Kevin Hogan heads to East Hampton - WFSB 3 Connecticut

20 Towns in 20 Days

Kevin Hogan heads to East Hampton

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Kevin Hogan took a trip to East Hampton this week (WFSB) Kevin Hogan took a trip to East Hampton this week (WFSB)
EAST HAMPTON, CT (WFSB) -

The town of East Hampton, also known as “Belltown,” is an exact midway point between New York and Boston.

The town was once called Chatham, named after a town its original settlers came from and was featured in the 20 Towns in 20 Days series.

This year East Hampton is celebrating its 250th anniversary, and there is something for everyone.

For the last 250 years, water from Lake Pocotopaug, or the Connecticut River, gave industrial life to what was originally a former colonial farming community.

"East Hampton really provides a really high quality of life for families, for people who work here. We have a lot of outdoor experiences you can enjoy in town; we have the Airline Trail, we have the Salmon River, the Comstock Bridge, the lake, Sears Park,” said Town Manager Michael Maniscalco.

Historically East Hampton is known as Belltown, that's because it's home to the nation’s oldest, and now only, bell manufacturer, Bevin Bell.

Tragically, a lightning strike 5 years ago this month destroyed the factory.

Witch Hazel is another ancient product that's now produced by East Hampton’s American Distilling Company.

It’s a natural liquid made from the bark of Witch Hazel used to treat sore muscles and a variety of other human ailments for centuries.

The Chatham Historical Society is filled with photos and examples of life in East Hampton back in the day. Society President Sandra Doran says Lake Pocotopaug was really an early destination for summer tourists out of New York City looking to beat the heat.

"There were probably over a dozen inn and resorts around the lake came from NYC to the train station,” Sandra Doran said.

Today, just one former inn still stands on the banks of Lake Pocotopaug, known as Angelico's Lakehouse. It is a very popular restaurant.

"There's a sense of community here. It’s also got good schools, a nice park up the road plus a beautiful lake for boating,” Paul Angelico said.

"I think East Hampton has fabulous people. We are all very friendly. Most of us get along with each other. It's like a typical big family. The town has grown a lot so obviously, it means the town must be doing something right,” said Nikki O’Neill.

To learn more about East Hampton, or the Chatham Historical Society and the plans for the 250th celebration, click here.

Started just two short years ago, East Hampton High is one of only 13 high schools statewide now to include a rowing team. 

The Wesleyan University Women's Crew team practices on a lake in town, which organizers say is the perfect "field" for practice and competition.

The "shells" which new cost tens of thousands of dollars are old hand-me-downs from other crew teams, including one from West Point. 

This season, the squad is training on a newer four-person shell with outriggers. 

The backers and supporters of the East Hampton Rowing Team expect the sport will not only grow in the school but beyond, into a community-wide crew team.

Eyewitness News donated $1,000 to the East Hampton High’s rowing team on Wednesday. 

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