Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Welcome to Our Guest Blogger

My name is Cherie and I am a volunteer. Although I live in the northwest corner of Connecticut, I'm excited to have Groton as my territory to find old barns. It gives me an excuse to explore, in detail, an area of the state I might not have otherwise. I’ve learned a lot about the area and its history and my friend Jackie “May” and I are having fun doing it.

Right off the bat we encountered the dilemma facing old barns in Connecticut. At the end of a long dirt road, we found an open field on our right with two alert deer and a house to our left perched on a knoll overlooking a pond - a most beautiful location. When we told the gentleman there what we were doing, he said we were 30 years too late! The barn had been torn down to build the house sitting on its old stone foundation.

Merritt Family Farm

Not to despair, we journeyed on to find 12 barns. Along the way we also found a Masonic Lodge dating from 1818, a boatyard with many decaying wooden boats, good eats (how about an Ahi Tuna pizza and a grilled cheese smoked salmon sandwich at the Fisherman Restaurant), great views of the coastline with mega boulders, quaint little communities, and most of all helpful people interested in the Barn Survey when we told them about it.

Groton Family Farm

So here are glimpses of the barns we found. If you know of additional information on the barns identified here or additional barns, please comment so we can follow up for the delight and education of us all.

Ceravolo Farm

Riverhead Farm

Photography: C. Robinson

Monday, February 1, 2010

New Lives for Old Barns

We now have shirts available for our volunteers and fans!
These shirts can be worn while you are out in the field surveying barns or just talking about barns with your friends.

Last week I told a sad story of decaying barns. This time the good news - barns ARE being rescued - some are re-used for new and different purposes. For example, a barn makes a great antique shop - here's one in Coventry.

A barn can become a cafe as in this Easton example.

A chicken coop in Chaplin is an artist's studio.

A pair of barns on Stone House Lane in Guilford are undergoing a transformation into a daycare center - you'll barely recognize these if you stop by today!

Nearby, the former 1880s barn of the Whitfield House (the landmark stone house from 1639) has been a caretaker's house and now is a museum exhibit space.

Before and after: the Karosi family barn in Ashford was reincarnated as the family's home.

These examples were all re-used on their original sites, but barns can be dismantled and re-erected on a new site or a new foundation. Even a historic barn may incorporate recycled timbers from an earlier one. Keep an eye out for un-matching joinery such unused mortises.

Photography: D. Fitton, C. Hitchcock, S. Lessard, W. Karosi