Home for Thanksgiving

November 25, 2014 · Collections ·

Silvermine Tavern. Woodcut by Walter Buttrick, ca. 2000. The Connecticut Historical Society, 2009.31.2

Like many people, I always used to drive home for Thanksgiving. Home was always in Connecticut, even when I was living in Massachusetts or New Jersey or New York. Thanksgiving weekend is the worst travel weekend of the year, with the heaviest traffic, but I always liked driving home with all those other people on the road, thinking that all of them were driving home to spend Thanksgiving with their families, like me.


The Old Mill, Silvermine, Norwalk. Postcard, mid-twentieth century. The Connecticut Historical Society, 2005.159.2

After my father and mother died, I no longer had any reason to drive home to Connecticut for Thanksgiving, but I kept coming back anyway, seeking out classic restaurants and cozy country inns that offered home-style Thanksgiving dinners with all the trimmings. One of the places that I liked to go was the Silvermine Tavern in Norwalk. The tavern complex included five historic buildings furnished with country antiques, overlooking a mill pond and waterfall. During the nineteenth century, the Old Mill made furniture parts; another building served as a general store. The restaurant opened in 1929 and proved popular with local residents as well as with New Yorkers (like me) seeking an escape from the city. The Merritt Parkway, which opened in the 1930s, made it easy to get there. For decades the tavern flourished. It certainly seemed a lively place when I used to go there in the 1990s. But it failed to survive the economic downturn of 2008 and closed in 2011.

I moved back to Connecticut in 1998 and now I spend Thanksgiving with old friends in Manchester. I no longer have to fight the traffic on Thanksgiving weekend. I don’t miss it. But I still like to think about everybody on the road, everybody going home, like me.

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