US Road Trip Day 9-11 – Huge Teapots,Tiny Churches and Farewells

We woke refreshed after a leisurely evening and a good night’s sleep at the motel in Oneida. We didn’t have far to travel today so we took our time on the road, stopping off at the very next exit, still within Oneida’s boundaries, to take in a surprising roadside attraction. Just off I-90 lies Cross Island Chapel, the self-proclaimed World’s Smallest Church. Measuring 51 inches by 81 inches, it seats just two people and is only accessible by boat because it sits on a platform in the middle of a pond.

I couldn’t spot the Cross Island that its title alludes to – unless you count a couple of rocks sticking out of the pond. The chapel itself is built on a wooden platform over the rocks, and a cross that looks as if it is decorated with light bulbs adorns a nearby rocky outcrop.

world's smallest church cross island chapel oneida new york

Weddings have actually been held here, with guests sitting in boats around the chapel as the bride and groom say their ‘I do’s’ within the confines of the teeny tiny place of worship. I’m sure it would make for a most intimate wedding.

After our little detour, it took us no time at all to reach our destination; the small town of Hartford, Connecticut, where my friend’s cousin had kindly set aside her spare room for us to stay. The house was on the outskirts of town and deliciously remote, with a large, tree-enclosed backyard that lit up on summer evenings with dancing fireflies. The front of the garden was dominated by a glorious vintage hydrangea in full bloom.

vintage hydrangea white pale flower floral full bloom

My friend was now on a mission to find an apartment and get set up, so we set out for Boston the next morning to get the lay of the land. This was to be my only day in Boston before returning to the west coast, and much as I favour slow travel, I’m not above playing tourist if I’m short on time. We took a trolley tour with a wise-cracking tour guide named Vinnie and watched street performers in the marketplace.

street performer boston ma us road trip usa america

The most interesting sight that caught my eye on our whirlwind tour of Boston was The Steaming Kettle. It hangs on a wall at the intersection of Tremont and Court, where the Oriental Tea Company once had a shop. Cast in 1873, it still steams strong today, even though the Oriental Tea Company has long since been replaced by the ubiquitous Starbucks.

steaming kettle boston

We allowed ourselves to succumb to the ultimate tourist trap, eating at Cheers at Faneuil Hall. The original Cheers is the Bull & Finch on Beacon Street – its exterior featured in the TV show. The Cheers at Faneuil Hall is supposedly the actual set of the TV show complete with rigging and spotlights overhead. The food was average and the atmosphere was suitably cheery, but we didn’t linger long there because we were intent on finding the original Boston cream pie for dessert.

The Omni Parker House is located along the Freedom Trail close to Quincy Market and is built on the site of the original Parker House where Boston cream pie originated in 1856. We went upstairs to Parker’s Bar, which is an elegant, dimly-lit space filled with dark mahogany panels and rich leather sofas. It exudes old world charm and was the perfect ending to our harried day. I am not usually a fan of Boston cream pie – I find the cream sickeningly sweet and the sponge unpalatably dry. The pie at Parker’s was only slightly sweet, allowing the creaminess of the custard to shine through, and the sponge was wonderfully moist. It was served with a small side of berries, and a splash of whipped cream. It was utterly delicious – the only surprise was that the cream was obviously from a can, but it was still the best Boston cream pie I’ve tasted.

boston cream pie parker house

Back in Hartford, with my roadtrip drawing quickly to a close, we had one more day of exploring left. We spent it at a small lake where my friend’s uncle had a house. The day was warm and sunny, and the lake water was refreshingly welcome. As people and dogs splashed around in the cool water, I learned something new about Sprocket. He was afraid of the water, standing wistfully on the pier watching everyone else having fun, too afraid to go into to water himself.

