someone realized that a restaurant that closes for rain isn’t a viable business plan. It was called Goats N’Roses and was helmed by the same folks behind Glastonbury’s popular Spicy Green Bean and Rocky Hill’s Shad Row – another seasonal outdoor joint that closes for rain. I guess it’s their thing.
Update: It appears Shad Row has permanently closed as well, at the end of summer 2019.
And I guess I can’t call the former restaurant “hipster.” The Hartford Courant wrote, “The ‘edgy eatery’ retains the funky, rock ‘n’ roll flair guests have come to expect from its two sibling restaurants — and yes, its name is a farm-themed nod to the Axl Rose-fronted hard rock band.” Goats N’Roses lasted two summers and at the end of 2018’s, they posted that they were looking for a new location. That was the their last facebook post.
But the Farm lives on! It is located right on route 66, not too far off of route 2. If you’ve driven by and have seen the vintage gas station and wondered, “why the heck is that thing there?”, you’ve seen the Farm at Carter Hill. (That thing is there just because someone had an old gas pump and signage – My supposition again.)
Damian and I visited on a summer afternoon, mostly to check out goats. The boy likes goats. And I like dopey hyper-local puns. Like how the goats have their Arrigoati Bridge, a reference to the Arrigoni a few miles down route 66. All we wanted was to see a goat cross the bridge, but even though we stared at them for a good long while, none complied.
A few folks bumbled around the property during our visit, many looking as confused as I was. A flock of ducks startled Damian and flew right at him and just over his head. He was delighted. A few rogue chickens pecked around our feet.
An event space was closed off to us, presumably setting up for a wedding. An acoustic duo played tunes in the “Chicken Shack” to three fans. Beer is available in there as well as at The Hog’s Breath Tavern, which was empty during our visit. Perhaps this place picks up in the evenings, I have no idea.
We wandered some more, past the ice cream shack and the forlorn looking server on her phone. Past a run-down barn advertising a past “Chick Sh#t BINGO” event sponsored by Two Roads Brewing – which sort of surprised me. Two Roads is a behemoth and I wouldn’t expect them to be associated with a “Chicken Sh#t BINGO” event at a weird barn in Marlborough.
To me, the oddest thing here is the Bed & Breakfast. Granted, B&Bs are not really all that appealing to me – I like my overnight accommodations to be private and I don’t like people waiting on me and interacting throughout my experience. The reviews of this particular B&B are positive, so some people seem to enjoy staying here.
Damian and I wandered back over to the goats and then we stopped by the tiny little plane for a picture. I scratched my head, took it all in one last time, silently wished the proprietors good luck, and was on my way.
I don’t have to understand every place I visit, do I?
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