How did people get to taverns?
People arrived at taverns in a variety of ways, depending a great deal on the tavern location. Taverns in seaport towns were visited by travelers who had arrived on ships from other ports, maybe even from other countries. Taverns were also visited by people who had come to town from the countryside, either to buy products that arrived on the ships or to sell farm produce to customers in the city. Some taverns catered to the sailors who worked on ships; these were usually rowdy placed not frequented by other travelers. Taverns along main roads were visited by people traveling on foot, on horseback, in a wagon or a carriage. When roads were frozen in winter, traveling by horse-drawn sleigh was a popular way to go. Some taverns were located beside rivers and canals. Regular stage coach service existed on the main roads between larger towns. Some taverns were known as “stage stops”, where the stage coach driver could exchange his tired horses for fresh ones and the passengers could stretch their legs and get something to eat. These taverns also served as the local post office, and would be a place for people to gather in order to hear news from other areas, or perhaps to get a newspaper from another town that had been brought in by a stage coach passenger.
A Closer Look at the Painting
What methods of transportation do you see? Would people use these same methods in another season? What changes would you expect to see if there was no snow on the ground? What methods of transportation can you imagine that are not shown in the painting?