Friday, March 29, 2019

On to Scranton Pennsylvania!

…continuing with our August 2018 road trip exploring parts of New England and the northeastern United States.

This was the nineteenth day of our trip.  We drove from Litchfield Connecticut to Scranton Pennsylvania, using back roads until we reached I-84, about 10 – 12 miles north of its interchange with I-684.

When we came to New Milford Connecticut, I had to stop and take a photo of this attractive old railroad depot.  This depot on Railroad Street was built in 1886 by the Housatonic Railroad Company.  The depot was served by passenger trains until 1970.  It’s now home of the Greater New Milford Chamber of Commerce. 

At the time that the railroad came to New Milford, the town was experiencing an economic boom.  It was a center for regional tourism and as well as the principal location for the processing and packing of tobacco in the Housatonic River valley.    

The first photo we took after crossing back into New York State was of this antique International tow truck/wrecker appropriately sitting proudly on its pedestal.  It’s a classy advertisement for Patterson Auto Body in Patterson New York.  Website:  Nice paint job!

I will admit that this big old depot was depressing to look at… The New York, Ontario and Western Railway Company (O and W) depot in Middletown New York was completed in 1893.  This 3-story Richardson Romanesque style building was constructed using pressed brick and sandstone.  It is about 237 feet long.  The station was closed in 1957. 

It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2014.  It had been sold to a health center that wanted to redevelop it for its use.  Financial problems prevented the project and it’s been returned to the city.  Take a good look as it’s likely that this old depot will be razed in the not too distant future.  A photo from 2013 showed that the structure had seriously deteriorated in the 5 years before we took these photos…

To learn more about the New York, Ontario and Western Railway Company, the first notable U.S. railroad to completely abandon it’s mainline, go to

We just liked the classic look of this building in Middletown New York.  It’s been well maintained and whatever it was, the only information I could find on the Internet is that it is permanently closed.  It may have served as a hotel or an apartment building.  I didn’t have an address and I couldn’t find anything about its history. 

This is the former Erie Railroad Depot near the center of Middletown New York.  Located on the railroad’s mainline, this station, which was built in 1896, replaced an earlier depot that was built in 1843.  This Romanesque revival structure was served by trains running between Jersey City New Jersey and Chicago Illinois. 

This station served as a passenger railroad station until 1983 when rail service was taken over by the Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s Metro-North Railroad using a different rail line.  As you can see, this depot was renovated and restored.  As of 1995, it reopened as the Thrall Library.

The sign on the side of this building adjacent the old Erie Railroad Depot states that it’s a used book store.  I’d guess that at one point it handled freight for the railroad. 

We finally arrived in Scranton Pennsylvania.  This is the former Delaware, Lackawanna and Western Railroad Station.  This neoclassical French Renaissance structure was built in 1908 as both a passenger train station and office building.  The last train left the station on January 6, 1970.  The building was shuttered and left to decay.  The marbled lobby was used for storage.  It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1970.

The good news is that the building was purchased by a local community action corporation as part of a project to revive Scranton’s slumping economy.  Subsequently it was renovated, refurbished and reopened as a hotel in 1983. 

Note: The other part of this plan to revive Scranton’s economy is the subject of my next post. 

The building still retains its original clocks, doors, fountains, stairs, ceilings, walls and overall ambience.  Today, this old depot is now the Radisson Lackawanna Station Hotel.  To check out the hotel, make reservations or just to see photos of the interior, go to the website at

When it was time for dinner, a bit of research left me conflicted regarding our destination for the evening.  Eventually I got around to asking the helpful desk clerk at our Hampton Inn for some suggestions.  Nonno’s Pizza and Family Restaurant sounded like our best option.

The first photo shows the bar area at Nonno’s… They were doing a decent early evening business.  The inside dining area was pretty quiet although business did pick up half way through our dinner.  This is a big and very spacious restaurant…

It was a bit hazy but outside dining drew more early diners than the inside option did.  Part of the charm of Nonno’s outdoor option is that it’s covered with vines so it’s shaded, and it has a great view of the valley below.

FYI, the stadium that is so prominent in the second photo is PNC Field, Home of the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders, a NY Yankee’s affiliate, one of the ‘Triple A’ baseball teams in the Northern Division of the International League.  I love some of the names of minor league baseball teams.  RailRiders is an eye-catching name, but in this division of the International League, the Lehigh Valley IronPigs has to take the prize! 