sprocket on the pier

He wanted desperately to join in; I could tell by the way he got as close to the edge as he dared, at one point fitting all four of his paws into one square inch of pier, but despite everyone’s entreaties for him to take the plunge, he couldn’t quite muster up the courage. It was time to employ the distraction method. I grabbed a tennis ball – no doggy can resist a tennis ball – and waved it in front of his nose. He followed me and the ball back along the pier to the safety of the lake edge, down some stone steps and into the water. When he was standing in the water I let him have the ball, which he gleefully brought back to dry land. Once again I picked up the ball and led him down the steps, letting the ball gently bob in the water. He snapped at it and it bobbed a little further out, so he followed it and suddenly he was swimming.

doggy paddle sprocket swimming

He swam just long enough to retrieve the ball and return back to the shore, where everyone congratulated him on his bravery. That was enough adventure for one day. From there on out, Sprocket developed a routine for us: we would throw the ball into the water where a friendly golden retriever would grab it and bring it back to the shallows. Sprocket would wait in the shallow water to take the ball from his aquatically gifted friend and bring it back to us so we could throw it again. I admired his resourcefulness, what a clever boy!

Passing the tennis ball

Oh how my heart ached to say goodbye to Sprocket and my friend, with whom I had shared so many adventures. We rose at dawn the following day to drive into Boston for my flight back to the west coast. I had a lump in my throat as I kissed the top of Sprocket’s head and breathed in his soft doggy scent. My friend and I hugged on the sidewalk outside of the airport and couldn’t find any words to express what we felt, so settled for a knowing look.

sprocket dog love

I love you, Sprocket.

It was the end of an awfully big adventure, but the beginning of another one, for I had received a phone call from another dear friend back in Seattle. She had been unable to join us on this trip due to work commitments, so very sensibly suggested that my road trip should simply continue, this time with her, and this time heading south to Utah. Anyone want to guess what my answer was?

(continued here)

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About ailsapm

Hi there! I’m Ailsa. I’ve lived in many places, and travelled to many more. I had a lot of fun getting there and being there, wherever there happened to be at the time. I climbed a castle wall in Czesky Krumlov, abseiled down cliffs to go caving in the west of Ireland, slept on the beach in Paros, got chased by a swarm of bees in Vourvourou (ok that wasn’t fun, but it was exciting), learned flower arranging in Tokyo, found myself in the middle of a riot in Seoul, learned to snowboard in Salzburg, got lost in a labyrinth in Budapest and had my ice cream stolen by a gull in Cornwall. And I’m just getting started. If you’ve enjoyed what you’ve read so far, I’d love you to follow my travelogue wheresmybackpack.com Remember, anyone who tries to tell you it’s a small world hasn’t tried to see it all.
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103 Responses to US Road Trip Day 9-11 – Huge Teapots,Tiny Churches and Farewells

  1. Quite a trip! I am sure there will be many more… :-)

  2. pommepal says:

    I’m so pleased you said yes. You did say yes didn’t you? I really look forward to your road trips continuation. I will also miss having Sprocket along. Great story….

  3. Gunta says:

    Can’t wait for the next adventure.

  4. Lucid Gypsy says:

    I’ve loved your trip and I’ll really miss Sprocket!

  5. gkm2011 says:

    On the road… I wish I was… Thanks for sharing!

  6. Agness says:

    I would die for the Boston cream pie <3 looks so yummy. Your dog's so cute ;))))

    • ailsapm says:

      That pie was yummy Agness, and Sprocket is cuteness personified. He’s not my dog though, he’s my friend’s, I just got to travel across the country with him and fall in love with him too.

  7. writecrites says:

    I, too, will miss Sprocket and your adventures with him. Perhaps your Seattle friend has a dog who would like to tag along?

    • ailsapm says:

      Hee hee, she actually has two hysterically funny dogs who I love dearly, but they have both decided to stay home and keep her husband company whilst we go gallivanting around the southwest!

  8. vyvacious says:

    I would love to taste original Boston cream pie! It looks so delicious!

