Investigating McConkey’s Ferry Inn

Every so often, well…often might be the wrong word, the editorial board at the American Public House Review gets a dispatch from Dunmore Throop, our semi-anonymous comrade and former Scotland Yard something or other.  A few years ago he made it to an editorial meeting, our first and perhaps only editorial meeting, and then disappeared again immediately after only to later send us his investigative findings.

Throop made his was to McConkey’s Ferry Inn at Washington’s Crossing Historic Park.  So I thought it might be interesting during this Independence Day Weekend to take a look back at this Scotsman’s views of such an important location from the American Revolution.

Published in: on July 2, 2011 at 11:10 am  Leave a Comment  

Ben’s raiding the cooler again!

As we close in on Independence Day, we all look forward to a holiday weekend full of all those fun and relaxing things that make summer great.  Hamburgers on the grill, a beer in the hand, and friends and family by your side are the things that make July 4th Weekend so enjoyable.

Fort McHenry

For me, I am heading to one of my absolute favorite places on earth, Boothbay Harbor, Maine.  There I plan to spend my 10 days of vacation visiting family, doing a bit of boating, and maybe I’ll even check out a tavern or two.  (Okay, maybe three or four…)  My plan on this vacation, like all my trips to Maine, is to sit.  I plan on sitting on a dock, a boat, an Adirondack chair, or hopefully on an array of well crafted barstools.  It’s time to decompress and as Otis Redding said, “watch the ships roll in and watch them roll away again.”

Boothbay Harbor 

I can’t help but wonder what our Founding Fathers would think of how we choose to celebrate this most solemn of days.  Because of the resolution agreed on back on July 4th 1776, the men who signed it put their necks in the proverbial guillotine.  Years of war, disease, and god knows what else followed during the struggle of the Revolutionary War, and in many related respects the War of 1812 as well.  And in recognition of those events we choose to barbeque.   I don’t know what the founders who lived those struggles under the constant fear of being hung for treason might think of my hotdog and potato salad celebration, but I have a guess.  I think they would find it absolutely perfect! 

st-peters-02

People complain America has become too lazy, too pampered.  How many times have you heard people question what the founding fathers would think of us now?  Well, I like to think on this weekend they would want us to celebrate by exercising the absolute freedom to do what makes us happy.  So while you pop open a bottle of whatever and sit under the stars waiting for the fireworks, think of what Erma Bombeck said…

You have to love a nation that celebrates its independence every July 4, not with a parade of guns, tanks, and soldiers who file by the White House in a show of strength and muscle, but with family picnics where kids throw Frisbees, the potato salad gets iffy, and the flies die from happiness.  You may think you have overeaten, but it is patriotism.

So as always, drink and party responsibly during this holiday weekend.  But do it knowing that you are not only enjoying yourself to the fullest, but you and your loved ones are also paying a sincere homage to those who literally put their necks on the line for this little barbeque.  Somehow I couldn’t see Benjamin Franklin lecturing us on the frivolity of our Independence Day tradition.  No, I see him raiding the cooler and waiting for the baseball game to start.

Posted by: Dave McBride

 

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Click  here to view past articles on America’s finest  colonial taverns. 

The Second Crossing

Washington Crossing The Delaware by Peter Fiore

Washington Crossing The Delaware by Peter Fiore

I watched the President’s  stirring  inaugural address from the quiet of a quaint Italian cafe in my hometown of  Frenchtown, New Jersey. Myself, a local artist and the owner watched the historic proceedings huddled around a small rather conventional television set. Outside the streets were mostly devoid of human and vehicular traffic, due to the day’s events and the constant chilling wind that swept up from the icy waters of the Delaware River.

I was pleased that amongst the President’s profound rhetoric was a reference  to George Washington and the words that  he spoke prior to his fateful crossing of the Delaware to attack the Hessian position at Trenton.

“Let it be told to the future world…that in the depth of winter, when nothing but hope and virtue could survive … that the city and the country, alarmed at one common danger, came forth to meet [it].”

The entire staff of American Public House Review hold our first Commander-in-Chief in the highest regard, hence the abundance of references to His Excellency in past articles:

There is also a past post, “Setting Sail With The Obamas” which equated his potential presidency with those events that transpired on the shores of the Delaware on Christmas Day of 1776. 

Normally I tend to cringe when our elected officials hitch their political fortunes to those that founded, nutured and secured this Republic; but in this case I trust that this man’s intent and inspiration are true! So as we embark on this journey to renew the spirit and promise of 76, we at American Public House Review raise our glasses to our President, his family and the people of this great nation! 

