MY “SECOND HOME” – THE RED LION INN – 9-11 September 2020 – and bonuses 2019 and 2018

I write for myself to remember, but love to share as you know. And during the pandemic I have been able to travel with myself on past adventures reviewing my past posts. In planning new routes to explore I will look at some old posts to check where I have been, and not been. That is why you also see here my 2019 and 2018 RLI trips – in looking for those posts to verify routes to Stockbridge, I found they had never been written. I knew at some point I had been to Cummington, Massachusetts, but no post existed. Searching three computers I found the images I was looking for. May 2018 had been “processed” and stored on-line, but March 2019 was harder. I finally found those images on an unmarked SD Card in storage – wonder where my time goes?

There are still a number of roads I have not been on in New Hampshire, Vermont, and Western Massachusetts, and New York environs. Hard to believe, I know. I wanted to double check Cummington, and decided to head there via Massachusetts 116 (from Deerfield) and then south on Route 112. Cathy and I bought a large book collection in Conway about 15 years ago, but I had not been back since, nor gone further west on this Scenic Byway – thus the plan. Route 116 is great, and passing through town, I finally have a Massachusetts covered bridge to share.

Conway, Massachusetts Covered Bridge

It was then west to Ashfield. Thought I had never been there, but recognizing a few things, realized I came in from the opposite direction – but again, I never shared that in a post.

You know me and country stores. Ashfield’s is now the historical society museum.

always hard to get a shot through a window avoiding glare, but hey IT’S A COUNTRY STORE.

A tad further west the main center of activity, albeit closed for most part.

Now the story, and fond memory, of the sign on the red garage.

The double sided porcelain bus stop sign (from the 40s probably) was still to be found around Haddonfield, NJ, when I lived there. My Dad wanted one – but we were not ones to misappropriate something. On a visit from Florida, he and I were at the antique flea market in Berlin, NJ. He got ahead of me. When I caught up he said, “well, what are you going to buy me?” I was clueless. He finally stepped aside saying, “there is my sign.” Yes, he bought it – I have no idea what happened to it, but he probably made good money, and I have the memory.

Turning south on Massachusetts Route 112, also a Scenic Byway, at Goshen I turned west on Route 9 to Cummington. Yes, I had been there. Located there is great old agricultural fair I have to attend (COVID Cancelled this year) and also a seldom open historical society – and, yes, with a country store recreation in the side.

Cummington, Massachsetts, historical society in old Tavern building.

I have to get back to my page of “rocking chair studies.” Here is another, and the country store is in the wing to the rear.

and, down the road, and up the hill is the William Cullen Bryant homestead — now with two “drive-bys” it is on the list to visit – and coming down from Vermont on Route 112 is the perfect BB road trip – maybe with leaves soon.

Continuing down Route 112 I came to Five Corners Worthington, but sadly no sandwiches in the country store.

Turning off onto a new (to me) road, Route 143 I passed through Peru (Mass. that is, not Vermont – you were thinking South America, I know, I don’t get that lost), and at Hinsdale turned south on Route 8 through Washington and Becket (love the sound of that) to US 20, then west to US 7 (my favorite road in New England – except my dirt routes), and south to Stockbridge. Where I was again welcomed, this time in room 233 on a special deal.

I had a reservation for early April figuring I could travel then after my 25 February back surgery. That would have been my birthday visit for 2020, but I got that Covid phone call, “sorry Ray.” But (a positive Covid thank you) I was a few weeks ago offered 30% off with $100 dining credit. Try to beat $326 for two nights with meals (yes I spent a tad more on wine and food – $40 big deal). If you are going to go anyway, why not save on the way. In the gallery below (which you can click to enlarge) is my room on this trip.

and, then I planted myself on the porch for almost three hours with laptop and books. Can’t get much better.

until I got ready for dinner. Cathy and I were so upset when the dress code changed years ago, and jacket and tie no longer required for the main dining room. It bothers me with folks in shorts and ball caps, but I dress for myself, donned good clothes, a sport coat, but I have relaxed a tad without a tie. Wednesday night I choose blackened salmon.

 

and, where do you think I went when I got up the next morning? Yes – another two plus hours on the porch reading and writing.

until I got on the road for awhile, and headed down US Route 7 to Connecticut and eventually jogging over to New York state to head back north on NY22. I have been traveling this stretch for decades – almost six. I have always had my favorite stops – antique shops, pleasant places, but sadly many are now abandoned buildings. One great shop is still there where I will often get myself a birthday present, but not this year. I always like taking the “original route” – 7A in this case, and swinging into Ashley Falls on the CT/MA border, there is this former antique shop Cathy and I visited. Now overgrown, the stock still inside – at least the building is not falling down as others I used to visit.

