Our trip into Connecticut Sunday was anything but normal. We had originally planned to take I-287 way around NYC, about 50 miles extra, in order to avoid the NYC traffic but I lost my head and figured "it's Sunday - how bad can it be at midday?" Big mistake!! It wasn't too bad until we were approaching the George Washington Bridge and about two miles from the bridge the traffic stopped - moved two feet - stopped - moved two feet, and continued to repeat that pattern for the two miles to the toll booth. When We finally got to the toll booth, I got a twenty out...nope, not enough. They wanted $32 for the Mothership towing Libby - yikes!!!! So I signed a 2nd mortgage and they let me go. I have been told they only charge going from NJ into NY, no charge going form NY into NJ. That didn't help me much as there is no way I am coming back this way!! The whole time we were on I-95 in NJ and NY the road was absolutely terrible. So just how bad was it? Well, the milk curdled in the first 20 miles and by the time we got to CT, plates that were in the cabinet over the sink had found their way back to the bedroom - it was bad!! Once we got into CT, the road improved dramatically but the milk was still curdled and we were still hunting for the plates!
Our first stop in New England is at the Wolf's Den Family Campground just outside of East Haddam, CT. We have found that they only need one-fifth the names in CT as most states. They take a name, then they add East, West, North and South to it to get five names out of one. Pretty ingenuous don't you think?? Sometimes they just add New to the name such as in New Haven and Haven or Berlin and New Berlin. Anyhow, our campground is really nice. We have a large shaded site with 50 amps, water, and cable - no sewer but they have two dumps. Most of the two hundred plus sites are seasonal but they have about 25 in this one area that are for us transients. It took a little while but I finally found a way through the trees for the satellite so we are all set up. We have to make sure we are able to get satellite for the next four weeks on Mondays as that is when 24 ends and we already have 20 hours taped. :)
It rained all night Sunday night and up until early afternoon on Monday. We still left a little before noon for a little cross-country touring of the CT countryside. In all we drove about 200 miles through some very pretty country and managed to find a few unique items on the route besides the picturesque homes. Pictures are included.
Tuesday we went to Gillette Castle
State Park to do a little hiking. It has some nice trails through the woods on ground that is still covered by the fallen leaves from last fall. It is still early enough in the season for some badly needed repairs remaining undone. There is a trail map but it isn't very accurate and that is compounded by trails that interweave and none of them have differential marking so you just go where you think you should and retrace your steps when that turns out to be wrong. We took one trail that ended in a ten foot cliff. I'm definitely to old (and fragile) to try scaling down that thing so we turned around and went another way. We probably hiked about 1.5 to 2 miles total and it was good to be back out on the trails.
The castle itself isn't open until after Memorial Day (as we have found most of CT isn't) but we could still see the outside and it's pretty remarkable. Click on the link above to read more about it on Wikipedia.
Wednesday (today) we went over to Action Wildlife
which is in the Northwest corner of CT between Goshen and Torrington. This is a not for profit group which offers a drive-through zoo containing many common animals but the main feature is their museum which contains many, many excellent examples of the taxidermy art. I know I have included many pictures before similar to this so I only included some of the unique displays.
We then came back about half-way to camp and stopped at Avery's Beverages
which is one of the oldest bottlers in New England. It was real interesting watching them bottle using machines over a half-century old. They are able to only bottle about 100 cases a day. It is labor intensive as they have to constantly monitor the filling station to ensure enough carbonated water is added to each bottle. They have one line of sodas called the Totally Gross sodas. One of these is Swamp Juice which is similar to a drink I used to make when a soda jerk. It contains six different flavors. When I worked, it was one of everything we had, including chocolate. They don't do chocolate at Avery. :)
Tomorrow we head for Narragansett, RI for four days.