Six museums over a two night stay in New Haven, Connecticut. The Port Jefferson Ferry and a short drive along the Connecticut coast and we entered New Haven.

The city has several buildings with great architecture. This might be expected in the vicinity of an ivy league University.The Yale campus and spires are limestone and sandstone. Handsome is the word that comes to my mind. No cookie cutter design here. Four story dorms, blocks of secret societies. A town square open to the sky.   Skyscrapers in down town New Haven may reach 25 floors.

The ferry swayed as we crossed the Long Island Sound. Strong westerly winds rocked the boat enough to warrant an announcement. “Attention.  Please stay seated or accompanied by someone”. I watched the horizon rise above the window sill, then dip below. A March Madness basketball game kept my attention.

We checked into the New Haven Hotel, right in the middle of the city and within walking distance of most of the museums. After we settled in, we took a walk to scope things out. We saw lots of charming shops and cafés. We chose a Cuban Restaurant. You might expect a spectrum of cultural cuisines in a college town.

We went back to the hotel and March Madness basketball. The second morning, breakfast at a vegan café, then off to the Yale bookstore where Nancy bought a t-shirt. I bought a paperback by Verlyn Klinkenborg titled: Several short sentences about writing.”  I recognized his name from short rural snapshots published on the editorial page of the New York Times.

The Yale cemetery has several notable bodies buried there – one included is Eli Whitney. He went to Yale and was among several other notables buried there.

Our first full day was Friday. We visited the Yale museum of British Art, The Yale Museum of Contemporary Art, and in the evening, attend the theatre in the Yale Performing arts Theatre. The “Assassin”, was a musical about attacks on our presidents??!

The songs included “just one little finger”. It covered Lincoln, Kennedy, Garfield, Ford. Regan, and McKinley. At the start of the performance, I felt ill. I have been having pain in my abdomen. I had to leave and was not allowed back in. I watched the show in the foyer.

On Saturday, we visited the Peabody Natural History Museum. Astounding! The mineral exhibit was outstanding. Spotlights in the darkened space brought drama to the huge, sparkling mineral shapes. A thirteen foot brown bear with five four inch razor-sharp nails on each hand towered over me. Size matters! This exhibit instantly reordered my perception of bears. I wondered how the high the grizzly is by comparison. The Dinosaur room is breath taking  I stood at the base of a Brontosaurus and looked straight up. This animal is the size of a two-story building. Its femur is my height. I sketched the front flipper of the largest marine turtle that ever lived. The flipper alone is 10 feet! Several Yale Paleontologists brought back many fossils on early expeditions which are on display.

Next was the New Haven Historical Museum. An Eli Whitney cotton gin was on display. New Haven had lots of industry including a corset factory, clocks, cotton thread shipped internationally.

Our last tour was the …the Knights of Columbus museum. We looked at an exhibit of the Irish immigration after the famine; collection of crucifix from all over the world…Nancy liked the ones from Mexico. While Nancy visited a rest room, I found a door to exit. As we descended the stairwell, the lower exit door said emergency only. We climbed back to find ourselves locked in the stairwell! An anxious cell phone call to security and two minutes later, we were free. “This has never happened before.” commented our savior. “Once again,  you’ve  found a way to get us in a jam” Nancy said. My response “We all need a bit of excitement.”

 

Tom Stock

Tom Stock has been involved in the Long Island environmental and outdoor education community for decades.

He has published two books; THE NISSEQUOGUE RIVER: A JOURNEY and HIDDEN AGENDA; A POETRY JOURNEY.He has also published many essays and poems in such journals as the Long Island Forum and The Long Islander.