Stars Hollow was a fictional town, dreamed up by Amy Sherman-Palladino, to serve as the home base for Lorelai and Rory Gilmore. The other locations mentioned in Gilmore Girls, however, are genuine cities and towns in Connecticut. Based on the locales mentioned, can we pinpoint roughly were Stars Hollow would be located within the state? Let’s try.
Washington Depot, Connecticut served as the main inspiration for Stars Hollow
Sherman-Palladino used multiple small towns and hamlets in Connecticut as inspiration for the town of Stars Hollow, but it is mostly agreed upon that Washington Depot gave the showrunner the majority of her inspiration. It’s a little hamlet inside the town of Washington, Connecticut. According to Roadtrippers, what it lacks in diners, it makes up for in charm.
There is one problem though, Washington Depot isn’t close enough to Hartford to be the actual location of Stars Hollow. Rory told Dean, in the first season, that Hartford was just 30 minutes from Stars Hollow or 40 minutes on the bus. Washington Depot is an hour’s drive from Hartford, and similarly an hour away from New Haven.
Jess suggests that Yale is only 22.8 miles from Stars Hollow
When Rory decided to attend Yale, her then-boyfriend, Jess Mariano, seemed pleased. Jess noted that Yale was just 22.8 miles away from Stars Hollow. New Haven was also similarly close to Hartford because Rory was able to meet with her grandparents for their weekly dinners.
Richard and Emily popped in at Yale on multiple occasions, so it can be assumed that New Haven was less than a 30-minute drive from Hartford. Those two geographical points are essential, but there are plenty of towns that could fit the bill. Thankfully, several other cities in Connecticut are referenced during the series, which makes it a bit easier to pinpoint precisely where Stars Hollow could have been located.
Gilmore Girls used other local points of references
Luke Danes incited panic in Lorelai when he casually mentioned he had moved out of Stars Hollow to live with his first wife, Nicole. Lorelai noted that Litchfield was in an entirely different county than Stars Hollow. The town of Litchfield, which is located in Litchfield County, is about 45 minutes west of Hartford, Connecticut.
Litchfield County borders Hartford County, so we know, at the very least, Stars Hollow is not, in fact, in Litchfield County. Presuming Luke wanted to avoid a long drive back to Stars Hollow to run his diner, the city had to be relatively close, although it was never mentioned just how far away Litchfield was from Stars Hollow. Woodbridge, Connecticut, is also referenced regularly throughout the series. Lorelai noted in one episode that Woodbridge was 20 miles from Stars Hollow.
So, where exactly was Stars Hollow?
If you consider all of the points of reference, there are only a few towns that would make geographical sense. Since Rory was both close to Richard and Emily’s house in Hartford and Stars Hollow when she attended Yale, one can assume that Stars Hollow was located between the two points, but more westerly. Locations east of Hartford and New Haven would have left Luke with an hour-long drive to the diner each day when he briefly lived in Litchfield.
Woodbridge is also mentioned multiple times in the series, and Lorelai notes that Woodbridge is 20 miles from Stars Hollow. Based on that information, it can be assumed that Stars Hollow, if it were a real town, would have been located close to Meriden, Connecticut.
Meriden, a city in New Haven County, is just 22 miles from Yale, about the same distance that Jess referenced. It is also a 29-minute drive from Hartford, Connecticut, and just 21 miles away from Woodbridge, Connecticut.