20 Towns in 20 Days: New Milford

New Milford in the 90s and now
Published: May. 12, 2022 at 5:57 PM EDT
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NEW MILFORD, CT (WFSB) - Eyewitness Ness is in New Milford for 20 Towns in 20 Days.

New Milford has the longest town green in Connecticut.

It accentuates a lovely downtown that is thriving once again, just like it did back in the 1990s.

The 90s was a time when change was happening throughout the state and New Milford was one of the state’s leaders in the growth movement.

Plans for a new high school were part of the movement and growth of the town.

But in 1997 the seniors were quite enamored with their school buildings and the cultural history they were a part of.

“The dancing bears, yes the Grateful Dead Dancing Bears there was a collage, a big mural on the wall,” said Maura Driscoll, New Milford High School Class of 1997.

Back in the day, old New Milford High, which is now an intermediate school, had some other things that made it unique.

“We actually had cows in the softball field,” said Sherry Creighton, New Milford High School Class of 1997. “Because literally we’d have to wait because there would be a cow in the outfield.”

Local water is a key ingredient to New Milford’s existence and its development.

Similar to Pittsburgh, there are three rivers: the Housatonic, Aspetuck and Still, that run either through or next to town.

Summertime in New Milford might be the height of the area’s popularity, and Candlewood Lake is the center of summer fun.

There are all kinds of activities associated with the lake.

Lynn Demming State Park is always big for family gatherings, but back in the day when the kids wanted to be adventurous and independent, they found another lake spot a few miles up the road.

Chicken Rock, part of Dykes Point, or as they called it back in the 90s: The Cove.

“It’s the tallest flattest, rock to jump off and you have to be pretty dumb to do it I guess,” Sherry said.

“I guess I’m pretty dumb, I did it. I did not, Jason you did not,” said Jacqueline Herbest, New Milford High School Class of 1997.

Getting back to some of the smarter, safer activities, whatever you want to do on a body of water, you can do at Candlewood lake.

“Jet ski, boating, going out to Chicken Rock, it’s just the experience of being out on the lake,” said Connor Kostoyra at Lakeside Watersports.

Outdoor activities often leave you hungry.

The Windmill Diner has been a New Milford go to for more than 50 years.

“I remember omelets, always a nice food, a bacon and cheese omelet!” said Jason Harris, New Milford High School Class of 1997.

“We’ve seen people from grandparents, parents and now their kids, three generations of seeing people growing up,” said Steve Runtos, owner of the Windmill Diner.

With a population of more than 28,000, New Milford has grown over the past 20-25 years becoming a split community, mixing quaint New England with a commercial flavor.

You have the charm of the village, and the robust business development which is part of the Route 7 corridor.

But no matter the preference, most residents stay because of similar core values.

“It’s just a sense of home, we feel safe here. We like the sense of community. A lot of people that graduated with us or just in before or after us are still here,” said Lisa Stein, New Milford Class of 1997.

New Milford in the 90s