The main entrance to New England from the south, this is the chief route of travel between New York and Boston and affords an almost continuous stretch of bituminous macadam. The country traversed is of great and varied natural beauty, including the shore of the Sound, the Connecticut Valley, and the heart of Massachusetts, a region of great wealth and industrial activity. Reference to the key maps on the inside covers and to the Connecticut and Rhode Island route maps will suggest many variations of the route from New York to Boston: via Danbury and Hartford, Route 3 via Pawling,
Salisbury, Pittsfield, and Springfield, Routes 5 and 13; from New Haven, via the shore, New London, and Providence, Route 2; or via Durham and Middletown, Route 1a; from New
London, via Norwich and Worcester, Route 12; from Saunders town; via Newport, Route 2 n, and Route 32.
The route follows the Old Boston Post Road from New Rochelle to Springfield with .only slight deviations. The road naturally was laid out on the course of the old Indian trails, which the early settlers wore into bridle paths. From Springfield to Boston it follows the course of the Old Bay Path. The first mail between New York and Boston was carried over this course in January, I673. As the chief line of communication between New England and the rest of the country, it played a thrilling and unique part in Revolutionary history and was one of the important features in the country’s early development. In 1753 the sites of the milestones on the Post Road were marked by Benjamin Franklin, then Postmaster-general, who measured the miles by the revolution of his wagon wheels, and supervised the erection of some of the stones. Washington followed this road when he took command of the Continental Army at Cambridge in 1775 and on his tour of New England in a coach and four in 1789, just after his inauguration. It has been marked by the National Society of the Sons of the American Revolution with arrows and notices, “Washington Route.” Many of the taverns along the routes preserve memories and relics of his visits.
Connecticut and Massachusetts have, following the earlier lead of New Hampshire, recently instituted a system of marking trunk high-ways by color bands on telegraph poles and fence posts. In the two former states a tri-color system has been adopted,red designating east and west routes, blue north and south, and yellow diagonal or secondary routes.
Four poles are banded at either side of the intersection of roads to clearly direct the traveler along the main route. Between intersections color bands are placed to define the route.
This system of color bands is reinforced by arrow direction markers of the same color with the name of the next large town in four-inch letters. Occasionally two route colors are carried over the same section of the road for short distances. For illustrations of this system see map on front cover of this book.
This route is marked by red hands from the Connecticut line at Greenwich to New Haven, with blue bands thence to Springfield, and with red from Springfield to Boston.