my retirement from the Yard, I've been able to spend much more time on
this side of the pond. Every visit to the colonies includes a bit of
travel along the shores of the Delaware River. The cities, towns and
villages located on either side of this natural boundary have always
played a major role in that saga known as the American experiment, and
the stretch from Trenton, New Jersey north to the city of Easton,
Pennsylvania has long found favor with my eastern itinerary.
This particular jaunt delivers me to the INDIAN
ROCK INN, a small
inn and tavern situated on the bank of the William Penn side of the
river. I'm delighted to discover that the sole function of this
establishment has been to provide hospitality and comfort to coachmen
and their passengers since the beginning of the nineteenth century.
Only a handful of brick
and mortar structures in America can boast of such an adherence to
their original purpose. Most historic buildings have become gift shops
or the abode of gentry.
Tom, the amicable host and owner invites me to join him for a wee dram
or two of scotch whisky on the front porch. The setting transports me
back to a time when former loyalists and retired colonial malcontents,
carriage from Philadelphia, hoisted tankards of ale while arguing the
merits of revolution. Between the building and the river lie the broken
walls of a canal hand dug by Irish immigrants during the early 1800s.
Recent floods have allowed nature to reclaim this once thriving passage
of commerce. I ponder the immense amount of history that has been
captured on this small slice of land and water.
A SUMPTUOUS BLEND OF THE
OLD AND NEW
the evening chill settles in, I retreat to the warmth of the bar.
It's a welcoming room fitted with the handiwork of the innkeeper, who
in a previous incarnation was a talented cabinet maker. the decor,
largely the work of the inn's chef, strikes a perfect balance between
utility, elegance and whimsy.
A WARM AND WELCOMING
I'm particularly amused by the unusual collection of cocktail shakers
shelved behind the bar. These vessels of stainless steel, nickel plate,
and silver have been the source of good drink and great theater for
over a century. Like a sideshow juggler, many a barkeep owes the
productivity of the purse to their ability to master these tools of the
THIS COCK CROWS AT
One particular polished bird catches my eye. The rooster, or "cock of
the walk," a common symbol of English hospitality is most likely a
product of The International Silver Company. Shortly after the First
World War, this silversmith produced a line of shakers in shapes that
included, along with the aforementioned fowl, penguins, airplanes, and
zeppelins. This bit of nostalgia triggers an olfactory memory; the
essence of the Juniper Berry tickles my nostrils. I request a gin
martini, shaken, not stirred, before retiring to the comfort of my room
to rest and make ready for the next day's adventure.