Tuesday, July 06, 2010

recapping CT

Absolutely breathtaking -- second place winner
Blue Ascension, Robert Noreika, Rocky Hill, Ct

We just got in from an after-dinner trip for ice cream to Bloom Hill Farm, where a small (small?!) dish of Reese's Madness more than satisfied the chocolate/peanut butter lover in me. We're heading to the Cape tomorrow, and the kids noted that "we've only been there once this year," so of course we scheduled it in.

This has been a pretty busy week, with a special focus - but here it is in a nutshell.

We arrived late Tuesday after a long and uneventful travel day. Perhaps the only thing of note is that National Car Rental service does not automatically include your husband/wife on your rental contract, as most (all?) of the other companies do. If you wish to be listed as a driver, it's an additional $10/day. I wasn't happy to find this out at the counter when we were picking up our car. I didn't yell or anything, but I guess I was sufficiently annoyed ("Well, hon, I guess you're driving, and we're never renting from National again...") that they waived the fee and enrolled us in their Emerald Club for free. I didn't ask for or expect anything and I certainly wasn't making a scene, they just proactively handled it.

Wednesday we had a bit of a late start, not surprising due to jet lag and general inertia, but DH and I took off for our annual trip to Mystic. On the way down we stopped at Saltwater Farm Vineyard, new this year and just delightful.

The hangar/winery and vineyards at Saltwater Farm Vineyard

We found Mystic as lovely as ever, with The Mermaid Inn as welcoming and stuffed full of delicious offerings as we could ever want. This did not prevent us, of course, from going to dinner at the S&P, where we enjoyed the splendid views and even more splendid seafood.

S&P Oyster Co, our dinner spot

The gazebo at The Mermaid Inn

After our three course breakfast in the morning, featuring the world's best granola and absolutely insane pecan-encrusted Challa french toast, we ambled into Mystic to peep at all the beautiful things in The Company of Craftsmen, which is my favorite store in the entire world, and to view the Connecticut Academy of Fine Arts juried art exhibition at the Mystic Arts Center. We love that our annual visit coincides with this exhibition every year -- there are always extraordinary pieces to see.

Just one of the pieces I wish I could've bought

When we finally tore ourselves away from Mystic, we went straight to Maugle Sierra Vineyard, our favorite from last year and still deserving of that spot for their delicious and reasonably priced wines. From there, stops for lunch and shopping and finally back to the in-laws.

Friday was a lazy day until we realized that a huge heat wave was coming in, so we rousted the kids out and climbed Talcott Mountain again. It's a great afternoon hike, and the weather was perfect.

Heublein Tower, looking gorgeous as usual

Friday afternoon I piled (nearly) all the girls into the rental car to go see a matinee of Eclipse... my excuse: it's a cultural thing. How can we criticize it if we haven't seen it? Besides, I enjoyed the humor they injected this time around, and the fight scenes were much better. Friday night everyone went to hear the concert and see the fireworks at Talcott Mountain. The kids loved it, it was the first real fireworks show they had ever seen in person.

Saturday, we moved into full swing for the big 50th Anniversary party. DH's brother and his family had arrived from OH while we were away, so the house was full and we had plenty of help, tucking away all of the travelers' things in various closets and backrooms, dusting, vacuuming, and all the usual flurry of activity that precedes a big event.

The party was wonderful, with a big white tent and tables set up in their gorgeous backyard. The weather was very hot but fortunately the humidity held off, and the party was in the evening so the temps were moderate by then. We all feasted on lobster catered by Clambake Connection and enjoyed seeing all the friends and family. I took very few photos and won't bother posting any that I did take -- just a few of the kids and their uncles playing double ladderball while waiting for the guests to arrive. DH had prepared a really touching speech and delivered it beautifully -- not many dry eyes in the crowd! His parents were really pleased.

After the party, all the girls descended on the kitchen while the guys broke down the tables and chairs outside. There were an extraordinary amount of lobsters left over, along with huge trays of steamers and mussels, corn on the cob, and watermelon. The shellfish was all shelled while the corn and watermelon were cut from their cobs/rinds for easier storage. Many hands made light work.

That was Sunday, and ever since we've been in a bit of a daze. The OH folks headed out Monday, and the rest of us lounged around and went for dinner at DH's brother's place. Today was another low-energy day, reinforced by the nearly 100-degree weather. It was simply too hot to do anything outside. This afternoon we caught a double feature at the Connecticut Science Center's 3D theater, Wild Ocean, which was only slightly preachy, and Dinosaurs Alive!, a really neat overview of current work in paleontology, with nifty CGI dinosaurs. We were surprised to see feathered velociraptors and coelophysus, along with nimble postosuchus, which Walking with Dinosaurs had depicted as clumsy and slow. It's really interesting how much the thinking has changed in just a decade.

Tomorrow: packing, and driving to the Cape, and cooler temperatures, but not so cool that we can't go to the beach!

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