Monday, February 18, 2008

Roast Meat Hill Road

I was a kid when I first passed by a street called Skunk Misery Road and remember being very impressed with such a bold name. Were the skunks miserable or the people who lived there? Skunk Misery Road was the strangest name for a road in my book until the day I saw: Roast Meat Hill Road. Over the years I passed by that street sign many times but never actually drove on the road itself. I'm not sure why that is. Maybe I was afraid of what I might find there. Last weekend something told me that it was time to finally go down that road.
I actually drove past it a couple of times because the top of the road sign had been removed where it intersects with Route 81. Why did someone remove the top of the street sign? Did someone want it as a souvenir or is someone or something trying to keep people away from this mysterious area? Then I noticed this little stone sign set on the ground and covered with leaves. When I brushed the leaves way, it revealed the street name I was looking for. It looks like a scene from one of those movies where a hand is ready to pop up out of the ground, doesn't it?
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Even before I started my drive along Roast Meat Hill Road, many questions came to mind: Do any vegeterians live on this road? If a child becomes a vegeterian, is he excommunicated from the neighborhood? Do the neighbors get together for a yearly ritual in which they partake in the roasting of meat? Is there a neighborhood cookbook which features a variety of roasted meat recipes? What's it like for residents of this road to place phone orders? Do people believe them when they give their address? --And the most important question: How did Roast Meat Hill Road get its name?
I came across some strange and interesting things as I passed through this area, like this old well , for example. Perhaps it was used by people many years ago to quench their thirst after they gorged themselves on roasted meat.

I walked down one of the nature trails that I found and was shocked to find this piece of meat wedged between some sticks. Was it roasted? It had the consistency of beef jerky and was actually quite tasty! Is this evidence that the descendants of ancient meat roasters may still exist in these very woods? If so, where are they? Where do they live?
When I saw the inner structure of this tree it all started to come together. That's it! They're living inside the trees! They must be a carnivorous version of those cookie-baking elves!
Just around the corner on Route 80, I found this car wedged up in the middle of the tree. Is this just the work of someone with a warped sense of humor, or was it those meat-roasting gremlins wreaking havoc on the neighbors?
Is this really a nature center or is it just a front for a secret meat-roasting factory?
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Okay, let's get a little bit serious now. I apologize to any residents of Roast Meat Hill Road who may come across this blog post. Of course, none of these wild ideas are true-(at least not that I know of). I was just having a bit of fun with such a unique name for a road. Roast Meat Hill Road is actually a beautiful country road with nice homes, farmland and a few historic buildings. I found out that they even have a nature center called The Platt Nature Center (above). There are hiking trails behind the nature center and another one across the street that leads to a reservoir. I did see some birds along the nature center trail including Tufted Titmice, Northern Cardinals, House Finches, and a few woodpeckers. I decided my best bet would be to come back in May and search the reservoir vicinity for spring migrants. It is also right down the road from Chatfield Hollow State Park which is known to be a pretty good birding spot.
My favorite sighting was that of this little Black-capped Chickadee searching for bits of??? -in this dying tree. Hmmm-I wonder what kind of food he found?
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Oh yes-I almost forgot. What is the origin of the name Roast Meat Hill Road? An internet search turned up an urban legend about how several cows were struck by lightning on a farm along this road many years ago. If anyone has more information about how this road got its name, please let us know.
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What is the strangest name for a road that you've ever seen in your area?
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By the way, don't forget there's a total lunar eclipse tonight. It will be in its totality between 10:00pm and 10:52pm here in CT.

38 comments:

Kathiesbirds said...

Larry, this post is hilarious! So much fun to read! Now you've got me thinking about "what's the most unsual road name" I've seen. I'll have to get back to you on that!

Beth said...

There is a road near me called Alcohol Mary road. They can't keep signs up on it--the signs disappear as fast as they are posted.
A great post! Thanks for the chuckle.
Beth

Lynne said...

Funny one Larry! Did you really taste the mystery meat?!? I have to think of a funny road name too.

I used to go to a dentist on Payne Avenue.

J. Karl Clampit said...

Very funny post! Fun to read your humorous thoughts about your trip.

steadyjohn said...

Twice a month I pass Succabone Rd in Bedford NY. I think this road would be a good companion to Roast Meat Hill Rd; after they have roasted the meat and eaten the meat they suck on the bones. Nothing was wasted in the old days! I have seen the road sign here many times but it lies almost on its side in the bushes and the heavy traffic on this narrow road has prevented me from photographing the it.

