The Connecticut Firemen's Historical Society has a small museum at 230 Pine St., on the corner of Pine St. & Hartford Rd. (right across Pine St. from Cheney Hall--see "music & local theater" tip under nightlife). This is another one of the historical buildings in Manchester. It is the original Cheney Fire House (minus the big tree that used to be right in front of the main door for the equipment!). I went in it back when it first opened so it's been a while, but it would be of interest to anyone into old firefighting stuff.
1. The Cheney Homestead, 106 Hartford Rd, right across Hartford Rd from Cheney Hall (see "concerts & local theater" under nightlife). This is the original 18th century home that started what became the Cheney Bros. Silk industry.
2. Manchester Historical Society Museum, 126 Cedar St., which is off Cooper Hill St., just a little ways up Pine St. from the Fire Museum. A small museum for now, the Historical Society has bought one of the old Cheney Mills (the one at the corner of Pine & Forest that still looks industrial), and is planning to move into that eventually, which will enable it to greatly expand the museum.
The bandshell at Manchester Community College has concerts all summer long. There's ample free parking, and the concerts are basically free--they will come around for voluntary donations about half-way thru. They have a variety of styles of music--Coast Guard band, bluegrass, barbershop quartet, jazz. They're of varying quality, but hey--what do you want for a free, small-town concert?? ;o) Some are quite good--take your chances!
Originally the Wickham Family Estate, when they died they willed it to a Foundation to become a park. Right at the Manchester-East Hartford line, where W. Middle Tpke. turns into Burnside Ave, this is a large park with lovely paths to walk, bike or jog, including ordinary dirt paths thru wooded areas (for hiking, not biking). It also has an oriental garden, a bird sanctuary, a hilltop with a fantastic view, a small collection of animals, playgrounds and numerous picnicking spots. Some of the larger picnicking spots include pavilions & require making a reservation; they're excellent for any group event--wedding, family reunion, company picnic, church picnic, etc. You can play tennis, softball, volleyball & horseshoes, and I only just learned this myself when I found the web site to provide the link below: they've just put in a frisbee golf course!! And they're working on an English garden!
It's really a lovely park. I've gone walking in it on my own & felt safe enough, although I'm not sure I'd go too far off into the woods on my own, because I'm not sure how naive I'm being. My only complaint is that they don't open early enough in the morning to take advantage of cool morning air for summertime exercise or for people to use it before going to work (they don't open until 9:30 am).
They charge for parking, but it's only like $2-$3 for a car, and that's the only fee to use it. (i.e. If you lived in one of the apartment complexes across the street you could walk over & use it free.) They're generally not open in the winter, but they do use the cabin on the top of the hill for a special Santa thing at Xmastime.
Exit 60 off I-84. EB, turn left; WB turn right. It's right there on your right. From the middle of Manchester, you can just go straight west on either Middle Tpke. or Center St. (which turns into W. Middle Tpke. just before the highway) until you cross over I-84.
This picture really doesn't do it justice--how do you capture so much area in one picture?!
Located at 247 South Main St, it has hands-on activities for the kids. Exit 3 off I-384. EB, turn left. WB, turn left, then left again at the light onto S. Main, cross over the highway. It's a short way down on the left.