A satellite photo of the eastern seaboard at night shows the entire coast from Washington, D.C., to Boston  lit up like a Christmas tree—except one small portion, the northeastern corner of Connecticut. Tucked into a pocket between the big cities of Worcester , Hartford , and Providence , the upper right corner of the state has been called the “last green valley” for its miles of wooded back roads and scenically decaying farmhouses and stone walls. While that may be a bit of hyperbole, the area’s other nickname, the “quiet corner,” seems just about right. The pace of life is quieter here, with a country-store mentality that seems more like Vermont  than Connecticut .
Not that the Quiet Corner was always so quiet; back at the turn of the 19th century, the area’s swift-flowing rivers and proximity to the early mill industry of Rhode Island  meant that it was one of the first areas to industrialize. For decades, the Quinebaug River currents churned the wheels of textile mills of manufacturing centers like Putnam and Willimantic  until they gradually fell into disuse in the 20th century. The area also has rich associations with colonial history, as it’s home to two of Connecticut’s most celebrated patriots: Johnathan Trumbull and Nathan Hale.
To get to the Quiet Corner by car, take I-395 south from Worcester  (30 mi., 40 min. to Putnam); U.S. Route 6 west from Hartford  (30 mi., 40 min. to Willimantic); or U.S. Route 6 east from Providence  (30 mi., 50 min. to Brooklyn).
Greyhound (800/231-2222, www.greyhound.com ) offers limited service to the University of Connecticut  in Storrs, as well as regular bus routes to Willimantic from Hartford, stopping at several locations on Main Street (stopping at the Rte. 66 Quick Mart, 790 Main St.), Foxwoods , and Mohegan Sun .