Historical Black Rock Bike & Boat tour Sept. 8

The centuries of history in and around the Black Rock neighborhood that today is part of Bridgeport will be the focus of a combined bicycle and boating history tour Saturday, Sept. 8 starting 1:30 p.m.

The tour, which starts at Captain’s Cove in Bridgeport, is organized by the Town of Fairfield’s Bicycling and Pedestrian Committee and the Fairfield Museum.

Bike tour group members will start by cycling together toward the home of Caleb Brewster, the Revolutionary War era spy ring leader who aided in reporting on British military movements to General Washington’s staff. At the time of the Revolutionary War, Fairfield’s border extended all the way to what is today Park Avenue. Just sixty miles away, however, New York City was occupied and controlled by British forces, making the Long Island Sound coast a hotbed of espionage and intrigue.

The two-hour cycling tour of Black Rock also will visit John Wheeler House (Black Rock’s oldest homestead), Fayerweather Yacht Club & Port 5 (Old Black Rock Wharves), and the Wolcut Chaucey House (Commander during the War of 1812). The tour will also discuss “The George Hotel,” St. Mary’s by the Sea, Balmfourth bridge, “The Chimneys” as well as the forts of the American Revolution and the War of 1812.

Following the bike tour, participants may join the boating tour which will visit the mouth of Black Rock Harbor, Battery Point, St. Mary’s-by-the-Sea, Ash Creek and Fayerweather Lighthouse.

“A bike tour provides easy accessibility to many of the spots we want to show people, including the homes of noted Revolutionary War era patriots, plus more recent history such as the location for Gustave Whitehead’s first flight,” said Walter D. Matis, program volunteer coordinator for the Fairfield Museum, who will narrate the tour.

The cycling tour will cover approximately five miles, starting and ending at Captain’s Cove. Bicycle tour participants are required to wear helmets and the group is limited to the first 25 people who sign up in advance. Children 13 and older can be part of the tour but must be accompanied by a parent. In the event of poor weather, a rain date of Saturday, Sept. 22 has been scheduled.

The boat tour will depart from Captain’s Cove at 4 p.m. and will cruise for approximately two hours. Participants will be provided a personal flotation device if they do not bring their own. Participants may also tour the Dundon House between 3:30 and 4, when the boat trip starts.

Costs for the bike tour are $8 for Fairfield Museum members and $10 for Fairfield Museum nonmembers. Costs for the boat tour are $10 for Fairfield Museum members and $15 for nonmembers. Bike/Boat combo tickets are $15 for Fairfield Museum members and $20 for nonmembers Sign up and payment for either the bike or boat tours, or both, can be done at fairfieldhistory.org/events/bikeboatblackrock/

Keith Gallinelli, chairman of the Fairfield Bicycle and Pedestrian Committee added that those interested in the bike tour but who don’t own a bike should consider the free Fairfield BikeShare Program now operating at Zane’s Cycles, 1215 Post Road, Fairfield.

“Initiated by the Fairfield Health Department and Fairfield Public Library with financial support from Fairfield University and Sacred Heart University, Fairfield BikeShare consists of 10 3-speed, custom designed bikes. Residents and visitors may borrow a bike and ride them for free,” said Gallinelli.

“The Fairfield Bicycle and Pedestrian Committee’s mission is to encourage safe walking and cycling as a means of enjoying the beauty and history of Fairfield. We are delighted to partner with the Fairfield Museum and provide this opportunity to get to know the history the nearby Black Rock neighborhood by bike and boat,” said Keith Gallinelli, chairman of the Town of Fairfield Bicycle and Pedestrian Committee.

The Fairfield Museum & History Center and Museum Shop, located at 370 Beach Road, is open seven days a week, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Members of the Museum and children under 5 are admitted free. For more information, call 203-259-1598 or visit Fairfieldhistory.org. The Fairfield Museum relies on funding from individuals, corporations, and foundations. The Museum is especially grateful for support from the Department of Economic and Community Development, Connecticut Office of the Arts, the State of Connecticut, Town of Fairfield and Fairfield County’s Community Foundation.