 After ordering a couple of adult beverages, we decided that we’d order Nonno’s Garlic Bread with Cheese as our ‘appetizer’. ($3.95) As you can see, it was a huge portion…and it was nice and garlicy too!  FYI, it was ‘Miller Monday’ so my Miller Lite was only $1.50…

Our entrees both came with soup or salad.  We both opted for a nice dinner salad as shown...

For her side, Laurie chose the sautéed spinach.  It was good but given the fact that her entrée came with more spinach, it was a bit of overkill.

Laurie ordered the Veal Saltimbocca. ($19.99) As described, ‘top round veal medallions layered with prosciutto, spinach and mozzarella cheese, finished with a Marsala wine sauce’.

It was good but it was way too much food, especially given the big order of garlic cheese bread!  Also, she is used to much thinner slices of veal and as you can see, this was a very robust and hearty version of this traditional entrée.  ‘Sad to say’, I ‘had’ to help her with a bit of that veal!

For my entrée, I chose the Chicken Piccata. ($16.99) Described as chicken breast sautéed with lemon, garlic, capers and white wine then tossed with carrots, broccoli and penne pasta.

My dinner was nice but just a bit bland for my taste.  More garlic would have been an improvement for me, but probably not most diners.  I popped it up with lots of parmesan and some Tabasco and I was a happy camper.

Despite all of the food we’d eaten, we still had a hankering for something sweet.  So we shared this slice of Caramel Crunch Cake. ($6.50) It came with a lot of caramel drizzle and a bunch of whipped cream.  It was very good.

We enjoyed our meal at Nonno’s Pizza and Family Restaurant.  The menu is quite large and includes everything from hoagies to wraps to burgers plus pizza and a nice variety of Italian entrees.  This restaurant is located at 6 Radcliffe Drive in Moosic Pennsylvania. (Moosic is a suburb of Scranton) Phone: 570-961-2250.  Website:

That’s all for now.  My next post will reveal a special attraction and the real reason we headed home via Scranton.

Just click on any of the photos to enlarge them…

Thanks for stopping by for a visit!

Take Care, Big Daddy Dave

Wednesday, March 27, 2019

Last Full Day in New England

…continuing with the 18th day of our August 2018 exploration of parts of the northeastern United States.

Following our visit to the Norman Rockwell Museum, our goal for rest the day was simple…sightseeing and historic Litchfield Connecticut, our final stop in New England.

The West Cornwall Covered Bridge carries CT Hwy. 128 across the Housatonic River.  Previous bridges were destroyed by floods in 1837 and 1864.  This wooden covered lattice truss bridge was completed in 1864 and, despite floods, an ice jam and an overweight truck falling through it, this 155 year old double span bridge is still operational.  Steel I-beam flooring was added in 1973.  The bridge is listed on the National Register of Historic Places…

I couldn’t find out much about this old railroad depot at 6 Railroad Street in West Cornwall Connecticut.  It’s currently used as a residence with work/professional space on the first floor.  Apparently it was built by the New York, New Hampshire and Hartford Railway ca. 1890.

The rail line is still active, part of the Berkshire Division of the Housatanic Railroad.  After crossing the Massachusetts/Connecticut State Line at Canaan, the line continues south to Danbury.  This line serves a paper mill, a limestone quarry, a plastics manufacturer, a pharmaceutical company and 2 food manufacturers.  The railroad has been considering re-starting passenger service…but time will tell.

This large old red home is located at 413 Sharon-Goshen Turnpike (CT Hwy. 128), close to the West Cornwall depot.  The Wishhouse features a variety of gifts, clothing and home accent pieces by local craftsmen as well as from around the world.  Website:  

Well known people who live or lived in and near West Cornwall include: Ethan Allen, Revolutionary War hero and co-founder of Vermont; Actor Oliver Platt; Author James Thurber, "The Secret Life of Walter Mitty", and; Actor Sam Waterson.

This handsome old Italianate style home is located at 417 Sharon-Goshen Turnpike (CT Hwy. 128) in West Cornwall.  It was built ca. 1870 for Stephen and Helen Foster.  Stephen was instrumental in bringing the railroad to West Cornwall.

Once known as the ‘pink house’, at one time it also served as an inn.  It is currently for sale.  Note the temporary covering over the roof on the lower section of the home.  There was a fire so major renovations will be needed.

To learn more and to see some photos of the interior and the rear of this property, go to  FYI, there is a barn apartment on the property at the rear of the home.  Sadly, significant funds will be required to return this property to its former glory. 

Entering historic Litchfield Connecticut, we noted this striking building at 40 North Street being used as a branch unit of Union Bank.  The numbers at the top of the building are a bit ‘different’, but I think they read 1891. 

