Friday, September 19, 2008

Revoluntionary War History

Currently in Lakeville, Ct., 7301 miles into the trip.

The last two days have been picture perfect cycling days, albeit a little chilly in the mornings. There is definitely a Fall chill in New England. Left the Boston area yesterday and rode through rural Mass. and Ct. through many villages and towns settled in the 1600's and early 1700's, steeped in Revoluntionary War history.

Stayed at a small inn last night in Stafford Springs Ct. The inn was initially built in 1732 as an inn and tavern and was a stage coach stop between New York City and Boston. It was expanded in 1778 with an addition that functioned as a church. It was a popular meeting place for the Free Masons and was frequented by George Washington and John Adams, who used it as a meeting place to discuss overthrowing the British and framing up the U.S. constitution. In fact, all of the signers of the constitution would regularly meet there and thus Ct. became known as the "Constitution State". I stayed in a room that was used by Lafayette, the Frenchman who helped Washington defeat the British during the Revoluntionary War.

While it was a church, it contained a "wake room". Apparently the early settlers didn't trust the local water and they diluted it heavily with alcohol. After consuming much water, many would pass out and appear to be dead. Many were buried only to find out that when shallow graves would be flooded and the caskets would raise up there were claw marks from the dead when they awoke, thus the term "drop dead" drunk. Upon learning this, a wake room was placed in the church for relatives of the deceased to wait with the recently departed for a few days to insure they were in fact dead. The deceased were also buried with a rope tied to their finger and strung through a pipe to a ringer above ground so if the deceased were to awake while buried they could ring the bell, thus the term "dead ringer". Makes for a great story!!!!!

Also visited another New England institution yesterday, Hot Dog Annie's, where they have been serving New England's best hot dogs for the past 57 years. Not exactly on my cycling diet, but they sure were good!!!! And you have to love the "Thickly Settled" road sign along a rural back country Mass. road.

Another interesting Ct. fact is they were one of the first states, if not the first, to raise tobacco. Note the drying barn above.

As an added historical bonus, had a glass of wine tonight in an old iron factory that made most of the cannon balls for the Revolutionary War and also supplied the cannons for the USS Constitution, the oldest warship in service today in the world, commissioned by George Washington for the War of 1812.

I will travel to New York state tomorrow.

Have a great weekend.


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