Granby CT: Best Communities for Your Home in Connecticut

Granby, Connecticut is a charming rural residential community about 14 miles north of Hartford on the northern central border with Massachusetts. Granby is home to many urban professionals working in Hartford’s insurance and finance industries.

Connecticut Magazine ranked Granby as the #3 overall small town in Connecticut (population 10,000-1500) to live in and #1 small town in Hartford County. The combination of Granby’s rural character along with its proximity to major metropolitan centers makes Granby one of Connecticut’s best towns for your home and family.

The community we know today as Granby was a wilderness when it was first settled in 1680 by a handful of hardened Puritans who came over the Talcott Ridge from Windsor and named the area “Salmon Brook”.

Being on what was the frontier of English civilization at the time, these “foreigners”, as they were called, settled for mutual support and defense between the branches of the Salmon Brook – several miles from the main Simsbury settlement and separated by “a great deal of bare pine plains.” The ground was rocky, and the beautiful stone enclosures that give the town such charm today, it was hard work clearing the fields of glacial rocks to cultivate the land.

One of the community’s first defining incidents in 1707 was the capture of Daniel Hayes, twenty-two years old, by three Native Americans when he went out to check on his horse in the pasture. Other settlers witnessed the capture and a rescue team gave chase, but were unable to catch up with the kidnappers.

He was taken all the way to Canada on a month-long journey, tied up every night and then forced to take up the gauntlet. Towards the end of the gauntlet, he ran into a wigwam to avoid the blow of a bat.

The wigwam’s wife had recently lost her husband and son in the war, confronting the attackers with the canonization of her hideout and adopting Hayes as her son. He took care of the woman for several years and was eventually sold to a Frenchman.

The Frenchman made a deal with him and Hayes made enough to buy his freedom after two years. He then returned to the area from which he had been taken seven years earlier, settled on a farm in what is now Granby and became prominent in the early affairs of the community.

By 1709, eleven families had settled in what is now Granby, but for certain periods it was abandoned as Native Americans posed a threat and the community’s growth slowed. As the aging population of the first-generation settlers grew older, they hated the long journey to church in Simsbury each week and were eventually given the right to form their own denomination in 1736.

They remained an independent, vibrant community, and during the Revolutionary War they resisted sending their townspeople to fight in the Continental Army, insisting on serving in their own militia companies. In 1786, Salmon Brook and Turkey Hills separated from Simsbury and became the town of Granby.

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Today, The Salmon Brook Historical Society maintains the 1732 Abijah Rowe house, the 1790 Weed-Enders house, the 1870 Cooley School, and the 1914 Colton-Hayes Tobacco Barn & Museum, with many exhibits on life in the 18th and 19th century.

Housing in Granby consists mainly of older colonial houses and single-family homes of traditional designs, although there are also condominiums and new construction. In addition to several small businesses, there are also some family businesses and orchards that still operate along winding roads.

Granby’s education system, which offers public education to approximately 2,200 students and a full range of academic programs, also offers evening classes for adults.

The 3,400-acre McLean Game Refuge is formed by glaciers and offers outdoor activities such as nature study, hiking, cross-country skiing, and picnicking. Enders State Forest has a group of hiking trails to six waterfalls. A 72-mile stream consisting of two branches of the Salmon Brook and a major tributary of the Farmington River flows through the city.

Recreational facilities include tennis courts, a playground, ball fields, a swimming pond, a summer camp and a youth center. An exciting Memorial Day road race draws runners and spectators from Granby and neighboring towns.

Granby is about a 25-minute drive from both Hartford and Springfield, Massachusetts, and is served by State Routes 10, 20, 189, 202, and 219. Bradley International Airport in Windsor Locks is six miles to the east on Route 20.

The combination of Granby’s rural charm and colonial homes, along with its proximity to major metropolitan centers, makes Granby one of Connecticut’s best cities for your home and family.