Depending on the number of participants, we may provide an abbreviated tour. Good will donations will be accepted at the end of each tour. we hope to see many of ou there!
Please join our award winning tours as we begin our second year! Tours are every Saturday and Sunday at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. and continue through September.
All tours start at the Guilford Town Hall at 31 Park Street, Guilford, CT.
Our student guides will lead you through 374 years of American History and Architecture.
The tours were awarded the “Best of New England” designation in 2013 by Yankee Magazine.
For further information, please visit www.historicguilford.org or call (203)233-1026.
The Historic Guilford Walking Tours is pleased to announce that we are featured in Yankee Magazine’s “Best of New England” 2013 edition under the Best Small-Town Walking Tours Category! We also want to congratulate The B&B at Bartlett’s Farm who also won under the “Best Relaxing Porch” category.
We look forward to the start of our second year Memorial Day Weekend with tours on both Saturday the 25th of May and Sunday the 26th of May at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. Tours will continue throughout the summer through September 2013. Thank you all who have made the first year successful and are working towards a wonderful second year!
What an exciting summer it has been! Last weekend we gave a tour to our 300th client and the tours keep going strong! Our guides are continuing to lead and refine the tours as most of them begin their senior year at Guilford High School. We were sad to see the our oldest guides: Kaitlin and Sarah, depart for their respective colleges in Pennsylvania and Minnesota, leaving behind their models of hard work, leadership, and cheerfulness.
Our weekday tours have been a surprise success. Not only have we given tours to friends and families who wanted to show off their town to their visitors, we have also given tours for H. Pearce Real Estate’s and Defibtech Corporation’s Guilford offices.
Although the majority of our clients have Guilfordites (they say Guilfordians in England), we are continuing to have visitors from Greater New Haven, Greater Hartford, Metropolitan New York, and beyond. I am excited about the people of Guilford who continue to want to learn about our town’s heritage. I can only thank Joel Helander, Sarah McCulloch, Nona Bloomer, Penny Colby, Carl Balestracci and our friends at the Guilford Keeping Society, the Hyland House, and the Henry Whitfield State Museum and so many others for continuing to whet the appetite of our curious and educated townspeople. I even think that the Segway Tours and the Grass Island Tours help us
bring a steady stream of tourists to our great town.
Come join us on our last weekends of the tours. With your continued support, we will have the inspiration and fortitude to continue to work with our talented students to refine the tours, expose our clients to our wonderful house museums, preserved downtown, our great shops, galleries, and restaurants, and to make next summer’s tours the second successful year of a program that will continue for many years to come.
What a great party we had for the “Hope Springs” premier! Thanks to our hosts at the Guilford Food Center and Breakwater Books and to all of the merchants who sponsored the very successful fundraiser.
Our friends at the Guilford Courier and Zip06 have posted an informational video narrated by our own Kaitlin. Please click on:
Historic Guilford Walking Tours Video to view the short clip.
We have had great success so far with over 250 patrons in the first two months! Thank you all for your continued support and patronage.
When Hollywood came to Guilford last September it all made sense! Why wouldn’t Hollywood want to use our quintessential New England village for filming, even if the script said the location is in Maine? Well downtown Guilford was graced with the presence of Meryl Streep and Tommy Lee Jones as they filmed scenes in and around the Guilford Food Center and Breakwater books.
The folks at the Food Center and Breakwater wanted to celebrate the premiere of the movie “Hope Springs” by having a wine and cheese reception at 5:30 pm on Wednesday the 8th of August for all before travelling to Madison (East Guilford) to watch the movie at the Madison Art Cinemas.
They also invited the Historic Guilford Walking Tours along for a fundraiser and raffle highlighting local merchants, their goods, and services. So far many of our local stores, shops, and restaurants have donated special items and gift cards that folks can buy tickets for. To date, the tours have brought over 150 visitors to downtown Guilford for tours, dining, and shopping.
Please join us on the 8th at 5:30 pm at the Guilford Food Center for wine, cheese, and the fundraiser and at 7:15 as we travel to the Madison Art Cinema for the raffle drawing followed by the movie premiere of “Hope Springs”. Please purchase your tickets online at www.madisonartcinemas.com before they run out.