Crossing into Canaan, Connecticut, I always enjoy passing the Collin’s Diner which has been there for 80 years, the past 50 with the same owner. Timing was right for eating, and thinking I had not done so before (as you will read later I was wrong), I went in.

Collin’s Diner, Canaan, Conn. from a 1980 postcard.

you can click the above for a larger image. I was a alone inside except for the owner, an eccentric young lady. Checking on-line later in the day for history of the diner (which is all original except recovered seats and stools), I learned from various comments that the mother now retired was fantastic, but the children not as outgoing and friendly. But, hey, part of the charm? Part of what diners are all about? From the stool I was allowed to sit on (“may I sit down there?” “No,” she firmly replied, “you sit there.”) I took these interior shots. As with my galleries, you may click for larger views.

my tuna melt lunch.

and, what could be better than being at a diner? Having a train and Victorian station right outside. The engineer ignored my request to join him in the cab – hey, it worked when crossing Canada years ago.

crossing into NY State, I shopped at a favorite antique center that Cathy and I started going to well over 20 years ago. No birthday present for Ray, but some great book purchases. But then enjoying re-traversing NY22 north, and cutting back to Stockbridge, it was time for – guess what? More porch time, and dinner.

For the first time in my memory, the Red Lion Inn has had dining tables on both the front and side porches. Obviously to gain more seating since the dining room had some tables moved to allow for social distancing. My plan for Friday was breakfast on the porch. A tad “nippy” I had the world to myself.

and then enjoyed my omelet.

goodbye for now.

BUT WAIT – THERE IS MORE – REMEMBER I SAID ABOVE THAT I DISCOVERED TWO RLI TRIPS NOT DOCUMENTED FOR MY MEMORY
Here We Go for 2019 and 2018

and to set the mood, click on this view of the Red Lion Inn lobby for a full screen view from “my seat” where I watch the world, and listen for Cathy’s footsteps on the stairs.

My two night 2019 trip began on my birthday, 12 March, and for some reason has very few images. Only one from that day taken while crossing over the Hoosac Tunnel in Florida (Massachusetts that is). At this point the tunnel is 1,000 feet below. Still need to take the side road back down and explore the tunnel.

Heading south on US7 the next day, I had to see the Sheffield Covered Bridge. For some reason I never drove the short distance off US7 to see it, but having read an article, had to go. You see, an unidentified flying object was spotted by multiple people on September 1, 1969, in Great Barrington, Sheffield, Stockbridge and Egremont. The most compelling account was by Thom Reed, According to Reed, after crossing the covered bridge, he and his mother, grandmother, and brother saw a bright light rise out of the water of the Housatonic River. They were taken, mysteriously, from their car to what appeared to be an airplane hanger, where they saw creatures that resembled large insects. He was separated from his mother and grandmother and taken to a strange room, though he could hear them calling for him. Then, just as suddenly, they were all back in the car. This is part of the report I read on Atlas Obscura.

Looking east to the Sheffield, Massachusetts, Covered Bridge. Site of the Reed’s encounter with a UFO

going through the bridge, below you can see a small park and monument that was established in 2015 to commemorate the happening.

but a dispute over the location prompted the Town of Sheffield to remove the benches and monument 4 June 2019, a tad over a year after I visited getting these images, saying it was on town property, and over a year had passed since notice given to move it.

and the Governor’s marker on the 5,000 pound monument. You can click on it for a larger size.

 

I received my driver’s license in 1962, and enjoyed many a trip in my 1929 Model “A” Ford Roadster. Most of my trips included touring up US Route 7, and my favorite drive is along the Housatonic River from Cornwall Bridge to West Cornwall Connecticut, where you cross the covered bridge into the little village. My favorite picture from that time is above (taken in mid-1963) , just over the bridge in the village at Bruce’s Toll House Antiques that I often visited. I owned this car for twenty years, and sadly sold it in 1982.

 

 

then I headed down to my most favorite US7 spot – West Cornwall, Connecticut, and its covered bridge. As you can see (right) I have been visiting this spot since 1963 (don’t do the math). A few vacancies in the store fronts, but nothing else has changed in this perfect spot on the river. Driving from Cornwall Bridge up to West Cornwall is my favorite portion of my favorite US Route 7.

 

West Cornwall, Connecticut, Covered Bridge 13 March 2019

and,

“Downtown” West Cornwall, Connecticut, 13 March 2019

 

Then over to Millerton to a favorite antique shop for over 20 years, and I did get myself a birthday present. This arts and crafts looking set of candle sticks. Photographed here in the back of the car for the posting never made that night, and now happily on the window sills in my kitchen. More “flames of a hopeless romantic.”

Eventually back to the Inn for my second night. Below is a gallery of the dining room – click to open larger sizes if you wish. Sorry, not my best images.

