The day started like any other day. I just knew we were running on time for the ferry to Block Island. Boy was I wrong. We missed the 8:30 am ferry. Me the person who is never late. We did make it to the island but our plans got adjusted slightly. It was better for us truth be told. The 11:55 am and 8:10 pm return ferry were not as crowded as the ferry we were originally booked for.
We took the high speed ferry so it took about 1 hour and 20 minutes to reach Block Island. We took our bikes over for this adven koture. The day as super breezy. Riding to the Bluffs was hard going because it was all into the wind. We decided to follow the southern route of self guided bike tour. Edonna had enough of the hills by time we got to the second location she went back and got a moped so that she could enjoy the island more easily. This is sometimes necessary after you had knee replacement surgery. I stayed on my bike.
We did a few stops on the bike tour (narration for bike tour):
The first images are of the Spring House Hotel which opened in 1857. The Southeast Lighthouse, a national landmark. It was built is 1873 but moved to current location in 1993 off the Mohegan Bluffs. There is also an image of the Hotel with the 1661 Farm and Gardens.
We did not walk to the bottom of the bluffs. There are a LOT of steps. I would have stayed down there a few hours if I was going to walk all those steps. Last part of this circle of the tour is the painted rock. I was underwhelmed by it. It was a hard ride there. It was a great day of sun, hard riding, surf and eating.
I highly recommend that if you are in this area to add this to your list of must do. If you leave from New London, CT you can bring your bike. There is no car access from New London. You can take the traditional ferry from Point Judith in Galilee, Rhode Island. You will need reservations if you plan on taking your car. There are plenty of bike, moped and car rental establishments on the island. The beaches are plentiful and should meet all kinds of needs. I cannot believe that I had never done this before. Sometimes you have to move away to get a greater appreciation for the activities there are to do in the area where you grew up.
We spent a relaxing evening catching up with my Uncle John and Aunt Wendy. After a wonderful dinner we had a relaxing walk at Avery Point which a regional campus of the University of Connecticut.
We visited Gillette Castle and Devil’s Hopyard on the same day. They are about 30 minutes apart so visiting both is not bad drive. I would suggest that if you are a full time RVer that you leave your motorhome parked and visit these places via car. Both are on winding, narrow roads with hills with 8% grades in some places. Your heart will thank you.
This is one of my favorite places to hike. You have dense forest; a beautiful waterfall; quiet for days. You are probably trying to wonder how this place got its name. I am taking this straight from the State of Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection’s website:
A search for the origin of the name “Devil’s Hopyard” reveals a wide variety of different stories; none of them are verifiable and all are likely to be more fiction than fact. One of the most popular of these stories is about a man named Dibble, who had a garden for growing hops used in the brewing of beer. It seems that through usage, Dibble’s Hopyard became Devil’s Hopyard. There are records of several farmers having hopyards in the area, but there is no mention of a landowner named Dibble. However, Dibble might have been a tenant.
Another tale focuses on the potholes near the falls, which are some of the finest examples of pothole stone formations in this section of the country. Perfectly cylindrical, they range from inches to several feet in diameter and depth. These potholes were formed by stones moved downstream by the current and trapped in an eddy where the stone was spun around and around, wearing a depression in the rock. When the rock wore itself down, another would catch in the same hole and enlarge it. We know this now, but to the early settlers the potholes were a great mystery that they tried to explain with references to the supernatural. They thought that the Devil has passed by the falls, accidentally getting his tail wet. This made him so mad he burned holes in the stones with his hooves as he bounded away.
Whatever the origin of the name, the place is still as beautiful as I remember it.
We continued our tour of some of my favorite places from my childhood. Edonna is gracious in being dragged along to all my favorite haunts. Gillette Castle overlooks the Connecticut River in Haddam, CT. I have been there a few time on field trips and adventures with my family.
The castle has nothing to do with the folks who make razors. William Gillette was a very popular actor from his time. He was famous for his portrayal of Sherlock Holmes. He obviously had great wealth to create a castle made from stone. He even had his own fire protection system built into the house because he was so far from town. While he had to be eccentric, he is my kind of eccentric. He was a lover of cats (he had 15) and frogs. The table in the front room was specially made with his cats in mind. There are hanging wooden toys all around the table. He loved his cats so that he would glue vases down so that the cats could not knock them over. As a fellow cat lover, that warms my heart. He also known to keep two frogs in the pond area. I forget their names at this time. However, if a frog died or disappeared, he would replace it with another.
There are special passages and mirrors in unique places so that he could see who was coming in the front door or lock the liquor cabinet so that his guests could not access it. He even had his own train that ran through the property. Like I said eccentric. The home has a wonderful view of the Connecticut River. We were outside at right time to see the ferry that takes cars back and forth across the river. There are no bridges on this part of the Connecticut River. Enjoy the pictures of the Castle and surrounding grounds.