“Hey, you turkey!” and Other Random Thanksgiving Thoughts

Thanksgiving pstcd 1002If anyone is reading this, chances are you are still sleepily digesting the remains of Thanksgiving dinner*—or perhaps you are in line waiting for stores to open their doors this evening…  In any event, Thanksgiving, one of the major national holidays, is upon us once again. Based on travel statistics this holiday sees more people on the go than any other. Going where? Why, home, of course!! Maybe it’s just me (and I don’t think it is) but people seek out the face-to-face comforts of home and family—and friends–even in this seemingly always-connected world. Don’t believe me? Try to find a seat on an airplane or train in the days leading up to the fourth Thursday in November. Continue reading

Connecticut’s Lost Picnic Areas

Just about every Sunday in the 1950s, our family would pile in the car, and my father would drive to Dick’s, the local filling station, and get one dollar’s worth of gas. Then we would head off to the back roads of Connecticut, frequently stopping for lunch at one of the many roadside rests scattered throughout the state. Facilities at these picnic areas varied greatly, from a couple of wooden picnic tables tucked beneath the trees, to elaborate picnic grounds, with fireplaces, running water, and pit toilets.They had names like “Seven Falls” and “Frog Rock” that sounded exotic and glamorous to a small girl who had never traveled far from home. Some had big rocks and trees that could be climbed, others had lakes or streams or stonewalls to explore while Dad got the picnic basket from the trunk and Mom laid out the picnic lunch. This 1954 map issued by the Connecticut State Highway Department shows just how numerous these picnic areas once were. Some still survive today, but many have disappeared.


This map has been digitized and cataloged with support from Connecticut Humanities. To view more maps from the Connecticut Historical Society’s collection, go to Maps and Charts: Finding Your Place in Connecticut History.

10 Eggs, a Pint of Brandy

One of our current exhibitions is Cooking by the Book: Amelia Simmons to Martha Stewartan exploration of food in Connecticut from the colonial times to the present. The developers read any number of cookbooks in preparation. In the collections here at CHS we have a large assortment of both printed and manuscript recipes gathered by individuals or organizations, like those produced by a church or civic organization. Continue reading