Monday 12 October 2009

The East Coast Childhood Experience

Today provided an outstanding New England childhood experience that is recommended for all children and those at heart!

After accidentally sleeping in until noonish, Max and I headed off to our fun-filled day at March Farm in Bethlehem. While waiting for our hay ride, we roamed around one of the two pumpkin patches. The following picture describes the surprises and smiles by children we saw!

One of the many adorable kids with the HUGE pumpkin!

The hay ride proved a bit bumpy, but took us to the apple-picking farm. There, we found ourselves picking and eating every few steps. The favorite: the Macoun apple! Crisp and smooth, the apple proves a sweet treat!

Tip: The best apples are the ones at the top as they lie untouched and overlooked from others!

On the hay ride with all the kids and families

The "great lengths" we had to go through to get the best apples!

After filling our bag with apples, we headed into the Corn Maze. Eventually getting lost in the five acre maze, we decided to run like the wind off the trails! Scary corn maze.

Lost in the corn maze!

After the visit to March Farm, it was time for a more grown-up activity - wine tasting! At Haight-Brown Vineyard, one can taste a dozen wines for only $15 including chocolate, cheese, and a glass to take home! Sounds good to me!

The vineyard provides a variety of red and white vines including its specialties only available in Litchfield, Connecticut. My personal favorite was their Honey Nut Apple. Blended with honey, the light white wine tastes better than its name with its fruity flavor! Ironically enough, the wine utilizes apples grown from March Farm.

Wine tasting at Haight-Brown Vineyard

To finish up the day, we headed to downtown Litchfield and actually ran into Max's mom taking a walk by Litchfield Law School, the first law school in the United States. We soon headed back to Stratford to jump on the train home.

Litchfield Green Church - Arguably the most photographed church in New England

The leaves were falling and then air was crisp. Thanks for the great weekend, Connecticut!

Sunday 11 October 2009

Beaches, Lighthouses, Bridges, & Waterfalls!

The Sunday morning started with an 8:15AM phone call by my next host, Maxwell Kinkade, letting me know that he would pick me up in about forty-five minutes. Who does that?

The first stop would be the waterfront town of Stratford and its beaches. Please note: Though nice to take a walk on, East Coast beaches are more appropriately known as shores as they lack surfing waves like the West Coast! After skipping rocks and searching for sea glass, we headed off to the cozy restaurant of Marnick's for lunch.

Tip: At Stratford, one must seach for sea glass a.k.a. beach glass a.k.a. mermaid's tears a.k.a. lucky tears! Originating from glass bottles, sea glass is formed from being tumbled and smoothed by sand and water.

Lying on seashells at the beaches of Stratford

Before leaving town, we stopped by Stratford Point Lighthouse. Established in 1822, the station is privately owned by the Coast Guard. Though not open to the public, one can capture great shots by land or sea.

Stratford Point Lighthouse

On the way to apple-picking, our lovely GPS took us up and down roads that were arguably trails. We were unfortunately half an hour too late and thus, headed off to Oxford. Though no locals have heard of Southford Falls State Park, it was marked as one of the top tourist attractions in Connecticut through Google search!

With its attractive waterfalls and picturesque scenes, Southford Falls proves a most secret and charming destination to visit!

One of the many waterfalls on the Eight Mile River

A typical New England covered bridge. We can tell its authentic because it's red!

We continued the drive up the Northwest Coast of Connecticut stopping whenever we glimpsed something that peaked our interest. Detours included Hodge Memorial Library & Museum to pick up a collection of free books and White Memorial Park to go deer watching.

At Max's home, the women drank wine while the men moved furniture between floors (his mother liked to say that's the way it should be!). The best part about traveling to friends' homes? Meeting the parents and Sunday night dinners! There's almost nothing better than seeing the way people grew up and hearing embarrassing stories about them from their parents!

Sunday night family dinner. Check. Game night with the brother and his girlfriend. Check. Pool, stargazing and off to bed for more adventures in Connecticut!

Saturday 10 October 2009

New Haven

Columbus Day weekend called for a quick trip to Connecticut to visit friends. Jamelle Nelson and I met at Washington Square Park in New York to take the 90 minute train ride to New Haven. A surprisingly great tourist destination, a young person can find lots of adventure in the "Constitution State."

After yesterday's drinks at Geronimo and attending an 80's-themed party with future lawyers at Yale's Graduate Professional Student Center (yes, you read that correctly), I dropped my graduate school friends off at the Goldman Law School Library and headed off to East Rock Park.

The original Facebook at Goldman Law School print!

The thirty-minute walk to East Rock Park provided quite scenic as this weekend marked the transition of summer to autumn. In other works, the leaves were in the midst of changing colors!

Time for autumn on the East Coast!

The tranquil getaway allowed one to escape everything but the stillness of the lakes and the breeze of the wind. The 425-acre park provided numerous surprises consisting of owners and dogs diving off bridges to models and photo shoots with red mustangs! After an hour or so of hiking, it was off to a contemporary art gallery!

East Rock Park, New Haven, CT

ArtSpace Gallery provides rotating contemporary art exhibitions free to the general public. The current exhibit features "The Weekend Inventor" showcasing the continuously evolving relationship between art, technology, and innovation.

Martha Lewis's Plan B. She describes the work as "a magic carpet of sorts that is either a utopian dream or a dire escape plan"

Upon returning to Yale, I stumbled upon hundreds of Yale students running as police manned the nearby streets. A student claimed to me that they were in the midst of Bladder Ball. Previously played between 1954 and 1982 before being banned by the administration, the premise involves each respective residential college trying to attain possession of a giant six foot inflatable ball. Obviously.

The forbidden game of Bladder Ball! Notice the Yale student hanging off the fence.

While waiting for the others to finish up studying, I headed off to Downtown New Haven a.k.a. The New Haven Green. Completed in 1638, the 16-acre park belongs to five descendants of the original settlers of the green. The appointments are life-long and once one member passes away, the others gather in private to choose a new co-owner. A story much appropriate for an Ivy League college town!

The United Church in New Haven Green

Last up in New Haven was a visit to Long Wharf Pier, home of the Amistad - too bad the Amistad was M.I.A.!

Long Wharf Pier

The night came with helping my host, Matias Sueldo, put about seven holes in his wall to hang an oil painting (it looks good if I may say so). We then headed off to dinner at Frank Pepe's Pizza, famous for white clam pie.

Note: White clam pie is not a dessert, but a cheeseless pizza. Why do they call it that? No clue.

Let the exploration in Connecticut continue!