CT: Madison: Hammonasset State Park

Enjoyed a wonderfully tranquil walk beach side.

For several years I have gone to the Meig’s point area of Hammonasset in hopes to see a glimpse of the winter seals that are said to come near the shore.

Fortunately I came upon a woman with binoculars to improve my view. The picture is at a distance but the memory is crystal clear.

The return walk equally tranquil and peaceful as a man sat on driftwood and softly played his guitar. I found myself drawn towards him as he looked like Sam Eliot. I smiled and nodded in appreciation for his music.

NY: New Paltz: Mohonk Mountain House Mystery Weekend

Hands down Mohonk Mountain house provides an escape from the real world. It’s several miles away from civilization upon a mountain – just enough distance.

Happily snowbound for the mystery and puzzle weekend, we all remained immersed in the 1920s during prohibition to uncover the clues to solve the case of who murdered Lulu!

The cast remained in character as the acts unfolded over the weekend as well as you may encounter them in the halls or at afternoon tea. The puzzles were a challenging enough to keep you engaged while not being overwhelmingly so to discourage.

In addition to a puzzling weekend the stay also included ice skating, snow tubing, the pool, snow shoeing or skiing as well as indoors options!

NYC: NY Botanical Garden – Orchid Show

What’s great about returning to a recurring event is it gives you the opportunity to see the lesser obvious parts of the attractions.

While we took in the bigger draws of this years orchid show – and they were stunning – I was intrigued by the patterned greenery as well as the cactus “snakes.”

They also add an art installation in a long hallway between exhibits which we happened to go through on our own! Photo op!

Dress in layers as it’s cold out during this season but hot in the greenhouses! This famous exhibit is included in the annual membership which is something to consider if nearby.

NY: Lake George- Ice Castles & Winter Festival

With mild winters upon us, the frozen ice castles in Lake George is not always a certainty. The first year I signed up it was cancelled due to the warm weather. But this year it was a go!

There was a real igloo with an ice bar. I had a “Dirty Snowman” which was hot chocolate with a bit of whiskey. It was all very well executed and lots of beautiful people coming in costumes and taking fun pictures.

One of my favorite other activities was snow tubing on Gore Mountain which is my first experience at that height. I was pretty much a woman superhero with my heated gloves. So fun!

Keep a look out for their winter festival and go during those weeks so that there’s a bit more to do in the area in these winter months.

Fun fact- a week before I was on vacation in the Florida keys! It was fun to go from one end of the country and temperature from one week to the next – not easy but fun! Challenge yourself and if the timing works out just do it!

RI-Newport- Mansions at Christmas

In recent years I have been searching for those fairytale Christmas towns to get me in the holiday spirit. This years pick was Newport and the mansion tours.

The Breakers

You can buy tickets for their self guided tours to three mansions- The Breakers, The Elm and Marblehouse.

The Elm

I appreciated getting all these great ideas for decorating trees, fireplaces and doorways – realizing you can do much more with an ornament besides hanging it on a tree.

Marble House

It’s also a great activity to do regardless of the weather. A great side trip is to Castle Hill for their hot chocolate bar or to stop in to One Pelham Place and hear the dueling pianos.

CT: Thompson: Morning Bekons Farm

A few years ago I was enamored by a LLama named Bolt whom I met at a farm in Goshen, CT in 2019.

I didn’t know much about llamas and somehow thought they only lived in some far off land – many of us who grew up in NYC feel that way.

Researching the quiet corner of CT I stumbled upon an alpaca farm and wondered what’s the difference between a llama and an alpaca?

They both spit. The difference is primarily in their size and the coarseness of their hair – alpaca hair being softer and finer. I bought a winter headband as a momento.

They were super friendly- especially baby Harold. So friendly we had to be taught how to put up our hand to move them back! They very much enjoyed selfies I found. As you can see they were hamming it up and photo bombing my shots!

It was a happy day with the Alpacas. There were also other animals at the farm and the tour was an hour for $15 with the owner who was a great guide. His wife was running the store. Sweet couple!

