LIFE Archive | Merritt Parkway

The Merritt Parkway is my favorite drive in the tri-state. It is one of the most beautiful stretches of road that I have ever traveled. Reminds me of Donald Draper driving home from the train (although the Drapers live in Westchester) and recently the Route 12 scene from Revolutionary Road. The Merritt connects some of Fairfield County’s best towns, Westport, New Canaan and Greenwich. I bet Ralph takes his Bugatti out for a Sunday drive on this historic stretch of road in the heart of WASPy Connecticut.










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Comments on “LIFE Archive | Merritt Parkway

    INVISIBLE AGENT on January 7, 2009 12:02 PM:

    I’ve seen so many crazy drivers, traffic, and road rage on Merritt Parkway; these images are amazing though! Can totally picture Don in his Buick drinking, smoking, and cruising up Merritt with some strange on the side!

    Sam Jacobs on January 7, 2009 12:20 PM:

    I always take this road en route to Boston. It’s better during the day than it is at night…or during rush hour.

    jubei on January 7, 2009 1:02 PM:

    My HS US Histroy teacher once told me that the Merritt was designed to be a beautiful, leisurely commuting highway, to be travelled at 45mph…

    These days it’s more like 70 mph and half the cars are luxury SUVs. The lack of a true breakdown lane is also a problem… there are regular reports of fatalities due to people changing tires, etc.

    It’s still a pretty stretch of highway, though. Your eyes never really get bored looking out of the window.

    Reggie on January 7, 2009 1:49 PM:

    Love the pictures of a favorite parkway, sadly compromised in places over the years by “improvements” but still quite lovely in stretches. Another favorite is the Taconic Parkway up the Hudson River Valley where a number of recent bridges crossing the Parkway have been constructed in remarkably sympathetic style. Recently saw the remaining period gas station (fieldstone gambrel-roofed cottage style) closed but they didn’t tear it down so one still has the pleasure of whizzing by it…

    anonymouse on January 7, 2009 3:22 PM:

    My favorite part of the drive is up a bit once it turns into the Wilbur Cross Parkway:

    Jack on January 7, 2009 3:25 PM:

    “I bet Ralph takes his Bugatti out for a Sunday drive on the historic stretch of road in the heart of WASPy Connecticut.” Read this sentence back to yourself about 5 times and notice all the contradictions.

    Michael Williams on January 7, 2009 3:54 PM:

    Contradictions are fun.


    Radio Freddy on January 7, 2009 6:24 PM:

    Great post. Great site. Traveling the Merritt is always a highlight when in Connecticut.

    Young Werther on January 7, 2009 9:39 PM:

    Love the Merritt. Such a welcome change from 287 if I’m headed that way.

    Seppings on January 7, 2009 9:54 PM:

    Great pictures. Once on the way back to New Haven on the Merritt, I saw a Hugh Grant look-alike passing on the (non-existent) shoulder and narrowly avoid crashing his Land Rover into one of the solid stone overpasses pictured here. One shouldn’t blame the Parkway, however, just because it demands more of the driver than idiot-proof 95.

    valerie on January 8, 2009 1:26 PM:

    I’ve never driven on the Merrit, but I can tell you that I can’t get enough of this LIFE Archive. Every single photo tells the best story. Thanks for sharing.

    DP on January 9, 2009 1:46 AM:

    The Merritt is so beautiful. As I drive home from DC, it’s always such a pleasant sight when I get there from the Hutch. The winding curves always remind me that I’m almost home, only a few minutes away, out of the endless straight highways of the trip.

    susan sharp on April 3, 2009 1:21 PM:

    Ever since childhood, when the Parkway served as an escape route from New jersey for family vacations in New England,I have loved the Merritt. As an artist, in the early 80’s, I did a series of paintings and drawings of the Merritt Parkway, documenting some of the bridges and trees along the highway. All of these works were done from the perspective of a bird looking down on to the road. The Parkway Series was exhibited in a winners show at the Stamford Museum as well as a solo show at Vassos gallery at the Silvermine Arts Center. Many of the works were sold but I still have a few. G.E. bought James Farm Bridge, a painting documenting the bridge visible from the G.E. headquarters.

    G on July 7, 2009 11:02 PM:

    Finally someone else who sees the beauty of the Merrit. Bravo!!!!

    Robert Nimkoff on January 7, 2010 12:51 PM:

    Let’s hope the current “beautification” program keeps the roads original vista. So many trees being cut down in the Westport to Trumbull section supposedly to restore the road to what it was originally like. Although I don’t see what’s wrong with it now. Great road and too bad they modernized the NY section years ago. What a hoot in a sports car or motorcycle!

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