December 16, 2014
Mindful that we need exercise even in the oh-so-busy month of December, consider a winter walk among the holiday decorations and the historic sites and buildings in downtown Middletown.
The Middlesex County Historical Society makes it easy to get a sense of the city’s history with a Middletown Heritage Trail brochure highlighting 20 notable sites, some of them right on the city’s mile-long Main Street, others within a few blocks of Main.
Middletown is one of the oldest cities in the state, with a rich history well worth a morning or afternoon of sidewalk sauntering. Its booming maritime economy in the late 18th Century made it Connecticut’s most populous community at the time.
With the downtown shops decorated the holidays, a couple of restaurants on every block, and historic sites aplenty, December is a good month for a long stroll that gets you out of the house and into the crisp winter air. The weather in coming days should be ideal, with temperatures into the high 30s or 40s.
Don’t miss the Riverside Cemetery, cared for by the Middletown Old Burying Ground Association. It is the city’s oldest graveyard, the resting place for many early residents of the community.
You’ll need to borrow the key to the cemetery gate, available nearby at the fire station at 533 Main St. The cemetery itself is behind the well-known O’Rourke’s Diner.
Many of the markers convey poignant messages from centuries gone by. “Here lies one dead which in her life was my loveing (sic) pious wife. Abigail Harris died May the 22, 1723.”
There are many other sites to see, including General Mansfield House and a Civil War Monument at the other end of Main Street. Take the time to walk over to the Connecticut River, only a couple of blocks from Main. My column describing in more detail a history walk in downtown Middletown appears today in The Hartford Courant.