Living outside of Boston we are surrounded by history. Today, the Old North Bridge Hounds rode out of Longfellow’s Wayside Inn in Sudbury, Mass. The Inn has been open since 1716 but it became famous when Henry Wadsworth Longfellow made the tavern the gathering place of his 1863 book, Tales of a Wayside Inn (at the time Longfellow visited, it was called the Red Horse Tavern). The enormous popularity of the book caused generations of poets, artists and readers to seek out the landmark and, judging by the number of people there today, it’s still a big draw. The link above is to a PDF version of the poems and well worth the read.
In the 1920s, the Inn was preserved by Henry Ford as a living museum of American history. For a time he also ran a boys’ school from the property.
On the grounds of the Inn is another famous structure — the Wayside Inn Grist Mill. It was commissioned by Ford and designed by renowned hydraulic engineer J.B. Campbell of Philadelphia. The Mill ground its first grain on Thanksgiving Day 1929 but it’s real claim to fame is that starting in 1952, The Mill provided stone-ground
whole wheat flour to Pepperidge Farm! The Grist Mill produced 48 tons of whole wheat flour a month—approximately 9,000 tons of whole wheat flour during the 15 years of the lease arrangement. Later, the Mill produced flour for the King Arthur Flour Company.
But enough history. Today we were invited to the Inn for a ride through the surrounding trails and a lunch in one of the historic dining rooms. 20 horses and riders rode out from the grounds, past the front door of the Inn and over to the Grist Mill. We wore our cubbing attire and drew quite a crowd!
I had brought Zelda and was glad with the choice, especially when it came to the Grist Mill. Imagine riding up to a building with a working water wheel and a narrow wooden bridge surrounded by tourists who were fascinated by the horses . . . It took a lot of coaxing to get the horses over that bridge.
Zelda was very brave and didn’t put up too much of a fuss. I think she was more bothered by the
loose board on the bridge than the waterfall, but there were certainly a lot of interesting things going on and with so many people watching, we wanted everyone to stay safe.
After the requisite photo op, we headed off onto the trails and had a very pleasant ride. It was a beautiful warm day and there was a piney smell in the air.
I forgot to turn on my GPS tracker, but we probably rode about 8 miles. Then it was back to the Inn for lunch.
What a great way to spend the day: horses, friends, great weather and good food!