When time and money prevent you from putting the bike rake on your car and hauling your bicycles to another trail, explore your home town. Living in the small town of Dwight still offers ample things to see as I ride through the streets. All of the streets within the town are tree-lined with beautiful old Maples, Oaks, Catalpas, Crabapples, Tobacco trees and many more offering a shaded respite from the sun.
The leaves are slowly turning their golden and red hues of fall with the main street through town, Rte 17, wonderful to behold in the full bloom of autumn. There’s no smog or unpleasant smells as you bicycle along unless, of course, you happen to be on Rte 47 by the water plant after a rain. Then you will have the not-so-pleasant smell of sulfur. But that really is heading out of town and we usually bike only in the village.
Dwight is actually a historic village. Established in 1854, it is best known for the Keeley Institute which had the famous Keeley Cure for alcoholism. The Keeley Institute operated from 1879 to 1965 and gave injections of gold chloride to cure the patient. There were actually 200 institutes over America and Europe at one time. The three men who partnered together to develop the cure were Dr. Leslie Keeley, John R Oughton, an Irish chemist, and Curtis Judd, a merchant. A plaque with their likenesses can be seen on the grounds of The Mansion restaurant. The village is thought to have developed mostly from the influence of the Keeley Institute. There are many other unique and historic buildings, like a Frank Lloyd Wright house and a Rte.66 gas station.
The famous Dwight windmill has been restored and is quite beautiful to behold. It is situated behind The Mansion (which incidentally, originally belonged to John R Oughton and was run as a boarding house for patients), and alongside the library. A small pond surrounds most of the windmill.
The modern Dwight is famous for Dwight Harvest Days and the Basset Waddle. Harvest Days takes place around the third weekend in September and provides food, carnival rides, craft booths and entertainment for families young and old. The Basset Waddle, which is sponsored by the Guardian Angel Basset Rescue helps place abandoned Bassets. The dogs also walk or ride in the Harvest Day parade. They even have their own park in the village.
We do have one real biking/walking trail in the village. Pinecone Path runs slightly behind the highschool and through a wooded area along Gooseberry Creek and Florence W Garrett Park. It very pretty and has a few benches situated along the way for one to sit and linger. It is very short, however making it necessary to continue perusing the streets if you want some decent exercise.
Traffic is usually not a problem on any street except Rte 17. I don’t count Rte 47 as it runs along the out-skirts of most of Dwight and I usually stay internal. I have on occasioned bicycled on the sidewalk, but much prefer the street. Besides, it’s a pet peeve with me that we have people who walk in the street when there are perfectly good sidewalks, making vehicles wait to go around them so I don’t want to be riding sidewalks if I can ride in the street.
I still prefer a bike path to the village streets, but when it just doesn’t work out for me to travel to a bike trail, I am happy to zip around my little town taking in the sites as I go. You really should try it some time if you are a die-hard bike trail rider. You may be surprised what you will find.