No matter where I go I try to fit in something that I can cross of my to-do list. I like to merge my two worlds as it were. My “real” life is going to my day job and completing my obligations to family and friends. My “second” world is this blog and all the things I want to do and see. Since timing is always an issue and I never seem to have enough of it, maximizing locations is the only way I can function at all. This is especially true if I am in an area I am not likely to go back to soon.
Recently I was in New Rochelle and in between running errands there, I had a window of opportunity: one whole hour to myself. I decided to use that time to swing by Thomas Paine’s Cottage. It’s what you would do, right?
Actually it is a place I have known about for some time and only recently made a mental note to get there. I love all historical places, even if the person isn’t buried in their backyard, although if he were buried there that would have been a definitely plus for me. In the interest of full disclosure he was buried there at one time until his remains were moved and/or stolen.
Even though I am not as obsessed with Thomas Paine as I am with the Founding Fathers; a famous house is a famous house. I am in awe all of places where I can stand in the past.
The cottage is small as one would expect a house would be from 1793. According to the website: “The Thomas Paine Cottage contains a few of the artifacts still in existence that were once owned by Thomas Paine: a simple chair and a cast iron Franklin Stove given to Paine by Benjamin Franklin himself.” Those simple artifacts were enough reason to visit. In 1972, this cottage was designated a National Historic Landmark; the decisive reason to visit.
On the afternoon I arrived, I was the only one visiting at that time. Despite that there wasn’t much to see that actually belonged to Thomas Paine, it was still a great experience. I loved seeing the house and getting a feel for what that area must have been like in his time. It is so hard to picture it without all the traffic and houses. But that’s always what I love.
My tour-guide was so knowledgeable and his obvious love for his work was contagious. It is always nice to see someone with a passion working at these sites. It is so important to preserve the past for the future. This can only be done with enthusiastic and educated employees. Hey, I can’t be everywhere!
Thomas Paine was a scholar who wrote such influential works as “Common Sense”, which urged separation from Britain prior to the Revolutionary War. I read a lot of his material in college and graduate school. All of that work forged my connection to Thomas Paine. Since his work has been in my house, now at least I can say I’ve been in his.
For information on Thomas Paine:
For information on Thomas Paine’s Cottage: