The Merritt Parkway – Commüterring

The Merritt Parkway – Commüterring

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Mike Spinelli recently authored a review of a VW GTD on Jalopnik.com. In his review of the diesel powered hatchback he took the car on Connecticut’s Merritt Parkway. He wrote:

One doesn’t drive the Merritt Parkway,a pulsing arterial bywaylinking the New York suburbs to Connecticut’s Housatonic River basin; one courses through it.

Beneath a great canopy of sun-shielding oaks, you vault upward to near-weightlessness and then dive down into sweeping, neutral-camber bends, urged on by gravity and luscious waves of machine torque. In the right car, on the right day, it’s like a spirit ride through the Enchanted Forest on a magic mushroom. Some locals call it the commüterring.

Built with pride in the 1930’s, the Merritt is mostly used by locals as an alternative to I-95 when traveling from Connecticut to New York City. It is two lanes in each direction and much more sinuous than modern highways, winding its way through park like landscaping and under Art Deco and Art Moderne bridges. As a result, it has become one of the only roads listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The ornamental bridges also cause the Merritt to be truck-free (since they don’t fit under the bridges).

I personally commüte the Merritt Parkway on a daily basis to and from the office (traveling 60 miles in each direction) in my MK6 VW GTI! So you can see why Spinelli’s article struck a chord with me. My daily drive gives me an appreciation for what a ‘good’ car can be. I wouldn’t want to take my ’67 Cougar on this trip five days a week, but my GTI does it without any complaints, getting around 30 MPG, and putting a smile on my face whenever the traffic allows.

My two recommendations for driving the Merritt Parkway.

1 – Do it in the Fall, its a great way to enjoy the New England foliage

2 – Avoid weekday morning and afternoon rush hours (because I need to get to work on time)

A drive down the Merritt Parkway at the right time is a memorable driving experience that anyone can appreciate.

Side Note: Since it goes through Connecticut affluent Fairfield County its common to see exotics (Porsches, Astons, Ferraris, etc) also enjoying the drive.

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