Frog Rock (Eastford)

“Well, You Can Rock It You Can Roll It
You Can Stop And You Can Stroll It At The Hop”
Frog Rock, Eastford

February 2, 2008

cur11.jpgWhen 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.

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Here’s an old picture probably from the 1950′s

Frog Rock was the brainchild of 1880′s Republican state legislature Thomas Thurber. He passed it day after day 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.

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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.

And if you’re like us, please pick up the German adult magazine someone threw on the ground there so the kids that are going to the Frog as you leave don’t have to see it. Sheesh.

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Mmmm, mossy tables!

Here is where you can find it yourselves:

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41 responses to “Frog Rock (Eastford)”

  1. honeybunny says:

    Frog Rock is uber cool.
    That eye follows you everywhere.

    hb

  2. kathy says:

    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.

    Great website!

  3. Wayne says:

    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.

    Comments welcome!

  4. Greg N. says:

    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.

  5. Steve F. says:

    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!

    Steve

  6. NANCY THURBER POOLE says:

    HI,

    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

  7. Joe Gemma says:

    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.

    Joe Gemma
    5/13/09

  8. Robin Dean says:

    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?

  9. Rich says:

    I remember driving by this as a kid in the 70′s while driving from Oxford to Woonsocket.

  10. Susan Lapins says:

    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)

  11. Dave Caranci says:

    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)

  12. Shawn and Rachele Pelletier says:

    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.

  13. Dick Delhaie says:

    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.

  14. Vince Bizilj says:

    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.
    God Bless.

  15. SUSAN NEWTON says:

    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.

  16. Kirk Bingham says:

    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!

  17. Jeanie says:

    I saw a sign that the State is selling Frog Rock!

  18. Nanette says:

    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!

  19. Dotti says:

    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.

  20. Penelope Zamagni says:

    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

  21. Kirk Bingham says:

    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?

  22. Penelope Zamagni says:

    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!!

  23. NANCY(THURBER)POOLE says:

    To anyone who is interested in saving Frog Rock,

    HELP

    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.

    nancypoole@sbcglobal.net 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.

  24. Dan Demarest says:

    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

  25. Dan Demarest says:

    Cheers to who ever acquirers it and to another 100 plus years of memories.

  26. Michael Westerfield says:

    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.

  27. Penny Zamagni says:

    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.

  28. Art? « By the Sea says:

    [...] Frog Rock, Snake [...]

  29. Tammy says:

    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.

  30. Leon Renaud says:

    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.

  31. James says:

    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!

  32. Hike Natchaug State Forest says:

    [...] SIGHTSEEING First stop is a unique picnic area area on the border of Pomfret (read more about it on  Connecticut Museum Quest. [...]

  33. mr. c says:

    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.

  34. Serenitys Dad says:

    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”

  35. Kirk Bingham says:

    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.

  36. Michael Leddy says:

    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.

  37. jerry lundy says:

    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

  38. Rebecca says:

    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.

  39. Rick Schissler says:

    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.

  40. Rick Schissler says:

    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.

  41. mark s. says:

    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.

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