Southwick, MA & Surroundings

For the weekend, we weaved our way back across Connecticut and into southwestern Massachusetts.  My brother Mike lives in Southwick, which is across the lake from the Connecticut border.  We planned to stop and visit with him for a few days.

On Thursday, we left Rhode Island and the swarms of mosquitoes behinds.  As a Burlingame Park souvenir, we were given many itchy bites.  Our drive to Southwick was brief, less than two hours on the road.  Once arriving and parking Rosie we went out to lunch.  Mike recommended E B Restaurant, which is known for its’ chicken.  The wings and salad were flavorful and delicious.  After lunch, we drove around to get a view of the different lakes.  Being a weekday, the lakes were serene and quiet.  During the weekends, the lakes fill with recreational boaters and fisherman.

Friday, Mike and I decided to give Andrew a little tour of the Berkshire Mountain area.  We wanted to introduce him to the views and quaint towns around the area.  Along the way, we stopped in Stockbridge to visit the Norman Rockwell Museum.  The museum had a large selection of Norman Rockwell’s sketches, paintings and magazine covers.  Known for depicting quintessential elements of American life, we had the opportunity to view images of everyday life, such as family preparing for a turkey dinner feast in Freedom from Want and parents putting their children to sleep in Freedom from Fear.  The museum also displayed panels for the movie Snow White and illustrates by R.O. Blechman.  From the museum, we drove a short distance to Stockbridge town center for lunch and then on to more sights around the Berkshire area.

After a lazy Saturday morning, Andrew and I chose to visit the Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art in Amherst, MA.  This small museum is one of my favorites.  I love the selection of works by Eric Carle, who wrote books like The Very Hungry Caterpillar and illustrated books like Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?   Being a children’s librarian, I can’t help but get excited to see his changing exhibitions of various illustrators and authors.  This visit allowed us the chance to see the works of Mo Willems, author of Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus!  

Once back in Southwick, we spent the evening and next morning visiting with Mike.  After a tasty lunch at Joe’s Pizza in Simsbury, CT, it was time to get on the road for our next location.

Lake inSouthwick, MA
Lake in Southwick, MA
Norman Rockwell's Studio
Norman Rockwell’s Studio
View from Norman Rockwell's Studio
View from Norman Rockwell’s Studio
Sculpture at Norman Rockwell Museum
Sculpture at Norman Rockwell Museum
Statue at Norman Rockwell Museum
Statue at Norman Rockwell Museum
House in the Berkshires
House in the Berkshires
Cottage in the Berkshires
Cottage in the Berkshires
Covered Bridge
Covered Bridge

 

Quaint Rhode Island

On to Rhode Island we go!  From Sunday until Thursday, we stayed at Burlingame State Park in Charlestown.  The park was large with four different areas, Main Camp, Legiontown, Fish Camp, and Mill Camp.  We stayed in the  Fish Camp area, which gave us easy access to Watchaug Pond and boat ramp.  The Main Camp area had access to the beach.  The campsites were quite spacious and private, but could use some work on leveling and lots of bug spray.

As an introduction to Rhode Island, I booked Andrew and I on a lighthouse cruise along Narrangsett Bay.  Departing from Quonset, our ship traveled along the bay past ten lighthouses, such as Poplar Point, Beavertail and Rose Island, and into Newport Harbor.    I found the tour packed full of historical facts and breathtaking views.  It was a beautiful day to enjoy move along the ocean by cruise ship, sailboat or yacht.  A one point we even show a paddleboarder traveling across the sea.  To finish off our beautiful afternoon, we stopped at Capt-n-Jacks Restaurant to grab a drink and sample some clam cakes.

Tuesday we visited with more family.  My cousin, Gary, and his partner, Jeff, own a vacation home in Wakefield.  Their home sits near a large pond and beach.  A majority of our time was spent catching up with Gary, Jeff and more family.  After lunch, we were given a tour of Kingstown area, including the villages of Wakefield, Kingston, and Peacedale.  We stopped a “Peter’s Pottery,” which is located near a one lane wooden bridge on a long winding road.  Andrew and I found many uniquely shaped bowls and pots.  We settled on two bowls with the edge shaped like a wave.

Since Wednesday was our last full day in Rhode Island, we thought we’d start exploring early.  Taking Gary’s suggestion, we packed a picnic lunch and drove to Jamestown.  On the edge of Jamestown,  Beavertail Lighthouse and State Park are located.  After spending an hour climbing around rocks to watch the ocean.  We settled into a good lunch with a spectacular view.  However, Ame, our dog, was extremely hot at the park, so we switched gears and decided to sightsee in Historic Wickford.

