Friday, June 20, 2014

A New Beginning: East River to Long Island Sound - Part 2

Driving down the trail
Continuing on down the four-mile paved sections of the NET, it's not far from where we left off at the Griswald House to the next big historical attraction, the Henry Whitfield State Museum.  This is the oldest house in Connecticut, built in 1639, the year Guilford was founded. It's also called the Stone House, and is a landmark in Guilford (where you can also find the Stone House Restaurant and the Stone House Cafe) . 

This might be the right location
Where the Griswald House was unassuming and easy to miss, you can't possibly miss the Stone House, in the same way you can't possibly miss the Corn Palace in South Dakota.  

There's a very old house behind all this bling
The stone house was meant to function as a protective fort from the Natives Americans, although it's also said that the Indians helped quarry the stones. Maybe one tribe was hoping for protection from another tribe, which happened a lot. And regarding all those American flags draped over the was built in 1639 by the British long before American flags even existed.

This is actually a real thing.
Since this is a state facility, there were signs everywhere, including a sign designating parking for Segways. This was so unexpected I had to ask the staff about it. I haven't even seen a Segway in years, and they have special parking for them?  It turns out there is a Segway rental company that advertises tours of Guilford's historic district, and the Segways were taking up all the parking places for cars. Which opens up the intriguing possibility of doing this four-mile stretch of the New England Trail by Segway.  Go ahead. I dare you.  
Blue blazes go right through the complex.  Visitor center is in the background.
We were told that the inside of the Stone House is not original. Where a walk through the Griswald House was like going back in a time machine and visiting a typical house with all it's furnishings and household tools, once inside the Stone House you could be in just about any museum building. There were displays of random old things everywhere under glass cases, roped off, or suspended from the ceiling: A gun powder horn, a saw from a saw pit, furs.  
This section of the NET is called the Menunkatuck Trail

I have no idea.
We breezed through the museum pretty quickly because we were getting hot, tired, and thirsty, and had just had an hour-long tour at the Griswald House.  

This part was original - a ten foot long fireplace
Our next stop was Metro North's Guilford Train Station. The NET goes right through the station, crossing the railroad tracks via a skywalk.  Backpackers could arrive conveniently by commuter train from New York's Grand Central Station, or from Boston. There are no blue blazes inside the building, but I have to believe hikers will figure it out.

Guilford Train Station (blue blaze on telephone pole on right)
Up in the skyway --- on the New England Trail!

Even at the train station there was history. Just to the east of the modern station was an older one dating back to the 1800's, now in ruins. There are efforts to preserve the old station

Ruins of an older train station 

The old water tower. 
After a quick trip to the attractive town center for cold beverages (there were green/blue blazes along the way as this is a side loop for the NET), we were off to our final destination: Chittendon Park. 

Heading to the shore
It didn't take long by car to reach the shore, and it wouldn't take that long if you were walking, either. 

Chittendon Park and Long Island Sound
A quick turn into Chittendon Park, and there's the kiosk I've been seeing pictures of.  Only a few weeks ago they held a Gateway Dedication here, complete with live music and refreshments. I meant to go, but didn't make it. The kiosk is located next to the parking lot, and the park itself is mostly a ballfield. There are no blazes leading you to the shore but all you need to do is walk across the grass towards the water and you'll figure it out. 
Osprey nest (left) and Falkner Island (right distance)

The last few feet of trail
There's a beautiful new boardwalk built for the trail that helps people get over some marshy areas to the shore.

The End. Or the Beginning, depending on your point of view.
What a beautiful ending (or beginning) to this trail. The shore here has just the right mixture of sand and marsh to make it accessible but still natural and wild. We took off our shoes and hung out for at least an hour.

Hermit Crab

Quahog (pronounced Coe-hog)

Sea Rocket

Jingle Shell.   I saved this one. 


No comments:

Post a Comment