Lebanon is in eastern Connecticut directly south of Willimantic and northwest of Norwich.
Lebanon is a step back in time. The town surrounds the famed mile-long Lebanon Green, the longest in the country and the only one still used for agricultural purposes. The town center isn’t one of bustling commerce, instead it is a single blinking traffic light, a slow-moving tractor laden with hay bales, and friends and neighbors calling out “hello’s” as they meet on an evening walk. The farmland and open fields pay homage to a rich agricultural community while the homes and environs evoke Lebanon’s storied Revolutionary beginnings. It is a place with a slower pace.
The town, named after the country Lebanon for the large cedar forests, was originally known by the Mohegan people as Poquechaneed. Lebanon was incorporated after several grants and purchases by, among others, Maj. John Mason and Reverend James Fitch in 1700. Lebanon earned its nickname “The Heartbeat of the Revolution” for its important part in the Revolutionary War. Jonathan Trumbull, one of George Washington’s chief quartermasters ran Connecticut’s war effort from the War Office on the Green. His son-in-law, William Williams, was one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence and three sons, Joseph, a colonel in the army, Johnathan Jr, a secretary to George Washington, and John, Washington’s personal aide, were instrumental in the wartime efforts.
The Revolutionary past can be seen in many of the homes which still surround the Lebanon Green. The Lebanon Historical Society Museum and the Visitor’s Center at 856 Trumbull Highway are an excellent place to start. Many of the historic homes have been preserved and are open for visitors throughout the year; information can be found online at either the Lebanon Historical Society Museum (http://historyoflebanon.org/) or Town Hall (http://www.lebanontownhall.org/) websites.
There are over 100 farms in Lebanon and 11 of them are among the 45 farms preserved with the CT Farmland Trust. To learn about, or support the town’s farmers, visit the weekly (Saturdays, June thru Oct.) Farmers Market or one of the many roadside farm stands, including West Green Farm, Bluebird Hill Farm, and Beltane Farm.
Annual events include the Dance Fest, a picnic-celebration around the Fourth of July and a Monthly Concert, the third Wednesday evening of each summer month. The earliest agricultural fair of the season is held in Lebanon the second weekend of August, and the Antiques Show and Book Sale are held the last Saturday of September on the Green. The Christmas Tree Lighting, the first Sunday of December, is another great time to feel the spirit of the town.
The beauty of Lebanon is best felt while walking or biking down dirt roads, around the Green, or through one of the trail systems. There are 7 1/2 miles of the Airline Trail in the west part of town and eight miles of mountain biking trails in Moween State Park on the shores of Red Cedar Lake. Swimming isn’t allowed in any of the lakes but Lake Williams or Savin Pond are great places to launch a kayak or indulge in an afternoon picnic. For a real treat, visit one of the favorite local sunset spots, on Bogg Lane, near the intersection with Chappell Road or off Route 289 on Village Hill Road looking west over the corn fields.
Grace Preli, (future) town historian!
This is an excerpt from the book, The Connecticut 169 Club: Your Passport & Guide to Exploring CT. It was written by local residents to encourage people to visit the beautiful 169 towns & cities in Connecticut. The 8.5 x 11 hardcover book contains 368 pages and over 180 illustrations, maps, and photos. It was edited by Marty Podskoch, author of eight books including the Conn. Civilian Conservation Corps Camps, Catskill & Adirondack fire towers, Adk CCC Camps, Adk 102 Club, and Adk illustrated stories. Please specify if you want signed. The travel book can be ordered with free shipping by sending $24.95 plus CT sales tax $1.58 to: Podskoch Press, 43 O’Neill Lane, East Hampton, CT 06424 It is also available at local stores, Amazon, and Barnes & Noble. Information 860-267-2442 email@example.com or https://martinpodskoch.com