Sunday, September 23rd, came along as a bright, crisp morning. As soon as I opened my eyes, I knew it was a day made for a bike ride. Biking is still very new to us, but I've already gotten in the habit of thinking up little "surprise tours" for Kathy. She never knows where she is going as we head out of our driveway. I may know in advance where we are going, but these rides are always full of surprise for me as well...
We started by taking small side streets skirting Middletown and leading us to the Arrigoni Bridge. It is a beautiful bridge that crosses the Connecticut River between Middletown and Portland. When we got to the middle of the bridge it was time to take a little breather.
The sign in the center of the photo is on the banks of Portland, urging folks to "Come on Over" - This was in the video for Billy Joel's hit "River Of Dreams" which was filmed right here. There is a railroad bridge about 100 yards down river from the Arrigoni that Joel stood on as he sang.
You can tell Kathy is having a terrible time!
We continued on to Portland and my intended destination - The famous brownstone quarries. Portland brownstone is what ALL the brownstones in NYC are made from. Nobody builds buildings with brownstone any more, but there is still a small operation left to supply the world with replacement stone for repairs and remodeling projects. It's the only source for stone with this exact color and texture.
As you can see, the Works Project Administration left their mark here. The quarries are now filled with water at the same level as the Connecticut River. They are barely separated from each other and there has been talk for many years of digging a channel and developing this as a fabulous marina and tourist attraction. I would just as soon they leave it alone.
This is a view from Portland looking at Wilcox Island. The Connecticut river splits, and runs along both sides of this island, which is a Middletown park. When Middletown acquired it back in the 1930's, they built a temporary foot bridge so the townspeople could see what their taxes had bought. The footbridge is long gone, as it blocked navigation on the Middletown side of the river. These days the only access is by boat. The island is completely wild and undeveloped. For a while in the 90's there was an eccentric living at one end in a homebuilt houseboat. They tried everything they could to legally evict him, but they couldn't. I used to mention him and his antics in columns I wrote for the Middletown Press. I always referred to him as "Commodore John DeRay of the Wilcox Island Yacht Club". People thought that was hysterical. The first time I was ever in Middletown was as a 14 year old camper on a canoe trip down the Connecticut River. We slept on Wilcox Island!
So here's a shot of our beloved Arrigoni Bridge taken from Harbor Park, which is down river on the Middletown side. You can see the rusty "River of Dreams" railroad bridge directly in front of it. All in all, we had a great bike ride!