Day 14 Hartford, CT to New Haven 59 miles 1,423 feet
“When I was 17, my father was so stupid, I didn't want to be seen with him in public. When I was 24, I was amazed at how much the old man had learned in just 7 years.”
Aside from Benjamin Franklin, I have also considered Mark Twain to have the sharpest whit of any American writer. When I noticed that his house was just a few miles off my route as I was leaving Hartford I could not pass up the opportunity to visit it. The house and museum were closed but I was able to walk the grounds, view the gardens, and see the adjacent Harriet Beecher Stowe Visitor Center.
As I rode through the outskirts of Hartford I noticed that most of the housing stock appeared to be early 20’th Century, had obviously been subdivided into apartments or rooming houses, and desperately needed paint and TLC. The only exception was a one mile stretch along Scarborough Road that was studded with massive mansions behind grand gates on large lavishly landscaped properties complete with art installations and statues.
Of the 59 miles I would ride today, 35 would be on the Farmington Canal Heritage Trail which was built along the right of way that was once a canal and rail line. The total trail travels 84 miles from New Haven, CT to Northampton, MA. The canal was dug over a 10 year period from 1825-1835. Unfortunately the canal was expensive to build and even more expensive to maintain. Just 12 years after its completion, the canal was replaced by a railroad bed. The railroad remained in use till the early 1980’s when repeated flooding forced its removal. Construction and conversion of the old rail line to a multi-use trail began in the 1990’s. The current trail is well maintained, signed, provided with bathroom facilities as well as bike repair stations, but I must admit that it lacks the charm of the trails I have ridden in more rural New England, even if they required me to ride unpaved surfaces. There was some nice artwork along the way, including a massive fill in the blank chalkboard for “Before I Die…”. If you look closely you will notice on the bottom line, “Ride the Trail from Maine to KW.”
The trail ended smack dab in the middle of Yale with its awe imposing architecture.
It was a couple of hours till diner so I took a walk over to Pepe’s (Pepe Frank- Pizzeria Napoletana), 157 Wooster St, for what I heard would be some of the best pizza I had ever eaten. It may not have been the absolute best pizza I have ever eaten, but it was pretty close. I would have to go back to John’s Pizza in the West Village, before it was “discovered” after Woody Allen used it for a scene in his film Manhattan.
For dinner we all walked over to Pacifico Restaurant, 220 College St, for some fine Tapas and fish.
Four states down, 11 more to go.
Miles 776 Feet Climbed 31,528
States Visited Maine, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut
For more details on my route, see my Strava link