Farmgirl Roadtrip: Family Fun and Sweet Treats

When I moved to the Northeast over twenty years ago, it was the early 1990’s.  Back then, I thought nothing of flying, even if it was a short trip for only a few days to see relatives. Nowadays, it’s not as easy just to “hop a plane” cross-country.  Lives are so busy. Taking time off with school and work schedules can be tricky. There’s fewer flights and airlines than a few decades ago, and gone are the days of carefree flying. When we do visit with family, it’s a true treat, and we want to make the most of that special time. Recently, my mom flew in for a long-overdue visit!  Here just a week, we headed to some fun destinations and indulged in some sweet treats, New England style!

Three Generations

Three Generations

We’ve had a very rainy and mild summer, but the whole time my mom, Beverly Battaglia, was visiting from Georgia, we had perfect weather! Of course, we headed to our favorite beach, Sherwood Island, for a day of relaxation, and to catch up without distraction. Located in Westport, Connecticut, it’s peaceful, with full bathrooms and outdoor showers, lifeguards, scenic picnic areas, a full snack bar, and an educational Nature Center. We only pay to park, and at $9.00 a car for residents, it’s a nice place for families to spend a day.


Colorful Umbrellas dotted the beach.

Colorful Umbrellas dotted the beach.

We taught my mom the definition of a "selfie".

We taught my mom the definition of a “selfie”.

One of the best things about summer is ice cream, and New England has no shortage of great creameries! Once warm weather hits, wonderful rural ice cream stands open. A favorite, Ferris Acres Creamery, is located in my hometown of Newtown on Route 302. It’s a part of a real, working dairy farm – the last one in Fairfield County. The ice cream is dreamy. We recently counted 32 flavors offered in hard ice cream alone, though their Chocolate with Peanut Butter Swirls is my personal favorite, reminding me of my childhood! Here in Newtown, we love to enjoy a treat, chat with friends, and enjoy the picturesque scenery (including cows grazing)! We took my mom there for a cool, sweet treat after a day at the beach.

Ferris Acres Creamery is located on a picturesque farm property in Newtown. Cows are seen grazing, and kids play in the grass beyond the ice cream stand.

Behind the creamery is the working dairy farm, a piece of true Americana.

Behind the creamery is the working dairy farm, a piece of true Americana.

Pip enjoyed his "Pup Cup", vanilla ice cream with a heart shaped dog cookies.

Pip enjoyed his “Pup Cup”, vanilla ice cream with  heart shaped dog cookies.

In all the years we’ve lived here, we’d never taken my mom to a favorite spot – Old Sturbridge Village in Sturbridge, Massachusetts. This visit, we headed up for a day touring the living history museum depicting life from the 1830’s. They had recently sheared the sheep and were dyeing the wool for knitting. The costumed historian told us that this activity would’ve been something a farmer’s wife in the area would have done to make a little extra money,  most likely selling her wool to one of the textile mills in the area.



A sea of patriotic flags greets visitors at the entrance.

A sea of patriotic flags greets visitors at the entrance.

There's so much to see and do at Old Sturbridge Village, and it's so picturesque.

A peaceful spot at Sturbridge Village.

On the way home, we stopped for….what else? Ice cream! This time, heavenly frozen sweetness was found at The Dairy Bar, on the University Of Connecticut campus, in Storrs. My daughter wants to attend UConn someday, and our state is very proud of their winning basketball teams (Go Huskies)!  Originally, The Dairy Bar opened in the early 1950’s to sell dairy products made by their creamery; it now serves amazing ice cream to over 200,000 visitors each year. There’s an observation window to see the ice cream being made, and the Dairy Bar is staffed entirely by UConn student employees. The ice cream’s so good it’s hard to describe, and certainly worth the stop.

Audrey excitedly waits in line to order ice cream at UConn's famous Dairy Bar.

Audrey is excited to order ice cream at UConn’s famous Dairy Bar.



Part of the university's agricultural department, and some of the cows contributing to the heavenly ice cream.

Part of the university’s agricultural department, and some of the cows contributing to the heavenly ice cream.

Of course, sweet treats were balanced with plenty of healthy home cookin’! With all the sun and rain, the larger garden we put in spring has exploded! However, everything in my gardens are a bit behind schedule this year, something I’ve heard of from many gardeners in my area. Mom was impressed by all the goodies growing, comparing me to my beloved grandmother. What a compliment!  (How’s your garden this year? Leave a comment as to how things are in your neck o’ the woods).


Hail Kale!

Hail to Kale!

The cucumbers are late, but covered in blossoms and fruit.

Aaahhh..fresh lettuce!

Aaahhh..fresh lettuce!


Squash blossoms!

Every afternoon, I made sure we drank a cold glass of ice tea on the porch and just visited. The week flew by, as it always does whenever we’re having fun with family.

There's thirty years between me and my mom, and thirty years between me and my daughter. Isn't my mom beautiful?

It gets harder to say goodbye as we all get older. If you’re blessed to have your parents near, don’t take a single minute for granted. It was a memorable visit. Dropping my mom off at the airport, we must’ve cried buckets. Coming back home was hard, so we needed some cheer. An ice cream cone helped.
Hope you enjoyed the visit! Hungry for ice cream? Tell me, where do you go when an ice cream craving strikes, and what’s your favorite flavor?

