Well, there were road trips in February, and then I had to stay put for a few weeks for our CABIN FEVER RADIO FOLLIES 2015 (view it on-line). But to get the 2015 momentum really rolling, it was time to treat myself to The Red Lion Inn for my birthday.
In getting ready for this trip I perused my travel literature collection for Dutchess County, New York, the Catskills, and Albany, not knowing what I would be able to take in. I packed a few brochures, including a lovely booklet “Dutchess County Scenic & Historic Drive Tours.”
As I was leaving the house on Sunday I checked a real paper map (I love maps) wanting to see if there was a route I had never been on. YES – there is Massachusetts Route 66 that I can take from Northampton through Westhampton (never been there) and then head south on 112 to Route 20 in Huntington. Thence, up over the hills west towards Lee and Stockbridge. I was dreaming of a hamburger, and all of a sudden on the right was Linda’s River Cafe in Huntington. I had remembered turning around there once looping back to US 20. This time I went in and had a Cowboy Burger – bacon, cheese, fried onion rings, and great sauce on the burger. Sadly no TRIP ADVISOR page for me to give them a great review –
but RAY RECOMMENDS – SIT AT THE COUNTER AND HAVE ONE OF LINDA’S BURGERS.
Turning west in Huntington on Scenic US Route 20, I was traveling on a route I had traversed once, but now in the opposite direction with leaves gone, and snow on the ground. First I pulled into bucollic Chester, and visited the train station.
When I first discovered the station years ago, a lovely young lady saw me looking in the windows, and came across the street and said she could open up the museum for me – what a treat. I am hoping to get back this year on May 16th for the “Chester on Track” celebration.
because of the high mountain elevations crossed, this was the first highway built in 1910 “specifically for the revolutionary new horseless carriages.” The other great road I enjoy crossing Massachusetts is Mass. Route 2 – but particularly the western end from Greenfield to Williamstown. Know as the Mohawk Trail, the road was begin in 1912 and completed in 1914. In following my adventures, you know I am often in this section of territory.
Arriving at The Red Lion Inn at 3PM check-in time, I settled into my spot to read and write but soon engaged in hours of conversation with three couples. One young man is a senior editor and writer for Hemming’s Motor News, and he and his Dad and I talked cars, people we know, and the Hershey car show. But soon dinner time came.
By 8AM the next morning I was planted back in my spot with the travel brochures I had brought along with laptop and iPad (soon you will understand why it is important to have all your toys with you.) Delving into “Dutchess County Scenic & Historic Drive Tours,” I saw several routes cutting across the county that I had not been on – no reason to unless you were exploring there. So, for more map detail I went to “maps” on my iPad, found the areas I wanted, and then did screen shots to iPhotos. RAY RECOMMENDS – SAVE MAP IMAGES TO YOU IPAD FOR USE WHILE DRIVING – you pull over to the side of the road and park before looking.
Next I saw a website address for Dutchess County Tourism, and when on the site saw the new brochure was available on-line in PDF format. When it opened up I saw that I could save it to the Ipad, and lo and behold, it opened up in Ibooks, and was there for traveling too for off-line use. RAY AGAIN RECOMMENDS USE YOUR IPAD TO THE FULLEST (and get one if you do not have one)
Off I went down US Route 7 through Great Barrington to cut over to Massachusetts 41 south to Salisbury, CT. This is a route I highly recommend, the views great and extensive without leaves (especially southbound). Even with leaves off the trees the STAGECOACH TAVERN is still hard to spot. With the leaves off I saw something strange in the distance, and homing in on it discovered the Salisbury Ski Jump – of all places.
From Salisbury I cut over to the antique center in Millerton, NY, but sadly did not find any treasures to resell and pay for an outing. Now it was time to start cutting across northern Dutchess county on “new roads” Actually great routes, because no reason to be on them unless exploring the area.
Up over great hills towards Route 199 and Pine Plains.
Then west to pick up the Taconic State Parkway one exit to cut back east on Country Road 19 towards the small village of Stanford. I did some looping around in this expansive horse country, stumbled into Bangall, Stanfordville, and finally got a sandwich at the deli in a country store (a favorite thing to do).
Heading west on CR 19 I turned north on 9G for Rhinebeck which I have always enjoyed. Again, finding no money-making treasures in the antique center I decided to revisit the Beekman Arms where we would often have lunch.
Operating continuously since 1766, and retaining much of its colonial charm, the inn is said to be the oldest continuously operating inn. A perfect location, I need to stay there sometime to intensely explore the area that I have been touring for 20 years. Then a quick turn down to the Hudson and Rhinecliff (never had stopped there), and then back to Route 9 to NY 23 to cut back to US 7 in Great Barrington.
A full day on new trails and retracing steps to refresh my memory. And, then realizing much more time needs to be spent in this area. I will never run out of things to do in this area. RAY RECOMMENDS – Tour there too.
Time to head home on Tuesday, but it had been awhile since I had been on US 44 from Canaan, CT to Winsted. Even longer since I had been to Riverton, and I had never gone around the Barkhamsted Reservoir (over 8 miles long) and through West and East Hartland. So take a look at your maps.
Arriving in Winsted I turned north on Route 8 then back roads to Riverton – home of the Hitchcock Chair Co., which someone told me had closed.
I bought some furniture here in 1967. After seeing this building, and this potential overnight on the other side of the river …
I turned around to check out a building proclaiming The Hitchcock Chair Co., Ltd. Yes, the original company did close in 2006, I learned. But a gentleman who restored original Hitchcock furniture purchased the brand in 2010 along with the original drawings and patterns, and re-opened the company, albeit on a smaller scale in 2011. I enjoyed my visit with co-owner Nancy Swensen, and recommend you make a side trip to peaceful Riverton, and see the fine craftsmanship in the shop.
My final spot to explore (curiosity because of expensive books I have owned on Suffield furniture) was Suffield, Connecticut, known for its colonial homes. Easy to get to from I-91, but again no reason to do so — but now you must go to see the vast architectural eye-candy. I look forward to returning when the museums are open.
A collection of Suffield, Connecticut architecture:
From Suffield I was going to jog over to I-91, but that is cheating. So, I headed north on Route 159, and crossing into Massachusetts I now know where Six Flags New England is. Just a tad north is the BIG E exposition grounds, and then a right turn to jog over to I-91 and home.
This post has been two weeks in the making, and I am wondering why. My Detroit posts were delayed because we were running hard, and the fantastic New Orleans experience has yet to come – again because of running hard. And, with this post I wanted to add my May, 2014 adventures at The Red Lion Inn, but this is now getting too long. I need to improve. I love to write, but am getting verbose and philosophize too much.
I also need to figure out what I really want to do – there is just so much. Using the Dutchess County tour book as an incentive, I think I am going to develop some day trips – step by historical step – in the area and post them as PDFs here that can then be added to everyone’s iPads as travel aids — so watch for that. But, in the meantime, go back and look at the RAY RECOMMENDS in this post, and HIT THE ROAD !!!