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…
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.
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!
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!
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.
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.
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”.
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!
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!
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.
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!
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