Left Hartford about 7 o’clock, and took the middle road (instead of the one through Middletown, which I went).— Breakfasted at Worthington, in the township of Berlin, at the house of one Fuller.
The tavern that Washington writes about still stands today at 1055 Worthington Ridge in Berlin. It was built circa 1769 and has later nineteenth century alterations. Ephraim Fuller, listed in the 1790 census, was probably the Fuller who ran the tavern. Additional details about the tavern are recorded in Catharine M. North‘s History of Berlin (1916):
Some years since, when the house was repainted, the date 1769 was discovered on the brick work of the chimney, about half-way between the roof and the top of the chimney. It was built to be used as a tavern with a public hall and ballroom on the second floor. […] Amos Kirby assumed the proprietorship of Fuller’s tavern about the year 1814, and lived on the place until his death in 1846 at the age of seventy-one. During the latter part of his years he carried on the business of a butcher and peddled meat about the town.
Around 1884, when wallpaper was being removed from the Tavern’s east room on the second floor, a mural displaying Masonic symbols was uncovered. The room had once been part of the ballroom, which once ran across the entire house from east to west and was later converted into a Masonic Lodge room. It is thought to have been the meeting place of Berlin Lodge, No. 20, organized in 1791, which later became Harmony Lodge No. 20 of New Britain and merged with Friendship Lodge No. 33 of Southington in 1995.
The oldest house in Southington is the Jonathan Root House at 140-142 N Main Street. It was built in 1720 and Jonathan Root later kept a tavern in the house. When Southington became a town in 1779, Root was chosen as one of the First Selectmen. He was also a member of the Committee of Correspondence during the Revolutionary War. According to local tradition, George Washington stopped at the tavern in 1780. Extensive additions were later made to the house and the rear roof slope was raised in 1942, but these changes have now all been removed. The house, which today is used as lawyers’ offices, no longer has its original central chimney.
Sun Tavern, on the Fairfield Green, was built about 1780, replacing an earlier Sun Tavern, burnt during the British raid of 1779. The Tavern was operated by Samuel Penfield, who acquired the property in 1761. George Washington stayed at the Tavern the night of October 16, 1789, during a presidential tour of New England. The building, which had an early ballroom on the third floor, remained a tavern until Penfield’s death in 1811, after which it passed through several owners as a private home. It was purchased by Robert Manuel Smith in 1885 and remained in the Smith family until 1977. The following year, it was acquired by the Town of Fairfield and was used as the Town Historian’s residence into the early 1990s. Still owned by the town, Sun Tavern has been recently restored and is now managed as a historic site by the Fairfield Museum and History Center.
The Shaw-Perkins Mansion, on Blinman Street in New London, was built, beginning in 1756 for the wealthy merchant and shipowner, Capt. Nathaniel Shaw. The house, completed in 1758, was constructed by French Canadian builders, who used granite from the ledge behind the property. Nathaniel Shaw, Jr. inherited the house. He served as Naval Agent for Connecticut and the Mansion was a naval War office during the Revolutionary War. Nathan Hale was a visitor to the Mansion around 1775 and George Washington likely spent the night there in 1776. The house survived Benedict Arnold’s 1781 burning of New London, with only the kitchen being damaged. Shaw’s wife, Lucretia, died in 1781, after becoming ill from nursing prisoners and Shaw himself died the following year from a hunting accident. The house then passed to his brother, Thomas Shaw, and then to his sister, Lucretia Shaw Woodbridge and her husband, Judge Elias Perkins. The house was extensively remodeled by Dr. Nathaniel Shaw Perkins in 1845. His daughter, Jane Richards Perkins (1844-1930), sold the house and its contents to the New London County Historical Society in 1907, on condition she could reside there until her death. The house was restored and is open to the public as a museum.
Across from the First Congregational Church of Old Lyme, on South Green, is a house built around 1700 by Amos Tinker. In 1753, it was purchased by John McCurdy, a Scotch-Irish ship merchant who was a patriot during the Revolutionary War. George Washington spent a night in the house in April, 1776, when he was on his way from Boston to New York. In July, 1778, Lafayette was also a guest at the McCurdy home. John McCurdy was the grandfather of Judge Charles Johnson McCurdy, who lived in the home in his later years.
The oldest house in Wallingford is the Nehemiah Royce House on North Main Street. Nehemiah Royce (who died in 1706) and his first wife Hannah, were among the first settlers of Wallingford. Royce‘s saltbox house was built in 1672. The house is also known as the Washington Elm House because it used to be next to the Washington Elm: in 1775, when George Washington was on his way to take command of the Continental Army in Massachusetts, he stopped in Wallingford to purchase gunpowder and addressed the people of the town in front of the house near the Elm. The house was moved to its present location in 1924. For a time it was a museum and then was used as a residence by Choate Rosemary Hall, until donated to the Wallingford Historic Preservation Trust in the 1990s.
The oldest section of the Leffingwell House, on Washington Street in Norwich, dates to 1675 and was built by Steven Backus. Sometime later, the house was sold by Backus to Ensign Thomas Leffingwell, son of Lt. Thomas Leffingwell, who had given assistance to the Mohegan Chief Uncas in 1645, when he brought supplies at time when Uncas was under siege by the Narragansett. Leffingwell converted the building for use as a tavern in 1701, adding more rooms. The house is now named for his descendant, Christopher Leffingwell, who later inherited the tavern. He was a merchant and entrepreneur, who eventually built several mills. During the Revolutionary War, Leffingwell was a deputy commissary to the Continental Army and George Washington occasionally stayed at the Leffingwell Inn. In 1957, the house was moved to its present location when a connector was built linking Washington and Town Streets. Today, the Leffingwell House Museum is open to the public and operated by the Society of the Founders of Norwich.