This is the old Methodist Episcopal, now the United Methodist Church of Litchfield.  The church was established in 1836 but their current church building at 69 West Street was dedicated in 1885.

The building shown above is at 29 West Street, right in the center of Litchfield and across from the Village Green.  It was built in 1895 and formerly was home to a Talbot’s store.  Now it’s occupied by Bosson Eyewear, Oliphant and an Oppenheimer office.  Oliphant features jewelry, custom upholstery, furniture, clothing, gifts and accessories.   

The Village Restaurant has been at 25 West Street since the 1950s.  Love that ‘eyebrow’ window at the top center.  This building was constructed back in 1890 as part of the revitalized town center.

The Kitchenworks at 23 West Street is occupying a architecturally interesting building that was completed in 1900.  This building is currently for sale…asking price is $950,000.

This Romanesque revival style structure at 15 West Street is the fourth Litchfield County Courthouse to stand in the middle of town.  The first one was built in 1752, it was replaced in 1797 and the second one was destroyed by a fire in 1886.  The third courthouse was completed and then it too was destroyed by fire in 1886.  This ‘new’ structure was completed in 1889 and it now serves as the Litchfield Judicial District Courthouse. 

The center of Litchfield has been shaped by fire.  In 1886, the town’s ‘great fire’ began on June 11 at a general store.  With no adequate means of fighting the fire, it burned down all of the flammable structures it could reach, including the large Mansion House Hotel.  The third courthouse also burnt down…as noted above.  The fire was stopped 30 feet past the courthouse at a brick building.  Litchfield’s business district was described as being “simply cleaned out”.  Only 26 months later another fire swept the town.  It burned up to the ‘new’ courthouse.

As a consequence of these fires, the town fathers immediately revoked all building permits for wooden structures.  That former big hotel was replaced with the Phelps Block as shown the photo above.  With 5 shops on the ground level and an opera house on the top, it was the ‘crown jewel’ of a rebuilt Litchfield!  Note the stone block in the photo dated 1887…

Ollie’s Pizza is in a building that was in the right place twice (as regards fires)…and it was built with brick.  The building occupied by Ollie’s Pizza was built in 1830.  FYI, there is a studio apartment on the second floor. 

Ollie’s Pizza was our choice for a casual dinner.  While there were entrees such as Spaghetti and Meatballs, Eggplant Parmesan and Chicken Alfredo, we were looking for something more ‘casual’.  No burgers, wraps or sandwiches either.  After all “Pizza” is in this restaurant’s name!

As you can see from the photo, Ollie’s is about as casual as one could hope for…pretty basic décor.  But then we noticed artwork all along the walls.

These local works of whimsical art are reminiscent of Grandma Moses’s art…or more playful versions of my mother’s primitive style paintings.  These creations were cheerful, complex and just happy!

 This was our sausage and pepperoni pizza. ($18.00) It was very good indeed…and we…or rather I…ate the whole thing!  Ollie’s Pizza is at 19 West Street in Litchfield Connecticut.  Phone: 860-361-9400.  Website:

After dinner, we wandered around Litchfield, checking out all of the old and even older homes… Litchfield’s Historic District was the first of its type in Connecticut.  The entire District includes more than 475 buildings and it’s listed on the National Register of Historic Places with part of the town designated as a National Historic Landmark District.

What follows are few photos of a few homes/historic buildings on one street in Litchfield…

This is the Lynde Lord House.  It was built in 1771 at 179 North Street.  Lynde Lord, Sr. was High Sheriff of Litchfield County for many years.

Well known people who live in or near Litchfield include: Eugene Fodor (Fodor's Travel Guides); Author Elizabeth Gilbert "Eat, Pray, Love"; Actress Susan St. James, and activist/author Harriet Beecher Stowe, "Uncle Tom's Cabin".  Note: Ethan Allen was actually born in Litchfield.

Dr. Daniel Sheldon lived in this home at 115 North Street.  Sheldon built this house with its unusual (for the time) mansard roof in 1785.  His daughter lived in the home until 1889, living here until she was 100 years old. 

John Allen attended the Litchfield Law School from 1784 to 1786.  He set up practice in town and became active in politics.  He served in the Connecticut House of Representatives and also in the U.S. House of Representatives.  His Federal-style home at 91 North Street was built ca. 1799.  The home was expanded and altered in the Italianate style ca. 1865.

This is the William G. Peck House at 84 North Street.  Peck was born in Litchfield and graduated from West Point.  He served in the Topographical Engineers Corps and later taught math at West Point and Columbia College.  The house was built in 1867.