Until Next Time…Farmgirl Hugs, Nicole

  1. Lisa H says:

    Hi Nicole,

    My parents had to move away in order for my dad to find work. They were 12 hours away from us, which felt like half the world. When we could meet up our arrivals brought tears of joy and when we departed there were tears of sadness. They finally were able to retire and move back to the area where the rest of my family resides and where they themselves grew up. I understand fully what you go through each time you say goodbye and I truly am thankful that when I say it now it probably means I’ll see you tomorrow or this weekend. I did take our closeness and time together for granted before they moved, but not anymore.

    I am so glad you had good weather for your mom’s visit. It would have been wonderful no matter but good weather is always an extra bonus. I can’t support UCONN’s basketball teams (even though they won the championships) because I live near and support….NOTRE DAME. But I do love the rivalry, and the Irish will be back. 🙂

    There is no better sweet treat in summer than delicious ice cream. I envy your local creameries. We can get frozen yogurt and there is always the chain stores, but you can’t beat homemade and as far as I know there isn’t a place here anymore. The last place closed a year or two ago. So sad.

    Your garden looks great. I envy you for that too. Ha ha ha. I get my fresh veggies at the local organic farmers market but I’d much rather grow my own. I grew up gardening and I miss it. Perhaps one day I’ll be able to return to my “roots”. 🙂

    Enjoy the remainder of your summer,

    • Nicole Christensen says:

      Hi Lisa,
      I am so happy for you that your parents are nearby again. I love living where I do, but I do so miss family.

      I know that another blessing is having such great creameries around. When we go to visit my in-laws in Denmark, the ice cream there is a special treat, too. There they eat “Gaf” on top – the closest thing I can say we have here is marshmallow cream, though it is not NEAR as delicious.

      As for gardening, to get your feet wet again, how about start with a few patio plants? Some of my herbs do better in pots, and I have both in-ground and patio tomatoes.

      Thank you for reading and commenting! Farmgirl Hugs, Nicole

  2. Beverly Battaglia says:

    Nicole, it was so much fun being with you and Audrey, the beach, shopping at the gift shops in Old Sturbridge Village. Also I was so thrilled to be there for Audrey’s birthday!
    As you say, the ice cream we had was wonderful on hot days. Thanks for cooking such healthy meals with organic and your garden veggies and herbs. The fresh eggs from your chickens were so tasty! Thanks for the fresh flowers you put in my bedroom. I miss you and Audrey already and how we used to go to lunch and shopping together. Love you,

    • Nicole Christensen says:

      Oh Mom, our visit seemed so short. Time just flew by. We all miss you so much, too. Hopefully, it won’t be too long between visits again! Pip still runs into the guest room, looking confused…I’m thinking he’s thinking, “Where’s Nana?”. Audrey says it was a perfect birthday. Thank you for everything, we love you! – Nicole

  3. Sandy says:

    There was a place in Homewood Illinois called Mitchels. It was the best. I wonder if it’s still there.

    • Nicole Christensen says:

      Hi Sandy, I searched it on Google, and found your favorite ice cream on the web! I have a friend that lives not too far from there, I am going to let her know! Farmgirl Hugs, Nicole

  4. Sherri Fyan says:

    It sounds like a wonderful visit.
    my family and I have a cute place we love to get ice cream here in Colonie NY, a suburb of the capitol, Albany.
    It is part of a family business, Constantine Farm, comprised of a landscaping/nursery and a working farm. Then there’s the ice cream stand added a few years ago, Scoops! They make wonderful homemade flavors of hard ice cream, I haven’t counted the number of flavors yet, they also make there own flavors of italian ice and they have soft ice cream. My favorite item on the menu is there boston shake, new to the menu this year, it is enough for 2 people. I love it!
    Have a wonderful summer!!!!

    • Nicole Christensen says:

      Hi Sherri!
      Good to know! I have a friend who has a lake house near Albany. I will tell her your recommendation! Farmgirl Hugs, Nicole

  5. Juanita says:

    Hi Nicole, I enjoyed the visit with you and your mom and daughter. I really like your Blog, keep up the good work.
    I like the New England states and its been along time since I have visited. The Ice cream looks heavenly and I am so wanting some. We live in an agriculture area but only farming and not much cattle. I live on the Eastern Shore of Virginia. The little strip that sticks out in the Atlantic ocean and the Chesapeake bay off of Maryland. It is on the lower end, just before the Bridge Tunnel to Virginia Beach. Some day I’d like to have a min. Jersey cow. Probably never will. But I can dream. No, I do not have my parents any more, and how I miss them. I still think to myself some times that ” I need to tell mom or dad this ” they aren’t there. Hugs, Juanita Massey

    • Nicole Christensen says:

      Juanita, thank you so very much for this comment, I am so happy that you enjoy your “visits” here! I know what you mean about your parents. I was always close to my mom’s mom, and there are still times I think how I wish I could tell her something, or my mom and I will comment how she would’ve loved something. Also, I share your dream of having a Jersey cow someday! Thanks again for stopping by! Farmgirl Hugs, Nicole

  6. Mary Rauch says:

    wow, who is the mom? You gals are traffic stoppers!
    Having said that, what is your personal favorite way to cook, serve, eat KALE?

    • Nicole Christensen says:

      Mary, Thank you! My mom is in her seventies! I hope I look half as good as she does at her age!
      As for kale, my favorite way to cook it is to put it in my eggplant curry recipe, find it here:
      I also like to pan sear it in olive oil with garlic and salt, or throw it in soups, pastas, and cook it with eggs. Enjoy! Farmgirl Hugs, Nicole

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *