Hogan’s Cider Mill has existed in the same beautiful barn in Burlington since 1912. I can’t believe I only discovered it in 2017, considering it’s only 15 minutes away from where I grew up. After seeing someone else post a picture of it on Instagram I had to get there as soon as possible. A gorgeous, historic cider mill practically in my back yard and I had no idea!
On a sunny and crisp autumn day (we haven’t had many crisp ones yet) I headed out after work expecting a quick walk about and to possibly pick up some pumpkins. Normally, I find hard cider to be a bit too sweet for my taste, but how could I not sample when I’m at a cider mill? I was blown away by all the different flavors available to sample. Chocolate cherry, lavender, and honey just to name a few examples. After tasting their fresh made peach cider I can say I’ve completely changed my stance on cider and bought a bottle immediately. I also really enjoyed the December Ice, one of their most popular flavors, and will definitely being going back to purchase it.
Hogan’s is so much more than a cider mill. Located throughout the first floor of the barn are local honeys and other food products. The second floor is a beautiful display of antiques and crafts from local artisans. Let’s not forget the outside of the property welcomes you with an expansive and color display of flowers and gourds. To top it off the Burlington Golf center’s meticulously manicured lawns sit behind the barn. No matter where you are on this property the views are breath taking.
“Pale amber sunlight falls across
The reddening October trees,
That hardly sway before a breeze
As soft as summer: summer’s loss
Seems little, dear! on days like these.
Let misty autumn be our part!
The twilight of the year is sweet:
Where shadow and the darkness meet
Our love, a twilight of the heart
Eludes a little time’s deceit.
Are we not better and at home
In dreamful Autumn, we who deem
No harvest joy is worth a dream?
A little while and night shall come,
A little while, then, let us dream.
Beyond the pearled horizons lie
Winter and night: awaiting these
We garner this poor hour of ease,
Until love turn from us and die
Beneath the drear November trees.”
Over the past few days I have been pinning autumn inspiration like crazy. It may not feel entirely like autumn yet (record highs set this week), but the foliage is beginning and so are all the fall activities. Cooler weather will be arriving right in time for Southington’s Apple Harvest this weekend! Every year it gets bigger and better and so does downtown Southington/Plantsville where the festival takes place. While I’m disappointed I won’t be around for their big craft fair next weekend, I am excited to experience the energy of opening night and the parade on Sunday.
Whenever you decide to make something a yearly event, you try to improve upon your experience every time you go. For example, last year was our first time at The New York Renaissance Faire and while we had a fantastic time, we made mental notes to dress more comfortably and perhaps go when it wasn’t 80 degrees. This year I thought, “Perfect. We’ll go for my birthday at the end of September. It should be cooler, at least not 80.” So, of course it wasn’t 80 degrees. It was 90.
On Labor Day, my brother and I took a day trip to Marblehead, MA. Located just five minutes away from downtown Salem, I’ve always had this on my list of places to visit. The town is absolutely gorgeous, but I advise getting there much earlier than we did. There was no parking lots I could find, but there is plenty of street parking, you just might be a few blocks away from actual downtown. My other suggestion is map out bathrooms. We spent the better part of an hour buying coffees and seltzers at various stores searching for bathrooms and could find none. We finally found public restrooms at the historic Fort Sewall.
Not only was last week my birthday, but it was my mother’s as well. We always try to do something together, the two of us, to celebrate. This year I was invited to experience the newly updated Royale 6 in Norwalk, owned by Bow Tie Cinemas. Fun fact, Bow Tie bought the movie theater chain I once worked at on Long Island were PK and I met. Our theater wasn’t anything close to this one, however.
In one week it will officially be my birthday! The actual day will be spent at the New York Renaissance Faire, but I have another free day open for adventure. Now that I know the Montague Bookmill exists, I doubt I’ll spend that day anywhere else.
Last weekend my mom and I went on an impromptu day trip to Deerfield, Massachusetts. It was only an hour and fifteen minute drive from where we live in Connecticut. The distance is a blessing and a curse because I have a feeling we’ll be spending a lot more time (and money) in this part of New England. We didn’t do too much research before heading off, Dunkin’ pumpkin iced coffees in hand, and stuck to three of the biggest attractions in the area: The Yankee Candle Village, The Montague Book Mill (separate post), and Historic Deerfield.
I’d always read and known the benefits of mindful meditation, but always thought I needed to immediately find enlightenment by clearing my head and achieving nothingness. Let me tell you, my brain is incapable of being clear of anything. I even attended a sound and sight group meditation where we laid back with pillows and blankets. Lights that resembled a running river were projected onto the ceiling while the practitioner played his gongs and singing bowls. The entire time all I could do was get mad that I wasn’t correctly meditating. In fact, I got so mad that I had the urge to attack the healer as he walked by. At the very end of the session the last gong was quickly silenced and all vibrations from the instruments were gone from the room. I actually caught my breath and was immediately calm. All anger gone.
