A Wet Weather Adventure

 

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2018 is moving fast – the first quarter of the year’s almost over! Here in New England, we’ve started March with a Nor’Easter, and a lot of rainy, dark days. My family and I won’t let cabin fever get us down. What do we do? We embark on a wet weather adventure! Gloomy days can be gorgeous! Come along with me and see…

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Having a vintage camper makes winter seem even longer! I can’t wait to open up our ‘66 Glamper, “Gidget,” for our first full-season with her. Currently, she’s still under cover, like a big present waiting to be unwrapped! We’ve had a few warm snaps, and we were tempted to open ‘er up, but we won’t dare until after all threats of sleet and snow have passed.

Spring is peeking around the corner...I just know it!

Spring is peeking around the corner…I just know it!

Recently, after what seemed like endless days of never-ending, bone-chilling rain, my husband, daughter and I decided to get out of the house! My husband, raised in Europe, doesn’t mind driving in less-than perfect weather. In fact, Denmark has the best-trained drivers in the world!

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Photo by Audrey Christensen

Chilly, rainy weather calls for delicious hearty food! We drove up to one of our favorite towns, Essex, to have lunch at The Griswold Inn. Opened in 1776, this charming inn has been in operation ever since!

Opened in 1776!? If those walls could talk...

Opened in 1776!? If those walls could talk…

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We’ve been to the Griswold Inn twice now, having found it by happy accident on another wandering adventure! We ate an incredible meal, then walked about a bit; there’s some quaint shops there right along the water.

Essex is also home to amazing trains! We once toured the museum and rode the steam train when my daughter was little. We drove by just to take a peek at the parked trains.

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Photo by Audrey Christensen

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We popped back in the car, planning to head to the Connecticut Flower Show at the Convention Center in Hartford, when my husband suggested we detour through back roads. Driving through the towns of Lyme and East Haddam, we decided to take a peek at Gillette Castle, in East Haddam, Connecticut.

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Gillette Castle is a stone structure that looks like it’s right out of a medieval storybook! Built by twenty men from 1914 – 1920, the “castle” is the design and was the home of William Hooker Gillette, a stage manager and actor, born in Connecticut in 1853. Gillette is best known as portraying Sherlock Holmes in silent film. Mr. Gillette designed and oversaw every facet of construction inside and out of the massive, 14,000-square-foot, three-story stone structure. The castle itself straddles the towns of Lyme and East Haddam, and sits on the Connecticut River at the top of a series of hills known as the “Seven Sisters”.

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“Here, kitty, kitty...”

“Here, kitty, kitty…”

The view from the castle is stunning, proving even wet, late winter days can be beautiful. It’s all in your perspective...

The view from the castle is stunning, proving even wet, late winter days can be beautiful. It’s all in your perspective…

After Gillette’s death in 1936, the state purchased the home and land in 1943, christening it “Gillette Castle State Park”. The grounds are open to the public year round until sunset. Tours of the inside of the castle don’t start again until Memorial Day, so we plan to go and visit again another day!

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The castle is made with local fieldstone. The day we were there, soft drizzle and light fog contributed to a slight spookiness. The nature surrounding the castle is stunning. We can’t wait to go back and tour inside once the museum opens!

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On the way back, along quiet, winding country roads, we passed many picturesque, historical buildings and homes, and more breathtaking nature (and campgrounds)! Our state can be so beautiful! I can just imagine settlers from colonial days in the very spots we were in. Come spring and sun, there’s no doubt the area will be filled with more tourists.

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As a bonus to our wandering, we saw an antique/junk shop in an old barn attached to a homestead on the side of the road, with an “open” sign. Intrigued, we had to stop. The only car in the parking lot, at first my daughter felt too “spooked” to get out of the car. Filled to the brim inside and out with all sorts of antiques and curiosities, the shop was run by a friendly and equally interesting shopkeeper wearing a bear-claw necklace. Inside the barn/shop was a picker’s dream! Narrow aisles and dark corners were piled high with all sorts of yesteryear’s goods. In one corner, on top of a pile of “stuff”, I spied a primitive-looking ‘spinning wheel! A smaller sized “flax wheel”, I’ve long wished for one to sit next to the family fireplace. Other ones I have come across were always too large or out of my price range. This one, circa 1820’s, fits just right (minus the large family of spiders that needed relocation before bringing it in the house)- a souvenir of a rainy day adventure!

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We never made it to the flower show this year, but had great a time, nonetheless, a very memorable family day. Sometimes the best plans are the ones unplanned!

 

Until Next Time…Farmgirl Hugs, Nicole

Leave a comment 30 Comments

  1. Ramona Puckett says:

    It looks like you all had a great time!

    • Nicole Christensen says:

      Hi Ramona, Yes, we sure did. I love these adventures, just the three of us. My daughter’s growing up fast and I will miss these little day trips we’ve done since she was little. Thanks so much for reading and commenting! Farmgirl Hugs, Nicole

  2. Heidi says:

    As always, I enjoy your posts. Stay warm until spring!

