AN UNEQUALED UPDATE Friday, February 7th — Ever wonder how I come up with some of my exploration ideas? MAPS, good old fashion maps have lots of hidden ideas on them. Well, I will admit that when traveling I search on my IPAD for local maps, and can enlarge them to get the most remote dirt roads (how else could I have found all the remote Canadian border crossings where I would have to wake up the guards?). And then I can save a screen image and carry the maps with me, albeit electronically. In playing with routes to cut across New York State this morning all of a sudden below Amenia I saw SHUNPIKE ROAD off the Sharon Turnpike (US 44). HOW COULD I RESIST!!! – and, that was the chosen route to cut over from Stockbridge to the Taconic State Parkway. I over photographed, but enjoy my thrill clicking on the gallery to enlarge all views. And, another fabulous update – LOOK WHAT BETTY FOUND – what I failed to find after trying. Click here for the history of this road.
Where to begin? I have been writing, but not shunpiking writing to share with you. But it is time to get started again, and the image below is a pretty good hint where I am.
Yes, snow storm was due in Wednesday the 5th, but was supposed to be moving out by noon, and that is when I moved out also. I-91 was still snow covered, I kept my speed to 45-50, and there were no crazies out, in fact hardly anyone was out. I arrived at The Red Lion Inn just before check-in time, and got my key. (remember to click on a gallery image to view full size – and you can do that on any of my images:
And then it was time to plant myself in MY SPOT in the lobby next to the fireplace with a commanding view of the lobby, dining room, and my favorite staircase. I came with no plans for my two night stay other than to do some research for a book project I am completing, and to write a couple of my “Did You Know That…?” articles for The Walpole CLARION. And that is what I worked at Wednesday afternoon and evening.
Thursday morning I headed to the lobby with laptop and IPad, again with no plans for the day. Well, the plan was to look at maps on my IPad, and see what jumped out at me. I have been exploring this area for decades, still have not been on all the back roads, but each season is different, and so too is the scenery if you go in an opposite direction. Soon a voice said, “Millerton, New York — cross to Sharon, Connecticut, and follow the Housatonic River retracing my favorite route in the world not having been up that stretch in a good number of years. I screen saved some detailed maps to my IPad and off I went at 10AM.
So, map time – get yours out to follow. Circle routes are best to avoid retracing, so I picked back roads west of US Route 7 to head south, and
then come back to Stockbridge on US 7. I left Stockbridge towards Great Barrington on 183 passing the Norman Rockwell museum, but I turned onto a small road to see Chesterwood – the country home of Daniel Chester French – don’t recognize the name? Think Lincoln Memorial. A visit there is planned when it is open during a visit here.
Continuing a tad further I took a loop road back to Stockbridge I had never before been on traveling through the golf course, and some lovely estates. I back tracked to 183 to head to Housatonic, Massachusetts, but first past this old power plant that I first explored in the early 1960s when it was abandoned — yes, I was in my 1929 Model A Ford roadster and drove her right up to the front door.
Housatonic is a village of Great Barrington which is an old mill town with fascinating brick mills, railroad depot, some shops. It has seen its day, but is struggling to come back as an artist area. As you can see below, there is some wonderful architecture to be seen, thus worth the side excursion (really not even out of the way).
Picking up my US Route 7 in Great Barrington I headed south to Sheffield and turned right on a side road to pick up 41 to head south towards Salisbury, Connecticut and Lakeville. Don’t think I had ever headed south on this route before, only headed north. Fantastic views, snow covered fields — too much fun, and just too hard to properly capture in any images. In Lakeville I picked up US 44 to my destination for the day – Millerton, NY. In Millerton I enjoy the antique center there, and scored again with a fantastic candelabra, and one book which when sold will pay for a few trips (I have not lost the touch).
The Oakhurst Diner was open (this exterior image is from my trip
through last May). Back at the Inn I read the reviews on TripAdvisor which were either horrible or wonderful, so I debated, but said to Ray, “you are here, it is open, you love diners, and most people are crazy.” I went in, and had a fantastic experience. I was cordially greeted, made welcome, and my roasted vegetable sandwich was amazing.
To head back to US 7 in Connecticut I crossed over to Sharon on another road I had never taken before. I followed NY 62 out of Millerton which becomes 361 in Connecticut. Sharon is another “old haunt” where I picked up CT 4 over the hills to Cornwall Bridge, and heaven. When you come down the hill approaching US 7 you have to turn left to head north. This is the start of Housatonic Meadows State Park along the river.
I love the drive along the river, and have since my first trip 50 years ago been mesmerized and then tantalized approaching West Cornwall and its covered bridge into the village. I would make special trips there to horse trade with Bruce who had an antique shop in the old toll house. I even sold him a Model A Ford that I bought from Leland for $25. I kept the radiator shell (it is hanging in my garage still, and still waiting to be made into a shadow box for my Models of Yesteryear). Think Bruce paid $50 for the Model A, but my Dad had to deliver it when I was back at college.
And for comparison, please visit “Some things Never Change” on my book website. Click on the link above.
Heading back to the Inn, I planted myself in the lobby and visited all afternoon and evening with friends on the staff, and new friends who were guests. That continued through the evening after dinner, and one young lady commented when she struck up a conversation, “it looks like you are holding court here.”
And, now Friday morning, I am finishing writing to you. Again I will leave about noonish and head to Julie’s house to visit with she, Dave and the kids for the weekend. It is going to be a very busy spring, but I promise at least some day trips to share with you. As always, yours, RAY