by Patricia Jackson
The Old North Bridge Hounds (MA) held their Blessing of Hounds on the grounds of historic Longfellow’s Wayside Inn in Sudbury, Massachusetts on October 17, 2015. The blessing took place at Henry Ford’s Martha Mary Chapel on a perfect fall day in New England under clear blue skies and beautiful fall foliage. Master and huntsman Mrs. Virginia Zukatynski, hounds, staff, members, and guests joined together and proceeded past the Inn to the chapel for the blessing.
Spectators enjoyed the sights and sounds as Joint-Master Marjorie Franko led horses and riders over the brick pathways and across the old bridge, following the music of the bagpiper. Longfellow’s Wayside Inn has a long history of hosting foxhunts on the property, including the Norfolk Hunt, the old Millwood Hounds, Myopia, and Harry Worcester Smith's Middlesex Hounds. Situated on the Boston Post Road, one of the oldest commissioned roads in the U.S., much of it built along the two-foot wide Pequot Path used first by native Americans, the Wayside Inn has the distinction of being the country’s oldest operating inn, offering hospitality to travelers along the old road since 1716.
The Wayside Inn, made internationally famous by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s book of poems, Tales of a Wayside Inn, was run by the Howe family. Longfellow visited the Inn in 1862 and his book of poems was published the following year. In it he republished his poem, “Paul Revere’s Ride,” which contains his immortal phrase, “Listen my children and you shall hear of the midnight ride of Paul Revere.” Henry Ford bought the Inn in 1923, restored it, and formed the charitable trust that operates the Inn today.