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A Visit to Parmelee Farm in Killingworth, Connecticut

Living in Killingworth, CT puts you in a rural environment where you're never far from a state park and can reach the ocean in about 20 minutes.

Many of the homes in this community, with about 6,500 residents, have dense forests surrounding them, creating an isolated environment. The town also has plenty of large properties, giving you plenty of space to spread out and relax.

Of course, finding entertainment in a rural setting can be challenging, but Killingworth is unique in that regard because of its location. Killingworth is also home to Parmelee Farm, a historic venue that hosts plenty of activities throughout the year.

Here's what you should know about this farm and the events that you'll likely attend once you relocate to this small Connecticut town.

Photo of trail sign in the middle of the woods at Parmelee Farm

The Farm's History

The first records of Parmelee Farm date back to 1847 when Horace and Eunice Parmelee purchased it and built a farmhouse. Horace died in 1898, and Eunice sold the property to William Kathotka in 1904.

In 1906, John Pavelka bought the land, and it remained in his family until 1948 when Edward T. and Martha McGrath took ownership. The Bosco family then purchased the farm in 1956 and kept it until 2000 when the Town of Killingworth took control.

The farm remains the property of the Town of Killingworth to this day and has slowly expanded its usage. Today, Parmelee Farm is a local event venue that locals cherish because of the abundance of events there.

Over the years, the farm has had numerous purposes, as the Parmelees used it for growing crops and pasturing cows, sheep, chickens, pigs, and oxen. In later years, the Bosco family turned the property into a turkey farm. They also raised chickens and attempted to stock the property's pond with trout and bass.

Parmelee Farm is 132 acres, so there was always plenty of space for its owners to use for their desired purposes.


What You'll Find There

When you visit Parmelee Farm today, you'll have plenty of recreational options.

The property is full of hiking trails, for starters, so you can spend your entire day wandering through the woods and enjoying the sights. You're also free to walk through the open fields that were once pastures for the animals. In the winter, the trails and open spaces are available for cross-country skiing, as well. Keep in mind that on-leash dogs are permitted, but ice skating on the pond and hunting are prohibited.

There's more than fields and trails at Parmelee Farm, as the property has a community garden. This garden is open for the public to plant fruit and vegetables for personal consumption. You'll have to apply for a plot in the garden before the season begins with Killingworth residents having first access to these plots on a first-come, first-served basis.

You're also able to tour the farmhouse, a building that the Killingworth Historical Society uses as its home office. The farmhouse isn't always open, so you'll want to check ahead before visiting if it's something you're set on seeing.

Finally, there's the Sugar House, which teaches locals how to make pure maple syrup. You can sign up for a syrup-making course through the farm, or purchase some local syrup once it's ready to go.

Parmelee Farm is like a living museum, making it well worth a visit at any time of the year.


Free Summer Concerts

In the summer, Parmelee Farm hosts a concert series that attracts local bands and performers one Sunday per month between 5:00 and 7:00 PM. A car and truck cruise, where locals will bring their classic cars for you to view, accompanies each event.

You're encouraged to pack a picnic dinner and bring your chairs to the farm on concert nights so you can enjoy the festivities into the evening. The entire event is free.


The Annual Artisan Market

One of the most anticipated events at Parmelee Farm is the Artisan Market. This event takes place once per year and is full of great vendors from throughout New England.

The market is pretty large and gives you the chance to buy all kinds of local crafts and gifts. Sign-up for the market generally begins in January, with the actual event taking place in September, so a lot of planning goes into it.

All proceeds from the market go toward keeping the farm operational, as it takes a fair amount of maintenance to keep the venue in good shape.


Free Fun For the Family

Parmelee Farm sits just north of downtown Killingworth at 465 Route 81. Once you live in this area, you're sure to take advantage of the free events and activities at the venue throughout the year or use it as a peaceful place to hike and explore.

You can also rent the farm for private parties and events like weddings, birthday parties, and work functions.

Parmelee Farm is yet another place that makes residing in Coastal Connecticut so appealing. Few other parts of the country have historic venues that you can stop by and enjoy any time you please, but living in history will become your new normal once you buy a home in this area.

Published September 22, 2020 in Exploring Our Area