Patrick Belardo said...

Two guys in NJ originated the magazine "Weird NJ" which features places like this. They've expanded to every state now and they must be aware of this place. In NJ, we have "Shades of Death Road" and "Frog Ocean Road."

steadyjohn said...

Update: I have found a reference to a "Succabone Road" here in East Canaan CT, Check out this very interesting web site from Hatsy Taylor, a naturalist and columnist for several Southern New England newspapers. (click on "Today's Column") Here is an excerpt:

If you walk a ways out on the Succabone Road
where the blacktop turns right into dirt,
you will find the old weatherworn shack that belongs
to the dump picker man, Old Bert.

Larry said...

Kathiebirds-Glad you enjoyed it!

Beth-There must be an interesting story behind that one!

Lynne-The question isn't whether I ate the meat - but how it got there!

jkarl-glad you could see the humor in it.

steadyjohn-maybe whoever named Roast Meat Hill Road moved to East Canaan afterwards to name Succabone Road-

Patrick-Those are two odd names. Somehow I think I've come across something from that magazine before.

Lana Gramlich said...

This may be the strangest post I've read all month. Thanks for the chuckles. As for the origin of the name of the road, you may want to speak with your local Reference librarian--it's amazing what those people know (or can find out!)

John said...

There is definitely some weirdness here. I'm curious about the car stuck in the tree. It is apparently quite old (1940s vintage?). It also appears to be suspended partly by a chain. Any idea why that would be?

Warren & Lisa Strobel said...

Larry,
What great fun! Thanks for making me laugh and hope you enjoyed the lunar show last night. Warren and I got great views through our scope.

Lisa

Larry said...

lana gramich-thanks-that's saying something coming from you-some of those dream posts of yours are out there!-I may look into it a little more the next time I go to the library.-I know there is someone that used to live in killingworth that occasionally reads this blog.-Maybe they can shed some more light on this.

john-I imagine the chain would be to hold it in place.-It is a pretty interesting looking old shell of a classic.

Lisa-yes-I did catch the lunar eclipse-I had a great view as well thanks-glad you enjoyed the post.

Aunt "B's" Backyard said...

Hi Larry, I am new to your blog and just finished your story. That is so funny, you should really think about writing books. I live on an odd named road too, and wonder where the name came from, 'Dry Run Road'. I will be following your posting. Great story. I'm curious about bird on your page, it's beautiful!

Larry said...

aunt "b's" backyard- Right a book-ha! I barely passed English in high school! Writing a couple of posts a week on this blog is enough for me but thanks for the compliment.-
I will check out your blog as well.

-Pine Grosbeak if you're talking about the profile photo.

Cathy said...

Larry! What a great post. A little Washington Irving, a little Mark Twain, a little Stephen King :0)

How brave of you to sample that ancient meat!

I'm afraid I've lived in some pretty dull places, but I'm going to pay closer attention to street signs from now on.

Anonymous said...

Hi Bill - It's me - the girl who grew up in Killingworth but now lives in Virginia. WELL.... I grew up in a colonial on Parker Hill Road and Parker Hill road connects with ROAST MEAT HILL RD. You were in my part of town today! You are right that the origin of the name is from a herd of cattle that were struck by lightning and were fried up crispy.

Chatfield Hollow is a great place to walk as is a state park entrance that is before it on the Chester/Killingworth line - Cockaponset State Park. You should check that out too if you haven't yet.

Thanks for the laugh and the walk down memory lane.

-Colleen :)

Larry said...

Colleen-Glad you could confirm the crispy cow story.-Do you know the people who put their car in the tree?-I am looking forward to doing a little birding at Chatfield Hollow in the springs.(BTW-it's Larry)

Mary said...

Larry, my sides are splitting...

"It had the consistency of beef jerky and was actually quite tasty!"

Ok, did you taste that meat? And I don't thing the black-capped chickadee would devour roasted meat. You are too much.

I've seen a lot of strange road names down here in NC. Have you ever heard of "potted meat"? I'll bet there is a road named in honor of potted meat down here...somewhere in the ole hill country.

mon@rch said...

such a great interesting post you did and I love seeing all the photos (especially the car in the tree shot)

Ruth said...

lol! I am not sure where the kidding stops and the truth begins in this post. (don't tell me) I wouldn't want to fill that street name out for my address.

Anonymous said...

Whoops... sorry Larry. I knew it was Larry...honest I did :) I was so excited to tell you that I grew up one street away from Roast Meat Hill that I had a relapsed on your name.