I started out strong in 2017 with my reading. I had a goal of 50 and thought I was bound to reach it by the summer. As it usually happens, I hit a wall halfway through a mediocre book I had been so excited to start. I tried to switch it up and try others, but then not finishing a book I had started began to bother me. Now, three months later I’m beginning to think I should get over it and get reading. Here are some things I’m doing to get back on track with my goal:
No time slips by quite as fast as your vacation week. Here I am on Sunday, my last day off, catching up on blog posts. No books were read, no kayaking trips were taken, and there was a little less relaxation time than I had planned on. I fully acknowledge some people don’t get any vacation or time off, but this is my little nook of the world to mildly complain, so I will.
There is a magical little New England town I talk about all the time on this blog. A town where colonial New England meets the modern day seamlessly. Preppy clothing stores, homemade fudge shops, and reusable bag boutiques live alongside each other in renovated historic buildings. Here you can grab a fresh coffee and explore a local bookshop or antique sellers. There is a music store that consists solely of records. As you cross the historic drawbridge in downtown with your fresh-churned ice cream and gaze upon ships docked in the colonial era seaport museum you realize there is nowhere on earth you’d rather be. Well, at least that’s how I feel every time I’m in Mystic.
When asked how he wanted to celebrate the big 3-0 and his upcoming graduation from his MBA program PK made a simple request. He just wanted to watch the Yankees play. As it turned out, the Yankees would be on the road playing the World Series champion Cubs. Luckily, for PK, I have some amazing family in Chicago.
The worst thing that can happen at the beginning of your vacation is discovering a store like, Soulbury. My family knows me well enough that when they learn about fun, new shops they need to tell me right away. This was one I couldn’t bear to sit on too long once my aunt sent me their Facebook page, especially with gorgeous warm weather last week. My loyal adventure buddy, Coors was ready at a moments notice and we were on our way to Woodbury, Connecticut.
I have been absolutely exhausted since Easter. All I could do was envision my week long vacation and how I would do absolutely nothing but nap. Aside from our Chicago trip at the end of my time off I tried to keep my schedule wide open. Somehow, everyday began to fill with spontaneous day trips to some of my favorite places and I can’t really complain about that. Vacation didn’t have as many naps as I was counting on, but I am feeling totally renewed and ready for warm weather and to plan more trips.
Kinsmen Brewing in Milldale (part of Southington) finally opened over the weekend in a gorgeous old, brick building near where I grew up. Obviously, I had to stop in to see the progress and to taste test. The brewery is located along the Rails to Trails, one of my favorite walking paths, that I’ve posted about earlier. Obviously, I am a strong proponent for beer after physical activity, so their location is perfect. The walking path right outside their doors leads you into downtown Plantsville and Southington’s evolving restaurant row.
This past weekend friend, Coors, and I visited the Hill-Stead Museum for their Rooms in Bloom event. The entire property was decorated with floral arrangements from local designers while you walked through on a self-guided tour. In each room there were volunteers ready to discuss the Pope family, the original owners, and their amazing art collection. This was my first time visiting and I instantly fell in love with the house and surrounding landscape.
This weekend, the Saybrook Point Inn invited me to attend a dinner at their restaurant, Fresh Salt, showcasing their new Spring menu. Not only did PK and I get to experience their amazing food, we were also graciously offered a room for the night. Coming out of this long winter a weekend getaway on the Connecticut coast line in gorgeous Old Saybrook was just what we needed. When we arrived and got settled, our room was so cozy and had such picturesque views of the marina that it was hard to tear ourselves away.
Recent adventures have led to a few new finds….
We’ve been thinking spring thoughts over here. Don’t get me wrong, I love winter and I love snow, but like most New Englanders, I’m getting seasonal ADD. I’m ready for the next one. We had one glorious week of sixty degree weather at the end of February, but it was more a tease more than anything else.
Almost every month I’ve found myself in Mystic recently and I’m not complaining. The holiday season makes this little town that much more magical. Coors and I met up for a stroll through the village for some last minute gifts then grabbed dinner at our favorite restaurant, The Daniel Packer Inne. I can’t believe that we are only a few days away from Christmas. I’m not anywhere near finished with shopping and I have a whole lot of baking and travel ahead of me in the next few days. While I love the holidays it always feels like a rush and that I never get to enjoy all the fun things going on. Getting a chance to stroll through the village and hang out with a good friend was a nice break.
I’ll be honest, we’ve still made zero progress with wedding planning. Whenever we’re asked any questions PK and I will answer, “Oh, ya know, it’s gonna be in 2018.” We keep saying 2018 as if it isn’t looming closer everyday. All we’ve really discussed and agreed upon at this time is the wedding will be somewhere in Connecticut and it will involve beer. That’s enough for now in my opinion.