Monday, June 09, 2003

Shakers and Simsbury

I jumped out of bed early, hoping for clear skies so we could go for a canoe ride. I had a notion of making banana pancakes and enjoying some time on the lake before heading back to Connecticut. But it was still gray and overcast out, so I went back to bed until 8:30. Then we re-heated the leftover waffles from the previous day's breakfast, packed and cleaned up the cottage. While I was straightening up Dan's badly wrinkled bed I made the discovery that he had two blankets. I had none and had been cold at night, thinking there were no blankets in the cottage for the summer!

Once everything was packed and in order, we headed north toward the Hancock Shaker Village. It took longer to get there than we anticipated because most of the roads were small two-lane affairs with lots of stops in the local towns. But it was worth the time it took to get there. The place was much bigger than the Enfield Shaker Museum in New Hampshire, and almost every original building was intact and restored with original furnishings and tools. We especially enjoyed the round barn and the communal kitchen, although the workshops and school were a lot of fun, too. It was also baby animal time at the village, and we went through one of the barns enjoying the piglets, lambs, kids and chicks.

It took us until 3:00 to see everything, and I felt like I could've stayed forever in that simple, peaceful place. But we had to get back on the road, so after buying some turkey sandwiches and a cookie at the village café, we headed south toward Simsbury to see if we could hook up with Susan. It was a longer drive than we had anticipated and slow going in a lot of areas. But we got there around 4:30 and Susan gave us a tour of her library. Then she let me check my email on her computer and I noticed an original copy of Elmer Gantry on her shelves, slated for sale at a future library event. I bought the book, above her protests that I could just take it.

Then Susan took us for a quick look around Simsbury. She took us to the flower bridge, then to a local mountain with great views of the town and surrounding countryside. It had several steep drop-offs that she said were used by local hang-gliders. Then she took us to see the biggest tree in Connecticut-- a giant sycamore that dwarfed any other tree I'd seen in my life. I think only a redwood could compare to this monster!

We dropped Susan off at the library and headed to Meriden to keep our promise to Grandma that we would be back on Monday. We got there around 7:30 and found her dozing in bed. She woke up though, and was pleased to see us. I was pleasantly surprised to find her very alert and almost chatty. We had a good talk but didn't stay long because we didn't want to keep her up late.

Back in Cheshire, we unloaded our bags and visited with John a bit. He had his laptop so we looked up a restaurant in Hartford owned by one of Dan's friends, a professor he worked with the year before. We didn't feel like driving all the way to Hartford for dinner though, and when Susan returned home, we all went out to Cheshire Pizza. For once John allowed us to pick up the tab.

By then it was pretty late, so when we got home we went to bed.

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