I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Collinsville is Connecticut’s hidden gem. When most people think of Connecticut they think of Stars Hollow, the fictional town from Gilmore Girls. Stars Hollow is based on Washington Depot (another great CT town), but there is just something so magical about Collinsville. They have LaSalle’s Deli that hosts open mic nights every Friday and serves AMAZING food. The train tracks that run through town have been turned into a handicap accessible walking trail that includes a bridge over the Farmington River. There are multiple yoga studios in the coolest converted buildings you’ve ever seen. You can even visit The Underground Art Studio that is, you guessed it, underground. Most importantly, Collinsville frequently holds the most unique and community cultivating events.
This past weekend my friend Gina and I took part in The Champagne Walk. For several hours Friday evening, local merchants in downtown stayed open late to serve champagne and welcome visitors into their spaces. It truly was a great excuse to see some of the businesses I wouldn’t normally frequent, but have been wanting to explore the insides of. That sentence came off a little weird, so I should explain that there are many insurance brokers and similar businesses that occupy older colonial homes that I walk by and have always wanted to explore because I am nosy.
Since I got there a little early I explored the Canton Historical Museum to see their Festival of Trees. The entire building was filled with Christmas trees donated by local businesses that the museum will eventually raffle off. I put all my tickets into the drawing for the cutest green, rustic ladder decorated with garland, vintage ornaments, and topped with a lantern. Please let me win! The second floor of the museum holds an incredible toy train exhibit that is a replica of what Collinsville looked like before the great flood of ’55. I like a lot of weird things, but I never expected to spend so much time photographing and admiring a toy train exhibit. Also, they were one of the only places open and not pouring alcohol. This wasn’t a big deal to me as I’m history buff, but several soccer moms took offense and implored me at the front doors to be careful when I went in as their was no alcohol. Luckily for me I survived and enjoyed the exhibits stone sober.
The rest of our night included a lot of champagne and a lot of talking. Another fun, and true, stereotype about New Englanders is that we love to talk and are incredibly friendly. I smile at everyone and will go out of my way to be nice, but small talk is where I normally draw the line. However, you get a few sips of champagne in me and it was like I was running for mayor in a town I don’t even live in. This did lead to a few tours of old buildings and insight into upcoming business ideas for downtown, so no complaints. We ended our night shutting down 41 Bridge Street, a restaurant/bar with live music and stand-up comedy. I had never been inside before but instantly fell in love with their gorgeous Art Deco interior. The Gilded Age is my least favorite era of American history, so boring, but apparently I dig the Gatsby-esque vibes.
In conclusion, 10/10 champagne glasses. Would do this even again in a heart beat and hope it becomes a holiday tradition. If event’s like this interest you Collinsville also has an upcoming Sip and Shop happening this Friday!
November 16, 2017, Greenwich, CT: One could say that MIX Creative Kitchen was born out of necessity. A need for fresh, healthy food, usually while on the run, but without sacrificing quality and flavor. This past April, Palm Foods LLC, the entrepreneurial team behind the MIX brand, put their hunger where their mouths are and introduced a made-to-order breakfast fix, salad, and sauté bowl concept that offers quality food in a fast-casual setting.
Last month, Pat came up to Connecticut for an extended weekend and we decided it was the perfect opportunity for a day trip. He took time off before starting a new job so we tried to take advantage of that time. Since it was right before Thanksgiving and we have so many planned events and trips coming up, I didn’t feel like getting too creative. We recreated the day trip my mom and I had taken during the summer to Deerfield and Montague, Massachusetts. I had wanted to go back in the autumn anyways for the foliage. There wasn’t much foliage this year due to the drought over the summer, but Massachusetts at least had a little color for us. We started in Historic Deerfield walking around then took a scenic drive to the Montague Bookmill and ended with a late lunch and beer at Wolfie’s in South Deerfield.
Since I’ve covered this trip before you can view my original Deerfield post here and the Montague Bookmill here. You can also click below for the autumn pictures or just watch the little video I made above.
A few weeks ago I was invited to take part in a brunch hop, in Norwalk, by MaxEx PR and NorwalkNow. I jumped at the opportunity because I’ve really been enjoying my recent Norwalk trips. The area is developing so nicely and I just really like the community/culture emerging there. The icing on top of the cake for this morning turned out to be bikes!
The coastal village of Rockport, Massachusetts was settled back in 1623 when it was still part of its neighboring city, Gloucester. In 1840 the residents of Rockport broke off to form their own town with their own unique identity. During the Industrial Revolution they were suppliers of stone and granite and became a popular vacation destination. Rockport has also been a long time artist’s colony. Today the rocky, New England beaches and downtown are still filled with tourists and there is no shortage of art galleries and studios.
Movie theaters will always hold a special place in my heart. I have a multitude of happy memories from growing up and seeing movies with family. I also met my fiance, PK, while we both worked at the same theater. Once we moved on to other careers and the option to see free movies stopped, unfortunately, so did our theater visits. When you have to pay for rent and a car in Queens (not to mention you have a Target addiction) there isn’t much money left over.
Recently, I was invited to experience dinner at the newly opened Le Madri in Bethel, CT. This was my first time in the area and I enjoyed the busy little neighborhood the restaurant is a part of.
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!
“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.”
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.
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.
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.
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.
Spoiler alert: I got engaged!
My friend, Coors, and I have been planning a trip to Salem for the Literary Festival in November. All the research had me fixated, so when PK had to work last Saturday I was off.
When we were trying to find a house for this weekend the girls maid-of-honor truly lucked out. After being turned down several times by what we thought would be the perfect location, we would be turned down because the houses would require a full week rental during the summer. Somehow we ended up running across the Historic Granite House in Waterford and our prayers were answered.