Period Dinner at The White Horse Tavern in Newport, RI

Period Dinner at The White Horse Tavern in Newport, RI

Posted by: Chris Poh, Editor-in-Chief 

 

 

Landing in New Castle

[Gas Lamp in New CastleBy the light from of an old gas lamp, located along the strand, we guided our sturdy craft into the shallows off New Castle, Delaware

New Castle Landing 

Well, truth be told – we came by way of Interstate 95 in my fairly sturdy, well engineered Hyundai Elantra. But as one walks the cobblestone alleys that lead down to the river, the Atlantic imparts a hint of its presence in this channel north of Delaware Bay. A bit of salt on the tongue and a touch of brine in the nostrils helps to conjure up images of the Swedish, Dutch and English sailing ships that once plied these waters. 

Jessop\'s Front Window

 Ed Petersen, the Creative of Director of American Public House Review, and I both agree that New Castle rivals Williamsburg, Virginia as one of the best preserved and finest examples of colonial life in America. For that reason we wanted to feature the town and its pubs in an upcoming edition of the magazine. 

Jessop\'s SignThe Eagle and Cannon Sign

So we took up afternoon residence at the aforementioned public houses and proceeded to acquaint ourselves with local lore, colonial culture and a few indigenous ales.

We look forward to sharing this journey soon!  

Posted by: Chris Poh, Publisher American Public House Review  

 

Mitchell’s Cafe offers an honest Irish Ceili

With only three days until St. Patrick’s Day (and who’s counting?) we take a look at one of New Jersey’s great and largely unheralded Celtic gems.  Ed Petersen makes his way into Mitchell’s Café in Lambertville, a beautiful and quaint town hugging the Delaware River, for a roaring session of traditional Irish music.

Mitchell’s Cafe in Lambertville, NJ

While Mitchell’s may not look and feel like your typical local Irish pub, on the first and third Wednesday evenings of each month it looks, feels and sounds like you have been transported straight to the heart of County Cork.  Take a look at some of Ed’s feelings on this event…

As I search for a few words to convey the richness and joyfulness of this evening in Mitchell’s Cafe, all I can find to say is that the music was beyond description and the comradery beyond compare. The experience perhaps embodied perfectly that quality in a tavern which we at the AMERICAN PUBLIC HOUSE REVIEW are forever seeking; and when we find it, share it with you. What is that quality? It’s not about beverage selection, the food, the decor, nor even the history of a pub. It’s about the energy and the fellowship found inside its walls. It’s about the soul of a place, and the spirit which is created when folks convene for no other reason than to share an hour, hoist a glass, and celebrate our journey together towards .  .  . who knows where?

Now if this seems like hyperbole to you, then you haven’t seen a true Irish Ceili in person.  It can raise your spirits instantly and keep a smile on your face for days after.  Have a look at Ed Peterson’s “A Bonny Celtic Music Session”.

In session at Mitchell’s

Musings from the Boat House

Boat House sign

Make no assumptions based upon the masthead at American Public House Review. It would be foolish for anyone to quantify through some formula of critical analysis the merits of a great tavern.

The bar at the Boat House

Such an endeavor would be akin to rating the ability of the great houses of worship to fuel man’s spiritual aspirations. It is enough to say that there are those things which are truly self-evident.

Recently, my wife and I visited a dear friend, who after thirty years as pastor of a prosperous parish, had been reassigned to lead a new congregation. Past visitations were limited to the rectory where, surrounded by the trappings of the Church of Rome and the generosity of the flock, our congenial host would offer sobering commentary on those human characteristics that often compromise the intent of religious life. But on this particular day the melancholy of a wearied ministry was replaced with a new ecclesiastical zeal. An invitation was extended beyond the priestly domicile; we were summoned to view the church.

St. Mary’s Sanctuary

 Upon entering the sanctuary, I instantly understood the reason for my friend’s spiritual reawakening. I could go on at some length describing the finer details that make this space such a unique expression of man’s relationship with the divine; but no architectural critique or exploration of craftsmanship and the use of materials would bring about an understanding of the wholeness or holiness of this place. My words could not provide further clarity. Revelation can only come about through individual experience, so I will end this part of the rumination by stating that if Saint Mary’s could expand the water into wine miracle to include fine ales and single malts, it would be featured prominently in this publication.

 
 
But alas  American Public House Review is not about chapels, churches or cathedrals–it is about saloons, pubs, taverns and taprooms. And the Boat House in Lambertville, New Jersey is among the finest of those aforementioned institutions, and it was also a major source of inspiration for this  journalistic enterprise.
 
Glasses Raised…Spirits Lifted…Journeys Shared

by Chris Poh

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