Wickford was this quaint seaside town, settled in 1637.  Along the main streets, we saw many established houses from 1800s.  The small village shopping area contains many boutiques and restaurants.  Our first shopping stop was Shaggy Chic, a pet boutique.  Ame prepared to shop, went over to a box of gourmet chew bones and picked herself out one.  She decided on the pistachio flavor bone.  Proud of her selection, Ame strut down the street to Tavern by the Sea carrying her bone in her mouth.  At Tavern by the Sea, we sampled Newport ale, to help cool us, and hummus to give us energy for more shopping.  At one home decor store, I found and purchased an adorable french bulldog pillow.  To complete our afternoon of Rhode Island sightseeing, we drove by the ocean in Narragansett.  Andrew and I agree that Rhode Island could be very nice place to have beach property (maybe a little too pricey though).

Castle Hill Lighthouse
Castle Hill Lighthouse
Dutch Island Lighthouse
Dutch Island Lighthouse
Plum Beach Lighthouse
Plum Beach Lighthouse
Poplar Point Lighthouse
Poplar Point Lighthouse
Rose Island
Rose Island
Newport
Newport
Rose Island Lighthouse
Rose Island Lighthouse

Sleeping Giant, Family & Ramen

This week was about visiting with family and showing Andrew some of my favorite spots in Connecticut.  On Monday, we went hiking at Sleeping Giant State Park.  I have always had great childhood memories from hiking Sleeping Giant.  As a child, my cousins and I would go on ranger led tours and treks to the Tower Trail top.  On the top of the mile and half trail is a stone observation tower.  This tower built by the WPA in the 1930s, overlooks Long Island Sound.  I was excited to share this memorable spot with Andrew and Ame.  We had lunch at the top and explored different trails on the way down.

Tuesday, we headed to the coastal town of Milford.  My cousin, Robin, and her boyfriend, Dave, live in a house along the shore.  When Hurricane Sandy hit, their garage flooded with five feet of water.  After much work and repair, they put the house back in order and enjoy the summer sea view.  Robin and I took her adorable one month old son, Austin, for a walk along the beach and then took a small tour of Milford.  Our evening was spent enjoying fantastic conversation and delicious food with Robin and Dave.  We really appreciated spending the evening with them.

The next day we took the train from Milford into New York City.  Our main goal was to enjoy Japanese Ramen at Ippudo.  However, since we arrived too early to grab lunch, we decided to visit an art museum.  Guggenheim was our first choice, but the rotunda and ramps were closed for an installation.  Our next choice was the Metropolitan Museum of Art.  I was excited because they had Punk: Chaos to Couture, an exhibition about punk fashion.  After weaving our way through the maze of the MET, we found the exhibit, which included fashions by Vivienne Westwood, Malcolm McLauren and Alexander McQueen,  punk music from Sex Pistols, The Clash and The Slits, and replicas of CBGBs bathroom and Clothing for Heroes storefront.  After listening to great rock and seeing intriguing fashions, we caught the train and went to Ippudo.  This ramen shop was our favorite in Japan.  Stepping in the NY shop wasn’t much different.  We were still greeted by “Irrashaimase”, a traditional Japanese welcome response to all entering a restaurant or store.  Along with the familiar decor, the food was a reminisce to the Japanese flavor, we had become accustom to enjoying.  While many travel to the city for shopping and sightseeing, we were happy to visit just for this little reminder Japan in NY.

Thursday, Friday and Saturday were much more relaxing.  We washed Rosie, the trailer, and Andrew installed at water pump.  The water pump was added to make it easier for us to move water from our 7 gallon water bucket into our water tank.   When we are in locations without water, we typically have to find a place to fill the tank with our hose or pour water from the bucket through a filter into the tank.  The water pump should make this process easier.

On Friday morning, we attended my second cousin, Abbey’s, fifth grade graduation.  Everyone had the opportunity to see video of fifth graders‘ school activities and field trips, awards presentations, and performances by the fifth grade class.  Andrew and I appreciated the invitation to enjoy Abbey’s big day.

This week in Connecticut was really special for me.  I was so happy reconnecting with my family and sharing with  Andrew all of my old childhood spots.

 

My Present Home
My Present Home
My First Childhood Home
My First Childhood Home
Sleeping Giant Tower
Sleeping Giant Tower
View from Sleeping Giant
View from Sleeping Giant
Mountain Flowers
Mountain Flowers
Playful Ame
Playful Ame

IMG_0311

Carina & Abbey at Graduation
Carina & Abbey at Graduation