I can’t believe it’s December: A weekend run on the shore

View from the Frosty 5K turnaround point.

View from the Frosty 5K turnaround point.

 

It is hard to believe that it is December here on the Connecticut shoreline. No Arctic Express snow; no Nor’easters off the Atlantic; just bright, bold sun, clear and calm skies and temperatures in the mid-50’s.

In other words, perfect running weather.

And that is just what I did, opting to drive over to Guilford and jogging from the Guilford Green down to the harbor and back over the course mapped out for the Frosty 5-K race set for New Year’s Day.

The starting point at the Guilford Green. Greens were the focal point of many early New England villages and served as grazing planting areas.

The starting point at the Guilford Green. Greens were the focal point of many early New England villages and served as grazing and planting areas.

Guilford was founded in 1638 by Puritan minister Henry Whitfield.  The Rev. Whitfield, after leaving New College Oxford, was ordained in the Church of England but soon became a Puritan as did his close New College friend George Fenwick.  After being censured in 1638 as a dissident, the Rev. Whitfield gathered 25 Puritan families from Surrey and Kent and brought them to Connecticut.  Upon the advice of Fenwick who had established the Saybrook Colony a few miles up the coast, the Rev. Whitfield bought land in what is now Guilford and founded a village.

Guilford is one a series of quaint old New England towns that stretch between New Haven and London and is especially noted for its collection of historic homes, some of which date back to the 17th century and which can easily be seen as you run the 5-kilometer course.

And there are also more modern structures also of interest.  The first mile leaves the Green and takes runners down a long flat stretch of Whitfield Street that is lined with many large older homes.  Then you pass over the railroad line and down into a section with smaller homes bordering salt marshes.

Just past the Mile 1 marker: Not the Starship Enterprise but a condo that overlooks Long Island Sound. condo

Just past the Mile 1 marker: Not the Starship Enterprise but a condo that overlooks Long Island Sound.

Mile 2 of the course takes in lovely views of tiny Guilford Harbor and Long Island Sound and ends with a runners facing the Henry Whitfield House and Museum, erected in 1639 and which not only served as the pastor’s home but also doubled as a fort.  In the 19th century, the sturdy stone structure temporarily served as a Catholic Church until Guilford’s first Catholic Church was built.

The Henry Whitfield House. Erected in 1639, it not only was the Rev. Whitfield's home but also doubled as a fort.

The Henry Whitfield House. Erected in 1639, it not only was the Rev. Whitfield’s home but also doubled as a fort.

Between Mile 2 and Mile 3, the course passes behind the Henry Whitfield House and the Guilford Fairgrounds, down a still shady Lover’s Lane before reemerging on Boston Street with its string of historic homes.   Not your usual tourist guidebook but one fun way to enjoy of American history while putting in a training run.

The Hyland House Museum. The classic red salt box was built in 1690 and is open to the public.

The Hyland House Museum. The classic red salt box was built in 1713 and is open to the public.

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