Monday, October 12, 2015

O Little Town of Stockbridge...

This morning we explored Stockbridge, first settled by English missionaries in 1734, who established it as a mission for the Mahican Indian tribe known as the Stockbridge Indians. Reverend John Sergeant from New Jersey was the first missionary, succeeded by Jonathan Edwards. Today it is most known for its picturesque Main Street, made famous in a painting by American illustrator Norman Rockwell who lived in the town.
We walked along Main Street and peeked inside the beautiful historic Red Lion Inn. It was established as a stage coach stop in 1773 and rebuilt in 1897 after a fire. It is one of the few remaining American inns in continuous use since the 18th century.
We also poked around in Williams & Sons, a quintessential small-town American country store.
On the other side of the street, we walked along until we found the sundial at 23 Main St., the site of Jonathan Edwards’ home when he lived here. A little further along was the Stockbridge Mission House (closed for the season), where Edwards taught the Stockbridge Indians.

Our next destination was in Monterey, and I decided to get us there by driving through Beartown State Forest, a forest I discovered on the map, which I’d never heard of before, even though I grew up in this county. Wow, was that a good decision! It was the most spectacular drive through lovely trees with vibrant colors. Apart from one car that followed us about halfway in, we were the only ones there. We stopped for a while and went for a short walk in the woods.

Eventually we arrived at the Bidwell House Museum, built around 1750 for Reverend Adonijah Bidwell who was called as the first minister for a settlement in Monterey (named by England after a battle in Mexico, for some odd reason). The settlement ultimately failed, as it had no water source for powering mills. This house survived and has been kept up continuously since then, but all the other buildings of the original settlement are gone. The property includes 192 acres with walking trails and markers where you can still see old cellar holes, the site of the first meeting house, etc.
A number of old stone walls (a very characteristic New England sight), are still extant, marking out property boundaries. Robert Frost's words kept running through my mind: "Something there is that doesn't love a wall..." and "Good fences make good neighbors." (from "Mending Wall")

We had a late lunch at Friendly’s – a favorite Eastern US chain featuring ice cream and burgers and sandwiches. I had what I’d been craving for a couple of days: a Fishamajig®.

1 comment:

Heather van Woerden said...

I remember seeing those rock walls in Connecticut too and was told they were Civil War era. The colors are so fantastic but I know that the photos can not even come close to the vibrant, almost fluorescent nature of the color. Lucky you!

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