It really is fun to read about your adventures when I know where you are going.

You have to come on down for a VA birding road trip. You would just LOVE Chincoteague Island. Take Hammonasset and rev it up about 50 notches. It's a true birdapooloza!

Thanks again Larry!!

-Colleen:)

Sandpiper said...

Hilarious posting! We've been over these roads many times and wondered about their names. You captured some interesting things and put them all together in this story brilliantly!

MojoMan said...

Yes, this was a fun one, Larry. I love old street names. I've heard that in some places with lots of fancy new development the developers change the names to sound more upscale and marketable.

Is it just a funny coincidence? My first home as a child was not far from a Skunks Misery Rd in Locust Valley, NY. That name has always stuck in my mind, too, especially since as far as I knew there were no skunks there. Maybe they were extirpated before my time. I had fun looking for it on Google Maps and remembering my old haunts, especially the places where I learned to love nature.

Jayne said...

I'm laughing so hard, my arm is even hurting (ouch!) You are such a hoot Larry! Locally, we have unfortunate people have to explain how to get to Suck Creek Road.

Larry said...

Mary - Did I really taste the meat??? Yes, and I really enjoyed it! I've heard of potted meat. I think I've seen it in cans. Glad you had a few chuckles.

Mon@rch - If you like the car, maybe I can locate the owner and get you a good deal.

Ruth - Okay, we'll keep it a mystery.

Colleen - Maybe some day I will visit VA; it sounds like a great place for birding.

Sandpiper - Pleased you enjoyed the post. For some reason visiting this area really got my imagination going.

mojoman - It's a shame if they get rid of the old street names; they have such good character to them. What a strange coincidence about Skunks Misery Rd. - sounds pretty smelly to me!

jayne - I'm sorry about your arm - I hope you don't have to take Ibuprofen every time you read one of my posts!

steadyjohn said...

Larry, we wait with bated breath for a new posting! A tough act to follow but we know you can do it Go Larry! LOL

Larry said...

John-I'm under contract-I'm only allowed six good posts per year-I should have a mediocre one ready for tomorrow though.

PA-Birder said...

Larry,
What a great post. I haven't been able to get around to your blog for a few days becuase life has been hectic. I needed the laugh. Thanks.
Vern

The Zen Birdfeeder said...

Fun post! The car's a hoot!

Patrice said...

Larry,
Judging from all the comments to your post, I'm not the only one who thinks you should take up writing. You have a natural talent for it, and formal education doesn't mean a thing. But we know your first love is birding. We love your posts!

sarala said...

Wonderful post. I am not coming up with any strange road names at present but I'll keep thinking.
Wasn't the eclipse great? Did you get any photos?

Chris said...

I stumbled across this blog... anyway I know the legend of Roast Meat Hill!

My driving instructor (fat mark) told me the story when I was learning how to drive.

There was a barn full of horses and cattle, (not sure which one), and it was struck by lightning during a thunderstorm. The owners were away for some reason, and nobody noticed the barn was burning.
All the cattle inside were cookedd, and for a few days after the incident it smelled like roast meat on the entire hill.

Larry said...

Chris-Thanks for giving us more deatails on this story. The story behind the road's name is as interesting as the story itself.

Andrew said...

My mom grew up on this road. She says it was her grandfather whose barn caught fire and gave the road its name. Really, she does.

Larry said...

-Cool! I'm getting closer to the source of the true story.-Your family will be a part of local legend for years to come

C Wilsdon said...

Ha! I ran across this blog not while pursuing my birding interests but because I was procrastinating while working on the computer, and thought, gee, when I lived on Long Island, I almost rented a small house on Skunk's Misery Road; I wonder if I could find out how it got its name if I googled? No luck on that front but it was nice to come across this site. And apropos of nothing, I recall another Long Island road that could be served alongside your Roast Meat Hill Road: It was called Bread and Cheese Hollow Road. Out here in Seattle, so far the only one of interest that I've noted is a boringly named-with-a-number road whose former name is now listed underneath it: Cats' Whiskers Road. Hmm, maybe not a good spot to go birding...

Larry said...

c wilsdon-There's actually a whole website somewhere that has roads with strange names.-It's funny how this particular post attracted more comments than any other of my posts.-Anyway, thanks for stopping by my blog and leaving a comment.-I do appreciate it.

Anonymous said...

roast meat hill road got its name because during one storm a cow was outside and was struck by lightning. this is no joke, although it is pretty funny.