Commuter Corner: A tour of my hometown


Putnum, CT is known for their antiques shops. (Cayce/Flickr Creative Commons)

Putnum, CT is known for their antiques shops. (Cayce/Flickr Creative Commons)

I’m currently in a quaint coffee shop located somewhere in the Quiet Corner of Connecticut, trying to decide what to write this article about. Above my screen are the old brick buildings lining Putnam’s Main Street peeking through the large windows up front. My boots are placed on an ornate rug beneath me, and my legs are folded criss-cross-applesauce on one of the red couches here. Victoria Station Cafe is the ideal place for any writer, with enough chatter in the background to fund an endless amount of ideas. It’s comfortable enough to be an oasis from any of life’s struggles. As a college student, my one complaint is the price of all the homemade treats, but I manage.

Sitting here inspired me to share a bit of my hometown with anyone who wants to read about it. I usually write about campus or some commuter problem I’m experiencing, but I realized that I’ve never written about where I spend most of my time:  Putnam, Connecticut.  So, here it is.

If Quiet Corner didn’t give you a clue as to the location of my small town, it’s about 15 minutes from both Massachusetts and Rhode Island, so the Northeast corner of the state. I actually know more about Rhode Island’s routes than I do of Connecticut’s because of my grandparents, but that’s besides the point. Putnam has around 9,000 residents; my graduating class consisted of 60 students. For comparison’s sake, UConn’s population is a little over 30,000. Its small size gives it an incredibly cozy feel, though.

We are known for our antiques shops. The cafe I’m currently in is across the street from two of the better antiques stores, and down the road there’s another one that also hosts a sweet Rottweiler who greets you when you come in. There’s actually a small dog in one of the other shops too, now that I think about it. In addition to the antiques stores, there are a few sweets shops, boutiques, art galleries, yoga studios, coffee shops and even some home-grown restaurants. Our Main Street is the pride of the town. Walking down the street a bit, you’ll run into a park that stretches along the Quinebaug River for miles upon miles. I live on one bank and I used to work at a daycare on the other side of it, so instead of walking all the way to the bridge, I just walked along the river to get home.

If you look past the park, there’s this old radio station that’s planted beside the waterfall. The radio station is the center of community life. I remember athletes being called out of class to do interviews for them, and parades and other community events were hosted by them as well. They would come out to high school baseball games and announce all the players, making the games come to life.

Most people in my school couldn’t wait to get out of Putnam. I was never one of those kids. I grew up going to visit my grandparents in a cramped city in Rhode Island, so I knew exactly how nice this town was. We could walk to school or to the track or to the local Cumberland Farms for a slushie and not be all that afraid of anything happening to us. Where my grandparents lived, that was not the case. I loved the freedom that a small town gave me, and as I sit here writing this article, I realize how true that still is. I like UConn, maybe because it’s honestly in the middle of nowhere so it still has a semi-rural vibe, but I think I’m going to try and live in a small town like Putnam if I can. Cozy towns call to me.

Hannah Desrosiers is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at

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