Wednesday, July 5, 2017

(41) The Road West

Wayside Inn, Sudbury, Massachusetts.

July 4, 2017
Taunton Massachusetts to Syracuse New York

Our time with Wally and Georgia was a respite we desperately needed. As much as our trailer needed maintenance, we needed rest and quiet. We found that in Taunton.

"Whistling past the graveyard."
We decided to leave on July 4th, not because we necessarily wanted to but because we need to start heading home and I need to get to California to retrieve the Ranchero. Wally and Georgia have been gracious hosts.

Milk Bottle Restaurant
Taunton, Mass
As we left Taunton we stopped at the milk bottle restaurant. I don't know if that's what it is called, but that's what it looks like to me. It is a giant milk bottle that is a wonderful piece of roadside kitsch and is actually a bit of roadside sculpture that needs to be appreciated more than it is. It appears to be built of wood. Wood strips laid on a vertical plane and bending around the contours of the milk bottle. Apparently it was at one time a restaurant, or a dairy, or a dairy's restaurant. I don't know which. But I certainly got a kick out of it.

Tribute to Sudbury's
Revolutionary Patriots
From Taunton we drove to the Wayside Inn in Sudbury, Massachusetts. It is now called Longfellow's Wayside Inn and is the oldest operating inn in the country; since 1716.  George Washington passed by the Wayside Inn on his way to take command of the Continental Army in 1775. Henry Wadsworth Longfellow was known to frequent the Inn. Apparently its significance was such that Henry Ford purchased the inn. He had hoped to develop it into a historically oriented village and museum. Mr. Ford eventually opened a historic village and museum,  but in Dearborn, MI.  Henry Ford appreciated history even as he said it was "bunk".

Traveling to the Wayside Inn, we found ourselves on the historic Boston Post Road. Once again it seems that the "named highways" followed established routes. The Yellowstone Trail followed the Boston Post Road just as the Lincoln Highway followed the Pony Express Route, the Overland Trail and other historic roads. Each generation, it seems, builds on what came before.

After stopping at the Wayside Inn, Linda and I traveled to Wilbraham Massachusetts to visit my niece Rachel, her husband Ian and their two girls, Piper and Allison. 
Ian, Rachel, Linda, Piper
and Alison

We stopped at a historic Dunkin' Donuts store in Wilbraham. Dunkin' Donuts are an icon in the Northeast. It was apt that we should visit with Rachel and her family a Dunkin' Donuts store along the Boston Post Road.

Our visit was far too short. It's been a while since I've seen Rachel and our short visit made me remember how much I enjoyed spending time with Rachel and her family. That has been the story with much of this journey. This is been a long vacation by anyone's standard. But I feel that I could spend as much time as I've spent on this entire vacation in any one locale. I have the nagging feeling that I'm shortchanging much of the history of this region as well as shortchanging the amount of time I'd like to spend with family and friends.

After Wilbraham we began climbing into the Berkshires. 
The Berkshires are not a great mountain range by Western standards, but their rugged rocky face frustrated this nation's best engineers and slowed the westward movement of this country, at least for a short time. I have to confess that I've always been fascinated by the eastern forest. The mixture of deciduous trees and evergreens is a beautiful combination.

This was on display in abundance in the Berkshires. It is rugged, yet beautiful country. I wish I had more time to spend here.

Our next small town, Chester, featured an old railroad station which was now a museum.

Dave, the curator of the museum opened up for us and gave us a tour. There was an old wooden caboose, and displays featuring much of the history of railroading through the Berkshires. Once again I regretted that I did not have more time. It really is a significant museum of railroad history. 
The caboose is available for lodging!

Museum Curator, Dave

Guardian of the station - Durango

After Chester came the town of Stockbridge. It is where Norman Rockwell has his museum. Although we didn't make the tour, we had fond memories of his "Main Street America Life." 
Next came Pittsfield. I loved the lake on the outskirts Pittsfield. It did not look that different from an old postcard scene that I have.

The lake "then"
The lake "now"

Shortly after Pittsfield he entered New York and quickly proceeded towards Albany.

We negotiated the streets of Albany, only becoming lost only once.

New York State Capitol 
construction 1867-1899
4 government agency buildings
 Cultural Education Center
so called "the egg"
 After Albany we proceeded on Route 5 W making our way along the Yellowstone Trail.  We saw amazing architecture along the Trail.  Linda kept eyeing the spires...Enjoy!

We ended our long day just east of Syracuse, New York.


  1. It was wonderful seeing you both again! Thank you for stopping and making us part of your journey.

  2. How's old Syracuse doing? Went to part of 6th grade there, I think, and finished 6th grade in central Mass. Then it was off to California, but not to pick up a Ranchero. At this point our stories diverge. Hard to keep it all straight anyway. I await further posts to discover whether the Yellowstone Highway actually goes through Yellowstone.