Sunday, May 16, 2010

Saturday Drive

We are always on the lookout for interesting things to do on the weekends, especially when the weather is nice. We can't always make the big trips to places like Philly and NYC; that takes a lot of energy with a toddler. We knew this weekend was supposed to be gorgeous, so we scoured the websites and newspapers for some fun outdoor activity. In the end, we vetoed Mystic (omg . . . $30 per person to get into the Aquarium? and about the same to get into the Seaport?!). We vetoed a bird walk at a state park (would the other participants be annoyed by us bringing a toddler along? Would he scare the birds away?). And we vetoed a baseball game (first pitch at 1:00? uhm, naptime!).

Feeling frustrated with indecision, we finally chose to go simple. And you know what? Simple is often best. We found two book sales in two nearby towns. We love a good book sale, and they seem to be rampant in Connecticut! Nothing beats a dollar book. Or better yet, when I took 4 childrens books up to the cashier at one of the sales, the woman said, "Oh, whatever you want to donate, maybe fifty cents?" Don't tell Marty, but I gave her a dollar. It was 4 books, and I love to support local libraries!

We figured we'd find a park or somewhere for Oliver to play in one of the towns, so we could be in the sunshine. Happily, there was a park with baby geese next to the second book sale, so the boys got to run around while I spent more time browsing the books. Marty had found a lunch possibility online, a diner dating back to the 50s that got great reviews. Sometimes we find these places online or from Food Network shows and they disappoint in reality. Fritz's Snack Bar, in Oxford, lived up to the reviews. Great place, great food, so-so service, but we weren't in a hurry. I had a delicious turkey melt, Oliver had an apparently amazing hot dog and lots of pickles, and Marty had a reuben, a strawberry shake, french fries, and a waffle. He hadn't eaten breakfast, and he did share his fries with Oliver. I wish you could have seen Oliver eating this lunch. He slowly but surely ate everything, stuffing it in, and just when you thought he was done, he'd eat some more. Every once in a while, he'd lean back in his chair like an old man, as if willing his food to digest so he could make room for the rest. Every time we'd ask, "All done?" we'd get a resounding "No!"

Eventually, he did finish, and we left the diner. I figured we might just head home for naps, but Marty thought Oliver had eaten so much he'd be in a food coma in no time, so we might as well just take a drive, let him sleep, and we could enjoy the back road scenery. Sure enough, he was asleep within minutes. So we told the GPS to avoid all highways, and drove north toward Kent Falls State Park, not sure if we'd go all the way there, but just see how it went. I remember taking Sunday drives with my grandparents as a kid. Driving around just for the sake of looking. Kind of unheard of anymore, with high gas prices, traffic, and busy lives. Well this was a lovely Saturday drive. We drove through Waterbury, Middlebury, Woodbury, Southbury, Washington, Warren, probably another -bury, and other little towns I can't remember. The towns were small and lovely, we saw many beautiful old houses along the way. This is a drive I know certain family members would enjoy when they come to visit, so Marty saved the route on Google for me so we can do it again.

After the GPS made us go on a steep, scary, single lane back road to the State Park (we told it to avoid highways!), we thankfully found a house with a driveway to turn around and head back to a highway, and the main entrance. Don't want to do that again. I hate scary roads like that! Oliver had conveniently awoken from his nap while we were on the scary road (I was only screaming in my head, I swear!), so we decided to check it out. Kent Falls State Park was very beautiful and peaceful, and not very crowded for such a nice day. Would be a great place to bring a picnic, or even cook out. They had lots of picnic tables and grills. I imagine it gets pretty crowded in the summer though. Maybe on a nice fall day when the leaves are turning.

Some photos from our visit (from the point and shoot, we hadn't brought the Nikon):

Taking time to stop and point at flowers.

Nature is pretty!

Heading toward the Falls.

"I will not pose for pictures!"

Marty and Oliver heading up the steep stairs that go up the hill beside the Falls. Yes, that made mommy nervous. Look at those pebbles underfoot! Look at the steepness of that hill!

Coming back down again, thankfully unharmed. Oliver loved the ride, he was laughing and urging Daddy on!

Oliver loved this little covered bridge. He went through it again, and again . . .

and again and again! Marty has 4 fingers up showing 4 times so far. He must have gone back and forth at least several dozen times total.

Hi mom!

Studying the babbling brook that ran underneath the bridge.

and again!

Then we played peek-a-boo around the gate. Again and again . . .

Where's mommy?

and again and again.

Needless to say, Oliver liked Kent Falls State Park, as did we. We wanted to drive a different way back, and went through Kent, which had a lot of little shops and antique stores, very cute. Looks like another good place to bring family when they visit. On both routes, there were numerous historic houses and Inns, it's just amazing to drive by a house that has the date "1737" on a plaque by the door! Not a museum either, just a house that some family lives in. Things like that are everywhere. It's old here! 

This drive gave me a lot of confidence for our upcoming trip to the Midwest. I'll be doing some driving alone with him, which I was a little worried about. But he loves being in the car, staring out the window, looking for his latest favorite thing: "street sign!" Ok, so he's a little weird, but hey, whatever keeps him happy! 

So what began as a "What do you want to do?" "I don't know, what do you want to do" kind of morning, turned into a very pleasant and relaxing day. Something to remember on the next boring weekend!

1 comment:

  1. that sounds like a great day, kelly! my mom used to take us for drives when we were little too. fun times!