    • Nicole Christensen says:

      Hi Heidi, Thanks! You, too, and maybe this spring we can meet up again! Miss you! Farmgirl Hugs, Nicole

  3. Marlene Capelle says:

    Fabulous castle. Please revisit in the spring and post pictures. Would love to see it in the sunshine. Most google it.

    • Nicole Christensen says:

      Marlene, isn’t it cool? I have lived here in CT 23 years and never saw it before, except from a distance long ago when we took a boat ride on the Connecticut River. I can’t wait to go back. Thanks for reading and commenting! Farmgirl Hugs, Nicole

  4. Linda says:

    Beautiful spinning wheel! And I think I’ve actually been to Gillette Castle, long ago on a distant planet! Thanks for the trip down memory lane. I Ienjoy your visits.

    • Nicole Christensen says:

      Hi Linda, Very cool that you have been to Gillette Castle! I have heard about it so many times, but only saw it once from a distance on a boat ride. I can’t wait to tour it inside as well. Thanks for reading and commenting! Farmgirl Hugs, Nicole

  5. Corinna says:

    Thank you for this fabulous entry which made me very nostalgic for Connecticut (the state I grew up in)!

  6. Marilyn says:

    Thank you for sharing your adventure. It is snowing here in New York.
    Marilyn

  7. Julie says:

    Looks like a ” fun” time! Beautiful area…Makes me want to go there!!! Thank You for your rainy day “tour”…

    • Nicole Christensen says:

      Hi Julie, Thanks so much! I can’t wait to see what the castle looks like in the warmer months, too! Farmgirl Hugs, Nicole

  8. Theresa Talarek says:

    Love this! Thanks for sharing your day with us.
    And I’d love to tour that castle.

    • Nicole Christensen says:

      Hi Theresa, Thanks! I am so glad you enjoyed the blog. I love castles, too. Can you imagine living in that home? Or designing it? I can’t wait to see inside. On my list for this summer, for sure! Farmgirl Hugs, Nicole

  9. Joan says:

    I love castles, thanks for sharing!! WoooHoot the fireplace sitter is scrumptious. Thanks for ‘tripping’. God bless.

    • Nicole Christensen says:

      Hi Joan, Thanks! Isn’t that spinning wheel cool? I have no plans to “take up” spinning, and it is missing a few tiny piece anyway, but I wouldn’t want to use something that old, anyway. I just love looking at it. I can just imagine the person who hand made it (even the nails holding it together are handmade, it is truly a rustic, antique piece). Then I imagine a resourceful, creative woman, spinning wool from her sheep to knit into beautiful shawls and sweaters and blankets for her babies. It’s amazing to “touch” history! Thanks for reading and commenting. Farmgirl Hugs, Nicole

  10. Meredith Williams says:

    Nicole, I usually don’t miss a lot about Connecticut most days, I’ve lived in Virginia for the last 33 years! But your post made me remember some of the great things about my home state and I’m missing it now!! Thanks for the walk down memory lane❤️

    • Nicole Christensen says:

      Hi Meredith! Thank you! Virginia is a beautiful state, too. I’ve been there a couple of times. Yesterday we got over 2 feet of snow in my area, so sometimes I think I wouldn’t miss Connecticut much, either, if we left, but that’s not true. There is a lot about this state to love. I miss a lot about my homestate, Texas, too. :) Thanks for reading and commenting. Farmgirl Hugs, Nicole

  11. Beverly Battaglia says:

    Very good blog. I love the pictures. Love you,
    Mother

    • Nicole Christensen says:

      Hi Mom! Thanks! Love you, too. Next time you visit, we have new things to see and do! Farmgirl Hugs, Nicole

  12. Diane Van Horn says:

    What a great way to spend a rainy day! Love it all but that castle…be still my heart.

  13. Sandi King says:

    Loved this road trip adventure you and your family went on. I love castles too, and the spookiness of them. So glad you took it and shared it with us. I love road trips too. Can’t wait for Spring and hope you make it back there and do the tour. What a lovely time you have shared with us. Thanks so much.

  14. Judy from Maine says:

    Wonderful post. I sometimes think those rainy foggy winter days are under rated. Beautiful photos taken by all. Thanks for sharing whaat looked like a picture perfect day.

    • Nicole Christensen says:

      Hi Judy, A fellow New England farmgirl…welcome to the blog! Thank you, and yes, I agree! Rainy days do have their own certain charm. So do snow days, but now I am ready for some heat to come again! Thanks for reading and commenting. Farmgirl Hugs, Nicole

  15. Vivian Monroe says:

    I just love spur of the moment off the beaten path adventures. And what a great find..I know you will put to good use. Waiting for the warmer spring days full of sunshine and flowers. Neta

    • Nicole Christensen says:

      Hi Neta! So good to hear from you, farmgirl! Yes, waiting for spring days! Can’t wait until it is warm and sunny for days on end! Thanks for reading and commenting! Farmgirl Hugs, Nicole

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