Sunday, August 7, 2011

Seafarer’s Trail to Enders Island

by Lisa Saunders (see video)
My hound Bailey and I just trekked eight miles round trip to “The Hanging Garden of Enders Island” on my quest to get "Thin and Famous" along my Seafarer’s Trail.

Before leaving the house I thought I should register with New England Actors in case they put out a call for extras for the next major movie being shot in Mystic. Oh no—they want you to list your weight!  I decided I would first lose some pounds walking the trail. Or should I aim for getting “Fat and Famous” instead?
With a bottle of water, cell phone and wallet in my knapsack, Bailey and I left our house near the Mystic-Noank Library and headed toward downtown Mystic. Along the way, we passed the usual crowd getting photographed under the Mystic Pizza sign and crossed over the Mystic drawbridge to Mystic River Park, where we saw the usual lunch-time dog-walking gang sitting together on a park bench.

The dog on your right is blind and gets to ride in a little cart.

Then Bailey pulled me toward his favorite people in Mystic, Riverdog Kayak Rental owners, Suzanne and Pete, and their lazy greyhound Jordon.

After pampering Bailey (see video) and hearing of my quest to get thin and famous along my route, Pete suggested: “Maybe you can get famous by getting lost and having a search and rescue team go out looking for you.”
Hmmm. I wasn’t that desperate to get famous, but it did remind me that another way to get known in Mystic was for Bailey to discover a body along the Seafarer’s Trail (he already discovered a body in a New York park, but that’s another story). We would be sure to look for one among the dock pilings along our route.
Heading North on Rte 1, I came across the Denison Burying Ground, a family plot dating back to 1698. The Denisons were among the first settlers in the Mystic area. Always looking for an interesting dead person to meet, Bailey and I walked among the stones. Suddenly, I saw a headstone that possibly explains why so many spots around here are named after the Denisons—because there were so many Denisons!  This grave marker told of Jane, the widow of Mr. George Denison, who died in 1829 -- “At the time of her death, her children and their descendents were 350.”
From here, I couldn’t help but see the roadside restaurant, Sea Swirl, overlooking Pequotsepos Cove. It was an awfully long walk to Enders Island…Bailey rested while I “fortified” myself with fried clams.
The two-mile trip south on Masons Island Road revealed no dead bodies unless you count how I almost became one. On three separate occasions, a dog was off leash and came charging toward us, and there was hardly any shoulder to walk on, making us a target for cars. I gave a panting Bailey all our water, leaving me a bit parched—it never occurred to me that I could perish from thirst along this route.
It was all worth it, however, when we got to Enders Island and St. Edmund’s Retreat Center, which keeps an intriguing stone and flower garden, and displays relics such as the withered arm of Saint Edmund, who preached for the Sixth Crusade. I visited the three-sided seaside chapel open to Fisher’s Island Sound. It shelters an altar where people leave their hand-written prayers—some are so personal and moving, you feel you are standing on holy ground.
After rocking in a chair in a gazebo overlooking the Sound while Bailey slept at my feet, it was time to go home. Although we didn’t get discovered yet, we still have a lot more of the Mystic Seafarer’s Trail to cover. Stay tuned to read about our walk to Noank where Amelia Earhart got married (see video), and where my seafaring friend Kate gave birth to her daughter on a schooner and rowed her to shore the following morning to have her weighed on a lobster scale at Ford's Lobsters (they removed the lobsters first).(see video)

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