Greenpoint, October, 2015

Friday, July 27, 2012

Barely Coastal

Postcard from Poquetanuck (c. 1910)
In a recent post, I reported on an excellent coasting, aka, "rolling," run through the gentle hills of Ledyard, Connecticut, that dropped you in Poquetanuck, a village of Preston. When I was growing up, Poquetanuck was a sleepy little place with a church, a few old houses, Bob Hall's trophies and uniform shop, and the aptly named Brookside bar. It fronts a marshy expanse known to us as Stinky Cove because at low-tide it really stank. Low tide? Yes, the cove is brackish, drawing water from the Thames River and ultimately the Long Island Sound. The coast of Preston.

Sleepy now, but at one time, before it was reincarnated into a mill village like nearby Hallville, Poquetanuck was a busy little port and shipbuilding center. In 1786, Jeremiah Halsey had built there a very curious boat, a "snow-brig," named the Lady Strange. Double-decked, about 150 tons, she was constructed wholly of planks. According to the indispensable History of New London Connecticut by Francis Caulkins, the only timbers used were for the keel, stem, and stern post. "She proved to be a good sea vessel and a fast sailor, and mad several voyages from New London, but was afterwards owned in Philadelphia." The application for the Registry of Historic Places claims the Continental Army ordered a 36-gun frigate to be constructed at Poquetanuck but I'm skeptical. These days, you can kayak there--if you don't mind the smell.

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