  9. My friend invited me to a do a road trip through Boston – this made me glad I said yes! A very beautiful post :)

  10. Lovely post!
    I love the look in Sprocket’s eyes when he is swimming. It’s just love and great gratitude to you helping him to get in to the water but not having to jump from the jetty. Aren’t dogs just wonderful?
    Have a wonderful Thursday.
    Marie

    • ailsapm says:

      Thanks Marie, I adore his face in that photo too, he was concentrating so hard on getting to the ball and doggy paddling like there was no tomorrow. I agree wholeheartedly, dogs are wonderful! :)

  11. quite simply says:

    Oh Ailsa, tears welled up in my eyes whilst looking at Sprockets in the last pic… our canine friends, they are so precious. Stanley’s (my dachshund) eyes were very different when I arrived home tonight with his favourite KFC popcorn chicken in hand, and with lick, gobble and chew, the packet was gone! Looking forward to reading more of your journeys. :-)

    • ailsapm says:

      Just writing this got me a little teary, missing my little car buddy. Sheesh, dogs are so good at sneaking into your heart, aren’t they? I have a great visual of Stanley’s face when he smelled the popcorn chicken. :)

  12. pommepal says:

    G’day Ailsa I just love your post so I just had to pass this on http://pommepal.wordpress.com/2012/11/15/another-award

  13. Chaotiqual says:

    Reblogged this on chaotiqual.

  14. Ailsa, I so enjoyed your road trip posts! Looking forward to the next adventure ~ Kat

  15. And now to Utah, how exciting! Be sure to wave as you drive past the home I left just last year! I look forward to reading more, and also, heading out this weekend to find that Boston cream pie.

    • ailsapm says:

      Oh boy, what a stunning part of the world you used to live in, ididitforjohnny. Yes, find that Boston cream pie and think of me as you savour each tasty bite!

  16. What a lovely ending to a great story. Looks like Sprocket feels the same way about you!

  17. sued51 says:

    Ailsa,
    Sorry this trip is over but another will begin?! Great!

  18. wonder how long it took you to decide on another trip?! thanks for sharing the sprocket adventure – it was sad to see the end of the road but enjoyable throughout

  19. poppytump says:

    Have really enjoyed reading along your road trip Ailsa ! it’s been chocka block filled with interesting happenings places people and Sprockets doings … Marvellous :-)
    Thanks !

  20. These are beautiful pictures! Looks like so much fun!

    • ailsapm says:

      Oh Natalie, you have no idea how much fun it’s been (and continues to be) – I think everyone should do an epic road trip at least once in their lifetime! xxx

  21. Thanks so much for sharing your journey! Perhaps there is a rescue society around your area that has the perfect pooch to keep you company on all your road trips. :D

  22. adinparadise says:

    What an adorable and brave dog is Sprocket. :) What an amazing trip the three of you had. I’ve so enjoyed following you, Ailsa.

    • ailsapm says:

      Yes, he’s such a brave boy, and a total sweetie. We’ve had the most incredible adventures and I’ve enjoyed having you along for the journey, ad! Stay tuned for more adventures!

  23. ideflex says:

    A beach chair, a tasty treat and dogs! What more can we ask for…. lovely.

  24. Looks like a fabulous adventure! Enjoy the next one, too! ;-)

  25. Oooohhh I’m looking forward to more! Bye Sprocket!
    Sent from my BlackBerry® wireless device

  26. Amy says:

    Thank you so much for taking us along, Ailsa! Sprocket is such a sweetie, will miss him.

  27. I have enjoyed this roadtrip and look forward to your next adventure. Brave Sprocket!

  28. viveka says:

    I thought the world’s smallest church in outside Niagara Falls ???? Living Waters Wayside Chapel, the look very similar – first I thought it was the same one. Anyhow they are very small.
    Boston is a fantastic city – great food … great shopping and all that water. At Quincy Market I had my first sandwich wrap and that was over 20 years ago. Love Beacon Hill – what a place – with the old street lamps – wouldn’t mind one of those houses. Had a very nice and rich male acquaintance in Boston at one time. Loved the park with the Frog Pond.
    What amazing trip you have been on – how come you have to say goodbye to Sprocket ???
    The swimming photo of Sprocket – are so lovely.
    Are you now going on your own ????