 

 

Now, setting the stage it is 30 April 2018, and off for two more nights at The Red Lion Inn, returning on 2 May via some new discoveries.

To lessen the burden on your eyes, I have eliminated some images where there was overlap from the two excursions related above. For this trip I headed west on Vermont 9 from Brattleboro, stopping to get a bite at the always tempting Royal Diner.

Royal Diner – Brattleboro, Vermont

On this trip I turned south on VT 100 and probably worked my way over to Mass. Route 112 (it may have been on this trip that I ducked into Ashfield from the west), and eventually I got to Cummington which I wished to see. Showed you the outside of the museum above, but guess what? On this first trip here I got somewhat of a view of the country store in the museum.

I then discovered for the first time the William Cullen Bryant Homestead, and here are two views I did not take in 2020 and show you above. First heading up the drive, and you can see the great barn with all its expansions.

and, then looking through the porch off over the fields and distant hills.

I probably headed all the way down 112 to Huntington where I turned west on US 20 – this portion Jacob’s Ladder Trail. Always a lovely route. (both images below can be clicked for larger viewing — I recommend traveling the route below).

and historic

 

with this monument along the way commemorating the road built in 1910.

and when I arrived in Stockbridge, guess who greeted me?

and, in my room…

where do you think I went next?

in the evening, of course listening for her footsteps…

and, I had company

You want to guess where I headed the next morning? Yes, down US7 to West Cornwall.

and to document the years of visits

 

Close by to West Cornwall is Lime Rock Park. Would you believe I had never been there? I approached, there was a club doing practice trials, I was allowed to sign in, and watch what was going on.

Working my way back into Massachusetts, I scooted over to Southfield, Massachusetts, which is way off the beaten path, but another great ride. Here was the Buggy Whip Factory Antiques Mall. While we had our shop in New Preston, CT (less than an hour south) I displayed books here, and made lots and lots of money.

Back to my “second home,” and then upon waking time to head back home. But, a different route to catch some new sights, more covered bridges, and some history to share.

Heading north, and not sure which route, I found some areas around Bennington, Vermont, that I had not explored. Near Bennington College, and south of Sodom (have to get there) I found

the Paper Mill Covered Bridge, and the Henry Covered Bridge

I do have to go back because my memory of what is what is a tad vague with the time passed. But also is this home and historic marker for the “Birthplace of Vermont.”

I have to get back to pinpoint the history for you – sorry. And also nearby on a remote dirt road is an encampment spot of John Stark in 1777.

and the road in front of the monument looking west.

this panel will give some idea, but I promise to go back to get the correct story for you.

Well, a great deal here, and thank you for getting this far on three of my Red Lion Inn breaks. If you got this far, leave me a comment so I know you survived. Then you will be part of internet history documented here along with 112,565 other page views. Not a viral record, but certainly impressive for my silly writings.

As always, thank you for being part of my trips, love, RAY

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5 Responses to MY “SECOND HOME” – THE RED LION INN – 9-11 September 2020 – and bonuses 2019 and 2018

  1. Marcy says:

    Made it to the end! Love all of your trips, especially when you are at the Red Lion Inn. I favor the back roads too. Thanks for taking us along!

  2. George Lush says:

    Hi Ray, Greetings from the Southwest. Yes, New England does have its charms. Two comments: I too am appalled at the spectacle of grown men dining in fine restaurants wearing graphic t-shirts, beat up athletic sneakers, and baseball caps. Several years ago I had lunch at the Collins Diner on my way to MassMOCA in North Adams. I found the woman there snotty and unpleasant also. Reminds me of the time I stayed at a B&B in Portsmouth, NH. I swear the hostess was Mrs. Danvers from Daphne du Maurier’s “Rebecca.”
    Just spent the weekend in Yuma, AZ. Toured the historic Yuma Territorial Prison, the US Army Quartermasters Depot, and the museum at the Yuma Proving Ground. Then went 650’ underground at the Castle Dome Mine Museum.
    There’s adventure around every corner if you’re willing to look for it!
    Happy Trails to You, George

  3. Gary says:

    Looks like fun! But on future excursions please try to avoid any “off-world incidents” on either side of the Sheffield border.

    • Ray Boas says:

      I should be so lucky to have an “off-world incident.” And, I certainly would like to have some friendly ghost encounters. Slept in enough old inns and B&Bs to have been with some. The must have had the day off when I am around. Here is hoping.

      >

  4. Juanita Sweet says:

    HI Ray….. Wayne and I truly enjoyed this post with all your adventures. We love the country stores also and Route 7. Your pictures are great! I hope your travels go into a book one day for everyone to enjoy. Should be a best seller! Looking forward to the next adventures!

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