Tag Archives: Massachusetts

Massachusetts History at a Family Reunion

This past weekend my extended family (mom’s side) gathered in Sudbury, Massachusetts for a combination graduation party/family reunion. Massachusetts is my mom’s provenance and it’s a place rife with Revolution history. Childhood visits to the grandparents meant stops at Plymouth Rock and the like, and this weekend’s trip followed course. Starting with lunch at Longfellow’s Wayside Inn we spent the day catching up with each other and also, as the day continued, learning about Massachusetts history and folklore.

Longfellow’s Wayside Inn

 

The right half of Longfellow's Wayside Inn, by Karina for TKGO

 

The history: The Inn has welcomed hungry and tired travelers for almost 300 years, beginning in Colonial times. Henry Ford is to credit for preserving the Inn as a non-profit historic landmark.

Today: The Inn serves lunch and dinner 364 days per year, and the menu features classic New England dishes with a modern flair. (Don’t worry, they’re still generous with the mashed potatoes.) There’s no required check-in to dine, though guest rooms are available for a stay. It’s also — as we witnessed — a popular site for wedding functions.

Mary Had a Little Lamb Schoolhouse

 

Filing in for our history lesson on Mary and education, by Karina for TKGO

 

The history: Who knew a little Massachusetts girl and her lamb could spawn so much debate? Mary and her schoolhouse have a relatively convoluted history, and to this day no one can claim to know the full truth about it all. As the poem goes, Mary’s lamb did follow her to school one day, which caused a ruckus. There was a visiting minister-in-training of sorts, John Roulstone, present to witness the fracas, and he returned to the school the next day with a slip of paper containing the first few stanzas of the poem. Whether Roulstone wrote the entire poem or Sarah Josepha Hale, who is the acknowledged author in poem’s first publication, finished it up, we do not know. Regardless of who is the rightful author, Mary’s incident in 1830 became a cultural phenomenon.

Today: Henry Ford (there he is again!) moved what he believed to be the original schoolhouse to a field adjacent to the Wayside Inn, where it now sits. Visitors during the school’s “open” hours are free to peek around the house. If a guide is present (and I believe one generally is during open hours), I recommend sitting in to hear about the history of the house as well as about America’s past educational practices — yes, switching was involved. Our guide was dressed true to Colonial times, and there were even some hoops and sticks out for playing.

Wayside Inn Grist Mill

 

Front of the Wayside Inn Grist Mill, by Karina for TKGO

 

The history: Hydraulic engineer J.B. Campbell built the grist mill in 1929. If it looks vaguely familiar, it’s probably because you’ve seen it on a Pepperidge Farm product. Apparently, the company used the mill for production from 1952-1967 and the Pepperidge Farm logo is based on its picturesque look.

Today: The mill continues to churn out five tons of flour per year, some of which goes into the Wayside Inn’s offerings. It’s definitely worth a visit, whether to be in the presence of classic New England charm or to pick up a lesson on white flour versus wheat from the miller. And if you need more convincing, just check out these lovely, nostalgia-charged Yelp entries.

Start at Longfellow’s Wayside Inn; everything is within walking distance. 72 Wayside Inn Road, Sudbury, MA. 978-443-1776.

Karina for TKGO

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Run It

I don’t ever feel as though I’ve completely explored a place until I run it. If I’m gone anywhere for longer than a few days, I usually pack my running shoes and make it a point to get out in the streets or find a nearby park and just… run. It’s usually a little less than an hour, but for that hour I feel as though I own the place. And whenever I’m exhausted, lying sprawled out on whatever patch of grass in whatever country or state I’m in and look up, I swear I have a new appreciation for the city.

It all started in high school when my family would visit my grandmother in Massachusetts from time to time during track season. I didn’t want to sacrifice days of training, so I’d head out for runs in the idyllic New England town of Shrewsbury. I’d run past coffee shops, churches and turn down residential streets. I’d pass people who waved and imagine what it would be like to live there. So, when I actually started living in different places, I took to the streets (or paths) once again. Below are some of my favorite runs in some of the places I’ve called home — at least temporarily — over the past year.

Barcelona

To be honest, I didn’t do much running while studying abroad in Spain. But about once every week or so, I’d get that itch to run. (If you’re a runner, you know what I’m talking about.) I’d go from my dorm — which was on the same street as La Sagrada Familia (yeah, not real life) — south to the Parc de la Ciutadella. People were always running or relaxing in the park, which contained the Catalan Parliament Building, Modernist architecture and the Barcelona Zoo on the south end (and still, somehow, grass and paths). It was also the favorite gathering-spot of the musical Barcelonan hippies and men’s running teams, which I would try to hang with on my runs occasionally. (And just for the record, their shorts were the shortest I’ve spotted on male runners anywhere.)

New York

Tara and I lived mere blocks from the West Side Highway, which second to Central Park is probably New Yorker’s favorite running spot. The strip hugs the West Side of Manhattan, and I’d start where it intersects Houston Street and run it past tennis courts, high-rise condos, parks, picnics and puppies; the New York Stock Exchange and to the tip of Battery Park. I brought everyone who visited me along that path — even if just for a walk — because in my opinion, it’s the best way to see the city.

Evanston

My first couple of years at Northwestern my favorite run was south of campus along Lake Michigan, which was stunning. This year I’ve been running northwest more often along the perfectly manicured lawns of North Shore bliss — namely, Wilmette. The Baha’i temple, which is the longest-standing of only seven in the world, is less than two miles north. I’m still in awe of it every time I pass.

Karina for TKGO