    • ailsapm says:

      Ahh viveka, Sprocket is not my doggy and I am not his human. I was just helping my friend and Sprocket move across the country safely. They are going to be living over there now, but I am returning to the west coast and joining up with another friend to explore a bit more of the country.

    • ailsapm says:

      Oh, yes, Living Waters Wayside Chapel is no longer the smallest church in the world – it measures an enormous 120 inches by 120 inches so it quite a bit bigger than this one. It looks quite similar though!

      • viveka says:

        Oh, I thought he was your dog .. must have missed that.
        He was so happy there in the water – understand that it was hard to say goodbye after an adventure like that.
        I looking forward to the next chapter of your journey.

        Okay … for a while I thought it was the same church .. what I have the moved Living Waters Chapel – from the road siunderstand de now.

  29. Your are having the time of your life. EXCELLENT! Enjoy, be safe, and be well. :-)
    (Cute chapel)

  30. colormusing says:

    Looks like so much fun!!

  31. petit4chocolatier says:

    What a fun trip! Love the smallest church! Love the hydrangeas, the dogs swimming, and that delicious Boston creme pie!!

  32. starlight says:

    looking forward to your next adventure… of course i knew you will say ‘yes’..

  33. shras789 says:

    Reblogged this on Sherry's Space and commented:
    That is nice,where is that

  34. Were you not thinking of all of us, Ailsa, when you didn’t poochnap Sprocket? That face! We’ll miss him as well. Safe travels to you.

  35. Angelia Sims says:

    The sweet sorrow of saying good-bye, especially to dear Sprocket, and all the wonderful adventures. I am thrilled with your time on this trip. What fun, and that little chapel is odd, but charming. :-)

    • ailsapm says:

      Yes, that chapel was quirky, for sure, Angelia. Oh I had such a hard time saying goodbye, but there’s a whole new adventure to look forward to once I get back to the west coast! xoxo

  36. Clever Sprocket. Hope you can be reunited with him and your friend soon, but in the meantime…Utah! One of my favorite places on the planet. Do enjoy, and post LOTS of pics. ;)

  37. Pamela says:

    Love you Sprocket……bye……hope we meet again!

  38. Susie C. says:

    I’ve been loving the story of your travels with your friend and that sweet-faced Sprocket. We’ll be hitting the road again in 2013, but in the meantime, I’m enjoying hitching a ride with you! :)

  39. Awwww Sprocket is such a handsome boy!

  40. Sprocket looks like a lot of fun!

  41. I love the pictures!! (They’re making me hungry! ^.^) And I love the story of Sprocket – teamwork between the golden retriever and him? Right on! :)

  42. What a great trip, I’ve enjoyed your adventures and am looking forward to what the next one will bring!

  43. PragueByKaty says:

    Nice trip and beautiful shots, our dogs will never ever go to the water, maybe not even much close to it :-)

    • ailsapm says:

      I had a doggie who was terrified of the water, until one day when I was walking him he fell into a canal. After that, he discovered a love of water, he’d leap in at any opportunity. :)

  44. Jeff Sinon says:

    I’m finally catching up on your adventures, sounds like you’ve had a great trip s far. However, having grown up in CT, and being able to see the skyline from my mothers house in Glastonbury, I would hardly call Hartford a “small town.” Maybe not NYC big, but it’s a big enough city for me. :-)

    • ailsapm says:

      And I’m finally catching up on comments, Sir Jeff :) We were staying on the very outskirts of Hartford, so it definitely had a small town feel, I just did a search for the Hartford skyline and yeah, you’re right, it’s more city and less town. :)

      • Jeff Sinon says:

        Your adventures have attracted a pretty big following, I can imagine you have a lot of catching up to do. I don’t know how people do it. I try so hard to keep up with all the comments, visiting the blogs I follow and liking or leaving a comment here and there, there aren’t enough hours in the day :-D

        • ailsapm says:

          I know, Jeff, I got really far behind being on the road with only occasional access to the internet! Good to hear from you, my friend! :)

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