Following Three Rivers

I’m in final edits for my new novel, Bittersweet Chocolate, which is the third and final book in the trilogy that features Bernadette Maguire, Karl Berset, and Jean-Michel Eicher, among others. Presently the manuscript is with a couple of readers for feedback, so I have a non-writing day planned for tomorrow – something that will lead to a new book.

In June 1924, my grandfather, Earl R. Handy, and his pal John B. Hudson set off for a two-week canoe and camping trip along three rivers in Rhode Island and Connecticut: the Moosup, the Quinebaug, and the Pawcatuck. This was two years before he married Dorothy Kenyon, my grandmother. Locals hikers are familiar with the name John Hudson – there’s a hiking trail named after him. Hudson and Handy did a lot of hiking and camping in this area, as well as up in New Hampshire. As a child, one of my fondest memories is traipsing through the woods behind their house in Perryville, a marked route we called the ‘bunny trail.’

"Hemlock Hill" Perryville, RI

“Hemlock Hill” Perryville, RI

My grandfather kept a journal throughout the two-week trip, and I have it. Tomorrow I’m going to trace the route – not by canoe, of course, but by car. We’ll head west through Rhode Island, following the Moosup River into Connecticut, then follow the Quinebaug as it heads south all the way to New London. We’ll continue along the shore, passing Groton, Mystic, all the way into Westerly, where we’ll pick up the Pawcatuck and head back north toward Bradford and Worden’s Pond, following the Pawcatuck to Thirty Acre Pond, next to the URI campus, where the journey ended. I have some old photos from 1924, but I imagine whatever pictures I take will look nothing like what these two men saw from the water nearly ninety years ago.

So that’s the plan! Something a little different to work on, and I hope to publish the book in time for the 90th anniversary of the trip.

GIVEAWAY! If you haven’t read my most recent book, Bits of Broken Glass, you can enter to win a print copy here via Goodreads. I’m giving away five copies and a couple hundred people have signed up so far. You can enter up until December 2nd.

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7 Comments

Ms. Reynolds,
As members of the Rhode Island Writing Project, my friend Aimee and I are running a place-based educational experience for in-service teachers centered around Rhode Island rivers. We chose Wood River in Arcadia, and when I came across this blog post, I thought how amazing it would be for us to be able to engage in a first-person account as a primary source. Please email me at abarnhart@westerly.k12.ri.us if you’d be willing to share a bit of the your grandfather’s adventures!
Sincerely,
Anne Barnhart
English Department
Westerly High School

That is fantastic! What a lovely tribute to your grandfather. Safe travels and enjoy!

How wonderful to take that trip and to have that journal. Our family has two journals written by my great great grandfather. One written describing his journey from Norway into New York and the other describing his journey by wagon train from Wisconsin to California during the good rush. Have a fantastic trip.

FASCINATING, Martha! I love the idea of following the trail of your grandfather and his friend as they took their camping/canoe trip. I’ve only hiked a few small trails in RI, but the idea of hiking fascinates me. The fact that they took two weeks to do this is even more intriguing.

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