343a Sand Dam Road, Thompson

Next stop/post: Tri-State Marker CT/RI/MA accessible from Thompson

This is Bolt – still my favorite llama

CT: New London: Colchester: Cato Corner Farm

With part of my family from France, cheese and wine tastings is one of my favorite pastimes. While I can’t seem to get myself to France, tasting the delicious farm fresh cheeses at Cato Corner in Colchester takes me away.

I was so busy eating I didn’t get a chance to snap a picture of the actual cheeses but I got three on this lovely warm day in November.

Part of the farm’s charm is to visit the cows and observe how they are loved and cared for which comes out in the cheese I think.

A great escape to wander the farm and speak with the staff who truly enjoys sharing knowledge about the cheese and the art behind its creation.

Ahh. . . The cheeses I selected and recommend. . . Wise Womenchego, Sofia Feta and Aged Bloomsday. . . Each coupled with your favorite wine will transport you on an international journey.

178 Cato Corner Road, Colchester

CT: Fairfield County- Trumbull Trail

Recently I shared that I had met two wonderful women on a full moon hike. The friendship continued to blossom as we texted and shared our hobby photography around CT as well as biking and kayaking

I was fortunate enough to continue the relationship by biking along the Trumbull rail trail learning about each other and stopping to take some beautiful pictures of the landscape and even of ourselves.

I don’t often take pictures of myself. But sometimes a person makes you feel beautiful enough to step in front of the camera.

Thank you Ethel for your encouragement and positive energy we fed off of one another to see the beauty in each other as well as the environment.

CT: Fairfield- Westport/Southport Coastal Ride

I cried happy tears through almost this entire ride as I met people, had new experiences and felt things I never have before – even though the route is quite familiar.

An egret was most welcoming at the entrance of Burying Hill Beach and posed as I tried to get out of the way of a car to get the shot. It was a fisherman who had passed and later kindly commented on how lovely the scene.

After Burying Hill there’s a beautiful ride along the shore. I was introduced to a small gate for public access down to the sea wall. I walked down a flight of stairs to capture the waves crashing onto the wall below the Fall trees.

Continuing down the road lined with mansions I couldn’t help but greet walkers as I tried to balance my oversized bike helmet on my head. Note to self to fix that.

On to Southport Beach where the tide had created piles of shells along the rocky shore and met some women who were blowing bubbles and shared “it’s always a magical day when your blowing bubbles.” With that I completely agree. I think that should be my new opening question when I meet people.

Next we pass by the Pequot Library where I learned from my friend that inside you can find a beautiful Tiffany window and portions of the original manuscript of Gone with the Wind! Can’t wait to return to see that! As we continued it was suggested we make a right to a dead end.

What a perfect set of scenes. There was a father teaching his son how to fish, dogs fetching balls in the water and Fall beauty overflowing from a hazy sun.

The park by the Southport Yacht club has always been a favorite of mine. Small, simple, quaint and so relaxing.

We started our loop back and stopped for brunch at the Tasty Yolk- a popular food truck which serves eggs wraps. My name was familiar to them as it’s the same as their food inspector so I knew we would be treated well.

With a yummy wrap and my newly adjusted bike helmet (thank you Chloe) – I wiped my happy tears aside and was grateful for a wonderful morning.

I think every one I met today would think blowing bubbles makes for a magical day. Do you?

CT: New Haven County- Castle Craig Moon & Friendship Rising

Once a month Hubbard Park keeps the road open to drive up to Castle Craig in the evening for the full moon rising. It was a clear and warm ish Fall Day so while it’s an hour and a half drive I thought I might give myself a nudge and drive on up!

I definitely got a lot more than I expected. The leaves had turned just enough to offer a breathtaking view from the edge of the cliffs (keep children back!). I shivered as I watched folks hanging over the edge and even sitting on top of the castle’s top.

The colors brightened under the setting sun so brilliantly. I made the effort to bring my lens ball and had my own fun balancing it on top of the castle to capture the reflecting sun. I met some great people at the top too- Ethel and Bonnie – we found we had a great deal in common in our outdoor adventures.

I was thrilled to learn that the full moon rising was expected only minutes after the sunset. With an exciting turn of your head the moment was fulfilled as a huge pink moon started its rise over the landscape.

I started on top of the castle and then took some shots between the fall leaves at its base. How fulfilling to see the changing colors, the sun set, the moon rising and making some new friends!

October 2022