This home at 73 North Street was built by Elisha Sheldon in 1760!  It’s commonly referred to as Sheldon’s Tavern…mainly because it actually was a tavern in the late 1700s.  One tradition is that George Washington slept at the Tavern.  Sheldon joined the Continental Army at the beginning of the Revolutionary War, serving under the command of General Washington.  As a Colonel, he commanded a cavalry regiment, the Second Continental Light Dragoons…aka “Sheldon’s Horse”.

In 1795, the new owner, Uriah Tracy,added that Palladian window…much like the one at Julius Deming’s house across the street.  Tracy served as a member of the U.S. House of Representatives as a U.S. Senator.

Thomas Sheldon built this home ca. 1775 at 47 North Street.  However the house is more commonly associated with Benjamin Tallmadge.  He purchased it when he arrived in town in 1782.  Tallmadge was an aide to George Washington during the Revolutionary War and served as the general’s intelligence deputy.  He married the daughter of William Floyd, one the signers of the Declaration of Independence.  He was a merchant and a banker…

To view many of the historic properties in Litchfield and to learn a little about them, just go to  The National Register for Historic Places does not have information on the Litchfield Historic District on-line at this point…

I’ve ended this post with a photo of the Litchfield Post Office at 16 South Street.  This new ‘building’, completed in 1896, probably resembles what many small town post offices looked like in the 1800s.  I noted that there is an apartment right over the post office…1,000 square feet with 3 bedrooms and 1 bath.  The apartment has 9 foot ceilings.  Wouldn’t have to go far to mail a letter!

In my next post, we’ll be on the road to Scranton Pennsylvania…with a few items of interest along the way.

Just click on any of the photos to enlarge them…

Thanks for stopping by for a visit!

Take Care, Big Daddy Dave

Monday, March 25, 2019

Stockbridge Massachusetts and Beyond

…continuing with day 18 of our August 2018 road trip to the northeastern United States.

Following our tour of the Norman Rockwell Museum, we headed into Stockbridge for lunch and to look around the town.

This is the Red Lion Inn, located in the center of Stockbridge.  As per tradition, a small tavern was established on this corner in 1773.  Over the years it was expanded several times.  By 1884, it was known as the Stockbridge House and it provided accommodations for 100 guests.  However, a fire in August of 1896 completely destroyed the building.  The rebuilt hotel was opened in May of 1897.  It remained in the same family for over 90 years. 

These photos show the lobby area and the stairs leading to the rooms upstairs.  Note the low ceilings as compared to today’s hotels…

The Fitzpatrick family has owned the Red Lion Inn since 1968.  It is the last of the nineteenth century hotels still in business in the Berkshire Mountains.  A Red Lion has always been the hotels symbol and the name has been used since ca. 1900.  Noted guests have included Presidents Cleveland, McKinley, Theodore Roosevelt, Coolidge, and Franklin Roosevelt.  Other guests have included Nathaniel Hawthorne, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Thornton Wilder, John Wayne and Bob Dylan. 

This is the bar area at the Red Lion Inn.  Note the old wood plank floors!  The bar really looks like an old time pub doesn’t it?

It was another beautiful day and the outdoor dining option was a popular choice.

These are 2 views of the main dining room at the Red Lion Inn.  We were seated in this room by a window.  It was like taking a step back in history.

Tomatoes were in season during our visit so Laurie started out with this luscious and attractive Tomato Salad.  At $14.00, it was a little pricey…but it was good.  Laurie also had a glass of Pinot Grigio. ($9.00)

I started my meal with a good if not great, cup of clam chowder. ($8.00)

For her entrée, Laurie selected the Quiche. ($16.00) I don’t recall what was in the Quiche but Laurie thought that it was very nice.

For my main dish, I ordered a Grilled Grass-Fed Beef Burger with Cabot Cheddar Cheese and a small side salad. ($17.00)

The food at the Red Lion Inn was competent but not great.  It was a very expensive lunch but hey, we were paying for history and ambiance! 

This cat was hanging out in the lobby area.  From his attitude, he owned the place…tolerating the continuous attention for visitors.

The Red Lion’s Porch was our favorite place of the whole Inn!  We relaxed for a little while before moving along…

The Red Lion Inn is located at 30 Main Street in Stockbridge.  The Inn is one of the Historic Hotels of America. (

To learn more about dining options at the Red Lion Inn as well as information regarding their accommodations, just go to

This antique car rolling by seemed fitting given the history of the Red Lion Inn and Stockbridge itself. 

