NE Trip Part 5 – Connecticut

Connecticut

Our first trek through CT was an afternoon drive down scenic hwy 169 in eastern CT. It was a very pretty drive with stone fences in front of many homes/farms/churches.

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This is one of the many old cemetaries that can be found in New England.

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It was a gorgeous day and there was a lively softball game going on here.

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NE has many pretty white steeples. I didn’t manage to get any photos of a steeples surrounded by brilliant foliage.

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In NE there are quite a few farms that have stores that you can buy fresh produce and we LOVED the fresh apple cider that was available. We stopped at one such place and they gave us directions to a local park where we took ate a picnic lunch and relaxed for a bit, giving us a break from the vehicle. We had left Maine that morning and had driven for 4 or 5 hours, with a few more to go back up into Mass.

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Beat, Lois & Carol

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We drove past this ivy-covered chapel on an college campus, where another wedding was about to take place. The father-of-the- groom and the coordinator were waiting outside and the guests began to arrive as we left. 

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I thought the simplicity of this home was picturesque.

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Near the end of the scenic highway we passed a house in Canterbury that was a school in the 1830s led by Prudence Crandall. She started including Negro girls in her previously all white private school but eventually closed down to protect herself and her students from physical harm. 

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The second time we were in CT was a week later when it was just Lois and I. We had toured the Norman Rockwell museum, which is in Stockbridge, Mass, (on the far western side of the state, very near N.Y.) We both really enjoyed, even if it was a big crowded that day. It was the Saturday of Columbus Day weekend, which is their busiest day of the year. I forgot to mention this stop on the Mass. post. There were a number of original oil paintings on display, and other lithographs on display as well. Most have been purchased back or were donated back to the museum. I don’t have any photos of the museum as they were not allowed to be taken inside. In one room they have a copy of every Saturday Evening Post cover that he drew. Many of his paintings/drawings were of local people. Before photography was so accessible, he would have professional models depicting whatever scene he wanted. Eventually he used locals and would have the scene photographed so he could use that to paint. Some people sent him ideas for scenes and a few he used. The Saying Grace scene was a suggestion sent to him. Someone had seen amish people in a restaurant saying grace and it apparently caught the attention of the surrounding diners.

Leaving Stockbridge we drove down another scenic route through the Litchfield Hills area and the cut over to near New Haven, where we had a motel booked for 2 nights. The next few days we took it a little easier. Sunday afternoon we were looking for a quiet beach that was warm enough to sit and read, write or rest for a few hours. We found one state park that was right on the ocean and had nice “facilities” but it was just too chilly with the wind coming off the water. We kept driving and eventually found this place that was more of an inlet. There was a nice park there, and we absorbed the warm sun and just rested!!

At first when got there we thought we saw a seal diving around a large rock a ways out. Eventually we found out it was a diver. Not sure what he was looking for but here he is on the way in. He had been out so far that all we could see was his head and flippers. Here he is on the way in.

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While we were there, Amtrack came whizzing silently through at least 4 times.

I was quite thankful for the quiet. The office where I work is near the tracks and the freight trains blast their horns as they go through town. We often tell them to shut up but they don’t hear us. Amtrack usually gives short, polite honks as it pulls in and stops at the station across from the office.

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Somewhere over in the same area is a little wayside restaurant with the best fish and chips ever! It was almost to chilly to eat outside but to pretty not too, as the moon was up over this inlet. And have I mentioned how good the fish and chips were?

Later that afternoon we drove through Mystic and stopped for a bit by the drawbridge. We were on the way across when the alarm sounded that the bridge would open up. It operates with a counter weight so we were happy to get out of its way.

Open bridge:

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Closing:

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Closed:

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Little boats on the water, watching the bigger boats go through.

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Mystic has a seaport museum/village a “living history museum consisting of a village, ships and 17 acres of exhibits depicting coastal life in New England in the 19th century”. We didn’t have time to tour it but heard it’s very interesting. That’s on my list for “next time.”

Another graveyard, this time the fall colors are more evident in CT.

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The next day we headed to Essex where we had tickets reserved for a steam engine and paddle wheel boat ride.

We picked the open car right behind the engine and go to enjoy all the bells, whistles and bursts of steam. Plus we had now windows to contend with. A definite best choice, considering the beautiful weather. After the foggy days of Maine, and the damp/drizzly days of Vermont, the sunny days in Connecticut were delicious!

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This shot of the conductor is one of my favorite shots of the trip.

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And yes, the Connecticut River does also have swamp. This picture is to prove that it’s not just the south that has this kind of “wasteland”.

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The name of the paddle wheel boat is the Becky Thatcher, a nod to Mark Twain, who used to live nearby.

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The ride on the CT River was relaxing and fairly slow-paced. The young guy who did the narrative did an excellent job of sounding interested in his job, and keeping it informative and interesting.

This castle looks like ruins but it was built to look like that in the early 1900s. It cost about $1 million back then. The man who had it built was William Gillette, an eccentric man who was known for his portrayal of Sherlock Holmes. He had no heirs. He had been married but as his wife lay dying from complications of a burst appendix, he promised her he would never marry again. He didn’t. It is now part of a state park and you can tour the grounds at no cost or pay a little to go inside as well. We only boated past but had a nice view of the castle.

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We could’ve caught this ferry and then hiked up the hill to the castle.

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This is a playhouse where Annie was first acted out on stage. However, when it was famous enough to go to Broadway, the only actor to make the move to NY was the dog.

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The river is a waterfowl migratory and breeding area and although we saw very few birds that day, there were swans.

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Which we sent packing!

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A little summer vacation neighborhood, which is always mindful of flooding potential.

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Lois took this one looking out through a porthole. I thought it was a really cool shot:

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The last morning in CT we swung through the Yale campus in New Haven, which is full of very old and beautiful buildings. But some of the streets were being worked on and we zig zagged through a few times and I didn’t get any pictures. Partly also, due to the fact that I was driving. And all the streets were one-way. And there were few places to quick pull off for pictures.

I believe concludes CT. Only Rhode Island to go and by the time I get that up here, it will be time for the next big trip.

Just kidding!!!!

 

2 thoughts on “NE Trip Part 5 – Connecticut

  1. IVY COVERED CHAPEL…. I’m swooning!! That is unbelieveably gorgeous!! Looks like something from Europe!

    Love your conductor shot… That could win awards! That train just looks so fun to ride on too.

    Castles in New England? I wouldn’t have remembered that. That’s really cool!

    I’m loving all these pictures! Yay for Rhode Island next! πŸ™‚

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