The Road to Happiness  LbNA # 26054

Placed DateOct 3 2006
LocationSouth Coventry, CT
Planted ByRush Gatherer    
Found By Rock Island
Last Found Apr 19 2011
Hike Distance?

The historic Bidwell Tavern of the early 1800s was actually first located next door in the three story white building; the first floor was the tavern, the second floor offered lodging while the third floor was a dancehall. The building to the east which the Bidwell Tavern now occupies was at that time part of the mill complex of Coventry Village. In the late 1800s, the Tracy Mills produced ‘shoddy’, a recycled cloth produced from ground up woolens, and the contemporary Bidwell building then served as the main office for the shoddy mills in the local area.

With the Great Depression and the failure of the shoddy Mills in the early 1900s, the building was taken over as town property; it served at one time as the Town Hall and even once as a jail. The ‘Vault’ area, with it’s brick arches, is still in evidence around the far corner of the bar. In the 1960s the building became today’s Bidwell Tavern and the wooden bar here was moved over from it’s original Bidwell location. Around the tap room of the Bidwell, visitors can view a plethora of historic photos (originally captured as postcards) of Coventry Village with it’s prestigious old buildings, notable places and distinguished people.

With it’s vintage vibe, the Bidwell Tavern offers a comfortable atmosphere and friendly staff. They serve both lunch and dinner menus of excellent cuisine, including their award winning wings with a choice of 31 flavors. Dining is provided in the tap room, in their two-level dining room, or on their outdoor patio in warmer weather. They are noted for their beverages on tap; Old Abernathy Ale is brewed just for their establishment. They provide live music with no cover charge, with some awesome bands, every night from Wednesday through Sunday.

The Bidwell Tavern is located in historic South Coventry Village at 1260 Main Street on Route 31 in Coventry, Connecticut. Visit their website at to see their full menus and some photos of their establishment.

To find "The Road to Happiness" Letterbox, enter the front door of the Bidwell Tavern which faces the street. Walk to the bar and follow it to your left around the corner of the bar. Looking at the historic photos, find the one on the wall with three images. The caption of the largest image in the frame reads "Bidwell Tavern with Trolley Line Construction, early 1900s", and the two images below in the frame are captioned (left and right respectively) "Bidwell Tavern looking east late 1800s" and ") "Bidwell Tavern looking west late 1800s". This large framed grouping of photos is just to the right of the two windows on this wall. Look for the narrow wooden shelves just below the photo. "The Road to Happiness" Letterbox is in a small hardwood box on the middle shelf. Be discrete! You can stamp in on the top shelf above the letterbox’s hiding place. Please re-hide the box in the same position, against the edge in the back of the middle shelf.

This box was created by JPH, The Leaf Lady for Rush Gatherer and The Mailman; read more about the story in the Logbook.