After surviving New York City the ride up the Hudson was fun along Hwy 218. It was
not a long highway but it was a very welcome highway. For the last month we have
been riding in cities or freeways. With the short exception of the day spent riding
the poker run at Gettysburg Bike Week we have not ridden a good motorcycle road since
we hit Philadelphia. Since then it has been Atlantic City, Outer Banks, Williamsburg,
Washington DC, New York City and the heavily travelled multi-lane roads in between.
This road gave us some nice views of the Hudson as we rode along the winding and
We are headed to the Catskills, a range of hills (that they call mountains here)
that has a road reported to be good riding. They are right, it is about a 50 mile
loop, not long but enough to keep us entertained for a few hours.
The small town of Woodstock, famous for its 1960's music festival, is along the route
and worth a visit.
After the easy day in the Catskills we are headed to Connecticut and some more tourist
We stopped at Gillette Castle. The home of William Gillette the 1800's actor that
made the role of Sherlock Holmes famous. Gillette is the one who invented the image
we imagine today of Sherlock Holmes, pipe, magnifying glass and Deerstalker hat. These
are not mentioned in the books but are entirely the invention of William Gillette
who played the role onstage more than 1300 times across the USA and Europe. He built
this house out of "fieldstone" and wood. Each door has an intricate latching system
all out of wood, with each of the 47 doors being a unique design. The raw stone
outside of the castle gives it a forbidding and macabre appearance that is totally
different from the warm and inviting inside.
Just below the castle, on the Connecticut River is a ferry that has been running
constantly since 1769. Of course the actual ferry has been upgraded several times
but it is still a small ferry on a back road carrying, first carts and horses and
now cars and motorcycles, as it has for almost 250 years. It is not big enough for
We cruised the roads of Western Connecticut past fieldstone walls and cemeteries
with thin flat headstones from the 1700's. Very unlike our grave monuments today
that are solid works of art, the earlier headstones are like a wooden board that
has been set into the ground at the head of the grave. After a couple hundred years
they are often tilted, or broken as well as very weathered.
Mystic Seaport is a recreated whaling/fishing seaport of the 17-1800's. It has buildings
and ships, both salvaged and recreated, from that time period.
It has craft persons, left a cooper making barrels, and several museums, right of
figureheads, in the various buildings.
Rhode Island is next with a quick stop at the famous Cliff Walk. This is a three
and a half mile walk along the waterfront in front of the houses of the rich and
famous. The very, very rich decided this would be a great place to have a summer
cottage and they moved here in droves. The Vanderbilt's and the Carnegie's and others
built homes with over a hundred thousand square feet as "Summer Homes". We did not
walk the entire route, there are places to enter and exit it at street ends between
some of the houses.
This is the Vanderbilt's 133,300 square foot home of seventy rooms and all the modern
conveniences like dual fuel lights, gas and electric in the same fixture. They could
use whichever one was working at the time. And indoor plumbing for each of the multitude
No pictures were allowed inside so you will have to imagine the glory. Think of
the painted ceilings and walls of the castles of Europeand you will have an idea. Not
quite as ostentatious but close.