Sunday, June 1, 2014

Breaking Bad in the Berkshires

Today's destination is western Mass and Northeast Connecticut, better known as the Berkshires. It is a beautiful sunny day, almost too sunny, skies are blue blue and temps upper 70's but very little moisture in the air.

Head out the Mass Pike to Feeding Hills, MA. Anne Sullivan, tutor to Helen Keller, was born here.

Feeding Hills Congregational Church

Make my way to Westfield, MA the Whip City. Westfield had cornered 85% of the buggy whip international market, hence the name. While I was passing thru picked up some historical spots along the way.

DSC_2525_6_7WOJ_Real ES

DSC_2546_7_8WOJ_Real ES

Van Deusen, H. M., Whip Company - Westfield MA

Jump on US 20 thru Jacobs Ladder. Did you know US 20 spans the continent from Boston to Newport Oregon.

Jacobs Ladder

Heading for Rusell Inn. Pick that up and keep heading west on US 20.

Russell Inn

In Chester stopped for this great gas station. I am sure I have passed this before, but today it was a must stop photo op. Somewhere along here I had to vere to the left because there was a police SUV with its lights on. As I passed them I saw a black bear lying on the street next to the curb presumably dead. I did give it some thought about going back for a picture, but who wants to see a dead bear. It definitely was out of its element, but not necessarily out of its environment.

Charlies Gas Station

Hung a right off US 20 (Huntington Rd) onto Middlefield Rd which turns into the Skyline Trail for the town of Middlefield. My stop in addition to the Double Down tour is also a National Historic District. Middlefield was born from agriculture and has remained pretty much that way since the late 1700's.

Middlefield Center Historic District

Middlefield Center Historic District

Middlefield Center Historic District

Leisurely ride up the Skyline into Dalton, pass right thru and head for the Pittsfield Fire Dept.

Pittsfield Fire MA

Just outside of Pittsfield proper is Charles Power's House. The house is unusual architecturally since it was adapted from the Elizabethan period homes in England. Charles was a bank and the mayor of Pittsfield.

Power Charles Whittlesey House

I passed this spot heading south on US 7 and at the first turnaround spot I headed back for the photo op. This is one of four items for one of the NER Tag games

Rumble Strips

In Lee visited the Hyde School which was built in 1894. Right across the street was this great Victorian Home. Both are on the NRHP.

Hyde School

Victorian House Lee MA

In Lee got my Double Down at Lee Mermorial Hall, which is the town hall built in 1874. Lee originally was a lumber, agricultural and lime producer. It evolved into paper making. Lee also had some very fine marble, that was used in the West Wing of the US Capitol.

Memorial Town Hall  Lee MA
This is the Court House where Arlo Gutherie stood in front of Judge Jim Hannon
for throwing trash down a hillside in Stockbridge in
Alice's Restaurant.

In Stockbridge stopped for the Casino. Built in 1887 it was an entertainment and social gathering place. In the 20's it was sold to some folks for $1 on the condition it was moved to its present location. Daniel Chester French, sculptor,  was involved with the move. Who was French, think Abe Lincoln in the Lincoln Memorial.

Stockbridge Casino

Stockbridge Casino

Moving my way south thru Great Barrington and to Sheffield.

Great Barrington Fire Dept

Sheffield Pottery

In Sheffield there is the oldest existing covered bridge in Massachusetts. Unfortunately after restoration some arsons burned the original bridge. This is a reproduction of the bridge and still significant to be on the National Register.

Covered Bridge, Old  Sheffield MA

Covered Bridge, Old  Sheffield MA

Crossed over the border into Connecticut in North Canaan.

North Canaan Elementary School

Right next to one another is the Collin's Diner and the Union Depot. The depot was built on the intersection of 2 railroads, where the crisscrossed one another. Built in 1872 and serviced passengers until 1971.

Collin's Diner Canaan CT

Union Depot - North Canaan CT

Union Depot - North Canaan CT

In Canaan stopped at the Canaan Radiator Shop for Double Down. I am not showing this picture because it is totally uninteresting. Actually I forgot to upload it. But there were a bunch of teenage to young 20's kids hanging around and I am sure they were wondering what the heck I was doing.

The next road I figured was a dirt road, but to my surprise was paved. I missed one of the houses targeted because it was on the Register and then came into a section where everything seemed to get real real bright.

Specialty Minerals Inc  Limestone Quarry

Specialty Minerals Inc  Limestone Quarry

This place is quarried for limestone and is quite noticeable on Google. CLICK HERE (if you want)

Right down the road is an early user of the limestone. Beckley Furnace was built in 1847 for producing pig iron and operated until 1919. It was originally housed in a building and this is what remains of it today.

Beckley Furnace - Canaan CT

Beckley Furnace - Canaan CT

I am headed east now along the top edge of Connecticut. The store I picked up for the Double Down is also listed on the National Register. This store has be in continual use since 1812, not a bad run, eh?

Colebrook Store

Further east is the Old Riverton Inn and the Hitchcook Chair Factory. Both were built in the early 1800's

Old Riverton Inn CT

Riverton Historic District

Getting toward the end of the day stopped in West Suffield and Suffield of some Double Downs.

West Suffield Congregational Church

Suffield Fire

Crossed over the Connecticut River into Broad Brook. Another really neat gas station.

Broad Brook Garage

It seemed to take forever to make to South Woodstock. I missed this place earlier in the season and since I was sort of going this way figured I would knock it off the list.

South Woodstock Baptist Church

From South Woodstock, found the I-395 and headed for home.

For the day I picked up something like 19 towns which puts me right around 75 points for season. Today's miles about 288. (actually that is exactly how many mile) CLICK HERE for additional scenes from the director's cut.

UL 2014 06 01

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