One of the salient features of Guilford’s founding in 1639 was that the group of Puritans led by the Reverend Henry Whitfield paid the local Menuncatuck squaw sachem Shaumpishuh for the land upon which the settlement would be built. That fact, in and of itself, might not seem all that surprising but the more one learns about the earliest English settlement of New England the more it becomes apparent that outright land purchase was not the initial approach adopted by the English settlers toward the existing Native American residents. In the Massachusetts Bay colony, for example, land was distributed by the leadership under the terms of a patent granted by the Crown to the company which organized their venture and it was simply assumed that the land distributed thereunder was in the King of England’s gift through a presumed right of “discovery” (which would have surprised the local inhabitants who had been there since time immemorial).
Significant settlement activity had already gone forward upon that basis when, in 1635, the Reverend Roger Williams called all land titles based upon that principle into question. The first Englishman truly conversant with the cultures of the various native peoples in Massachusetts and the later author of the first dictionary of the native Algonquian languages, Williams challenged the underlying assumption of most European invaders of the New World that the land was “empty” or “not in profitable use” and thereby open to be claimed by the new arrivals. Williams pointed to the obvious fact that the land was not at all empty or uninhabited at the time of first contact and that the native peoples simply used the land differently from Europeans through their mixed hunter-gatherer/subsistence farming approach. Most importantly, he challenged head-on the assumption that God would bless the Puritans’ deliberate experiment of creating a New Jerusalem in America if it were in fact based upon outright theft. These views rocked the Bay Colony and Williams was put on trial in 1635 and banished—though ostensibly only for certain doctrinal differences of opinion with other Bay Colony theologians.
When Guilford was founded four short years later, there would no question concerning the legitimacy of the land titles of the prospective new owners/settlers because all of them would follow a negotiated purchase of the land from the local squaw sachem. The Williams case had been closely followed by other leaders of the Puritan diaspora in New England and intelligence of it was readily available back in England to groups of prospective emigrants like the Whitfield group while making their plans for their plantation in Connecticut. While there is no direct evidence linking Williams’s trial and banishment to the Guilford plantation’s land purchase, it is safe to assume that both the prominence attaching to the trial and the sensitivities of the Puritan leadership to any possible weaknesses in their claim to be establishing God’s Kingdom on Earth in the wilds of New England had an influence on the Whitfield group’s decision to purchase the land which became Guilford rather than to simply expropriate it from the native Americans through the still common yet entirely specious claim of “discovery”.
John M. Barry’s comprehensive study of Roger Williams and the settlement of Rhode Island under his leadership is contained in his new book “Roger Williams and the Creation of the American Soul”, which can be purchased at Breakwater Books on the Green in Guilford, as well as at the gift shop at the Henry Whitfield State Museum.
What could be better than sidewalk sales, summer on the Shoreline, and Historic Guilford Walking Tours? This weekend we start the second month of our inaugural year. We are very excited about the results and the popularity of our initial 30 days with 120 guests taking the tours through some of the hottest early summer weather in some time. Come and shop and then come for a walk through time.
Our student guides continue to provide interesting anecdotes and facts about the early settlers of Guilford and the houses they lived in and the places they worked in. Their grasp of the various aspects of Guilford architecture, industry, religion, and politics continues to grow as does their ability to walk backwards.
If you have not yet joined us, please come on a tour this weekend! If you have joined us in the past, please attend a second tour and here and experience some new stories of Early Guilford.
Historic Guilford Walking Tours will have a specially scheduled tour this Friday, 2o July 2012 to coincide with the Guilford Handcraft Expo. Please join us at 11 a.m. in front of the Town Hall at 31 Park Street.
Also, please visit our table on the lawn of St. George Roman Catholic Church for more information about the tours and our Heritage Tourism Initiative.
For Dennis Culliton, a walk through history can be just that-literally walking where history exists. The Adams Middle School teacher once hiked the trail of a Guilford Civil War soldier from Washington, D.C., to the Antietam battlefield in Maryland. Now, he’s guiding Guilford High School (GHS) students in developing an exciting new program for residents and visitors alike: historic walking tours in Guilford.
In addition to being a local teacher and Guilford resident, Dennis… to read the full article please read the following link http://www.zip06.com/article/20120605/NWS10/306079845/-1/zip06details&town=Guilford&template=zip06art