By Lindsay Godfree
Discover the glow of glorious autumn leaves in Deep River, a picturesque New England village where you can appreciate the history of the area while strolling on a sunny autumn day. The foliage of orange, red and yellow sashays lazily from the trees and forms a colorful potpourri on the water. The town’s water feature cascades over reflections of multicolored trees in a lovely central park that beckons you to stay awhile.
Everyone has told you that you will love Connecticut in the fall, with the crunch of dried leaves under your feet and colors dripping from the trees all around you. Indeed, how could you not love it? Just wandering around town for a few hours can turn your thoughts to New England again every autumn.
After thoroughly soaking up the colors, the splashing water sounds, and the crisp, earthy smells, you can stop for a delightful lunch at The Ivory Restaurant & Pub at #1 Kirkland Street. Relax on the outside patio and enjoy their famous Lobster Bisque or Blackened Salmon and Spinach Salad while surrounded with trees in their golden glory. Outside on the wall is an informative plaque explaining the historical significance of the restaurant’s name.
It seems that the historical intrigue of Deep River dates back to 1635 when sloops and schooners were built here to sail to Africa to import the curved ivory tusks used to manufacture piano keys and hair combs. The ships also sailed to cities not so exotic but still exciting with the hustle and bustle of import/export trade, such as Philadelphia and New Orleans, to deliver locally-hewn granite.
The manufacturing of ivory products began when George Read started a business at the site now occupied by Piano Works Condominiums. The town grew up around this industry and for generations the children of Deep River “cut their teeth on ivory rings,” as they say. Their parents were skilled at turning ivory into combs, buttons, and piano keys. In fact, the Pratt, Read & Company factory became the nation’s main supplier of piano keyboards.
During World War II, the factory was converted to produce more than 900 Waco CG4A Glider Aircrafts to carry troops and supplies into combat. The CG4A could carry a jeep, supplies, or 15 infantrymen. A glider built here and christened “VooDoo” embarked from Montreal behind a tow plane on the first and only transatlantic glider flight on June 23, 1943. The present building is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Deep River is an ideal spot for boating from the town landing located where Kirkland Street intersects with River Street. There you will find a boat launch area for canoes, kayaks, and other boats. It also features a picnic area with a gazebo. You could boat over to the island park of Seldon Neck State Park, where the Nature Conservancy calls the Lower Connecticut River Valley and its tidal estuaries “one of the last great places.” There are unspoiled walks, hikes and biking trails for all to enjoy.
To get there: From I-95 take Route 9 north or from I-91 take Route 9 south, then take Exit 5 and just follow the signs to Deep River.
If you go:
Relax at The Riverwind Inn Bed and Breakfast and discover more local color. http://www.bedandbreakfast.com/connecticut-deep-river-riverwind-inn.html
Or perhaps go camping: State Park Camping in Four River Parks
For more information: Deep River, Connecticut
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