This brick Dutch Colonial building provided offices for the board of selectmen, the town clerk, assessors and the town’s police department beginning in 1884 when it was completed until 1963 when they moved to the newly renovated Town Hall.  Today, as the photo shows, the building is home to a Yankee Candle Store and The Image Gallery. 

The Williams and Sons Country Store at 38 Main Street in Stockbridge is a gift shop.  The building has been here ca. 1790s. 

Stockbridge’s Main Street Historic District is listed on the National Register of Historic Places…but related information has not been entered into the Federal information base. 

Despite the sign, the Stockbridge General Store is a bit of a misnomer.  It is operating as the Main Street Café and they serve breakfast, lunch and coffee.  I wasn’t able to learn more about this old building…except that it has a current estimated real estate value of about $758,000. 

This attractive old building at 44 Main Street is currently occupied by the 7 Arts Gift Shop.  Note the attractive window décor and the outstanding architectural touches on the upper front portion of the store.  This store is focused on used vinyl and CD’s along with related equipment needed to play the music and vintage clothing. 

This handsome Victorian Italianate home is located at 39 Main Street in Stockbridge, right across from the stores and restaurants.  From what I read, it was built ca. 1900.  I can’t determine if it’s still on the market or not…but interior photos on reveal that a new owner should have plenty of money available to restore the home and modernize it!  Check it out at

St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Stockbridge was organized in 1834.  This is the second church, replacing an earlier wood structure that had been built in 1840.  This stone church was completed in 1884.  Built with Berkshire limestone, the church was a gift from Charles Butler, the same New York attorney whose summer “cottage” is on the grounds of the Rockwell museum.

The church uses a Norman Rockwell image of the building on their website.  Rockwell was a St. Paul’s parishioner.  A bronze sculpture entitled “The Spirit of Life” completed by Daniel Chester French resides on the covered porch leading to the main entrance.   French is best known as the sculptor of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington D.C.  He was also a member of this church.  The marble Baptistery in the church was designed by Sanford White, a noted architect. (White was famously murdered at New York’s Madison Square Garden by a jealous husband)   

To learn more about St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Stockbridge Massachusetts, go to

This is the old Gothic revival style Stockbridge railway depot.  It was built in 1893, replacing an earlier structure that had been completed in 1850.  This rail line was originally served by the Stockbridge and Pittsfield Railroad, then the Housatonic Railroad and finally the New York, New Haven and Hartford.  The latter railroad provided passenger service to Stockbridge until 1968 when the Penn Central Railroad took over the line.  All passenger service ended in 1971. 

The Stockbridge Depot is now leased by the Berkshire Scenic Railway Museum. The Museum is planning to use this historic building to display historic exhibits and to use the property for special events once tourist train service by the Berkshire Line is re-established to Stockbridge.

This diner wasn’t open when we drove through Canaan Connecticut.  The New York Times called the Collins Diner one of the top 10 diners in New England.  This diner has been designated as a National Historic Landmark.  It is an original Jerry O’Mahony design.  It was named after the original early 1900s horse drawn eatery that was based in the same location.

Collins Diner is located at 53 Main Street (Railroad Plaza) in North Canaan Connecticut.  Website:

To learn more about the Jerry O’Mahony Diner Company (New Jersey), go to  

This is the Canaan Union Depot.  This former union station (serving more than one railroad) was built in 1872.  It was at the junction of the Housatonic Railroad and the Connecticut Western Railroad…with the latter acquired by the Central New England Railway.

Look at the track configuration.  The depot or station was located between 2 rail lines.  The depot is in the center of a triangle…with tracks on all 3 sides of the building.  The 3-story tower was occupied by the electric telegraph operator.  Each of the 2 90-foot wings of the building were occupied by a railroad company.  The first floor contained a large restaurants, very important before dining cars became common.
More than half of this station was destroyed by an arsonist in the fall of 2001.  The Connecticut Railroad Historical Association purchased the remainder in 2003 and they began to restore it.  From the way it looked when we stopped by, it looked like the restoration was complete!  It’s a beautiful depot.  I wasn’t alone taking photos.  Three other families or individuals were taking pictures too…with the locomotive way down the track in the second photo, eventually switching back and forth on the tracks around the depot.

To learn more about the Canaan Union Station and The Connecticut Railroad Historical Association, you can go to  

One more night in New England and then we start the drive home…with a few stops along the way. 

Just click on any of the photos to enlarge them…

Take Care, Big Daddy Dave