Day 15 New Haven, CT to Portchester, NY 66 miles 2,082 feet
I decided to take a break from hotel powdered eggs and sausage patties, so I walked over to the Cedarhurst Cafe, 44 Crown Street, New Haven, CT, a family owned, independent cafe, in the Ninth Square neighborhood. The Ninth Square was once an industrial area that has been converted to mixed use. Housing quarters are stacked atop artists lofts, shops, and restaurants on the ground floor. Many buildings and even the streets, are adorned with art. The entire area is very reminiscent of SOHO and my breakfast was delicious.
Looking at today’s route map I knew that my ride would juxtapose poor inner cities with wealthy suburban enclaves. Within miles of leaving my hotel, I rode through West Haven, where once proud homes had been turned into crack houses. Many boarded up houses or burnt out shells lined my route as I rode through.
Less than a mile away were beach front towns with well maintained houses. By the time I reached Milford, less than 10 miles away, I encountered a charming town with beautiful homes. Near Silver Beach older waterfront homes were being replaced with modern homes raised 10 feet in the air on concrete pilings, I guess a nod to the reality of global warming.
For the remainder of the ride I was never far from Long Island Sound, and through the clouds, I could occasionally make out the Long Island Coast about 20 miles away. I rode by countless sandy beaches, the beach sand was not the soft white sand found on ocean beaches. Instead, it was course brownish sand, frequently imported, interspersed with small rocks and seashells. I have sailed upon Long Island Sound and walked along many of it’s beaches since I was a teenager, albeit always with foot ware as the sand is too course for bare feet. The town of Stratford has many fine houses but when I entered Bridgeport I once again witnessed burned out and boarded up homes.
Once out of Bridgeport, the crime and urban blight would be in my rear view mirror. My route included the storied towns of Fairfield, Westport, Norwalk, Darien, Stamford, and Greenwich. These towns all have different names but they have one thing in common, MONEY. The money was so thick that you could smell it in the air as it wafted over the high stone walls and thick hedges protecting the homes from public view. Through some of the massive gates I could catch a glimpse of the grand mansions set well back from the road on acres of pristine lawn, punctuated with tennis courts, fountains, swimming pools (indoor and outdoor), formal gardens, and extensive sculptures. No indulgence was considered too much, as I noticed several mature trees, probably $25,000 a piece, being gently dropped into place by a 50 ton crane. Someone even installed a $250,000 hydraulic lift to keep his motor yacht raised out of the water until he was ready to use her. Many of these homes were built by the robber barons of the early 20’th century. Now these homes are inhabited by Wall Street’s elite, internet gazzillionares, and the occasional professional athlete. Some serve as bedroom homes for the above to commute to Manhattan but many are just part of a stable of homes that the Uber wealthy change as often as ordinary folks change their clothes. It was the first day of autumn and a few trees were just beginning to start their show.
I stopped to grab a sandwich at Kneads, 580 Riverside Ave, Westport, CT. It was quite a nice ham sandwich on freshly baked French bread, but I was shocked when I noticed the $16 price, I guess for the folks that live in this neighborhood, that is just the going price.
I thought I had seen it all till I arrived in Greenwich where I saw a midday croquet game being played by women in formal white attire and men with white pants, blue blazers, and red ascots.
Just down the road I rode past the Bruce Museum which was spending probably a hundred million dollars on a new wing, donated most likely by a Hedge Fund manager, either feeling guilty for doing so well, or merely trying to impress his buddies.
I crossed the Byram River into Portchester, New York,and was instantly returned to reality.
Five states down, 10 more to go.
Miles 842 Feet Climbed 34,802
States Visited Maine, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut
For more details on my route, see my Strava link