Along the Connecticut coastline lies a tiny strip of land known as “Woodmont.”* Home to many hundreds of Jewish vacationers beginning in the 1920s, the beaches of Milford, CT, which were mainly populated by Jews came to be known collectively as “Bagel Beach.” Although not at all exclusively within the boundaries of the Borough of Woodmont, the Jewish vacationers also referred to this area as “Woodmont” in part because of the trolley stop—Woodmont—from where most disembarked as they made their way to their summer cottages and homes. If you listen closely, you can hear the whispers of the rocks and sand beckoning, inviting you to hear of the Woodmont that once was. They reverberate with the sounds of children playing by the water, the laughter of their parents, the cries of the boaters reeling in their catch, the calls of the milkman and fishman making their rounds among the cottages, and the special camaraderie shared by neighbors. Ask anyone who spent summers at Bagel Beach, and they will surely tell you, “Those were the best days of my life.”
This endeavor to preserve history is a project of the Hebrew Congregation of Woodmont. Our committee is dedicated to remembering the stories of the people who together made decades of Jewish living in this small shoreline town. We want to know who lived here, who married here, and who celebrated milestones here; the notables; the landmarks; the places that once were and still are alive in many hearts. We want to collect stories, photographs, historical documents, and memorabilia of the people who spent summers at Bagel Beach, at any time throughout the last century.
The Hebrew Congregation of Woodmont is undergoing renovations and will incorporate a display of Bagel Beach in the new building. The memories and memorabilia that are collected will be preserved in this location, in a setting that will do justice to the treasures it will possess. This “mini museum” will serve as a guardian of that which many hearts hold precious, and will help enlighten those who seek to understand the beauty, charm, and allure that Woodmont’s Bagel Beach inspired in every soul which inhabited her land.
*The term “Woodmont” on this website refers to the Anchor Beach, Woodmont, Merwin Beach, Burwell Beach, and Farview Beach areas. “Bagel Beach” generally refers to the Merwin Beach area, and some say it includes Burwell and Farview Beaches as well.