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Off the Path from New York to Boston

Storytelling Podcasts

Follow reporter Davis Dunavin as he travels the road from New York to Boston, looking for unusual stories and fascinating histories.

Follow reporter Davis Dunavin as he travels the road from New York to Boston, looking for unusual stories and fascinating histories.


United States


Follow reporter Davis Dunavin as he travels the road from New York to Boston, looking for unusual stories and fascinating histories.






Off the Path: Revisited — Manhattan's Wild Corner

There’s a place in Manhattan that makes you feel like you just took a trip on the Wayback Machine — to the 1600s, when European settlers first arrived. And you can find it all the way up on the northern tip of Manhattan Island in Inwood Hill Park.


Off The Path: Breaking The Tiffany Glass Ceiling

Tiffany lampshades — made of leaded glass — are icons of American art. Louis Comfort Tiffany showed them to the public for the first time in the 1890s. It was always assumed Tiffany designed all his lamps. But it took a century to recognize the contributions of the women who designed many of them — thanks to some long-lost letters.


Off The Path: What's In America's First Cookbook?

The tradition of American cooking can trace its origin to a single cookbook — published less than a decade after the U.S. Constitution. It was the first to present recipes of the new world, instead of just copying English and French dishes. And it’s called — simply — American Cookery.


Off The Path: Mr. Vanderbilt's Wild Ride

A dashing young heir to one of America’s most famous families had a dream. He loved to race expensive cars, and he wanted a road tailor-made to do it. He built his speedway on Long Island in 1908. It was the first road in the country designed just for cars. He called it the Long Island Motor Parkway — also known as the Vanderbilt Parkway. For more information on the Vanderbilt Cup races and the Long Island Motor Parkway — and to read Vanderbilt's wild speech in its entirety — visit...


Off The Path: Stars Fell On Connecticut

A meteorite fell from the sky into a field in rural Connecticut more than 200 years ago. It didn’t cause much damage, but it did put American science on the map. And it's preserved at Yale University’s Peabody Museum.


Off The Path: Why Are So Many Great Authors Buried In Concord, Massachusetts?

Four of America’s greatest authors lived in the same small town in the mid-1800s. Now they're all buried there together, just a few steps away from each other.


Off The Path: Why Is This Field Full of Rocking Horses?

There’s something weirdly unexpected along a drive down a winding country road in Lincoln, Massachusetts. You round a corner and there, in a field, is a herd of children’s rocking horses. The locals call it Ponyhenge.


Off The Path: You Could Own Lizzie Borden's House

For sale: a charming New England Bed & Breakfast in Fall River, Massachusetts. Victorian style, three floors, eight bedrooms. A little pricey at $2 million. But it’s a rare find — because it's the site of one of the most gruesome murders in American history.


Off The Path: How Did A Connecticut Town Take On The Nazis?

American Nazis built dozens of youth camps around the U.S. in the years leading up to World War II. The purpose was to indoctrinate German-American kids into the Nazi ideology. There’s only one place we know of that stood up to them and ran them out of town: Southbury, Connecticut.


Off The Path: John Oliver vs. Danbury — A Very 2020 Saga

For Off the Path's last episode of 2020, Davis takes us to a place that may be the perfect symbol for the year — a sewage treatment plant in Danbury, Connecticut. This unlikely tourist attraction ended up on the map this year thanks to comedian John Oliver, host of HBO’s Last Week Tonight.


Off The Path: America's First Pet Cemetery

Thousands of animals — and not just dogs and cats — have their final resting place in the oldest pet cemetery in the United States. It’s a family-owned business, lovingly cared for on a five-acre hillside just outside New York City.


Off The Path: Weird Atomic Beasts Who Live Off Human Blood! It Came From Stamford.

The 1964 movie "The Horror of Party Beach" has been called one of the worst films of all time. And yet it’s become a cult classic. It was filmed — on a beach — in Stamford, Connecticut.


Off The Path: Freedom from Fear

The Norman Rockwell museum in Stockbridge, Mass., has welcomed back four old friends. They were touring the country for two years. The “friends” are illustrations called the “Four Freedoms” that Rockwell based on a speech given by President Roosevelt before the US entered World War II. They still hold a lot of resonance today.


Thrilling Tales of Terror: Why We Love To Be Scared

A headless horseman roams a sleepy hollow. Unearthly sounds echo out of a small mountain in Connecticut. The spirit of a lovesick woman haunts a lake on Long Island, where she lures men to their deaths. Our region is rich with ghoulish tales of ghosts, horror, and unexplained events. Today on The Full Story, we dim the lights and huddle close (while socially distancing, of course) to hear these eerie local legends. And we check in with a folklorist to find out why telling tales of terror are...


Off The Path: The Mysterious Moodus Noises

Some of the first European settlers in Connecticut heard mysterious rumblings that came from a small mountain in the town of East Haddam. Those sounds have inspired centuries of spooky tales about witches, ghosts, demons and a mysterious wizard. Davis Dunavin reports as part of the WSHU series Off the Path from New York to Boston.


Off The Path: Life In The Ruins

There’s an old abandoned hospital on Roosevelt Island in New York City. It was built for smallpox patients in the mid-1800s, but no one's used it for more than half a century. Today, its ruins loom over the southern edge of the island, looking out on the East River. And it’s become a playground for wayward cats.


Off The Path: Murder on Smuttynose Island

There’s a tiny 27-acre island off the coast of Portsmouth, New Hampshire called Smuttynose Island. The population in 1873 was six. So it shocked the country when two of them were brutally murdered — an event that led to the publication of the book "Mystery on the Isles of Shoals," by J. Dennis Robinson. WSHU’s Davis Dunavin brings us the story as part of the podcast ‘Off the Path from New York to Boston.’ And a caution — this story contains disturbing details about two murders.


Taylor Swift and the 'Last Great American Dynasty'

Pop star Taylor Swift’s songs often draw from her own life. For her new album, Folklore , Swift turned to a new muse: an eccentric heiress who once owned Swift’s multi-million-dollar beachfront mansion in Watch Hill, Rhode Island. WSHU’s Davis Dunavin brings us the story as part of the podcast Off the Path from New York to Boston.


Harlem's 100-Year-Old Drag Shows

Shows like RuPaul’s Drag Race and HBO’s Pose have made drag queens famous. But the oldest drag shows in New York City’s Harlem neighborhood may date back to 1869 — four years after the Civil War and a century before the Stonewall Riots. They’re connected to a long-gone venue called the Rockland Palace.


Off the Path Revisited: The Voynich Manuscript

It’s one of the world’s great literary mysteries: a 15th century book full of bizarre illustrations of imaginary plants, astrological signs, surreal figures and landscapes. Its origins are unknown, its creator anonymous. And it’s written entirely in an unknown language that’s stumped the world’s greatest codebreakers.